Zion National Park

[Zion Natl. Park] [Zion – Kolob] [St. George] [West St. George] [East St. George] [Zion Field Institute] [Zion Area Homepage]
Zion – It has to be one of the most enjoyable of all of Utah’s Parks. The Virgin River runs through the middle of the canyon and the canyon walls tower around you, wherever in the park you are. Plan at least a half day and I suggest you use it as a base for several days so that you get a chance to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the canyon.
[Zion Park Map] [Smithsonian Butte Map] [Utah’s Dixie Map

Zion Scenic Byway

The Zion Scenic Byway leads you from Hurricane into the park. You can see the canyon ahead of you and the spectacular colors and power of the sheer cliffs. From Hurricane it takes about a half hour to reach the park.

The Visitor Center

The best place to begin your park visit is at the visitor center. This photo is of the mountains right behind the visitor center. The center has good maps and a great bookstore. Plus, helpful park rangers to answer all of your questions.

Scenic Drive – Court of the Patriarchs

The Scenic Drive takes about a half hour and leads you through the most spectacular canyon in the park.

Scenic Drive – Angels Landing

The scenic drive wraps around Angels Landing. Now there is a hike to the top of this peak, and I have taken it, but I hated it. It scared me to death with its sheer drops and narrow paths to get to the top.

Scenic Drive – Great White Throne

The Great White Throne is one of the most advertised spots in the park. The sheer white cliffs change throughout the day as the sunlight hits the mountain.

Gateway to the Narrows – Hike

At the top of the scenic drive is the Gateway to the Narrows hike. The hike follows a paved path along the Virgin River along the canyon floor and ends a mile up the canyon as the path disappears into the waters of the Virgin. This is by far my favorite hike in the canyon.

Canyon Wildlife

Throughout the Canyon you are bound to see Mule Deer. These large creatures live throughout all of southern Utah.

Emerald Pools – Upper and Lower Trails

The Lower Emerald Pools hike follows a paved trail to the base of the first falls. A more rugged trail leads up the canyon to the pools at the base of the upper falls.

Emerald Pools – Upper Pool

The Upper Pool is large enough to swim in and has a wonderful sandy beach on the east side. The trail to the pool is rough but not to bad and takes about fifteen minutes to reach from the lower pools.

The Zion Tunnel

A mile long and carved through sheer rock. The switchbacks leading to the tunnel and then driving through the tunnel are both fun activities.

Canyon Overlook Trail

At the east entrance to the tunnel is a small parking lot. Right across the street is the Canyon Overlook Hike. A short ten minutes and you are at the rim of the canyon looking down into Zion. Notice the switchbacks that lead up to the tunnel.

The Subway – Backcountry Hiking

There are a lot of really nice hikes out of Zion. These hikes are long and strenuous and can take a full day to days to complete. One of my favorite is the hike through the Subway. The hike takes about 9 hours and there is no trail, but it is fun.

Smithsonian Butte Scenic Backway

The Backway starts in the town of Rockville (the town just before Springdale and Zion), take the old bridge road and you follow a dirt road to the top of the mountains to the south of Zion. The View is spectacular and it makes a fun side trip if you are adventurous.

Smithsonian Backway – Dirt incline

Taking the backway, be careful, the challenge is this hill that has a fairly steep section of road. It is very slick if there is any moisture. It doesn’t rain very often but if the road is wet at all do not try it because the clay is slick.

Grafton Ghost Town

Right at the base of the backway is the Ghost town of Grafton. Some say it is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the west. To get to Grafton, take the old bridge road in Rockville and follow it, do not take the turnoff to the scenic backway, just keep going and you will reach the town. The town was made famous with the filming of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.
 

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