Las Vegas to Zion National Park

Several of you requested details about last Summer's amazing weeklong trip from Vegas to Zion National Park and back. I’m here for you with all the details. 

We left Tulsa on a Tuesday morning, July 12, 2022 and took a non-stop flight to Vegas. We checked in at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Beautiful hotel with TONS to do and right in the middle of the strip. 

Of course, being the foodie that I am, I researched several Vegas restaurants that we shouldn’t miss. One thing I want to point out is after finding the restaurants we wanted to enjoy, I made reservations for everything about 3 weeks in advance. Vegas restaurants stay booked. Especially the good ones. So, if you can book ahead, it’s a good plan of attack. 

So, let’s get into the Vegas restaurants we chose.



Zuma was conveniently located in our hotel. The food was to die for, all the way around. My entire family says this was our favorite meal of the entire weeklong vacation.

So, what did we order? Well, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. But, I will point out that the menu can be a bit confusing. One note, everything is served family-style and meant for sharing. And, the portions are very small. Our server recommended getting 3 things per person. She was right!

For an appetizer, we had the Wagyu Gyoza with Black Truffle and the Sake Marinated Chicken Wings with Sea Salt and Lime. Both delish!

For sushi, we had the Spicy Yellowtail Roll with Serrano Pepper and Avocado Wasabi Mayo. It was so good, we ordered a second! Highly recommend. We also ordered the Dynamite Spider Roll with Softshell Crab, Chili and Wasabi Tobiko Mayo and the Yellowtail Nigiri. All fantastic!

Under Signature Dishes, we ordered the Spicy Beef Tenderloin with Sesame, Red Chili and Sweet Soy and the Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce and Pickled Cucumber. 

If you walk away with nothing else I say about Zuma this one is the most important…order the Roasted Potato with Shiso Butter and Sansho Lime Salt. They actually mix it all up at your table. It’s crazy good. So good, we ordered a second. 

Yes, we walked away very satisfied. Sounds like a lot of food, but again…small portions. If I had to do it all over again, I would order the Omakase. It’s a flight with a little bit of everything for you to try. It’s pricy ($138-$168 per person, but comes with 9 different courses.) The table next to us did it and it all looked amazing. This is for the non-picked eater as you get what you get and don’t throw a fit, as they say. This would have been for me. Next time.

STK Steakhouse

If you want to have an absolute party while you dine, THIS IS THE PLACE!!! I describe STK Steakhouse as fine dining in the middle of a dance party. We had THE BEST TIME here!! The atmosphere is super swanky/very upscale. Get dressed up in your best nightclub attire. There is a literal DJ right in the middle of the restaurant banging out the Top 40 and a lot of throwbacks for us oldies. The kids loved all of the music as much as we did. 

As far as the food goes, all great!! We ordered the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with Sautéed Bok Choy, Ginger, Crispy Shallots and Thai Basil. (The Bok Choy was the best part of the dish.) We also ordered the Dry-Aged Delmonico. It was HUGE and can be shared easily. A Filet that was tender and cooked to perfection. For sides, we had the Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Traditional Mac & Cheese, and the Sautéed French Green Beans. 

Food was amazing. But, if I were to say anything about this experience, it would be the atmosphere. This would be a fantastic restaurant to enjoy with a group of friends for a celebration, bachelorette party, etc. So. Much. FUN!!!


Mad Apple

My husband and I have been to Vegas so many times throughout the years and have seen almost every show there is. For this trip, I chose a new show by Cirque du Soleil called Mad Apple. It was so great! Entertaining, funny, mesmerizing—all the things. I booked our tickets way in advance. We had great seats, but honestly, there’s not a bad seat in the house. So, don’t bother spending a ton to get the best seats. They’re all really good as it’s a small theater. 


Initially, I only booked one show, Mad Apple. But the kids had so much fun seeing that show, they asked if we could go see another on night number two. I got online to see what was available on short notice and the only thing I could find was another Cirque du Soleil show called . Darin and I had seen it years before, but it has been so long, I didn’t mind seeing it again. 

Here’s the skinny, save your money. The theater is super dark, as is the show. It literally put two of our party to sleep. It’s rather slow and hard to follow the plot. There were some cool stunts throughout, but overall, not worth the time or money in my opinion. 

Other Show Recommendations

If you are looking for something other than Mad Apple or KÀ, “O” at the Bellagio is a great show and I heard that Absinthe is hilarious, a bit raunchy, but super fun!


So after two days in Vegas, we left the hustle and bustle for a more zin-like experience. We rented a car from Hertz, located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, and drove approximately 3 hours northeast to the Zion National Park area of Springdale, UT. The drive from Vegas to Zion is very scenic along the way and not a bad drive at all. 


I booked two rooms at Flanigan’s Resort & Spa in Springdale. It was the perfect location as it was literally within walking distance to the entrance of Zion National Park, shuttles, restaurants and more. 

Here’s what you need to know about Flanigan’s…while it sounds swanky as it’s a Resort and Spa, it’s really more like a rustic motel with the doors on the outside of the building. But, for us it was perfect! The rooms were spacious, clean, and the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in. The resort comes with a small, but very nice pool that is crispy cold (which you will want after long days of hiking) and they have a lovely spa. I got the Deep Canyon Muscle Relief massage after day 3 of hiking. They use arnica infused CBD oil that helped relieve some of my soreness. Highly recommend. I felt great afterwards and I recommend Sanchez if he’s available. 

The hotel also has beautifully infused fruity water made fresh daily in the lobby and coffee and hot teas, always on hand. 

