Vegas – Zion Canyoneering Bachelorette
Vegas – Zion Canyoneering Bachelorette

Vegas – Zion Canyoneering Bachelorette

Vegas – Zion Bachelorette

a guide for the Adrenaline seeking swiftie

Raise your hand if you’re an adventurous outdoorsy soul who also enjoys surprises and urban comforts 🙋‍♀️ Well, that’s my friend and I had the pleasure and most fun time planning this Vegas-Zion bachelorette party for her. She invited 6 other of her besties and we settled on a weekend that worked for all our schedules. The main requirement: canyoneering through Pine Creek in Zion National Park. The rest: fun, chill outdoor activities. My friend initially thought the other activities would include hiking and trail running. But little did she know what was actually in store for her! Read more to find out all the surprises we planned for her.

Bonus: My friend is a big Taylor Swift fan, so obviously, we had to make the theme a nod to her favorite artist. We also had a few students in the group, so we did our best to stay on a student-friendly budget.

Canyoneering is an outdoor sport of going down canyons that may consist of jumping into pools, swimming in water passages, rappelling down a steep slope or overhang (using ropes), scrambling over boulders and other obstacles. There’s a range of technical difficulty, length, and water flow. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart!

“…are you ready for it?”

Vegas can seem tacky and overhyped, but it has some perks to it. Most everything is relatively cheap, including flights, lodging, and food. And for the outdoorsy, there’s the Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire for climbing and hiking purposes.  I checked both out before the majority of people arrived, so we didn’t include those in our itinerary, though they would be a great fit! For our group, we decided to meet in Vegas on a Thursday morning because it was convenient for everyone to fly direct. With different arrival times, we all met up at Gäbi Coffee & Bakery, one of the cutest I’ve seen!! My friend was utterly confused as I insisted to wait for everyone here because she assumed we’d all drive to Zion that day, and the surprise about staying in Vegas for a night would be revealed once everyone arrived and received the goodie bags with itineraries.

Eventually, things got sorted out and our first priority for the day was AYCE! If you didn’t know, AYCE stands for all-you-can-eat, which pervades Vegas. One of the most common types is sushi AYCE. There’s also Korean BBQ, lobster, your standard buffet and so on. After our very late start, we just found a nearby restaurant Sushi Neko and gorged ourself in $23 sushi and it was phenomenal for the price! The best way to do AYCE is with a large group so you can try more items on a menu (much like dim sum). Unlike a typical buffet, you usually order a la carte for AYCE and you have to finish everything you order, or there’s a fee for ordering too much. There were over 50 different rolls on the menu and we tried a good majority of them.

Red Rock Canyon
AYCE Sushi

“jump into the pool from the balcony”

Next up for our Vegas day, we checked into Park MGM and lounged by the pool. This was located at the south end of the strip and was perfect for low-cost, smoke-free rooms. This was a great time for everyone to continue to get to know each other and also relax from the socializing with new people. In the summer, pool time is exactly what’s needed to feel refreshed.

“and by the way, I’m going out tonight”

Our bachelorette only got our itinerary bit by bit, so she didn’t quite know what was happening that evening. And to further conceal the evening surprise, the activity was just described by: Show at the Sahara Theater. No clue to what short of show, but everyone was going to dress up. We planned far in advance who would take certain Taylor Swift album colors. We ended up with Midnights (white + navy), Evermore (dark green), Folklore (black), Reputation (black), Red (obvious), Speak Now (purple-pink), Fearless (gold), Debut (green + blue). And our Swiftie bachelorette immediately got it!

She got really excited, thinking that we’d go to a cirque de soleil performance. But then as we pulled up to the casino, there were giant signs for Magic Mike. But still, she thought it was just a magic show! Even walking through the casino to the theater itself, she was confused. All was made clear once she stepped inside and saw the stage and fake money on our seats. We all had a good laugh once we realized she had never seen or heard of the Magic Mike movie series. We had a swell time along with dozens of other bachelorette parties!

The quintessential Vegas experience was capped off with a late night order of In N Out and a sort of after-party back at one of our hotel rooms. The main surprise was over! In the morning, a subset of the group went for a run on the Vegas Strip to see all the sights to see in daylight. For the runners out there, this is a great way to explore Vegas quickly and see the main attractions without the crowds and smoke-filled casinos.

“karma takes all my friends to the summit”

On our way out to Zion, we went to Bungalow Coffee Co for some caffeine and breakfast. We weren’t able to check into our La Verkin airbnb right away so we headed straight to the national park for our first canyon of the trip. I largely came up with ideas for the canyons with Lani, my friend who is also a guide and cofounder of The Climbing School. It was incredible to have her efficiency and wealth of experience on this trip. Several of us had started canyoneering back in college but we had a couple new folks we wanted to keep things chill for this trip. First things first, Pine Creek was a wet canyon even in late June, so we all needed to get wet suits. While some girls already owned theirs, others went to Zion Adventures to get a quick rental. They’re super nice and allow day-after returns.

