There's nothing like our crazy family of adventurous friends and even during a pandemic, we all got covid tested and found a way to be together by renting a house outside of Zion National Park to get out into Mother Nature! Zion National Park is one of my favorite scenic parks within a day's drive from Los Angeles. Even if the weather is blazing hot, you still always have slot canyon hikes, like "The Narrows" where you are hiking through a river and in a shaded canyon with areas to stop and swim. This trail goes for 18 miles, but you can decide how far you want to go and how hard you want to make it. We hiked in with camera gear, a posse of friends and snacks, and pregnant Lara at the time to do an epic Pregnancy shoot, but let's just say this hike is for all skill levels and we definitely represented ALL skill levels in our group lol.
If you are just driving through, you can always just stop and hike Angels Landing Trail which is only about an hour hike to the most epic cliff overlook for one of the best views in the park and an easy in and out hike with fun bouldering. That was our first stop when we arrived to Zion after driving all day to get there from Los Angeles, so it was the perfect way to end a long day in the car, stretch our legs, and get rewarded with an amazing sunset!
Also, there is nearby Quail Creek State Park with a reservoir that you can rent a boat or paddle boards for the day, camp and relax, and enjoy the crystal clear water and red rocky backdrop. Since none of us can't travel without packing costumes, we had a "Pirates and Mermaids-themed" day on drinking on the water and no one can ever accuse us of not having a good time!
We found a lot of amazing hiking trails outside of Zion National Park too, like Red Reef Trail in nearby St. George, where you will find remnants of water and smooth rock formations and you will be hiking in and old dry river bed with epic rock formations you can climb all over. The desert will surprise you with it's vibrant colors and topography. It's like you are on an alien planet at times out in Utah!
On our drive back, we stopped through Las Vegas and hit the Taco Bell Cantina and visited the colorful art installation called the "Seven Magic Mountains". You know how I am obsessed with color, so this is one of my favorite art pieces sitting in the middle of the desert not far from the Vegas strip of just HUGE, stacked, colorfully painted boulders. Our road trips always turn into impromptu costume parties and photo shoots, because one never knows when the next magical photo-op moment will happen, so you have to be prepared!!