Trans-Zion Trek

12:39 p.m. on April 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Heading off tomorrow to do the Trans Zion Trek in Utah.  Will be driving all nite from LA and parking at the East Entrance.  Getting a shuttle ride to Lee Pass and hiking back 47 miles.  Only have 3 days/2 nites for trek and found camping sites at mile 17 and 34.  Weather really heated up and it looks like highs will be in the hi-70's and lows in the mid-40's.  Don't think we'll bother with a tent.  Anyone do this route before...any tips?

Marco

7:04 a.m. on April 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I have hiked the entire trail you plan on doing, albeit in separate circuits, doing either the East Rim, or West Rim, but not both as part of the same hike.

When I read your plan the first thing that came to my mind was why the death march?  There is so much to see; many epic vistas to take in.  The trip you plan will have you missing some really great opportunities to just meditate on some of the best panoramas I have seen ANYWHERE.  Heck you’ll barely have time to take a quick picture.  That’s like one of those Europe in 72 hours tours.  Check it off your tick list, but little else going for it.

Instead I would suggest splitting the trip up into two hikes:  Spend two days hiking the East Entrance to the Weeping Rock parking lot.  While camped in the Stave Spring area, do side tours to check out Cable Mountain, Great White Throne, and Deer Trap Mountain overlooks, they are awesome.

The second hike is simply a day hike to the top of Angel’s Landing.  Take along a picnic for the top.  Don’t forget hats and umbrella for shade (it is totally exposed and the sun is withering at times up there).  This is simply one of the most epic vistas you’ll ever see, it is like sitting atop a 2000’ tall flag pole in the middle of the canyon.  Bring only what you can carry in a day pack as the last portion of the trail to the top of Angel’s Landing requires both hands free to scramble safely along a rather exposed trail.

As for the rest of your original intended venue; that scenery is good too, the top of the West Rim is similar to the top of the East Rim, but the vistas aren’t nearly as dramatic as the East Rim highlights.  IMO the two hikes I suggest will provide a more gratifying experience.  You can always go back for more, later, I have. Zion is my favorite venue.  I have hiked all of the trails, hundreds of miles off trail, discovered a couple of previously unknown archeological sites, fossils, dinosaur tracks, etc.  This park has a lot to offer, but you need to slow down some to take it in.

BTW: confirm the springs at your intended camps are running.  They should be this time of year, but the area has been under a sustained drought for over a decade, and some springs dry up before the next season’s snow.

Ed

5:54 p.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I did this last year in mid April.  My only comment is that the weather can change so quickly at that time of year that we went from 75F to a snow storm within a day (such that they were turning away cars from the Zion pass).  My recommendation would be to take some sort of shelter - even a large tarp.

Otherwise I found the trek easy and relaxing even with the snow (used to it).

3:34 a.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

..My only comment is that the weather can change so quickly at that time of year...

Good point about the weather.  I also remember the trails on top can be real mud holes in places.  Some spots are steep and slippery enough that they are impossible to negotiate, requiring you to step off trail to make headway.

..Otherwise I found the trek easy and relaxing even with the snow...

Forty seven miles with well over 8K’ of elevation change in three days.  Yea right, a mere leg stretcher.  Easy?  Give me a break!

Ed

1:20 p.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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+1 on whomeworry's itinerary.  We took 8 days on that trail(s) with side jaunts everywhere and still didn't get a chance to soak it all in.  While cross country, had a wet day that almost washed us out of the park.

6:36 p.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

Forty seven miles with well over 8K’ of elevation change in three days.  Yea right, a mere leg stretcher.  Easy?  Give me a break!

Ed

 At that time of year where I am from I am usually up to my waist in snow so comparatively speaking....; )

8:47 a.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

whomeworry said:

Forty seven miles with well over 8K’ of elevation change in three days.  Yea right, a mere leg stretcher.  Easy?  Give me a break!

Ed

 At that time of year where I am from I am usually up to my waist in snow so comparatively speaking....; )

Forget about the snow!  Just the distance and elevation changes present a very formidable three days, even in the best of conditions.  Really strong hikers can cover these distances/elevations in eight hours/day.  Most will require closer to twelve hours or more.  Quite a few cannot sustain this effort for three days.  And all will admit they toiled very hard.  This not a relaxing walk. 

You may be superman, but not everyone eats kryptonite for breakfast.  Certainly if you are all that, then you must be aware most folks lack your stamina and fitness.  It is irresponsible to make such remarks without qualification (e.g. it was a relaxing walk for me, but I also jog 1500 miles a week in waist deep snow carrying a full pack).  Usually those capable of such feats do not ask strangers if their venue is feasible, because they know the average Joe cannot provide an evaluation from their perspective.  In other words most people querying for feedback to such a proposal are probably getting in over their head.  The last thing they need is some Urli Steck wannbe saying it was an easy jaunt.  Just trying to keep it real, dude. 

Ed

10:54 a.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow - not sure those comments were warranted. 

Apologize to the OP.  I am a lightweight / UL trekker so my pack weight for a 3 day trip including water (2L) is under 20lbs.  Having a light load like that allows me to naturally move more quickly.  I actually don't like the camping process and prefer to just keep hiking so longer days are the norm.

I am helping Wolfman right now with some questions regarding the West Coast Trail.  I have don't that trek in 2 days but I have also done it in 6 days, the latter more of a camping trip the former a ball busting event (don't recommend it).

I am in reasonable shape but now in my 40's I don't consider myself a Steck!!!

And I am sorry that I didn't find the Trans Zion trek that difficult.  Maybe it was the excitment of a new environment?

11:08 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

Wow - not sure those comments were warranted...

I did so because I thought our contrasting perspectives were confusing to readers who may lack the experience to determine the underlying basis of our opinions.  While you may find my Urli reference abrasive, it was meant as an off handed compliment.   Anyone - ultra lighter or otherwise - who can link consecutive 15 mile plus days over a trail with significant altitude changes, and find it relaxing, is in really good shape.  I am sorry if it came of as offensive. 

Surely you must notice that you blow by all others on the trail, and chat with them should indicate you are covering much more ground daily that most hikers.  Back in the day I was also in pretty good shape, but it never seemed wise to advise others to replicate my exploits unless I knew the ears receiving this advice better, or somehow qualify my advise with some background.  That said, you can never go wrong handicapping advise to the average Joe's capacity.

Ed 

11:17 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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The winters can be brutal up here in Canada (Alberta).  Long and cold. So although I do some trekking in the winter, it is limited.  So I do plan for trips in the more temperate months and that planning includes specific training because my window of (hiking) opportunity is so small.

I get your point now, however.

1:10 p.m. on April 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Well folks, I'm back from the trek. Thank you all for your comments and opinions. The Park was doing a prescribed burn on the East side so we changed our route to go from Lee Pass back to the southern main entrance. Was fantastic and took over 100 pics. Day 1 including a side trip to Kolob Arch was 18 miles and we camped just off Northgate Trail in the "at large" area. No available water after Leverkin spring but we had planned accordingly so no prob. Next day took us 14 miles to campsite 2 on the west rim having filled up water along the way. We finished to the Grotto on day 3 by 11:00 AM and home to LA by 7:00 PM. Why so fast you ask? Because that was all the time we had. I enjoy long days and have often logged 30 mile + days in the SF Bay Area mountains albeit without a lot of gear. Had just a bit of rain, saw a couple patches of snow and enjoyed daytime temps in the 60's to low 80's. If anyone would like more specific details re: route, water, shuttles, etc feel free to drop me a note.

July 12, 2014
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