Porcupyn's Blog

July 4, 2008

Visit to Four of Southwest USA’s National Parks (Part Two of Many!)

Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 8:07 pm

The drive from Hurricane, UT to Bryce Canyon, UT was a very nice ride indeed, especially the portion of the drive between the Zion National Park entrance and the Checkerboard Mesa. My biggest mistake: judging distances in this part of the country based on the map-based distance, or even relying on Google maps and Mapquest’s driving time approximations. Here is a view of the town of La Verkin, UT from the appropriately named La Verkin Overlook (need to thank Sundar for forcing me to learn and use the stitch function on my camera).

Given that we were stopping practically every mile for a photo, we were behind schedule even before we even got to the State Road 9 (Zion Mount Carmen Highway) tunnel inside Zion National Park limits. Incidentally, “zig-zag curves” are referred to as switchbacks. The previous night, I had thought about driving up to the tunnel in the evening as it was “only 3.4 miles” or something from the park’s entrance. Good thing I had not attempted that!

As it was, we took about an hour to get there, and it would have taken us longer had we gotten stuck behind the RV that was about a few hundred metres behind us. That vehicle shows up in this picture (below) right about the centre – family was scared when I ran back to the car after taking this photo (I did not want them to cut us off)!


This tunnel is narrow and bigger vehicles need to be escorted through the tunnel, as traffic is closed in the other direction for the duration that the big vehicle is travelling through. Needless to say, RVs and vehicles behind RVs are delayed by the amount of time that it takes the tunnel to be shut down in the other direction.


Anyway, long story short, after a stop for Subway sandwiches that cost an arm and a leg apiece, we got to Bryce Canyon at about 1 pm, though we had left Hurricane about 9 am.

Here is a shot of Checkerboard Mesa!




  1. hi

    glad you are showing us stich pictures!!


    what a coincidence.. I was going to write about “switchbacks” too, today! but different switchbacks (train ones)

    you will see…

    The worse part is that tunnel, is actually very very scary in the night.

    we crossed it at 9 in the night and there was a vehicle tailgating us.. so we speeded up and found it was a cop who came and pulled me over!

    Comment by sundar narayanan — July 4, 2008 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  2. Sundar:

    Looking forward to your post. I don’t know about how scary the tunnel would be at night, but I definitely was happy that I did not have to negotiate those switchbacks – with no side support – in pitch UT type darkness!

    My ticket #2 – and I have unfortunately collected several since – was under circumstances similar to what you describe (though the geography was much different – it was pretty flat terrain). I was travelling from College Station to Austin (both places in TX), and it was twilight. As I drove, a bunch of cars behind me were pretty close to me, though not tailgating. Affected by their headlight beams, I sped up, and promptly got ticketed by Mr. Cop who was right behind. I had half a mind that he was intentionally forcing me to speed up so he could ticket me!

    In a couple of posts (in this series), I will write about what scared me the MOST on this trip. And because of some poor planning (already referred to in a previous post I believe) on my part, I had to endure that twice!!

    Comment by porcupyn — July 4, 2008 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: