First of all, there is not really that much hiking to do in these parks. Most of the hikes are day hikes and if there are longer hikes, they require expensive shuttle services to or from the trail head. I do not mind paying for shuttles, but after hiking for so long it does not make sense to me to pay between 50$ and 100$ for a shuttle for a 2 day hike.
|My bike in Capitol Reef NP|
Cycling the Grand Circle has been quite nice, though. There was not much traffic on the roads, the route between the parks is very scenic and camping was very easy due to lots of public land. But the cycling has also been very demanding. 1,000 meter elevation gain every day and strong head winds let my daily mileage go down to 50 - 60 km only...
But here are my favourites (and non-favourites):
Grand Canyon was definitely the highlight of my Arizona Trail experience. You really have to hike down into the canyon and up again to get the real experience. There are a lot of other hikers and the whole permit procedure is a pain in the butt, but it is all worth it. In all the hiking I have done this was one of the most spectacular experiences. And because I was on the AZT, I did not have to pay for a shuttle - I just hiked on...
|Capitol Reef NP|
Less recommended is Zion. This is not only due to my bad experiences with the rangers there (that is just personal bad luck), but mostly because it is most similar to what I know from Europe. It is very beautiful, but not as unique as the above mentioned parks. Also it is almost as overrun as Grand Canyon, the permit situation is horrible and everything is outrageously expensive.
I am now canyoned out and on the Mormon Trail. I have one month left on my visa and will cycle towards the West Coast with my next stop in Salt Lake City. Let the wind be in my back!!!!