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Author Topic: Zion National Park in September  (Read 5205 times)
TZano
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« on: July 23, 2006, 09:27:36 PM »
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So I am planning on going to Las Vegas for a week and and decided to take an overnight trip to Zion to break up the Vegas week.  I just started doing photography about a year ago, and am excited about going out west to shoot landscapes.  I was planning on going from an afternoon to the next afternoon.  Hike for the first afternoon, take some photography around sunset/dusk, ideally I would love to tent in the backcountry and then take some sunrise/early morning photography.  And then finish the late morning/afternoon hiking and taking an occiasonal shot.

I wanted to run this itenerary by you guys (it seems like this forumn is pretty knowledgable and experienced) and what you guys thought.  Or had any suggestions or comments.  

It looks like a post said Angel's Landing and Emeralds pools, other than that, any suggestions?  I also called the park service to get maps and brochures to better plan.  

Also, how's the tourist traffic during the second week of September?

Thanks,
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2006, 08:27:58 AM »
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Lots of great opportunities along the senic drive - but be aware that you won't be able to take your car into the scenic drive - shuttle bus only.  Classic sunrise in the field behind the visitors centre as the eastern sun hits the western mountains (Towers of the Virgin? - but memory may fail).  Don't forget to travel east to the edge of the park - some great shots on that drive.   My guess is that traffic/visitor density will be high, but at least school is in.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2006, 08:37:52 AM by Tim Gray » Logged
jimhuber
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2006, 08:44:47 AM »
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You're going to want to travel very light up Angel's Landing. The hike up to Scout's Lookout is somewhat arduous, but across the neck and up the last portion borders on dangerous. You'll need both hands free and not a lot of weight swinging around. Carry plenty of water, of course. I took three liters in a CamelBak in June and ran dry by the time we got down again. Emerald Pools is much easier, and well worth the short walk.
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ddolde
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2006, 03:06:56 PM »
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Traffic should be down some after Labor Day.  I suggest the Plateau area (up through the tunnels) since you can drive there year around.  You will likeley be too early for fall color however.
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TZano
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2006, 01:33:25 PM »
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Great thanks for all your input.  It seems like most places (the popular photogrpahy places) are accessible by car or shuttle, so once I receive the maps from the park service, I can plan on driving to a few of the locations.  Although I plan on hiking a little and finding the random spots that just call out to you.  

I have a small lighter pack I could use for the Angel's Landing and surrounding area (camera, equipment, water) then photograph, return to my car, drive to another place, pack up my larger pack so I can hike to a place to camp, then take sun rise pictures and hike the rest of the afternoon.  I figure even my larger pack will be fairly light since its just an overnight stay so food/clothing weight would be down.
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Win
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 09:29:10 AM »
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I live pretty close to Zion and can help out a little. The park will have people in it in Sept, that is the prime time for climbers and Europeans. Sept and early Oct are quite busy, you won't be lonely. It will be hot, 90s for sure. bring plenty of water and Gatorade.

You'll be able to camp right inside the park or there are a few areas 5 miles outside that allow free camping. Coal Pits Wash is one. If you plan on camping in the backcountry you'll need a permit. I don't think it will be difficult to get one.  

Angel's Landing, is spectaculer but will require at least 4 hours. I know it would take me at least 5 and I'm in fair shape. You could leave a pack at Scout's Lookout and go out onto Angel's, just close it to keep out the marauding chipmunks!

Tim is right about the Sunrise, but it's behind the Museum. This is accesible by car all year and the picture will be awesome.  

Consider doing the hike in the Narrows, I did it mid-Sept a couple of years ago. The water was warm and not very deep. You just hike upstream as far as you like. Narrows Outfitters out side the entrance does boot and walking stick rentals. You will want a hiking stick of some sort.

Emerald Pools is a nice hike but there may not be much water this time of year. If you get lucky enough to get a shower it would be nice hike. Hidden Canyon is  a good morning hike as you'll be shaded, pretty good views and shorter than Angel's Landing.

Please take the time to drive up thru the tunnel to the East side. This is my favorite area and there are some really nice washes to hike in. There is a short hike by the large tunnel, Canyon Overlook, pretty easy with a spectacular view. Good photo op in the AM, it will wash out a little in the afternoon.

Please drop me note if you have any specific questions. NJedge@aol.com

Have fun,
Win
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nma
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 10:50:25 AM »
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Quote
Great thanks for all your input.  It seems like most places (the popular photogrpahy places) are accessible by car or shuttle, so once I receive the maps from the park service, I can plan on driving to a few of the locations.  Although I plan on hiking a little and finding the random spots that just call out to you. 

