Christmas at Zion National Park

For the longest time, I have dreamt of a white Christmas that is unlike anything experienced in the warm climate of Los Angeles. I wanted to be able to drink a hot drink by a fireplace while opening presents on Christmas morning, while snow falls on the quiet grounds outside. My family, however, lacks holiday spirits and we rarely ever do anything on Christmas, even if it is my birthday. Meh.

But Joseph invited me to come along with him and his mother to Utah this year, to visit Zion and Bryce National Park as well as Death Valley on the way back.

My options for the holiday then became 1. Stay at home and do absolutely nothing for Christmas and my birthday or 2. Go off on an adventure to unknown territory for me? Adventure, please!

After a 6-7 hour car ride from Los Angeles and through Nevada, we made it finally to Zion, Utah at around 10pm. We stayed the first and second night at the Zion Lodge, which was a wonderful little lodge with convenience as it was settled inside the park. The first time we were able to see Zion clearly was Christmas morning (the day I also turned 23 – boy, am I getting old!) and wow! Our lodge was surrounded within canyon walls and stepping outside in the morning, as the sun hits part of the canyon walls is just breathtaking.

The first full day in Zion, we spent just meandering around the park, trying to see all the viewpoints that were on the directory. Instantly what was great about coming to Zion in the winter was that there were hardly any traffic. Yes, as we drove from the bottom of the canyon up to the winding road to the top, there were many cars parked in the pullouts but we never hit bumper to bumper traffic. Gah, I can’t imagine what the roads would be like in the summertime! O_O It might have also helped that we went on Christmas day itself and perhaps most of the families visiting were keeping themselves snug in bed by the fireplace.

I have never experienced Canyons like these. Really, the only other canyon that I have been to is Indio’s Painted Canyon, and Zion is SO much more than that. The newbie hiker in me really wanted to go off and start hiking on some of the trails, but alas, the snow came with a price – most of the trails were closed due to slippery ice sheets on the ground. Booo.

Up and up we went, stopping here and there to see some of the gorgeous vistas that Zion provided, we were finally high enough to see snow! It was there that I could officially say I had a white Christmas! Apparently we had come at a great time too, as this was the most snow that the area had experienced for quite some time.

I can finally break out those winter outfits that I’ve been dying to wear too! (can’t do that in LA, now can I?)

After a Christmas dinner and a National Lampoons movie, we headed outside to do some stargazing – something that simply cannot be done in L.A. And honestly, if it wasn’t so cold, I would have made more efforts to find the great spot in the park for star photos. But this was my first time trying, and I think they came out pretty awesome. Ah, looking up at those Utah skies just takes my breath away.

On our first full day in Zion, we went up and up the canyon road until we went to the other side of the park. Our second day there, we explored more of the bottom of the canyon. Or rather, the ground level.

Like I said in Day 1, the perks of being in the park during wintertime is pretty good. However, because of the snow, a lot of the trails were closed off so we ended up not really doing much other than sightsee a few more of the areas we didn’t get to see the first day. This completely bummed me out as you have to do some hiking in order to see the great hidden views.

This only means I’ll have to come back to Zion in the spring or summertime, and who can complain about that?

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