Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Uncle Tom's Trail-waterfall viewing

When we visit National Parks we want to see as much awesomeness as we possible can. This is why we found ourselves at the trail-head for this hike at 8:00 AM in the morning. Since it was Labor Day weekend, we were racing to beat the crowds.

 This sign at the beginning of the trail might make you think twice about doing this with kids. When we hiked this our group had three adults and eight children; with ages ranging from 12 to 2 years old. It is definitely doable with kids and is a must see, if you are in the Grand Canyon area of Yellowstone.
 This hike is kind of the opposite of your typical waterfall hike, because you start at the top of the canyon and descend down to see the waterfall. The hike is mostly paved paths and metal steps. Our main concern on the way down was slowing the kids to a safe pace, so they wouldn't slip and fall down the stairs....that would be bad!!



 The views of the Fall are seriously amazing!  Especially surrounded by the yellow rock walls of the canyon.

Our kids had been asking us why the park is called Yellowstone, we were glad to be able to show them!

There is a viewing platform at the end of the hike. I kind of thought we would be able to go all the way down to the canyon floor, but this is not possible here. There is a great view of the whole waterfall from the platform and a few benches to snack and gear up for the climb back to the top.
 We didn't actually count the steps on the way up but there were a lot! It feels a little funny calling this a hike-rather than a walk down and up the stairs, but the scenery is beautiful and the waterfall is definitely worth the effort.


 The two year olds didn't do a ton of walking on their own either.....I think the steps would have been a little tough for their short legs. The other kids had no problem with this "trail" at all, in fact I am not sure we even stopped to rest on the way up.


 The trail levels back out away from the waterfall so it is not all steep!!



despite what this picture might look like, the kids actually liked this hike and loved seeing a cool perspective view of the waterfall!

Directions

In Yellowstone's Grand Canyon Area take South Rim Drive to Artist Point Road, then look for signs for the trail-head parking lot.























Saturday, February 11, 2017

Taylor Creek Hike-The other part of Zion National Park

We love this hike! Great views, red rocks, a creek to follow and in the summer time-frogs galore! It would be hard to find a kid or adult who didn't love this hike! After a steep set of stairs leading down from the parking lot, the trail is fairly level and easy, with about 400-500 feet elevation change. Following the creek, the trail winds its way through the Taylor Creek Wash. The total distance of the hike is a little over 5 miles, and ends at Double Arch Alcove. As a family we have not made it that far yet.




We usually end our hike a little over a mile in at an old cabin.

 After several creek crossings and lots of playing and exploring, this is usually a great place to stop for a drink and a snack. The historic cabins were built in the 1930's and 50's and are really fun to see. We like talking to our kids about living in a house the size of their bedroom and what it must have been like. They complain about sharing a room with one sibling, so they can't even imagine sharing one room with a whole family.

The flora and fauna of the hike make it very exciting.  There are many frogs (in the summer), the occasional lizard sighting and wildflowers; so the kids were excited to explore and see what was around the next bend.  The frogs were definitely the main attraction for our kids.  They were everywhere and could be seen without really even looking for them. We did find many off to the sides of the creek, in natural made pools and waterfalls. We hiked this on Memorial day, which appeared to be during frog mating season. We also saw one of our favorite native flowers, Penstemon.


As you hike into the canyon you'll see more and more of the Tucupit and Paria tower 1700 feet above and the Double Arch Alcove.

This is a really good hike to take it easy and just let the kids have fun and explore and even get wet when the weather is hot. It is also a beautiful hike year round.





 Probably the most amazing part of this hike for us was the number of other hikers. Even on a national holiday, Memorial Day, we saw other hikers, but not crowds of people. On a random weekday you can practically have the trail to yourself.





The easy access off of I-15 is another plus for this hike!
To get to the trail-head you take the exit 40 off I-15 heading east to the Zion National Park Kolob Canyons.  The visitor center has the basics (bathrooms, maps, souvenirs etc and rangers) but it's much smaller than the main canyon visitor's center.  The parking lot is 2.1 miles from the Visitors Center and located on your left.