The weather forecast for my second day in the park wasn’t the most promising, with 60% chance or more of rain in the afternoon. I got up, got my pack ready and headed over to pick up a shuttle bus, still not quite decided on a plan for the day. I was trying to decide how to approach the morning, whether to do one big hike or a series of shorter hikes. As I rode up into in the canyon, the weather looked good, sunny, but cool, so I decided to hike to do a longer hike to Observation Point, an 8 mile round trip hike. After that, I’d see what the weather would do and if I wanted to do any more hiking for the day.
Off the bus at the stop for Weeping Rock, I was once again headed toward the canyon walls and a series of switchbacks. These people really know how to make switchbacks!
After a while, the trail leveled off, and I was traveling through a canyon, with the walls getting narrower and narrower. Once through the canyon, I entered a section that looked a bit different than the other side. Since I was higher in elevation, I also noticed a light dusting of snow that had fallen overnight.
The switchbacks picked up again, and soon I was hiking upward toward the top of a small plateau. The trail leveled out and I could see where I was going – over to Observation Point. The flatter trail was a relief from the steep switchbacks and I picked up the pace. I had seen very few people at this point and passed a group of three who were returning from Observation Point and highly recommended the views.
Arriving at Observation Point, I was not disappointed, the views were spectacular! I could see down the canyon, Angel’s Landing, the Organ, the river and the road below. It was the perfect place for a lunch break. After a few moments, three other hikers arrived to enjoy the views as well. While on the top, I noticed the clouds coming in across the top of cliffs on the other side of the canyon, and that was my signal to move along and descend.
By the time I reached the trailhead, I was in my rain gear, and it was raining. Since I was right there, I took the quick one-mile round trip trail to see Weeping Rock.
I decided that since I was dry and comfortable with the gear I brought (I had a fleece, hat and gloves, too), that I would do the short River Walk hike at the head of the canyon since I was so close. Once I got on the shuttle bus, it was actually snowing a bit, too! The River Walk trail was only a mile to the end, right at the river’s edge. In the right weather conditions and with the right gear, it is the start to a hike through the Narrows. The trail to hike the Narrows is actually the river itself, so wading is part of the experience. Since I did not have canyoneering shoes and the air and water temps were a bit chilly, that hike would have to wait for another visit to the park.
The rain continued, so back on the shuttle bus, I decided to stop at the park museum and take in the park movie to get inside for a while. After that, it was dinner in town (remember, I’m on vacation here!) and back to the tent to plan the next day’s adventure: a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park.