Days 1, 2 & 3, Zion National Park
*START HERE to find our full itinerary and links to each portion of our trip!
*GEAR round-up Post HERE, including sensory items we ALWAYS travel with.
We ended up having a later flight into Las Vegas, Nevada arriving around 7pm and after picking up our rental minivan, getting dinner, we really didn’t get on the road until closer to 9pm. It’s about a straight drive, 2 and 1/2 hours (with a time change since they do not follow Daylight Savings Time change) arriving around 12:30 a.m. I highly recommend flying in earlier to avoid a super late night drive!
*SENSORY TIP: When flying with a neurodiverse child, make sure and bring noise cancelling headphones (or regular headphones) with their favorite snacks!
We stayed at Under the Eaves in the Eaves Suite. We are a family of 5 (and are all quite tall) so this suite was perfect for us. This suite has a California King bed and three twin beds plus small kitchenette and dining area. Please note, they do not allow families with children under 8 on this property. We absolutely loved this property and its location! We loved Zion National Park so much, we will definitely want to stay here and return again!
We were within walking distance to the town shuttle stop #5 which brought us directly to the Zion Park Village. Here you can rent hiking equipment (especially if hiking The Narrows), grab some food, visit the Visitors Center and catch the Zion National Park free shuttle which takes you to any of 9 stops within the park. If you are traveling this itinerary, take advantage and purchase the Annual National Park Pass! Each car entry is $35 for each entrance into Zion and Grand Canyon (Antelope is NOT part of our national park system…more on that in THIS post), so this $80 pass is an easy call. You can purchase in advance or at any of the park entrances. For example, we entered Zion park twice and Grand Canyon 3 times…which would have been $175 total without the annual pass!
My original goal was to hike The Narrows on Day 2 but with potential cooler weather, we decided to postpone until Day 3. Spoiler alert, we didn’t end being able to hike it due to fast moving water and recommendations from the guides at Zion Outfitter. Our 8 year old definitely could not have handled the depth and moderate hiking conditions, so we are planning to return in a few years!
Instead of The Narrows hike, we rode the Shuttle to Stop #6, The Grotto and hiked the Kayenta Trail to the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. HIGHLY recommend! Moderate steps both incline and decline but the views were incredible. The pools were a perfect pit stop! Unfortunately the bridge at the end of the Emerald Pools to stop #5, Zion Lodge was closed so we continued walking to the bridge at stop #4, Court of the Patriarchs (this added an extra 1.3 miles so kids were pretty wiped after!). This total hike was around 3.8 miles.
SENSORY TIP: When hiking pack EXTRA socks, bandaids, a light sweater or top and a rain poncho. We hit a snag while hiking with some wet shoes and socks causing a little sensory meltdown. I gave up my dry socks in exchange, but having that extra pair would have definitely come in handy!
On Day 3, after checking out we decided to go back into the park and take the Park shuttle to stop #9, Temple of Sinawava. We were told we could hike the paved portion of The Narrows until the water portion began which was an out and back and handicap accessible. Total hike was about 2.25 miles and absolutely a MUST.
Springdale, Utah and Zion National Park Restaurant Recommendations!
Bit & Spur
(we made reservations, but not required)
Upon finishing, we started our drive to Page, Arizona via the Zion Park Blvd to Mount Carmel Highway. Do NOT miss this! The scenery on one side of the tunnel to the other is so drastically different and sparked some incredible conversation! (note: the tunnel will stop for RV traffic as it can only accommodate a vehicle that size on a one way basis. We waited about 30 min to enter the tunnel and traffic was backed up in both directions. There is a fine to take your RV through the tunnel of $15. Learn more HERE.)
There are not many spots for food and gas on the drive to Page, Arizona so definitely fill up in Springdale. We stopped at the Thunderbird Restaurant, home of the Ho-Made Pies in Mount Carmel Junction, Utah which is 24 miles (and about 50 min from Zion)! Super kitschy and generic American cafe food. The food was ok, the pies were GREAT and the atmosphere fun! Prepare for a wait to be seated!
The drive from the restaurant to Page, Arizona is an additional 1 1/2 hours.