10.5 miles of hiking • 2250' elevation gain •
We rose early to try to beat the heat and the crowds into the park, and managed to find a parking spot at the Visitor Center to leave our car for the day. The parking area quickly filled up, and after a quick breakfast at a cafe, we got into line to wait for the shuttle. In the short time we were in line, the crowd grew, and we had our longest wait to board a shuttle. Once aboard, our stop was #7, Weeping Rock Trailhead. From there, it was an immediate up on well built switchbacks, each turn giving us even greater views. Finally after climbing for a long while, we got a bit of a break and shade though Echo Canyon, but it didn't last long and we were going up again. I thought I had packed shorts to change into in my pack, but I was wrong. So, up I went in tights, swearing at myself for not having packed an alternative now that the sun was on full blast. My Portland skin yelped and cringed but I managed not to burn. When I finally felt like the heat and elevation gain was really getting to me, we reached the top of the canyon, and the last mile out to Observation Point was relatively flat and easy. Views were big, and Angel's Landing looked tiny below. While I had skipped the famous hike, I felt like I had picked the better of the two. If I wouldn't have felt so zapped from the sun, I would have taken the side trip to Hidden Canyon on the way down. Instead, the idea of splashing around in some water sounded amazing, so we took our tired feet onto a shuttle to the last stop on the line.
The water was cold, but felt amazing on our tired feet. While most tourists had on rental water shoes from the outfitter in town, we got along fine with some simple water shoes. At times, the water was up to my waist, but mostly stayed around knee deep. At each bend we kept telling ourselves that it would be our turning around point, but the further I went I couldn't help but wonder what was around the next bend. Finally, we knew we really needed to turn around and get some food in us, so we reluctantly headed back into the crowds and back into Springdale for some much needed pizza.