Jill Schuman, founder of eNZees Foot Soother, hiking in Zion National Park. Photo by Larry Gross.
It’s the height of “desert season,” and if you’re headed to one of our beautiful National Parks or recreation areas in the American Southwest be sure to pack appropriately as this landscape means business! A typically dry and arid climate, the desert offers little shade or relief from the sun and can often be quite high altitude. Bring these essential items with you for a fun and enjoyable desert hiking trip!
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people come away from the desert looking like a lobster!
A wide-brimmed hat
Save yourself some wrinkles and sunspots by wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you’re out and about in the desert.
Long sleeve shirt
The best way to keep the sun off your shoulders and arms is with a lightweight, quick-drying long sleeve shirt.
Hiking along the North Fork of the Virgin River in Zion National Park. Photo by Larry Gross.
Plenty of water!
Be sure to drink plenty of water even if you’re just driving the loop around Arches National Park. The high altitude and dry climate will make you thirstier than you realize! If you do head out on a hike, carry at least a liter of water with you. I typically like to hike with a 2L reservoir just in case!
Even though it’s warm during the day, you’ll find the desert gets quite cold once the sun goes down! Remember to bring a good insulating layer and a rain jacket – if only to block the wind!
Another shot from Jill's hiking trip to Zion National Park. Photo by Larry Gross.
Wool or synthetic socks
To go with your properly fitted hiking boots or shoes! Do yourself a favor and avoid getting blisters with moisture wicking socks. Even if you do begin to get a blister, apply some eNZees Foot Soother to the area to help reduce friction and remove moisture.
While the coming cold temps might but the kabash on hiking and camping in your neck of the woods, Fall weather means it’s Desert Season. Many of the best places in the Desert Southwest are just plain too hot to handle during the Summer, but with cool weather on the way, now is the perfect time to explore some incredible country. Put these desert destinations on your to-do list!
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico
South of Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Tent Rocks is a long way from anywhere. Its desolation only lends to its eerie and at times otherworldly beautiful. Tent Rocks is a land of volcanic ruin, hoodoos and spikey cones. It’s relatively small and is great for a short day trip. It features two hiking trails, bird watching, and some incredible geology.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
You could spend a lifetime exploring the Canyonlands National Park near Moab, UT. From petroglyphs to secret arches to camping to slickrock scrambling, Canyonlands offers something for every adventurer. The national park is split into three districts: Needles, Island in the Sky, and The Maze. While The Maze requires four-wheel drive to access, the other two districts are easily accessible for all vehicles. Book a backcountry permit, and spend several days winding through canyons and over slickrock in Needles or check out the great day-hikes in Island in the Sky.
Zion National Park, Utah
Me hiking the Observation Point Trail in Zion. Photo by Larry Gross.
I recently spent several days exploring one of America’s greatest treasures, Zion National Park. You’ve probably heard of some of the hikes: Angel’s Landing or Observation Point. Zion isn’t a bucket list destination for no reason. It’s one of the most incredible landscapes I’ve ever seen. But it does get busy, so if you can, visit mid-week.
Be sure to bring along plenty of eNZees when you head into the desert. Sometimes hiking in new environments, temperatures, and humidity levels can cause blisters. Have fun and happy trails!
The hike of all hikes! Angel’s Landing is one of those iconic hikes that you hear about and hope to do one day. I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity just a few weeks ago.
The day started out perfectly clear, dry of course and a bit cool as we ascended the 6 mile round-trip hike to the top of Angel’s Landing.
Starting at the Grotto Trailhead, this is one of the defacto classic hikes in Zion and one of the most stunning viewpoints you will ever experience, but it's not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights. Chains help ease the fears of intrepid hikers seeking the summit.
The condition of the trail was impeccable, with numerous switchbacks in and out of the sun to get to our first taste of a narrow loose trail with long drop offs. As we made the approach to the final pull to the top, the chain links were there waiting for us. The pictures below was taken from the top looking down through the canyon; and the second picture was taken of Larry and me chilling on top of ANGEL’S LANDING!
Along the way I have to admit to giving out some eNZees to a few hikers stopped along the way with their socks and boots off, rubbing some hot spots. I ended up seeing one of the woman later on and she was quite surprised that no blister developed!
Upon arriving at the Zion Lodge in Springdale, UT, I was so busy looking at the impressive cliffs as we approached the Lodge I missed the magnificent Freemont Cottonwood Tree. Posing right in front of the Lodge, this tree was planted in 1906 - about 18 years before the lodge was built.
It is the focal point for the lodge used by not only the lodge guests but everyone traveling by on their way to Angel’s Landing , the Narrows, Observation Point, The Great White Throne and numerous other hikes and incredible sites in the area.
Like everything in Zion National Park, this cottonwood dwarfs everyone and everything. We woke up one morning at 5:30am to watch the sun rise and wash the cliffs with sunlight, and found ourselves distracted by the flickering of the light on the leaves of this beauty. If you find yourself in Zion, do not miss this natural wonder!