Utah Trip Part 3 (Zion National Park)

On Tuesday we started the day hiking the East Rim Trail at Zion.   The roughly five mile trail gradually gains elevation until reaching an overlook with incredible views of the east Zion valley.   The trail was harder than the distance and elevation would indicate due a large part of the trail being sand, so on the return part of the hike we hiked in the dried bed of the Clear Creek part of the way.   
In the afternoon we explored Zion Canyon with two relatively flat hikes - the Pa'rus and the Riverside Walk.  

The paved Pa'rus Trail starts at the park's visitor center and heads north into the park through a desert landscape surrounded by Zion's imposing mountains in all directions.  The trail has little shade although it does have a few covered rest areas.  We went a little over two miles before hopping on the park's shuttle.
After a brief stop to explore the Zion Lodge area, we took the shuttle to the Riverside Walk at the northernmost point on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  The Riverside Walk is a flat easy paved trail that also serves as the starting point for The Narrows hike, but it is a pleasant walk on its own (due to the popularity of The Narrows, it is also a crowded walk).  Along the way we stopped and watched a herd of mule deer grazing across the river.
We arrived back at the visitor center via the shuttle as the sun was starting to set.