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Caleb Ludrick

I don't much care for caves and decided to make a quick detour to Carlsbad since we were in the area, and it blew me away. The heights and depths within the caves were astounding. We did the natural entrance in and out, and it took about 3 hours at a brisk pace. Walking in via the natural entrance takes around 45 minutes with lots of elevation change, so be prepared if you decide to do it. I would highly recommend going in the way, as it allows for stunning views of the caverns as you descend.

This trail took my wife and I about 3 1/2 hours, going to Cedar Ridge and back up. It was definitely harder than we anticipated due to the heat and elevation gain, but very doable. Make sure to bring plenty of water since there's no fillup stations along the trail. And be prepared for some stunning views along the way.

This is a fantastic view, and totally worth the detour you might have to make to see it. If it's particularly crowded when you go, try going more over to the right, there will be less people and less rocks below you to block the view of the water.

Being able to camp anywhere on the beach was pretty cool. You can go swim in the water and then walk right back up to your tent. The view of Lone Rock and the canyon beyond really add to the experience. There is a shower and running water at the building as you come in, which we didn't realize til we were leaving.

We went to the Lower canyon and had a great time, you can get some pretty unique pictures here. However, expect crowds. It can be difficult to photograph since you have to go in a tour group and there will always be people all around you, but it can be done. I'd recommend this to most anyone. I'd advise going to the lower canyon early morning or late afternoon, as the direct sunlight at midday makes the lighting really hard to get shots.

My wife and I did the bottom up day hike for about 5 hours and had an absolute blast. We rented shoes, neoprene socks and a walking stick for about $20 from Zion Adventure Co. and it really made the hike better, I'd strongly recommend renting those things from somewhere in Springdale. The whole hike is gorgeous, walking in the river among the canyon walls... Can't recommend this enough. Also, I've seen The Narrows listed as "strenuous" and "for experienced hikers" but that's not the case. I thought it was pretty straightforward, especially if the river is a bit lower; anywhere below 100 cfs is fine. Totally doable for families.

This isn't much of a hike, you just go up some stairs to the top of Mount Bunnell. But once you get to the top, there's great views of the sunset over the hill country and Colorado River, and the other way is a view of downtown Austin. Definitely worth checking out at least once.