Yesterday I had the immense opportunity to go biking in Zion, to see for myself what everyone has been talking about. And if I may offer part of the conclusion at the beginning, I couldn’t believe I’d never done that before! I found myself laughing at times at how thrilling, stunning and fun it was to be zipping down that incredible canyon on a bike. Why oh why had I never done that before…
Pa’rus Biking Trail in Zion
I began my journey outside of the park right where the new Springdale biking path begins. I rode up through town and on into the park where I quickly found the Pa’rus Trail. What a fun little trail that is to be on. Riding along the Virgin River with it’s waterfalls, swimming holes, and simple beauty is just a treat, especially with the canyons walls of Zion National Park to frame the scene.
Along the Pa’rus Trail you’ll ride through several campgrounds before it opens up and you’ll be able to ride over several bridges as well, that make this ride so much more enjoyable. At times you’re going to want to stop and walk down to the river because of beautiful spots, spots like this cascading waterfall that I encountered right next to the trail.
In reality the Pa’rus Trail is quite short, so you’ll soon find yourself riding under a bridge and at the end of the trail, but that isn’t the end of your fun.
Biking up the Canyon in Zion
Here is where biking in Zion National Park really gets fun, but it will take you to be a little more adventurous and not take the easy way out and ride the buses up to the top.
This part was especially great because this is where they begin the thin the traffic to only buses (it’s only past the lodge where only buses are allowed). The canyon begins to close in and the sheer walls that I was riding through make for an incredible ride. I especially liked once I climbed a hill or two and was approaching the lodge, how the road get’s covered by massive cottonwood trees that cool down the ride, but make as well for a more intimate feeling.
Past the Lodge and up the Canyon
Keep going! If you think you’ve gone far enough once you hit the lodge, you haven’t even gotten to the best part yet, so keep going. There are some inclines you’ll encounter on your ride up, but always remember what goes up, must go down, and the down parts make all of the riding up worth it.
Soon after the lodge I found myself riding past the Angels Landing trail-head and just beyond that the canyon began to change and again close in on me. Which just made for just a fantastic ride, it’s also so quite because no cars are allowed up in this area, so all I had to do was compete with the occasional bus that went by. It was so quite and peaceful as I was riding, and kind of weird not hearing car after car rolling by. I then came upon a bend in the road where you’re offered an unencumbered view of Angels Landing, so I just had to stop and soak it all it. What a fantastic place, and what an amazing ride I was having.
Big Bend and the Hidden Waterfall
I continued riding up the canyon soaking it all in, I rode past the Weeping Rock trail and then up to the Big Bend where you get to see the Great White Throne and Angels Landing.
Soon after that I found myself nearing the top where the Narrows start, and rode right past a hidden waterfall with a wooden deck that I had never noticed before. I quickly determined that I would stop there on my way back (I had to make it to the top first you see, before I could allow myself to relax). Just a few short turns later and I made it to the top and was stoked to have defeated the uphill battle of biking Zion National Park. But my ride wasn’t over yet, I had the check out that waterfall…
When I got back to the hidden waterfall I realized that since only buses come up this far, that most people would never get to stop and see this little gem. You would have to hike for a bit from where the buses drop you off to get to it, and most wouldn’t make that trek. So this little place I concluded is one of the little perks of biking in Zion.
In truth it isn’t hidden, it’s quite visible, it’s just hidden because again most only ride the bus up here and will miss it. But as I walked up those stairs and was greeted with the picturesque scene of that mossy waterfall, while comfortably seeing it from the wooden deck, it just added a cherry on top of a great ride.
The Ride Back Down
After my triumph I began the decent back down the canyon, with just a little hill left of climbing before me, the ride down was everything I wanted it to be. It was as if I had ridden two different trails, I got to see two different sides of the canyon; the trail up looked quite different than the trail down. The sun was beginning to set, so it was thrilling and beautiful to be there barreling down those canyon roads.
It really was a fantastic ride in a fantastic place. I got to see Zion in a way most people never will, because they’re to afraid to get on a bike. What an experience!