Summer Tales 2022 Day 9 | Driving Day through Zion NP 

I am recapping the wonderful time that I had with my family here in the States last summer. See all related posts under the category:  summer tales. (I’ve done these recap posts the last few times when I had my family visit, and if you want to see how fast kids grow up, check out one of the previous posts from 2015.)

Distance: 250 miles
Driving time: 4.5 hours


Las Vegas was just a layover stop for us from where we were going to start our road trip through the National Parks in Utah. We checked out of the hotel at 9 am in the morning. The first order of business was to figure out what to do for breakfast. 

The Le Village Buffet inside the Paris, Paris, which we always liked so much on previous trips, no longer exists. It fell victim to the pandemic. Luckily, I had the foresight to look for a breakfast place in advance. “The Broken Yolk” was in a great location on our way out of town. We were lucky to get seated right away, even though the café was busy, and the menu was rather large, so everybody found something that they liked.


Today was going to be mostly a driving day. Our destination was Bryce Canyon. We had hoped to make a stop for a short hike in Zion National Park along the way. It sounded “doable” enough, 4.5 hours of driving time for the day… but you know how it goes. 

It was already “late” when we finally got on the road and out of Las Vegas. We constantly underestimated the time we would need to get going in the morning, even though we had learned (and tried to integrate) lessons from our previous trip in 2015. We thought with the kids being older, it would be easier to get out the door in the morning, but that was mostly wishful thinking. You can imagine that getting a group of 7 people moving has its own challenges.

We stopped in St. George, UT after lunchtime to stock up on drinks and food, and by the time we made it to Zion National Park, it was already after 4 pm (with about 2 more hours of driving to go).


We decided to check out the Visitor Center, have a little picnic, and enjoy the scenery. That was about all we had time for before we had to continue our drive through the park.


We were a bit bummed that we didn’t have more time. But at least even just driving through the park gives you a great first impression of the stunning landscape. We did feel that we had at least experienced some of the beauty of Zion National Park.

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen more of Zion NP (including Angel’s Landing!) in 2017 with my cousin and his girlfriend. Hopefully, there will be another time to explore more of the park with my family.

We finally arrived at Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City at around 7 pm.


My sister really liked the bear statues that we encountered on our trip. I think I have a few other pictures like that. Well, what she really wanted was to see a real bear, but I told her that I’d prefer her to stick to hugging these friendly statues.


The Ruby’s Inn has an interesting history and is still the only hotel right at the gates of Bryce Canyon National Park.

In 1916, Reuben C. (Ruby) Syrett brought his family to the wilds of Southern Utah, establishing a ranch near the present site of Ruby’s Inn. A few weeks after his arrival, another nearby rancher told Ruby of the canyon called Bryce. Ruby and his family made a Sunday visit to the canyon rim. They were so impressed by what they saw that they not only took full advantage to tell people of the canyon’s beauties, but they also became hosts to its visitors. By 1919 they had obtained permission from the state to build a lodge, the “Tourist Rest”, near the brink of the canyon.

In 1923, when Bryce Canyon became a National Monument, Ruby moved his “Tourist Rest”, to the location of his ranch and named it Ruby’s Inn. The Post Office established services at the inn and still serves the area throughout the year. Ruby’s reputation grew as the National Monument grew to a National Park, and soon Ruby’s Inn became a large business operation. What started with tent houses and a place to serve meals, paved the way for the modern facilities which today serve the tourists at Bryce Canyon, providing all the traveler needs to make a stay in the Bryce Canyon area a trip to remember. Enthusiasm and love for the Bryce area carried over to Ruby’s son Carl. Today the same western hospitality and friendly service is carried on by Carl’s children and grandchildren, who cheerfully welcome you to Ruby’s Inn. (From the hotel website)

We had just enough time to quickly check into our rooms (the Ruby’s Inn is a motel where you can drive up to your motel room door) and then we had to hurry – again – to get something to eat at the Cowboy’s Buffet & Steak Room. Story of our (vacation) life, ha. At least, there weren’t many dinner options in town, which made the decision process much easier.

  1. What a beautiful area of the world! I love red rock and I’m always left in awe of the scale and beauty of natural formations. I’d LOVE to get out to this part of the world and explore.

    And the food all looks very yummy <3

    1. Red rocks are really so impressive. One of my favorite landscapes!

  2. It’s always good to recap trips like this – it’s so easy to forget the details!
    Did you jot it all down in a diary so you can remember what you did on the day?
    I’d love to go back to Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP – it’s been over 20 years since I’ve last been there! Thanks for the lovely photos!

    1. Yes! I wrote a bullet-journal-style diary when we were on the road so that I could remember all the details. :)

  3. I loved Zion and Bryce Canyon when we took the kids. So spectacular!

    1. Yes! So glad to hear you’ve visited the parks before!

  4. I would love to go to Zion and Bryce Canyon, it’s on our list of places to go. As for the bear, there was one IN MY YARD yesterday, so that was alarming.
    That avocado toast looks divine. And yes, getting 7 people on the move would be tricky!

    1. There was a bear in your backyard?? What?? Is that common where you live now?

  5. I actually did that exact drive but backwards; we went from Bryce and had to catch a flight so we kind of zoomed through Zion (at the time you would have had to take a shuttle to get all the way in and we did not have time) and then stopped at Hoover and then got tacos and went to the airport! It was a whirlwind trip and I would love to go back and spend more time there.

    1. It all looks a lot “closer” on a map than it actually is…. it does sound like you had to zoom through it ;)

  6. I love that you all did this trip together! Those are parks I’ve wanted to see so much! And I can totally imagine the pain of getting 7 people out the door in the am. LOL

    1. I love traveling with my family, but man, getting a group of people out the door requires skills LOL

  7. How wonderful is it to visit a national park… I have always wanted to go outwest and camp+hike some of the NPs, with Zion and Bryce being on top of my list. Right now R (my youngest) has to be brided to walk let alone hike lol so we have to wait until he is a bit older. Perhaps 6 years old? At 3, he is just too heavy to be carried. Thank you for this glimpse of beauty.

    1. I agree that your kids are too young, but I do hope you can make a trip out here when they’re older! It’s a lot of fun!

    2. We took our kids when they were 10, 8 and 6 and our 6 year old and the hiking was no problem so you’d probably be good once your youngest is 6. I wasn’t sure when I was planning the trip on whether we’d do the hike down into Bryce Canyon but we ended up doing it and they were quicker than us. Because the hiking is interesting (lots of opportunities for rock hopping across streams and clambering over rocks in Zion, and scaring their mother hanging over the drop at Bryce) they didn’t have any issues.

  8. Just driving through Zion is so beautiful. I was lucky enough to do it twice. And once we went on a hike which was nice too but very tough.
    Being right at the entrance of Bryce is probably great for sunrise hikes. I am looking forward reading what the next day had in store for you.

  9. Gorgeous! I would love to visit the Utah national parks some day! It looks like a gorgeous place to visit. I can imagine the challenge of getting 7 people out the door in the morning!!

  10. Ohhhh – we stayed there durnig our visit in 2009.

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