Hotels Fairy is a FREE service to save you money. We never add any fees or commissions.

City Guides

Top 10 destinations by continent

Best Hikes and Trails at Zion National Park

Zion National Park rocks

Red, orange, yellow, gray striated layers of windswept sandstone spike and drop dramatically through Utah’s Zion National Park. Less famous than its near neighbour the Grand Canyon, but no less spectacular in its raw desert beauty, Zion National Park is a mere 2 ½ hour’s drive from the center of Las Vegas, Nevada.

This national park features hikes and walks for all ability levels and holds two of the most spectacular (potentially dangerous) hikes in all of the National Park system.

Zion National Park

How to get Zion National Park

Located in the south of Utah, Zion is within driving distance of the majority of the Southwest. Only 7 hour’s drive from Los Angeles and 2 ½ hours from Las Vegas. The drive to the park features several tourist stops, including roadside natural history museums, the Valley of Fire state park, dinosaur tracks and the Native American Moapa Reservation.

Classic to the iconic American Road trip, these unexpected detours present limitless opportunities for exploration. Getting around the Park itself depends on the time of year of your visit. In the busy summer months, the park runs two free shuttle services.

One runs from the bottom of the town of Springdale to the park entrance with several stops at local hotels, campgrounds and restaurants, allowing visitors to park and ride to the main gate of Zion.

The second shuttle service runs through the center of the park with stops at the most popular trailheads. In the summer, vehicles are no longer allowed inside of this part of the park, so the shuttle is the best option of transport to the trailheads.

The shuttle operators offer guided tours on the ride up the valley, providing the passengers the history of the park as well as information on hikes, trail conditions and locations of restaurants, restrooms and water fill stations.

Zion National Park Brew Pub

Accommodations and Dining at Zion National Park

As with most National Parks, there are a variety of options when it comes to accommodations. Hotels, motels and cabins abound in the neighbouring towns with Zion Lodge being the only hotel located inside of the park.

Zion has two campgrounds of its own, which offer car-style camping but no showers. Backcountry camping is also allowed, but permits must be obtained from the park rangers at the information station.

For those who wish to bring their pets, be warned that Zion National Park only allows dogs on one of its trails, and they are forbidden from the rest of the park. Because of this, many accommodations also do not allow pets. Make sure to check the current policies before you pack up your furry friend.

Located directly outside of the gate of Zion is an RV and tent camping site which offers free showers and is central to an in-town shuttle stop.

I highly recommend this location. My husband and I tent camped, and our site was private, near the river, came equipped with a picnic table, grill and fire pit and was conveniently located across the street from several fabulous restaurants (most notably the Spotted Dog) for the nights we decided to skip dinner over the fire.

For the nights we did decide to cook, the general store located at the entrance of the park contained easy grill food, a surprisingly abundant choice of gourmet cheeses and even replacement camping gear as our camp stove failed to make it into the car and our tent was missing a pole. We appreciated its convenient location and reasonable prices.

The most popular hikes at Zion National Park

While there are many great hikes off the beaten track at Zion, my husband and I focused on the most popular hikes of the park for our first visit. The following four hikes can be accessed via trailheads which are all stops along the free in-park shuttle.

Zion National Park Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing

Consisting of a 5 mile round trip up 21 switchbacks, through a narrow canyon and topped with a .5 mile hand-over-hand boulder and chain crawl along a ridge which is at times 3 feet wide and 1,200 feet to the canyon floor, Angel’s Landing is Zion’s most popular hike as well as its most thrilling.

Not for the faint of heart or for those with a fear of heights, but for all others in search of a challenge and iconic view down the canyon, make it part of your must do list. It is listed as strenuous, and in the heat of summer, temperatures can reach to over 100 degrees, so remember to bring water. Rangers advise at least 2 liters per person per hike to combat the desert heat.

The Narrows

Zion National Park - The NarrowsDebated as one of the best trails in all of the National Park System, the Narrows offers an unusual hike for nature enthusiasts. The term trail is misleading, as it is actually a walk up and down a canyon, in the river.

Depending on the time of year, hikers will spend 60-70% of the hike ankle, knee, waist or shoulder deep in water.

The canyon soars hundreds of feet above you and is at times 30 feet from wall to wall. There is a danger of flash floods and sections of the trail with no high ground, so it is best to be prepared and check with the rangers regarding weather conditions for the day.

There are two ways to hike the Narrows, either as an up and back day hike or a through hike. Up and back hikers can travel 6 miles up and back without obtaining a backcountry permit.

For those wishing to hike the entire 16 miles of the trail, obtain a permit from the information center, and consider making it a two day camping adventure.

The Zion Adventure Company offers rental equipment for this hike, including canyoneering shoes, neoprene socks, walking sticks, dry bags and dry suits for cooler weather. They also offer maps and tips for the hike.

Emerald Pools

Located near the middle of the park, the Emerald Pools is actually made up of three trails, the lower pool, middle pool and upper pool, with the lower pool being the easiest and the upper pool being the most challenging.

All three trails are connected and it is easy to incorporate them all into one long hike if you wish, the entirety which should only take a couple of hours. Those hikers interested in only the challenging trails should not skip the lower pools however, as they offer a walk behind a 100 foot waterfall.

Zion National Park - Emerald Pools

Watchman’s Trail

Not advertised on the shuttle service (as its trailhead is located behind the visitor’s center) this little jewel was recommended to me by a regular Zion hiker. Barely used, this trail is a contrast to the highly popular Angel’s Landing, Narrows and Emerald Pools, and walkers get to feel that they are discovering Zion as its first visitors.

This hike is moderately difficult in its climb (450 foot gain), and can be hot, so remember to bring water. Because of its light usage, we encountered much more wildlife on this trail, and were often tripping victims of scurrying lizards.

