Zion Traverse (or Trans Zion) is the new, hip Rim to Rim to Rim, which makes sense, because who wants to run back and forth across the Grand Canyon? Instead, the Zion Traverse starts on the west side of Zion, follows beautiful canyons along the La Verkin and Hop Creeks, climbs out to high plateau, and then drops down into the heart of Zion National Park, the steep sandstone canyon cut by the Virgin River. Climbing out the other side of the canyon you get more views of the canyon and cool rock formations, before getting back onto the top of the Colorado Plateau (I think). Then a few miles downhill brings you to the east side of the park, and you've seen a lot of what the park has to offer (presumably) in 50 quick miles! Minus all the canyons that are probably way radder.
Seven friends and I started the traverse at 5:30 am on a Saturday and it went so smoothly I don't know what to report. Trails were mostly good, if sometimes sandy, making progress pretty fast. We were able to run all the downhills and flats and quickly hike uphills. We were met by our Super Support Squad, at mile 22 for some water that we didn't have to filter (which was good because springs were only just trickling), runts, and Cooper grunts. Dropping down to the Virgin River was the steepest bit, but also some of the best running, minus the hordes returning from Angel's Landing. Climbing out on the east side wasn't as bad as we thought it would be, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the last 5 miles easy run, bringing us to the finish a bit before dark, about 13.5 hrs from when we started, with about 10.5 of those hours actually moving. I guess 3 hrs of hanging out is the price you pay for a big group. Awesome!