Zion National Park

Carved by water and time, Zion National Park is a canyon that invites you to participate in the very forces that created it. Zion National Park’s canyons and mesas boast an especially exquisite beauty. Breathtaking Zion Canyon is the centrepiece of this 147,000-acre parkland that protects a spectacular landscape of high plateaus, sheer canyons, and monolithic cliffs.

Enjoy hiking in the park; whether it be a relatively easy hike like the Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock or the Riverside Walk, there is incredible scenery all around you. Experienced hikers in search of more adventure may consider the Taylor Creek Trail, Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Arch. Observation Point and Hidden Canyon beckons visitors who trade a strenuous climb for stunning panoramas on higher ground.

It’s not necessary to venture off the road to experience the wonders of Zion National Park. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a six-mile road that follows the North Fork of the Virgin River upstream from Canyon Junction through some of Zion’s most outstanding scenery. The Kolob Fingers Road Scenic Byway (five miles one way) in the northwestern corner of Zion National Park features the same dramatic desert landscape associated with the main section of the park, towering coloured cliffs, narrow winding canyons, forested plateaus, and wooded trails along twisting side canyons.

Sights to See in Zion

Seeping Raub, the pull of gravity and the small, seemingly peaceful Virgin River are master sculptors chiselling out Zion Canyon and its massive stone formations. Like inspired artists, these sculptors of Mother Nature continually refine their work. Erosion from rain and floods take place continuously, changing the details of the canyon and the sandstone monoliths that give the park its power and character.

The Watchman, standing guard at the park’s south entrance, is a monolith that rises more than 2,400 feet above the river and is highlighted in the evening by the setting sun. West Temple, behind the Zion Human History Museum, is the highest peak in the southern part of Zion. In layer upon layer of rock, it ascends more than 3,800 feet from its base.

Continuing deeper into the canyon is Weeping Rock, a grotto carved from stone and lavishly adorned with hanging gardens. Here you will find the towering Observation Point, from this lofty perch, you can see the length of Zion Canyon. The road ends at the Temple of Sinawava. From here, the Riverside Walk takes you deeper into the canyon beyond the end of the road. This is an easy, paved path with nearly 2000 foot high canyon walls towering both sides

 

When conditions are favourable, you may decide to walk beyond the end of the trail towards The Narrows, wading upstream in the Virgin River itself. Before you do, make sure to visit the information centre for the up to date river conditions.

Punctuating the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway is a one-mile tunnel, blasted out of the solid sandstone. Begun in 1927 and completed in 1930, it was considered at the time to be an engineering miracle. Near the east entrance is Checkerboard Mesa, a prominent example of naturally sculpted rock art. Horizontal lines (evidence of ancient sand dunes) are etched into a checkerboard pattern by vertical fractures that have been enlarged over the years by rain and melting snow.

In the northwest corner of the park is the Kolob Canyons, which offers vast areas for backcountry exploration. The finger canyons of the Kolab are carved from Navajo Sandstone by the north, middle and south forks of Taylor Creek. Double Arch Alcove is a large colourful grotto in a canyon of the middle fork of Taylor Creek and accessible by the Taylor Creek trail.

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