Next up, obtaining our canyoneering permits. We had to book these in advance on recreation.gov. A lot of canyons have group limits to 6 people, but some like Pine Creek have a limit of 12. You can also hire a guide if you’re new to the sport! Before the rangers hand you the permit, they go over some guidelines to make sure you can get in and out safely. For Pine Creek Canyon, it was important we all had enough layers (i.e. wet suit) to get through the wet canyon, with all the right technical gear too. All was smooth sailing as we started our car shuttle and dropped one car at our end point. At the start, we thankfully got the last 2 spots at the Canyon Overlook Trailhead, which only allows about 8-10 cars and is often busy, especially on weekends. The canyon is a series of 8 rappels with lots of scrambling and wading through water. It is incredibly fun but you definitely need to know how to navigate canyons and coach your newer canyoneers. The canyon winds its way between narrow and open lush caverns. At the end of the technical descent, you begin your journey through the drainage with a boulder field to navigate. We definitely had to take the whole afternoon to complete the canyon for 8 people with 4 newbies. The hike out was fun and leisurely, but only because of our lovely group dynamics. The trail itself — gnarly in spots. After about 1-2 hours, we finally made it back to the road, where our first car was parked a switchback away. A short little run or hitchhike was needed to grab that first car and shuttle the other drivers to the rest of the cars. It happened to be our bachelorette’s car, so we staged a little mock bride runaway as she ran to get her car.

That evening, we went back to our La Verkin airbnb. It was super cute and we sent our bride and a friend out for groceries so that we could finish surprise part 2! Enlisting everyone’s help, I got the common area decorated super cute with Etsy and Amazon finds. Foil balloons require a very specific balloon pump with a narrow and slanted tip opening. We broke a few balloons using the wrong pump! Prior to the trip, I printed out 4×6 photos that people sent me that included them and the bride-to-be for a scrapbook. This was put together in person as we set up, so the girls could write notes and embellish their pages as they saw fit. 

“long live all the mountains we moved”

The second day, we were keen on hitting Zion highlights. After all, Pine Creek was located in east Zion, outside the main attraction canyon. Our first order of business was to get permits again. You can obtain them up to a day in advance, which can be helpful for an early start for longer canyons. This Saturday, we decided to head up towards Angels Landing. While we couldn’t get the daily permit to hike to the top, we hiked as far as we could, right before the narrow landing. The views were simply incredible! We hiked back down the famous Walter Wiggles to the top of our second canyon, Lower Refrigerator Canyon. It’s not highly ranked, but it is short and sweet with 3 long rappels. Between the second and third rappel was a smaller ledge, so we had to manage 2 rappels at a time to get people down swiftly instead of stuck in a space too tight for us all. The exit is a short hike out back to the trailhead. To cap the day, we went to take a look at the Narrows, beautiful in its own regard, even without hiking through it.

With more time to spare this night, we did a little girls pamper time to counter all the active days we had. Complete with face masks and eye lifts, we were ready for a series of games for laughter with the bachelorette. Everything from a crossword about her, a 20 question quiz to see who knows her best, and a quiz for her to see how well her groom knows her!

Early views from Angels Landing

On Sunday, our group dispersed, some to catch a flight and others to head on to yet another canyon. A truly filled weekend to celebrate a friend getting married!

Other activities you could include:

  • climbing in Red Rocks
  • hiking and sunrise at Valley of Fire
  • slot canyons near Zion
  • canyoneering Subway (hard to obtain permits)
  • rafting the Virgin River

Notes
  • I’m not sponsored by anyone listed here, just happy to share what we enjoyed!
  • There’s a time change between Vegas and Zion.
  • The Southwest is a gorgeous location for a weekend getaway, especially in the fall/spring months. We went in June which was quite warm, but we were able to manage the heat in the shade and going through wet canyons.
  • Canyoneering is a technical sport and has inherent dangers, so please use your own caution!
  • I had extra games and activities planned throughout the whole trip in case of a lull, but we ended up skipping some! Check out the appendix!

Appendix

The full itinerary (names crossed out). Our bachelorette had “her version” (re: Taylor’s version) which basically divided each day in half so she’d get them as the day went on. Check out the secret message I included and test yourself to see if you can figure out which songs the lyrics are from!

The bride-to-be and myself created goodie bags for everyone. They consisted of a custom purple nalgene commemorating the Zion bachelorette party, neoprene gloves for canyoneering, pink wine tumblers with everyone’s name, sashes for “bride-to-be” and “bride squad”, hair ties, and an itinerary. For the bride, we created a photo scrapbook with pictures of each of us with her and wrote down memories.

For decorations, we used some purple and teal balloons, paper flowers, a “forever and always” sign, and “bride-to-be” balloons. We truly went minimalist!

For games, there were plenty to choose from. We didn’t end up doing the scavenger hunts based on time but here were ones we had for a day-time version and a bachelorette-themed one.

  • For the drive, we had bingo cards! Make sure you have a variety of sets – I almost printed out ones that were all the same!
  • For our pamper night, we had some fun get-to-know the bride games, such as a crossword, twenty questions, would you rather, drink-if and a do-you-know-your-man game! Inspired by the lyrics:
    • “fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword
    • “light pink sky up on the roof, sun sinks down, no curfew, twenty-questions, we tell the truth”
    • “if you say you’d rather love than fight”
    • “wreck my plans, that’s my man
    • drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar
  • For the crossword, pick general things that you know about the bachelorette, like schools she’s gone to, awards or contests or races she’s been in, her dreams in life, where she’s lived etc! There’s plenty of crossword making websites out there you can use too!
  • For twenty questions, take the more specific questions you might have come up for crosswords and dive deep! Things like who said I love you first, when did she first start xyz, her favorite xyz, her birthday/middle name/where she was born.
  • You can do a would-you-rather and make it as spicy as you want and have everyone guess her answers!
  • For the guy quiz, get the groom-to-be to answer the questions about her (preferably in a video!) and have her guess his responses. Questions could be: what his favorite feature of her, what is her favorite color, where his favorite date was with her, what’s her pet peeve? etc

 

HIRE ME!

 

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