SingleRoadTrip: Leg 2 – Sacramento to Page, AZ
Catch up on Leg 1 of my trip here.
Day 5 – Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe to Reno – 160 miles
I started off the day with a walk around the Capitol Building in Sacramento, just across from the Hyatt Regency.
I headed out towards Lake Tahoe, passing through the forests north of Yosemite. I pulled over for a picture of Tahoe with my trusty Subaru. If you look closely, you can see a black dot to the right of the lake — that is one of the casino towers of Harvey’s Lake Tahoe.
I did check out both Harvey’s and Harrah’s casinos, both part of Caesars Rewards. They are literally built just a few feet from the boarder of Nevada and California. One exit from the parking lot takes you to California, the other exit to Nevada.
I did a quick stop at the lake at sunset before driving on to Reno for the night at the Hyatt Place.
Day 6 – Reno to Ely along The Loneliest Road in America – 348 miles
I drove along Highway 50 after a stop in Carson City. The drive took most of the day with stops at the towns along the way.
Please see my separate post about the Loneliest Road in America (Highway 50). I spent the night at the brand new Holiday Inn Express in Ely, Nevada.
Day 7 – Ely to Great Basin National Park to St. George – 262 miles
Finishing off the Loneliest Road, I visited Great Basin National Park on the eastern edge of Nevada. Though the main attraction of the park, Lehman Caves, is closed, I was able to drive up Wheeler Peak for some fantastic views.
I then made my way into Utah and south to St. George, gateway to visiting Zion National Park.
Day 8 – Zion National Park
For the first time, I stayed two nights in the same location (Hyatt Place St. George). Currently Zion National Park is only allowing 3400 people into the canyon portion of the park each day. When tickets were released, I got on right away and booked an 8:00am spot on the park shuttle.
Getting to the park early meant getting a parking spot and a bit cooler temperatures for hiking. The high of the day was 110º. I took the shuttle up to The Grotto stop and hiked the Kayenta Trail to the Upper Emerald Pool.
I then headed up to the Temple of Sinawava to walk the Riverside Walk to the start of The Narrows. The water flow was low (35 cubic feet per second) but it still takes a lot of energy to walk up and down the river. I made my way 1.5 miles up the river to Orderville Gulch where two rivers merge. The farther you go in The Narrows, the less people there are. At the start, I found myself dodging selfies and was glad when the crowds thinned.
I just wore a good pair of running shoes and clothes that could get wet. I saw a lot of people wearing rented water boots that seemed unnecessary. A walking stick for balance would be helpful. And lots of water.
I was worried that Zion would not live up to the hype, or that it would be too crowded to enjoy. Having visited, even with portions like Angels Landing closed due to COVID, I can say there is a reason Zion is so popular. The National Park Service has done a good job of making the park accessible while still feeling like nature. It is a beautiful place to visit.
Day 9 – St. George, Utah to Page, Arizona – 158 miles
To get to my next destination of Page, Arizona, I took a longer route that had me driving back to Zion. Currently the only portion of the park accessible by private vehicle is Highway 9 that connects the main entrance at Springdale with the park’s east entrance. In the eastern portion of the park I spotted a family of bighorn sheep along the road. See if you can spot them below.
After grabbing a burger at Big Al’s in Kanab, Utah, I took a detour to see the ghost town of Paria (Pahreah). The only thing left is the cemetery. But you get some great views on the road to the site.
I arrived in Page and checked in to the Hyatt Place. Page is a town that was created during construction of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. Behind the dam is Lake Powell, a reservoir and recreation area. I grabbed dinner at the local BBQ joint and headed out to catch the sunset at Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River.
Total Miles: 1,874
Continue reading Leg 3 of the SingleRoadTrip here.