Len's first Zion National Park backpack trip - March 2017

Len Backus

Staff member
May 2, 2001
This first trip to Zion National Park had me mesmerized by the stunning beauty in the rock formations. On my first afternoon I day-hiked to the top of Observation Point to gain a perfect view down the long Zion Canyon. I was actually glad for the cloudy conditions since they kept the temps down for the four mile, 2,400 foot climb. And the lighting worked better in enabling my camera to capture the otherwise high-contrast late afternoon light.


Here's a guy with his Doberman, well behaved dog.


If you look at the edge of my right shoulder you see the top of Angels Landing, across the canyon.


The next afternoon I got far enough up to cover the first section of tricky chain handholds. At that very moment a thunderstorm cracked loudly very near my exposed position and my left brain told my right brain "Go down right now, don't be stupid!" On the way down at one point I took cover under an overhang to watch for improving photographic light. This next photo was my reward for patience.


I'll be back next month to complete my ascent of Angels Landing and to backpack the West Rim Trail.

On the third day I backpacked up 2,500 feet and 6 miles to a camping spot for the night. It got down to about 25 degrees. I was testing a new sleeping bag. After this trip I ordered a warmer model of the same bag along with down footies.

The next morning I hiked an additional 2 miles to the overlook at Cable Mountain. I took some snaps and backtracked to my camp and then back down to the canyon floor for a 10 mile total on this my last day at Zion.


Thirty miles total for the entire 72 hour stay.


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2014
So Cal
Beautiful country.....I hunt mule deer every other year just north of the Park and will be back this fall.....can hardly wait.


Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2016
Zion was one of the national parks I spent my honey moon at, absolute breath taking beauty. Went to Brice, Zion, and the GC. Flew into LV for 3 days to satisfy the wify and drove to AZ once we got into AZ stopped at the visitor center the guy at the visitor center talked me into allowing him to plan out the remainder of my HM's entire itinerary complete with hotel and restaurant reservations most of which at DEEP discounted prices.

Best thing I could have done that guy really new his stuff, planned things that satisfied the mountain junky in me as well as stuff my new bride enjoyed doing, had an incredible honey moon thanks to him. When I got back home I wrote a 3 page thank you letter to the AZ Dept of tourism specifically naming the guy.

I also did quite a bit of hiking all of which solo as my new bride although a quite skinny tall (5'11") drink of water simply had no stomach for the altitude. I'm not kidding here, If she wouldn't divorce me I would have moved out there the same year as I got married, I fell in love that much. As soon as my boys graduate collage I'm moving regardless.

You have my envy.


Well-Known Member
Sep 15, 2012
Mojave Desert, Nevada
Len, That shot of the big valley is just amazing. Great photography to compliment great scenery.

Living here in the 'Vegas valley I get up into Utah fair amount. That entire state is beautiful in so many different ways.

Eric B.


Dec 16, 2019
Looks like you went to Observation Point, some would argue that it provides a better view than Angels Landing.
There are some California Condor that were released in that area several years ago. I remember seeing them during the Angels Landing hike, several rangers were there as well explaining how the species was protected.
Best time to go is any season that isn't summer as they close the park roads to POV's.

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