Best Photo Hikes in Zion
We are heading to Zion in 2 weeks.
Fantastic, it is beautiful!
We are doing Angels Landing and perhaps attempting Subway.
Angels is tough but doable as long as you are not afraid of heights and narrow paths while holding onto a chain so you don't fall 1,000+ feet to splat on the rocks below.
Do you have a permit reserved for the Subway? You cannot go top down without a permit, ropes/rappelling harness, wetsuit (preferrably that water is COLD even in high summer) etc.... You can hike up from the bottom without a permit but you can only go so far before it is impassable to continue up canyon.
If you have never done any canyoneering and have no rappelling experience you may want to contact an outfitter to see if they can lead you. Going it alone could be disastrous.
We will be doing the Narrows as well
Assuming you mean hiking up the Virgin River from the Temple of Sinawava Shuttle stop ending up in the Subway as described above.
You can do the bottom of Orderville Canyon as an offshoot of the Narrows to add to the scenery.
The difficulty in the narrows is this: The river bottom is mostly covered with softball to head sized rocks, it is difficult going as there is ankle to knee deep water running over these rocks. You need trekking poles and good boots that you don't care about getting wet. I did it in a pair of New Balance cross trainers and about broke my ankle and nearly dunked my camera several times. A dry bag inside your backpack is a must.
Is there anything in Zion that compares to the Subway in beauty and it is easier to get to?
Um...... there are lots of beautiful spots, the subway is it's own unique brand of cool due to the continuous flow of water. Depending on the route it can be downright ridiculously scary to negotiate and requires travelling with experienced canyoneers.
The standard route isn't too bad, but you want to be prepared, and travel with someone experienced if you are not.
Good Boots and or water sandals (Keen Newport H2 is my preferred sandal)
(Wetsuit if doing the full Subway route, I am just a wuss and highly recommend being one too unless you enjoy hypothermia)
Plenty of water + - a good filter with pump. (I usually go with my Camelbak and full 100 oz bladder and will take the filter if I am at all concerned that I could run low.) The desert can take the fluid right out of you even when you are hiking in water. It is a strange thing.
Drybag to go inside your backpack. I will also tend to put stuff inside ziplocks as well to protect it. When I took my DSLR through Pine Creek: http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/pinecreek2010/slideshow it was inside a ziplock, with a towel wrapped around the ziplock inside of another ziplock inside my drybag.
quick drying synthetic clothing. Cotton sucks, it stays wet and chafes. I was dumb enough to wear cotton shorts when I did Pine Creek and I about froze my cojones off on a 97 degree F day in August and chafed like mad.
Body Glide/DZNutz body lubricant, put it anywhere anything can rub. Reapply as needed. Nothing is worse than having the inside of your thighs rubbed raw and bleeding from the sand getting inside your wet shorts and abrading your skin. I typically will wear nylon/spandex compression shorts under my shorts to help with this.
I am not trying to put you off. Just trying to save your butt. Many people get there totally unprepared and have to be rescued. I had a guy offer me $40 for a sip from my camelbak halfway up Observation Point carrying a single 16 oz Coke that had run out more than an hour before.
Get a Permit to enter the Subway, go there right now: https://zionpermits.nps.gov/ hopefully they will have some left. (if you can't get a permit this will give you the second best option: http://canyoneeringusa.com/utah/zion/order.htm ) Take the right gear (See above)
know what you are getting into and take the right gear and the right people if you don't have enough experience. I wouldn't do Pine Creek on my own right now. I don't have the experience and I have done several canyoneering trips.
(Believe me there is no worse feeling than being in a slot canyon and realizing you don't have enough rope to finish, and that you CANNOT climb back up that big rap.)
If you have enough rope to do this:
But not enough for this:
You are gonna be in a bad spot.
Hope that helps. Enjoy the scenery, Angels is a MUST do unless you can't stand the heights. Observation Point is a slightly tougher hike but not as dangerous. http://lloydshell.zenfolio.com/p583668179/slideshow