The top of the trail opens up on a plateau with a circular hike allowing views of different parts of the valley with every turn a photographic opportunity.

Other Activities

Hiking is not for everyone, and Zion National Park offers trails which are wheelchair accessible and lookout points which are only a hundred feet from the shuttle stops. The park also offers trail rides from their stables located at the trailhead for the Emerald Pools, and an air conditioned IMAX theater.

The Zion Adventure Company rents tubes and coordinates rides for the adventurer who would rather float than climb.

Happy traveling!

Travelling to Manchester England from the US

Travelling to Manchester in England from the US, used to be quite expensive, but not anymore. I have just come back from a short trip to the UK for less than $500 return flights. That was Boston Logan International to Manchester England, with the Thomas Cook airline.  Here is a short guest post for the Hotels-Fairy.com followers. Enjoy!!!

VISA – for travelling to Manchester in the UK

First things first, U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa for tourist or business travel to the United Kingdom for a stay up to 6 months. A valid U.S. Passport is required.

Manchester Airport

When arriving at Manchester Airport be prepared to tell security exactly what you will be doing in Manchester. I’ve found their security team much more demanding than the US airport security.

A few years ago again at Manchester Airport I was stuck at the gate for two hours while security verified who I was visiting. I have no hard feelings, I appreciate people doing their jobs.

Manchester Piccadilly

Also make sure you have some change on you at all times. Especially if you travel at all after normal business hours. You may be charged to use the restroom at the airport and train stations.

Manchester Piccadilly station charges 30 pence (approximately equivalent to 40 cents U.S.) to use the restrooms. Manchester Piccadilly is located in the heart of downtown Manchester.

Travellers tips

When staying at a hotel there are 3 things I would like to bring to your attention. The first is I didn’t find WiFi included with any of the hotels I stayed at. It was always a separate charge.

Second, in the U.S. many hotels include a continental breakfast free of charge. I didn’t find this to be the case anywhere I stayed. Last but not least if you stay pass your checkout time you will be charged. Keep that in mind (Even if it is a very short period after checkout).

Even these days free WiFi is hard to come by, not only in Manchester but anywhere in the England. However, there is one business that I have found that offers it, Starbucks. The sign in process is very simple.

Enable your laptop, tablet or mobile device in Starbucks wherever you see the Free Wi-Fi signs. Once you’re connected, open your web browser and go to www.btopenzone.com.  Just click on the ‘Connect’ button and you will be instantly connected to free Wi-Fi!

Each Wi-Fi session lasts for 2 hours but you can have an unlimited number of sessions every day – just reconnect after 2 hours. Additional rules may apply but I found it to be as simple as that.

The Manchester city centre has plenty of shopping and pubs to keep you busy. The sidewalks are crowded with people on the weekends. Many people are putting on a show for tips. I was pretty impressed with the football skills of some of Manchester’s locals.

I would suggest before leaving to find some time to get on a train to the Old Trafford Stadium. Old Trafford Stadium is the home of Manchester United. Manchester United’s football team is quite possibly the most popular sports team in England, and in the world.

They offer tours of the stadium just about every day, which includes walking through the team’s trophy room, locker room, and viewing of the field. Also it is highly recommended to check out the tunnel and the entrance to Manchester United’s field.

Where to stay when travelling to Manchester

Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa

Conveniently located, Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa offers easy access to Manchester’s main tourist attractions. It also provides a sauna, free WiFi and body treatments.

Rooms are air-conditioned and feature top-of-the-range amenities such as an iPod docking station, a mini bar and luxury toiletries. They all include a refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom.

Guests in search of a meal and wanting to stay nearby needn’t look any further than Macdonald’s in-house restaurant, which is open each day for breakfast. In the evening, guests are welcome to wind down in the cosy lounge bar. A variety of cafés and restaurants are also available close by.

Find the best rates

 

 

SACO ManchestTravelling to Manchester - SACO Manchestererer

Strategically located in the middle of the city, this 4-star property makes for an ideal base in Manchester. Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, it is less than 10-minutes’ stroll from Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink Station.

There are a range of amenities available to guests of SACO Manchester, such as meeting rooms, VIP rooms and free WiFi. A fitness centre is available to those wishing to keep up their exercise regimes while travelling.

All the contemporary apartments at Saco Serviced Apartments Manchester provide internet access and a kitchenette.
SACO Manchester offers breakfast every morning that guests can enjoy before heading out to discover the local region.

Saco Serviced Apartments Manchester is conveniently situated for discovering Manchester with Piccadilly Gardens within walking distance. Guests are also able to visit Manchester Town Hall, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Find the best rates - SACO Manchester

 

Holiday Inn Manchester

If you are a member of the InterContinental Hotels Rewards Club you can earn points or redeem your points by staying at the Holiday Inn Manchester, which is set in the heart of Manchester.

Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre is situated near Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink Station, and just a few steps from nearby dining and nightlife options. It provides free WiFi and a laundry service, and is a short walk from London Road Fire Station.

The hotel has 298 well-appointed rooms that are accompanied by a range of essential facilities to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay.

Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre features both a restaurant and a bar where guests can unwind at the end of the day.

The hotel is situated amongst the area’s popular sightseeing attractions, including Manchester Cathedral, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Central Convention Complex which are a short walk away. It is within walking distance of Shudehill Interchange, which allows for convenient access in and around Manchester.

 

 

 

The cost of travelling to Manchester England from the US, is half to what it use to be 5 to 10 years ago, obviously the recent decline of the Pound (the British currency) has attributed a lot to that. So what are you waiting for? Visit the UK while it is a really, good bargain!!

Kimberly Agnes, the author of the “Travelling to Manchester England from the US” is a US fashion executive who regularly travels to the UK and Europe form the US.