Salt Lake City, UT: Restaurants: Red Iguana

Aside from Temple Square, the Mormon Church History museums, and the shopping, Salt Lake City has some very delicious restaurants.  “Red Iguana” Mexican restaurant is one of the most famous Salt Lake City restaurants and was even featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  Now, Salt Lake City and Utah for that matter are not known for their Mexican Food.  When you compare your choices of Mexican restaurants in Utah versus California, Arizona, Texas, etc etc etc. it can become frustrating for authentic Mexican food lovers to find a decent and authentic Mexican Restaurant.  Most Mexican restaurants in Utah are Americanized Tex-Mex food, places such as Cafe Rio and Costa Vida.  Such places are often thought of as an insult to authentic Mexican food lovers.

So one might ask where they can find good Authentic Mexican food in Utah.  Red Iguana is the answer.

They are very authentic and even serve hard to find Mexican dishes such as Mole dishes and chilaquiles.  Moles are the restaurants specialty and they offer 7 different flavors of Mole.  Mole is a sauce made from chili peppers, fruits, nuts, and sometimes chocolate.  If you are not into Moles they have your more familiar Mexican dishes t00.

The food here is delicious, it’s spicy, it’s tasty, and cooked and prepared with love.

Enchilada de Mole Verde:

Mole con pollo and I

The atmosphere is also very inviting.  There are pictures and paintings of well-known Mexican figures such as Frida Kahlo and Mexican art pieces throughout the restaurant.

Again, the food is delicious, spicy and made with love.

This restaurant is worth a visit if you’re visiting Salt Lake City.  It’s popular and the wait is long, but there is a tasty reward in the light at the end of the tunnel.

Utah: Zion National Park

A few words and phrases sum up what Zions National Park is all about: Unique, breath-taking, interesting, and at the same time, intimidating.  There are very few National Parks as great as this place in the world.  Why this is not one of the 7 Wonders of the World?  I don’t know.  It should be the 8 Wonders of the World, and this park should be in that list.

As you can tell from the picture, Zion National park consists of large and jagged mountains.  It has long narrow passages between mountains in some spots.  There are many areas where you can hike and sight see.  The expert level of hiking opportunities range from beginner hiker to master hiker.

If you are not a master hiker, or if you have kids with you.  One stop off the park shuttle you should seriously consider is the Emerald Pools Trail.  You can access it from the Zion Lodge stop or The Grotto stop.  The trail up the mountainside is a fairly gradual grade (not too steep), but you do have a cliff with a drop-off on some parts of the trail, so hike with caution.  There are three pools, a lower level, mid-level and upper level emerald pool.  Below is a picture of the mid-level pool.  There are lots of trees and lots of shade in the area, so not is it only relaxing after a somewhat lengthy hike, it’s extremely beautiful too.

There are quite a few other stops off the shuttle that are worth seeing as well.  Angels Landing is of these stops and it’s for more Advanced Hikers, and if you’re afraid of heights, avoid this stop, but those who have accomplished it say it’s well worth it because it has one of the most breathtaking views in all of Zions Park.  The Narrows, which is the last stop, is a path by a river where you have towering mountain walls on both sides.  The area only gets a few hours of direct sunlight per day due to the tall mountain walls, and because of this the temperature doesn’t get too hot.

If you do not want to take the shuttle, another option is the explore the east side of Zion Park, you can access it by car and there are many stop-offs that are photo-worthy.  Some of them are at the end of the blog post.

Where to stay overnight

I recommend a visit to Zion National Park with at least 1 overnight stay if you live further than 2 hours away.  You will need at least a day and half to get a decent taste of what this park has to offer.   You will need a week or more to see all of it.  You can go camping for your overnight stay, you can stay in a Hotel in the small town of Springdale right outside of the park, but both of these options will require advance reservations as they sell out quickly.  If you don’t mind driving an extra half hour from Zion National Park, you can drive to the town of Kanab Utah and they have a few hotels that are priced under $100 per night plus plenty of dining options.

You have no excuse to NOT visit Zion National Park

If you live west of the Rocky Mountains, you really do NOT have an excuse to miss visiting Zion National Park.  It is a 7 hour drive from Los Angeles, California; a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake City, Utah; and only a 3 hour drive from Las Vegas, NV.

Best time of year to visit Zion National Park

Zion National Park is in the desert, but it’s the high desert, so summer days are always over 100 degrees F (38 C), and winter nights often drop below freezing.  We visited in March, and it was partly cloudy and in the mid 60s F ( upper teens C), perfect hiking weather.  So, I would recommend early spring or late fall.

My girls:

Don’t Rule out overcast skies in Zions Park