We had to do one last hike in Zion National Park before leaving the area. However when we arrived at the park we discovered several trails were closed due to rock slides. We decided on the Pa’rus Trail and since we would have to take the shuttle anyway we rode it all the way through to the last stop at the Narrows then rode it back where we got off at stop 5.
If the trail we wanted to hike starts at stop 3 so why did we get off on stop 5? Because as we were waiting for people to get on and off I noticed there were some California Condors on the rocks above (in picture below left is one but very hard to see) so we got off to look at them. We had never before seen one of these endangered birds so spotting the Condors perched above fanning their wings was worthy of the additional stop. How cool..
We got back on the shuttle and rode over to stop 3 and then started our hike on the Pa’rus Trail. The trail is mostly paved and ends at the Watchman Campground following the river for just under 2 miles. There’s nothing difficult about this mostly level hike as it is more like a leisurely stroll rather than a hike. There was not a lot of shade but the weather was perfect his day, nice and cool, not hot at all. We did have to watch for bicycles as this is the only trail in Zion open to bicycles and pets as well.
The Southern Paiute were responsible for the name Pa’rus , which means “bubbling water,” the name they gave the river known to us as the North Fork of the Virgin River. Interestingly they also named Zion and called it Mukuntuweap, meaning “Straight up land” long before it became known as Zion.
The trail meandered along the North Fork of the Virgin River offering up some spectacular views and photo ops. There were also several bridges that crossed the river giving us differing views of the valley. We spotted a few remaining fall wildflowers but saw little wildlife. We were glad we picked the trail as the views of the peaks in the valley were best enjoyed at a walking pace instead of riding by them on the shuttle. That was what made this a great little hike. We even found a sandy spot to relax and eat lunch while watching the river roll by.
Before long we were at the campground boundary. It looked to us like the campground was completely full. While this trail isn’t known as one of the more popular hikes in Zion, the Pa'rus Trail is a great one to do to especially when the popular trails are crowded or closed. In any event we enjoyed this quiet and simple hike through Zion…
NOTE: We left Las Vegas NV. and are now in Lake Havasu City visiting friends…