6/24/18 and 6/25/18
Sand Hollow State Park, Snow Canyon State Park, Zion National Park
Sunday 6/24/2018 Today we drove from Jacob Lake near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to Hurricane, Utah. We’re staying at Sand Hollow State Park. It was only a 95 mile drive so we took our time packing up and leaving. Sand Hollow State Park is centered around The Sand Hollow Reservoir which is a big recreational area for the surrounding towns. There’s swimming, boating, jet skis and stand up paddleboarding. The park is surrounded by red sand dunes and open land so it’s also a haven for any type of off-road vehicles you can imagine. I’ve never seen red sand before, it’s very fine and a beautiful red color. Our spot was very nice and spacious but it’s extremely hot here. It was much cooler during our week at the Grand Canyon. We set up the trailer, turned on the air conditioning and just hung out until right before sunset when we took a walk up to the reservoir area. There were still several people boating and jet skiing but they are supposed to leave at sunset. We had a nice walk along the shore of the reservoir and then called it a night.
Just a side note – when we entered the park we saw signs warning about “Swimmer’s Itch”. I’ve never heard of that before but I researched it. It guess the warm waters of the reservoir make it a perfect home for the parasites that cause swimmer’s itch. It said it’s similar to poison ivy and you would be miserable for a few days but eventually it would go away. I was surprised that so many people were enjoying the water even though a good percentage of them might contact the parasite. It won’t be us.
Saturday 4/14/2018 We had a late start today but when we finally got moving we drove into a town not too far from here called St. George. We decided to drive to Snow Canyon State Park which is right outside St. George. “It’s a 74,000-acre scenic park tucked amid lava flows and soaring sandstone cliffs in a strikingly colorful and fragile desert environment.” We didn’t go on any hikes because the temperature was 105 degrees today. We just drove down the road that goes through the center of the park and stopped at the lookouts along the way. We came to the exit and just turned around and drove back through.
It was still early afternoon and Zion National Park was about an hour away so we decided to drive there on a whim. We knew we didn’t have enough time to park and take the shuttle buses to the main scenic areas that most of the tourists go to, so we drove up the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. It’s a 12-mile road that cars are still allowed to drive on but there’s a 1.1-mile tunnel in the middle of the highway. The tunnel was built many years ago before cars and trucks became so large and it’s too narrow for any vehicles over 7’10” to navigate in both directions. My truck is 8'1''. Zion’s answer to that was to charge oversized vehicles $15.00 to enter the tunnel. They stop traffic one way and let the oversized vehicles go along with any other cars. Then they stop traffic the opposite way and let those vehicles go. We had to pay $15.00 to go through the tunnel when all the other vehicles went for free.
The highway was full of switchbacks with several lookouts that we could stop and take photos. It was a little unnerving especially from the passenger side where it seemed we were going to go over the cliff. It was really a beautiful drive and I hope you can tell that from the pictures. We would have liked to go to the other road that only the shuttle buses are allowed to use because that showcases some of the most famous views and hikes but we didn’t have enough time. We have to be back at the campground before 10 pm or we’re locked out. So we drove back down the highway, stopped at the visitors center and then made our way back to the trailer. If we are ever close to this area again we will make time for the shuttle, and if the weather is cooler, a hike.
Tuesday 6/26/2018 Sand Hollow State Park was supposed to be just 2 days of rest between The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas but it turned out to be so much more. I hope to return to Zion National Park someday to see more but we have to move on. I have reservations in Las Vegas for the next 11 nights. Las Vegas here we come!
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