The staff was also very friendly and helpful. No complaints there. There was maid service daily and the maintenance staff was always around working on the beautifully manicured walking paths. Everything was super clean and well attended to, all the way around. Fresh towels at the pool. Free washer and dryer facilities (you just have to purchase your soaps from the coin operated machines within the laundry facilities at 75 cents per box), and an ice machine located on property.

If you’re lucky, you may encounter deer walking through the resort to feed on the grounds. They are very domesticated and not afraid of people. Very cool experience. 

As far as pricing goes, rooms aren’t cheap anywhere in the area. With over 5 million people visiting Zion National Park each year, they charge a premium. Our room averaged $399 per night, plus taxes and resort fees. We traveled in mid-July.

If Flanigan’s is booked or if you just want to compare other places, I recommend the Desert Pearl Inn, La Quinta, and others. Seriously, they are all about the same. So if you are on a budget, go ahead and go with the cheaper option. 


The Emerald Pools

On the first full day at Zion, we chose to hike to the Emerald Pools. This was by far the easiest hike we did the entire trip. It’s 3 miles roundtrip and features some beautiful waterfalls and glistening pools. You are also surrounded by views of Lady Mountain, the Great White Throne, Red Arch Mountain and cliffs in all directions. 

It’s really easy to reach the lower pools, a little more difficult to the middle, and we heard more strenuous to the upper pool. We didn’t make it to the upper pool because it was closed due to a rock slide. But, we heard it was beautiful!

Angel’s Landing

With the Emerald Pools being so easy and really took no time at all, we decided to go on another hike on the the same day. We really didn’t do much research before hitting Angel’s Landing, but let me tell you, it was pretty tough. If you are not in good shape, this one is going to be hard for you!

You will find lots of hills, switchbacks, and VERY STEEP elevation on this hike. But, the views are BREATHTAKING!!! Do not miss this hike. Prepare before you come. Bring a backpack with lots of water, extra sunscreen, nuts, beef jerky, etc. It’s close to 5 miles round trip to get to The Grottos to the Angel’s Landing viewpoint. It’s 1500 feet with steep elevation gain along the trail. 

Once you get to the viewpoint, you have the option to hit the chains. To hike the chains, you have to have a permit. You can go online roughly 24 hours in advance to enter the lottery to get a permit. They are limited. One note, they WILL check to see if you have your permit at the top, so don’t think you can squeeze by. The lottery opens every day at 12:01 am and closes at 3 pm Mountain Time. It costs $6 to apply for a permit. The fee covers the application and up to 6 people. Go HERE to apply. 

But, you may want to watch THIS VIDEO before you apply for the permit. If you are afraid of heights, like me, you may want to reconsider. I was just fine stopping at the viewpoint. The chains is not much further up anyway. My view was just as beautiful from where I made it. 😁 

Bryce Canyon

On day two in the Utah area, we chose to make the 2 hour drive to Bryce Canyon because we heard it was beautiful. And boy was that the truth.

I would say Bryce Canyon was my most favorite hike while visiting Utah. Not because it was easy, but because the views were unlike anything I have ever seen. Until you’ve seen hoodoos in person, you just haven’t lived. Pictures don’t do them justice. And, if you don’t believe in God, it will make you rethink that for sure. Breathtaking! 

While at Bryce, we chose to hike the Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail. It’s labeled as “strenuous”. And that’s no lie! It begins at Bryce Point and drops to the canyon floor. There is a rapid elevation change, lots of switchbacks, and a total of 5.5 miles. Sounds short, but when you are climbing and descending 1555 feet, you’ll feel it. 

There are lots of other hike options at Bryce Canyon. Every one with stunning views. Just do your research before you go to choose the best one for your skill level.

Fly Fishing

One thing I wanted to mention. While Madi, Darin and I went hiking in Bryce Canyon, Grayson stayed back in the Zion area and went Fly Fishing with a guide. We chose Fremont River Guides and Grayson and I would both say it was worth the money ($425 + tip). Here’s how it went…

Grayson was picked up by his guide at 7:00 a.m. You can bring your own equipment or they will have some for you. They drove out to the Kolob Reservoir and fished for roughly 6 hours. Gray had a memorable time, learned a lot from his guide, and caught roughly 10 trout. He loved every minute of it! Highly recommend this group. They also offer other guided events like Jeep tours, UTV rentals, guided hiking, canyoneering, and more! 

The Narrows

On our last day in the Zion National Park area, we chose to hike The Narrows. The Narrows is a hike through water, so it’s important to come prepared for that. 

We rented water socks, boots, and a walking stick from the rental facility just outside of the park entrance. I believe it was approximately $30 per person. But, please don’t skip this step as you will be so glad you had the rental. You are walking on pebbles, rocks, in water, etc. You need the right equipment to have the best experience. Trust me on this.

You will be amazed at the views while on this hike. Really are to explain, but something you definitely don’t want to skip. You will want to check the weather before heading out on this hike as the slightest sprinkle can create floods. Choose a sunny day and you’ll be just fine. So beautiful.

Back to Vegas

We headed back to Vegas and spent the night before heading back home. However, we all agreed that we had wished we’d stayed another day in Zion. Just so much to do. 

On the way back, we stay at Paris because the cost was only $99/night. We just needed a place to sleep before heading to the airport the following morning. I will admit it was nice already being in Vegas before flying home. But, if we had to do it over again, we would have driven straight from Zion to the Vegas airport just to have that extra day.


Overall, we had an amazing trip! We love the great outdoors and we love being physical while enjoying time together. I highly recommend this trip with your family. You won’t regret it!

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