A Proposal In Zion National Park

This isn't your usual Tale From the Trail. Alec L. submits this beautiful story of the perfect proposal in Zion National Park.

I already knew what the answer was going to be, it was the execution I was concerned about.

My girlfriend, Courtney, and I had been dating for about two and a half years, long enough to know I wanted to marry her. These days, expectations are high for marriage proposals. I’ve seen a man go down on one knee everywhere from the beaches of Jamaica to the highest point of the Rocky Mountains, and those aren’t even the best of the best. Not to mention social media is now a place to showcase your most significant life events and you better have something to show for it.

With that in mind, I decided to try something a little more exciting than asking her at the nice restaurant down the road from where we lived. My girlfriend and I, like many other millennials, desire to travel. We want to explore the most picturesque places around the world. Conveniently, my job allows me to explore many of these destinations. One of the trips I had planned for work was in Utah with my colleague, Chris. Located near Zion National Park, I figured it was the perfect place to extend a work trip and turn it into a personal one after the job was done.

Zion National Park is recognized as one of the best places to hike in the nation with unparalleled scenery, one might even say a great place for a proposal. If you follow any travel-related accounts on social media, you’ve definitely seen the cliff-filled park. Hikes like Angel’s Landing or the Riverside Walk are popular destinations for adventure enthusiasts. All amazing experiences with incredible views, but a tad overpopulated. Plus, if you want that epic shot, you need to get your butt into gear and work for it.

I wasn’t sure how great a proposal photo would be with both of us drenched in sweat, so the question was how am I going to find a place that had the views, no crowds, and was easily accessible? That’s where Polaris Adventures came in.

Polaris Adventures rents pure fun. They have off-road vehicles, Polaris RZRs, available for rent to take you through Zion National Park. This got me thinking, “what if this could be a solution to my problem?” To see what this was all about, I spoke with Ed, the owner of the Outfitter location. I told him what I was trying to accomplish, and he answered with a warm smile, “I’ve got just the spot for you.”

Ed brought out a map and stuck his finger on a point alongside the ATV trail, letting me know that was his secret spot that only the locals knew about. Right then, I knew I had the perfect location to pop the question. We spoke a little more about the area and what was in store. I decided it would be best to check the area out first before the big day, so I ended up taking one of the Polaris RZRs out with Chris to find the spot Ed had recommended. Originally, I was focused on just getting there, but I didn’t realize how much fun the journey would be.

We ended up finding the spot after a missed turn or two. In all honesty, I probably should have paid more attention to the GPS. After parking off of the trail, we walked up to the top of a sandy hill to see an impressive view of the Zion National Park cliffs.

My jaw dropped. As I was looking out over the steep, red cliffs as far as the eye could see, I thought to myself, "I have never seen anything so epic."

Pictures couldn’t do it justice, but they still had to be taken. I pointed out to Chris where I wanted it to happen. I knew where Courtney was going to stand, where I was going to stand, and even where I wanted Chris to post up and take the photos. After buttoning up the plan, I felt sure that this was the right place.

Later that night, I realized I had forgotten something rather important: to ask permission. I’m somewhat of a traditional person, but not too traditional. I wanted to ask both of Courtney’s parents for approval to marry her. I told them my intentions and they said, “OF COURSE you can! We figured it would be happening sometime soon anyway.”

Everything was going according to plan. The next day, Courtney arrived. I had everything in order including off-road vehicles reserved, a hired photographer (thanks Chris), and on top of it all, the weather was perfect. I couldn’t believe it was finally going to happen. After breakfast at the Thunderbird Restaurant, a place where the pie cannot be beat, we got all set up at Zion East Adventures. Triple-checking that the ring was still in my pocket, we threw on our helmets, strapped our seatbelts and hit the trail.

The scenery was remarkable. We ended up flying past one of the main points of interest because I just couldn’t delay the big moment any longer. After many exciting crossings, turns, hills and bumps, we made it to the base of the sand hill. Chris, Courtney and I parked, stepped out of the machines, and started walking up the hill to our predetermined spot.

“I miss our dog, Clyde,” I stated as we climbed. “Ugh, me too,” said Courtney, hiking just in front of me. With my heart starting to race, I kept the conversation going. “Getting him honestly has to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

She crept up the hill, closer to our lookout location. The next few statements I had rehearsed the previous day.

“So was asking you to be my girlfriend. So was deciding to live together.”

I watched Courtney walk to the very spot I needed her to be. She stopped and stood there, taking in the views before she turned around to find me on one knee.

“And so was deciding that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Courtney, will you marry me?”

With a smile, a few tears, and a big hug, Courtney gave an excited, “Yes!”