I have a small lighter pack I could use for the Angel's Landing and surrounding area (camera, equipment, water) then photograph, return to my car, drive to another place, pack up my larger pack so I can hike to a place to camp, then take sun rise pictures and hike the rest of the afternoon.  I figure even my larger pack will be fairly light since its just an overnight stay so food/clothing weight would be down.
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You may not undestand the issue of driving in Zion National Park. You may drive on the road that traverses the park, roughly east-west, but you cannot drive into the valley that is one of the most scenic areas. You must use a shuttle bus run by the park service. You will need to park your car in a designated area and que for the bus. Do not underestimate the time required to do the basic sight seeing. If you have only one day, it may be unrealistic to combine a hike to angel's landing with much else.

Hope this helps.
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TZano
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2006, 08:16:48 PM »
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Great thanks for the comments.  I'll keep the crowds and the transportation restrictions with the shuttle in mind.  

Thanks Win for the advice, I'll be sure to send you an email once my plans start to materialize a little bit more.
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leonvick
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 10:27:33 PM »
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Great thanks for the comments.  I'll keep the crowds and the transportation restrictions with the shuttle in mind. 

Hi and welcome to Zion NP! I am co-owner of a photo gallery in Springdale, a mile from the main gate to the park and hhave spent a lot of time there.  I agree with those who say you won't have time for any serious hiking on a one-day trip.

When you arrive from Las Vegas, park your car in Springdale. Do not try to park in Zion. There are plenty of places all over town. Walk out to the main street, look for a shutle stop (well marked) and take the (free) shuttle into the park ($25?) where you'll switch to another (free) shuttle that runs only within the park. This shuttle will take you along the Virgin River, up the deep valley floor to an area where you can walk a mile to the beginning of the Narrows hike. There are many stops along the way where you can get off the shuttle to look around and take pictures. Another shuttle will come along in less than five minutes to take you onward/

I would sugegst that you then return to your car in Springdale with more stops as you wish. Now you want to drive your car back into the park to the bridge over the Virgin River where you'll turn on Highway 9, to the east. This willl take you up to a 1.1 mile long tunnel built inside a cliff face, and on into the rugged upper section of the park (it doesn't have a name), which many think is as spectacular as the lower canyon of the Virgin that you will have seen earlier from the shuttle. On this road there are many places where you can stop for a picture or a walk.

The sun is setting here now at around 9 pm. In September you'll still have a long day so you can judge how much time you have before darkness. If the moon is full, enjoy the park in the moonlight. It is an awesome sight!

For a late dinner, there are several nice restaurants in Springdale.

I recommend that you go to a map store in your neighborhood and get enough maps of Zion to familiarize yourself with the layout before you arrive. After you arrive, there are excellent resources at the park headquarters. You'll go by there when you make the shuttle transfers.

Come back in November when the leaves turn and you can drive your car up the valley road!

If you'd like more details, email me. Have fun!
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Leon
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TZano
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2006, 12:29:34 PM »
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Thanks for all of your advice. It was a great two days to interrupt the hectic Las Vegas visit.  

I ended up leaving Vegas on Tuesday, arrived in Zion on Wednesday and stayed at the El Rio Lodge.  I quickly changed and used my converted backcountry ski pack to pack up my new Manfrotto tripod, camera, camelback, hat, powerbars, filters, extra battery and book.  (A nice little 15-20lbs.....).  I took the Springdale shuttle into the park and went to Emerald Pools lower and upper.  Very beautiful great colors.  I then did Weeping Rock and killed sometime around the Weeping Rock stop before trying to photograph the sunset over the bridge by the rt 9 shuttle loop split.  The sunset wasn't very vibrant, but that's alright.  I went and got some dinner in Springdale and rested up.

Wednesday I woke up at 6, packed everything again, took sunrise pictures, ate breakfast and then did Angel's Landing hike.  I loved it, it was from 930ish-12 so the top was a little bleached out with the high sun, but I did it more for the experience versus the photographs.  Of course I brought up my tripod and then forgot to realize the high f stops didn't matter because there was so much light.  I sat around for awhile up there ( saw chipmunks trying to break into backpacks, I thought the earlier post was joking about the 'maruding chipmunks')

I then went to the narrows and spent about 3 hours hiking around the narrows.  Those were by far my best photos mid-afternoon with a tripod a one/two second exposure and a few are definetly large print worthy.  

I left around 3-4 and drove back to Vegas to meet up with the rest of my friends.  Thanks for all you guys' advice, it definetly helped the planning.  I still can't believe I did Lower/Upper Emerald and Weeping on afternoon 1 and Angels/Narrows on morning/afternoon 2.
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TZano
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2006, 02:55:31 PM »
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