Shortly before 10 a.m. on a crisp fall morning we pulled up to the Majestic View Lodge – our pick up spot – in Springdale, Utah and prepared to embark on a three-hour private tour with Zion Jeep Tours.
The Majestic View Lodge acts as a hub for the safari tours and is a designated pick up spot where guests can use the restroom before heading out. However, guests of the private Jeep tours can choose to be picked up at their own lodging accommodations in Virgin, Rockville, or Springdale.
Our family of five – two parents and three children ages 12, 11, and 7 – were greeted by Brendyce, our guide for the tour. Brendyce had a firm handshake and a friendly and knowledgeable personality that made us certain we were in good hands. Brendyce was certainly not going to get us lost on a strange desert island a la Gilligan’s ill-fated three-hour tour.
Zion Jeep Tours has a small fleet of modified Jeeps and trucks designed to give guests a unique backroads experience. The company bills their tours as the opportunity to see places most people only see in pictures, and they have the vehicles to take you there.
A large portion of what makes the tour so great is the thrill of climbing into the back of a tricked out Jeep and buckling up that five point harness.
We were set up in a Jeep that could accommodate seven people – one driver and six passengers – but it felt just right for our group of five plus the guide. Vehicles for each private Jeep tour vary depending on group size and ages of the passengers.
Throughout our journey, we played musical chairs so everyone was able to sit in all the sections of the Jeep (except no children in the front seat of course).
We left the Majestic View Lodge and headed the opposite direction of the main Zion Canyon toward less accessible territory and much smaller crowds.
While there are a few approved routes that the tour company is able to guide on, each private tour can be slightly customized to the group depending on what they want to see and/or learn. We said yes to nearly every side excursion, view point, and small hike available to us so we could truly soak in the experience.
Not only were the views stunning, but the wealth of knowledge that Brendyce shared with us about the geology, history, botany, and zoology of the area was astounding. There is a lot to soak in about how Zion and the surrounding areas were formed and what life (human and animal) did and does survive and thrive in such seemingly inhospitable, yet beautiful land.
Private Jeep tours are offered in the morning and afternoon and both give the opportunity for guests to see Zion with different light and shadow. The morning tour worked really well for our young family as it was lovely to start the day off with an adventure and see the desert come alive.
While there are a few places where the roads are narrow and more difficult to drive a vehicle on, the tour is not a high-thrill experience. There is no Jeep jumping (we tried to convince out guide 😉 ) or high speed recklessness.
What you do get is a special look into some of the lesser traveled roads near Zion National Park, rich lessons on the earth and its life, indelible memories, and views for days. Plus the Jeep is just cool!
Water and blankets (it can be brisk in the open air vehicle) are provided, but guests should plan to bring their own coats or jackets in the cooler seasons as well as their own snacks and other beverages, if desired. As a mother of three children who got pretty “hangry” toward the end of the tour, I highly suggest bringing something to snack on.
Guests should plan to be in the elements by wearing comfortable clothes and footwear and having ample sunblock (even in the cooler seasons).
In addition to the private Jeep Tours, the tour company also offers a group safari excursion as well as an all-day grand canyon experience.
To learn more about Zion Jeep Tours or to book your adventure today, visit them online or call 435-668-3756.
Our family is already looking forward to the next Zion Jeep Tours adventure.