I did some early planning in January 2012, but need to put a more detailed plan together now. My original dates were for late August until the end of October, but I now plan to do the hike somewhere in the first two weeks of September. I initially was worried about two things, the air temperature, because the last time I was in Zion it was very hot, and the water level, because I want to go when there is less chance of flash flood warnings. The Zion Narrows is the main purpose for the trip although we will want to explore some of the other trails. The more research I do the more I think that air temperature will not be as big a problem in the Narrows as in other parts of the park. The canyon is narrow, with little direct sunlight and cool to cold water. I probably need to worry more about it not being warm enough.
There are no showers at the Watchman campgrounds which is fine for a few days, but I think it would be great to stay in the Zion Lodge on the last night to get cleaned up and have a comfortable sleep before the drive home to San Diego. We could also leave the park in the late afternoon and make it to Mesquite or Las Vegas without a long drive. The hotel price will be a lot better. The campground reservations open up 6 months before so they are opening up for September this month.
I started this post in mid February, but got distracted by other things. A couple of days ago, I went on to the reservation page for Watchman Campground on Recreation.gov and made reservations for 1-4 September. I got a tent only site with full shade, so we should be a little more comfortable if it is really hot. I so think it will still be really warm then with a lower chance of rain, so it should be a good time to hike the Narrows. We still haven’t decided whether to stay at the Zion Lodge or not, that will depend on who comes with us. Right now we are leaning toward stopping on the way back.
The next step in the planning is getting an equipment list together and finding some comfortable trail runners that will work well in the water. Because the weather can be unpredictable, I’ll also make some backup plans in case we can’t do the Narrows. I’ll put together another post in a few weeks.
Previous Post in this series:
Zion National Park (Fall 2012 – Camping, Hiking, and The Narrows – Early Planning)
Next Post in this series:
Zion (Planning for September 2012 – Narrows and other hikes)