Located in the southwest corner of Utah, Zion National Park invites visitors to experience the unique wilderness of its slot canyon. Zion Canyon stretches for 15 miles and cuts half a mile deep into the surrounding sandstone cliffs. Gaze up at the massive cliff walls, colored in bands of reds, pinks and whites, into the clear blue sky. Zion’s environment is a combination of the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau, and features an elevation change of over 5000 feet from its highest to lowest point. This varying environment fosters a great biodiversity of plant and animal life. Sagebrush and Collared Lizards transition to Pinyon Pine and Desert Bighorn Sheep which, in turn, transition to Cliffrose and Golden Eagles as visitors travel up in elevation. The namesake Zion Canyon, and the Kolob Plateau are two of the park’s main attractions that showcase the beautiful Navajo Sandstone that the park is famous for.
Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Start your visit here to get the latest weather forecast, great advice on hikes and points of interest, and to learn about the park with hands-on exhibits.
This hike is aptly named due to the narrow space between the canyon walls, sometimes only 20 feet wide. The Narrows, with its soaring sandstone walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens can be an unforgettable experience. Although this hike is popular and does afford spectacular views and a unique experience of the canyon, it is also dangerous because hiking it means hiking the Virginia River. Over half of this 16 mile strenuous hike requires wading in, walking through, or swimming in the river. Add to that the possibility of flash flooding, slippery rocks, fast current, hypothermia, etc, and you can see why this hike requires a wilderness permit. Contact the Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk for more information.
Court of the Patriarchs
Take the shuttle bus to stop number 4 and hike a short but steep trail to the viewpoint. You’ll be rewarded by views of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Peaks, Mount Moroni, and The Sentinel. These massive, colored sandstone peaks rise up majestically into a clear blue sky.
Water “weeps” out of Weeping Rock alcove, watering lush hanging gardens. This short but steep trail is accessed from stop 7 on the shuttle bus. It’s only 0.4 miles long and ends at the rock alcove, but the going is a bit slow since the trail is uneven and wet in places.The water dripping out here has been slowly making its way through the rocks for about 1,200 years!
Kolob Finger Canyons
If you are looking to leave the crowds behind, the Kolob Finger Canyons region could be just what you’re looking for. Located northwest of Zion Canyon and the Kolob Terrace, it’s about a 60-minute drive. Much higher in elevation than Zion Canyon (7000 ft. vs. 4000 ft.), Kolob Canyons is much cooler than most of the Park and boasts Zion’s highest point, Horse Ranch Mountain (8,726 ft.). Kolob Canyons gives the visitor a different perspective of Zion Canyon. Instead of being inside the canyon looking up, in Kolob Canyons, you are outside the canyons, looking into them.
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
The scenery is majestic and best of all, you don’t even have to drive. Spring through fall, this road is open only to the Zion Shuttle Bus. Just hop on and enjoy the view!
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