Zion National Park 48.3M Traverse,  Utah
Vertical Gain:  10,400'  

May 4, 2017 - Running from one end of Zion National Park to the other in one effort has been a dream of mine for over two years since reading the account of Andrew Skurka. Choosing to run from east to west (from right to left on the profile below), Mike Monyak dropped me at the East Rim Trailhead right at 0500 to begin at the break of dawn. My objective would be to reach the other end of the trail at Lee's Pass by dark.

East Rim to Weeping Rock

The first 11 miles would take me into the interior of the Park where I would cross the road where the shuttle buses move the tourists back and forth within the Park. The initial trail consisted of forest service roads with deep sand, making climbing the initial one thousand feet up to the East Rim more rigorous than expected. With four days of rest after completing a 46-mile Grand Canyon crossing in 16 hours with friends, I felt invigorated by the early morning chill and immediate views. Once on top I glided with ease through Ponderosas and fresh spring flowers as the trail began a gradual six-mile descent on single track.


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Once the descent began in earnest the trail became seriously technical. I watched my foot placement on the rocky single-track and for awhile became disoriented when crossing a large slabby outcropping, so had to pause a bit to pay closer attention to follow a non-existent trail without blazes or many cairns.

The rocky single track emptied into a massive slot canyon of soaring red walls that stopped my run o I could stand and gaze in awe and amazement. This Weeping Rock canyon is one of the largest dayhiker attractions in the Park, across from Angel's Landing. I had never before encountered anything so massive, so up close and personal. Stunning.

Once clear of the sheer canyon walls I launched an increased tempo on the switchbacks that took me straight down to the road past many an early hiker. Hitting the road by 0800, it took me three hours to cover the initial 11 miles of the traverse. On the road I ran quickly over one mile to reach the Grotto from where I would begin the second part of the run, up and over the West Rim (after filling my bottles with clean water at the Grotto).