It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with a dinky Yaris. We headed out from Flagstaff in the early AM, driving north roughly 135 miles. By the time we arrived to Lake Powell, we had already made two pit stops- one at a gorgeous lookout and the other at Horseshoe bend for a short noon hike. After checking in, we planned to drive to Alstrom Point. Roughly 8 miles in, we happened upon a sign- “rough roads for the next 12 miles.” A mile later, our Yaris came head to head with this sad drippy faucet of a stream. Still, it was enough to make us turn back. In an impromptu decision, we decided to head further north to Zion.

Zion is a trip in itself, and we’ll fully conquer it when we do a roadtrip around Utah. We stayed at Lake Powell Resort which is less than a mile from the Utah border. The nearest town, Page, was built around the man-made lake. There’s not much to do in the winter except stare at the pretty orange-brown rocks that grace the backdrop of the lake.

the road ahead
rearview mirror
dinky yaris

Horseshoe Bend

Hwy 89 – Four Miles South of Page
Page, AZ 86040

For those who are looking for a hike under 1 hr, this is it. Except for a decent hill in the beginning, it’s not at all a strenuous hike. It’s just all sand until you come to this massively grand overlook of the Colorado River.

Several tips- 1) Start early in the summer. Nothing green grows over 2 ft so there’s no shade. 2) Bring water if it’s hot. Even though the hike is just ~1.5 miles, it’s pretty dry up there. 3) BE CAREFUL. Some of the rocks aren’t stable near the edge and if you’re not careful, you’ll plunge 1,000 ft into the abyss below.

If you’re looking to photograph the horseshoe, you definitely need a wide angle- a 24mm or less. Pictures shot below were taken with a Tokina 11-16mm/1.8f lens. Unfortunately, we went during noon, when the sun was just over our heads. To capture the entirety of the blues and green from the Colorado river, head there during the early morning.

the hill!
further out
rocks and sand
horshoe bend colorado river
over the cliff
que romantico

horseshoe trail

The Drive to Zion

State Route 9
Springdale, Utah

The drive to Zion is just over 70 miles from Lake Powell. Zion was completely unplanned since we had planned to go to Alstrom Point. While we read over and over that you need a high clearance vehicle, we decided to take our chances with the Yaris and obviously failed. Still, there were some stunning shots (see first picture below).

Despite the vibrant blue skies at Lake Powell, the sky was just getting past the overcast as we arrived. It wasn’t until we climbed to the top of the Canyon Overlook Trail that some light blue began to peek out from the clouds. The hike is relatively easy (just 1 mile and steep in some parts and scary with ice but totally doable) and took us under 45 minutes. Apparently, the most stunning hike is at Angel’s Landing, but we thought the overlook into the canyon was already beyond spectacular. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

As we drove out of Zion, the sun was just setting. I couldn’t resist the moment. I made Mark pull over and we brought out the tripod to capture that last shot.

middle of nowhere
welcome to utah
welcome to zion
driving in zion
o'er there
rocks in zion
zion canyon
lookout into the canyon
within the canyon
sunset in the canyon
top of the world
together in zion
sunset from the tunnel


zion at sunset

Lake Powell

100 Lakeshore Drive,
Page, AZ 86040

We got a ridiculously good rate for staying here on New Years Eve. It wasn’t much of a New Years for us since I started getting sick and passed out before 9:30pm. It would have been great to stargaze since the lake is literally just a sliding door away. The resort has a firepit by the pool, which I supposed would have been great to stargaze next to. At least we were able to catch sunrise.

sunrise reflection

sunrise at lakepowell
red rocks
lake powell
lake powell dock