National Parks in the United States – Arizona, Utah & Nevada

Zion National Park at night.

Yikes – just a couple more US entries before I start on some wonderful new places I’ve found in Australia.

There were moments on this trip to the US when we’d been travelling all day with two kids in the car (who were not always appreciative of the panoramic views and eye-boggling geology), we were in the desert in full Summer, we were sunburnt, we were tired, it was stinking hot and deathly dry. Then we would stop, hungry like hippos. At these times, exhausted from travelling, the last thing in the world I wanted was to explain to some poor, blank-faced waiter that I have special dietry requirements. Especially in remote areas when there was nowhere else to eat. I am so pleased to have tackled the gluten free diet so smoothly at home and thrilled that I can deftly navigate restaurants in new cities, but occasionally, let’s face it, being gluten free is a complete pain in the butt.

So. I ate salad. A lot. With no dressing.

And quite a few steaks. With no sauce.

BUT. I have to say, I was totally impressed with the National Parks we visited in the US. We stayed at the Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) and Zion National Park. Monument Valley wasn’t quite as good on the gf (that’ll be another salad then), but it was such a phenomenal place it’s well worth packing your own food for.

Monument Valley – that white line is a road down there with cars on it – taken from The View Hotel where we had lunch…. salad again.

Zion National Park – We were bowled over by Zion. It was so great to see trees after days in the desert. The accommodation was little huts with tonnes of character, reminded me of Grizzly Adams. There were lots of other small people to play with and the kids were gleeful. The main restaurant (Red Rock Grill) was great, though the waiter wasn’t quite sure what gluten was (he thought taking the rice out might help). Luckily the chefs were on the ball.

This is (from memory), seared Alaskan trout with cranberry pilau rice and a tangy citrus jus. It was sensational. The Americans have got this National Park thing sussed.

Our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon – South Rim.

Gluten free in the Grand Canyon? We consulted with the visitors centre and they recommended not trying the main cafe (very limited), but Bright Angel restaurant was decent, see the menu here – lots of Mexican influence, ‘Sunset Sour Cream Chicken’ anyone?

The annoyance of explaining my diet was completely overshadowed by seeing the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, staying in a traditional hogan and riding palomino horses through Monument Valley with a Navajo Indian guide and following deer and coyotes after swimming in the river in Zion National Park.


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