What is unique about Zion National Park?
Lying in Utah’s high plateau country, the Virgin River’s current has shaped its path through the desert lands. Cutting through a gorge that is narrow and deep, and where the light of day seldom reaches into the depths of the bottom, Zion Canyon was formed. Where the canyon broadens, the rapid river current flows with a series of turns with enormous towering walls brimming with glossy rock peaks and hanging valleys.
How was Zion National Park formed?Geologists have determined that flowing water has carved out the white beds of Navajo sandstone rock wall formation of Zion National Park, over a million years. The area was once an immense desert with constant winds blowing the sands from one dune to the top of another. Over the span of time, these reached heights of over 2,000 feet. Ancient winds left their elegant markings upon the artful strata cross beds along the mighty Zion’s precipice.
What makes Zion National Park different from the Grand Canyon?The Grand Canyon is viewed from the rim across the expanse, whereas Zion is commonly viewed from the bottom gazing up. There are amazing sights to behold as you gaze up the canyon walls.
What are the types of vegetation (flora) in Zion National Park?On the canyon floor you will find an abundance of, Box Elder, Willow, Fremont Cottonwood, and within but a short distance to the Utah Juniper and cactus. As the terrain quickly rises to nearly a mile high, the vegetation quickly changes.
How big is Zion National Park?You will find narrow canyons and isolated terraces inside Zion’s 232 square miles of gorgeous landscape. Many of the first explorers missed many of the hidden canyons that yield 20 miles of extraordinary scenery. The back country crisscrosses over 100 miles of wilderness trails, and the paved trails offer 15 miles of a more leisurely visit.
When was Zion National Park created?Zion National Park is Utah’s first and oldest national park. By a Presidential Executive Order in 1909, Mukuntuweap (now known as Zion) was identified as a great tourist location and given the status of National Monument. Although this was a boost for the state of Utah, it was inaccessible to tourists due to the poor conditions of the road. The Utah State Road Commission began construction and negotiated with the Union Pacific Railroad to provide rail and automobile links along with tourism facilities in southern Utah. It was given the prestigious designation of Zion National Park in 1919.
What is Zion National Park prehistoric history?
The history of a is one that dates back to the beginning of time. Here, camel, mammoth, and giant sloth, were tracked by early hunters. Approximately 8,000 years ago, there was a climate change and an overabundance of hunting caused the inhabitants to look for alternative food sources.
Additionally, farming became a necessity for the next 1,500 years. These inhabitants were known as the Virgin Anasazi. The Anasazi moved from Zion about 800 years ago for various reasons of existence.
John Wesley Powell and Zion National ParkNext, entered the Paiute Indians that adapted to desert seasons and to thrive. By the 1860’s the Mormon pioneers, John Wesley Powell entered Zion for the first Scientific exploration of the area.
What are some of the more popular sites in Zion National Park?There are many wondrous sights to behold in Zion Nation Park, here are a few of the most popular:
Zion Canyon Visitor Center:
Stop in and get all your questions answered. Park Rangers are available to assist you to make your experience memorable. You will also find maps and permits for your canyon explorations. In addition, check out the campgrounds, gift shops, and restaurants.
The Watchman Trail Head:
The towering Watchman stands 2500ft/1995m above the canyon floor to keep watch over and protect the canyon.
There is always something new on exhibit at the museum. Make sure and check out the activities for children. Learn the history of Zion and the ancient people that once hunted within her walls.
Court of the Patriarchs:
Inspiration for naming this formation was taken from Old Testament, representing the three patriarchs – Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
The Zion Lodge lies in the heart of Zion Canyon. Here you will find gift shops and food service.
Emerald Pools Trail Head:
Visitors and feast their eyes upon the reflection of the surrounding cliffs in the Emerald Pools.
The Grotto – Angels Landing & West Rim Trail Head:
Hiking to one of the most spectacular views in all of Zion is a trek for the the most daring. The hike includes 2,000 foot cliffs which drop off of both sides along a narrow trail. The hike is more challenging, but the view from the top is certainly well worth the effort.
Weeping Rock – Observation Point Trail Head:
Sandstone monoliths that actually weep. This is caused by as water flows horizontally until it finally weeps from the face of the cliff.
Big Bend – The Organ:
The Big Bend Around The Rock formation is on the bank of the Virgin River. Visitors are treated to a 2,000ft / 6,010m formation of a 1,100 foot monolith which resembles an immense pipe organ in a grand church or cathedral.
Temple of Sinawava – Riverside Walk:
At the end of the canyon road, and the beginning of the Riverside trail is the Temple pf Sinawava. It winds along the banks of the Virgin River which takes visitors to the world-famous spot on the Virgin River – “The Narrows.”
The Narrows is a hiking trip unlike any other. This 16 mile hike takes visitors through the most amazing and narrow canyons of the Virgin River and offers more than one’s own imagination can produce. Here you will hike next to the 1,000 feet high towering cliffs that surround you. It is important to remember that flash floods are deadly in The Narrows, and check future weather forecasts with Park Rangers before attempting this hike.
The Riverside Trail allows you hike as far as you wish. Many famous Zion Park photographs are taken in Zion Canyon. These include the Patriarchs, the Great White Throne, and scenes along the Virgin River.
What are some of the Outdoor Activities available in Zion National Park?
- Horseback Riding
- Off Road / ATV
What is Kolob Arch?Protected within Zion National Park’s is a spectacular cliff-and-canyon landscape and wilderness full of the unexpected including the world’s largest arch – Kolob Arch – with a span that measures 310 feet (94.5 m). Wildlife such as mule deer, golden eagles, and mountain lions, also inhabit the Park.
Designations and Visitor’s Information about Zion National Park
Mukuntuweap National Monument proclaimed July 31, 1909
Incorporated in Zion National Monument March 18, 1918
Established as National Park Nov. 19, 1919.
Call (435) 772-3256 for more information.
Fax (435) 772-3426
Operating Hours, Seasons:
During summer months, the visitor centers are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Spring, fall and winter hours are shortened. Some visitor centers are closed on some federal holidays. Call our 24 hour number for current updates at 435-772-3256.
What does it cost to visit Zion National Park?
- Private vehicle: $20.00, 7 Days. This fee is for one private vehicle and its occupants.
- Commercial Tours: $35 to $190, 7 Days. Fee is based on vehicle capacity. ranges from a car to a full size bus.
- Pedestrian/Bike: $10, 7 Days.
- Per Person: not to exceed $20 per family
- Zion Park Pass: $40, Annual.
- Special Use Permits
- Backcountry Permit: $5, One Time.
- Tunnel Escort: $10, 7 Days. Required for all vehicles and trailers 7’10” wide and/or 11’4″ tall.
For Subway reservations call 435-772-0170 one month ahead of your visit.
(All prices listed are subject to change without notice. For exact current rates call the numbers listed above.)