Let me start by saying sorry I didn't post for a couple of weeks, life happens! Two weeks ago I went to Hawaii with my best friend and we did the "illegal" Haiku Stairway hike, but we did it from the Moanalua Ridge to the top and the stairs down. It was a beautifully brutal hike thanks to the rain (information on the hike http://www.yelp.com/biz/moanalua-middle-ridge-honolulu). Hawaii will always hold a special place for me because of the trips I took growing up, and if you happen to go to Oahu, go to the North Shore and grab a shaved ice from Matsumoto's. Enough about Hawaii, this post is about Arizona and Utah.
Preface: My hiking/canyoneering hasn't been as extensive as the trail guides there, but I can certainly spread some knowledge. First off, Zion National Park is a definite must visit! There are a ton of unbelievable hikes and canyons to explore in there. Some of the popular ones are the Narrows, Angel's Landing and The Subway. The Narrows is a fun hike that can be done as a there and back in one day. It's a hike up a "narrow" water way that splits a canyon and is beautiful. Keep in mind this is what a lot of people do in Zion, so it is packed, until you get deeper into the hike (maybe 3-4 miles in). The Subway can be done from top-down (requires experience and canyoneering gear) or as a there and back, and it is definitely more enjoyable from the top down! Angels landing is popular for its peaking views and the final 500 yards of decent is a sheer cliff with a narrow walkway. Keep in mind these are the POPULAR hikes. Lots of people. You want to go off the beaten path, and have some experience or are atleast in good hiking shape, do Observation point, if you google it you will understand why. Those are some tidbits on Zion, the park is so diverse and expansive if you want the real in-depth guide check out http://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/. Also, The Subway requires a permit read up if you plan on doing that.
If you want to see "the sights" like Zion, The Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, give yourself a couple of days to drive around. Again, these are some of the most photographed places in the states, so be ready for crowds. Horseshoe bend is about 2 hours from Zion/Springdale and Antelope Canyon is in the same city. Horseshoe bend is only a 10 minute walk from the freeway and the parking lot was full of Tour Busses, but, you can walk around the bend and get amazing shots. Antelope Canyon is more like a Disney tour, they throw you in a open 4x4 truck, race out to the canyon, run through the canyon (giving tidbits of information and guiding you where to hold your camera to get the best shots), and then race back and drop you off. Thousands of people go through a day in peak season but I am happy to say I was one of them its a beautiful place! Page Arizona is also home to "The Wave", an insane rock formation that requires a permit and is an actual hike, you must be self sufficient. (http://www.thewave.info is a good source for everything about that). Anyways, 119 or so miles from Page, AZ back towards Zion and you are at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Again, touristy, but its the GRAND CANYON! Theres a nice lodge and campgrounds there and some amazing lookout points as well as rim hikes you can do in a day or stay for a whole week. For me it was a must see, and it should be for anyone who wants to appreciate the vast beauty of nature. Seeing the sunrise over the Grand Canyon is an experience I can not explain, let me know what you think when you go!
All said and done there are countless beautiful hikes to do if you venture to the Monuments, Sedona, Phoenix, Tempe, shoot just about everywhere in AZ has beautiful trails and the same is true with Utah. This weekend I'm taking off to Colorado, it is bow-hunting season up there so I am going to meet up with my cousin and shoot some nature (with my camera). Should be a true adventure, he is leaving me a jeep and a map at the airport so be sure to check Instagram (ElevatedEndeavors) or Snapchat(JDeHart) for updates. Thanks again for reading and I promise to be better about posting, the clock to take off is ticking!