Bledsoe 2012 Western Tour travel blog


Checkerboard mesa

Road before tunnel

end of tunnel


Road down

Zion canyon


We somewhat reluctantly pulled up stakes in Wahweap and headed northwest back into Utah, losing an hour on the clock but certainly not our good memories of this lake area. Rather boring desert view for much of the way, but it did get rather interesting near Kanab. We were on the fringe of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Grand Staircase refers to the multiple layers of rock eroded into a stair case look that stretches for hundreds of miles.

Each rock layer was a different color, ranging from white at top to dark rust on the bottom-most layer visible. Kanab is also famous as Little Hollywood since so many films and TV series have been filmed here. Think Gunsmoke and Clint Eastwood's Josie Wales. And believe me, they hype this to the hilt in town. Every business has a name associated with old western movies. The town even has that old west look to it.

We passed on from Kanab to Mt. Carmel Junction where we picked up the road to Zion. When we entered the national park at the entrance gate we had to pay an additional fee for an escort thru one of the tunnels due to the RV's girth and height. We were instructed to stop at the crosswalk just before entering the second tunnel.

The east side of Zion park is mostly slickrock, like Checkerboard Mesa.

Nice views of the surrounding rock on either side of the road.

After traveling 8 or 9 miles we arrived at the second tunnel where we joined a number of other oversized vehicles and proceeded with our escort into the mile long bore. A unique tunnel in that there were a half dozen "windows" cut into the rock wall to give you a brief view of what's outside in the canyon.

Following the center line as instructed we weaved through the curves and exited into a very steep canyon.

It's really interesting to look at road maps showing the curves and switchbacks in this canyon. I closely held to the speed limit of 25 mph, not too difficult since I knew how far down it was and how there was a lack of guard rails here.

After a few miles we settled into wide Zion Canyon. It didn't take long to get into our campsite and get set up.

Pretty nice views from the campground, with the rock colors changing with the position of the sun. We biked over the the adjacent visitor center and jumped aboard one of the free shuttles to take us into the canyon just to see what to expect the next day. The round trip took about 80 minutes with 10 stops we could choose from to begin exploring this park. During the summer and early fall months automobiles are restricted from using the canyon road so you either use the shuttle, ride a bike the entire 8 miles or walk. Shuttles for us, thank you! There's also a free shuttle taking you to downtown Springdale so you can shop and dine without the hassle of parking your car.

After a dinner of roast beef, potatoes and green beans we made plans for tomorrow's hikes then hit the sack. It's been another interesting great day.

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