Zion National Park

Zion National Park
By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Subway) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Who Watches the Watchman Subway pool

USA · Zion National Park

Zion National Park 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 94.5m. It was the first national park in Utah and the best way to experience it is hiking among the high cliffs and through the narrow canyons. It is home to some very unique hikes, such as the Narrows where you walk for miles up a river with sheer canyon walls on either side of you, or hike the Angels Landing Trail with 21 switchbacks to the top for a great lookout. It is one of southern Utah’s most dramatic natural wonders, rise high over the Virgin River.

Rock climbers know Zion National Park for its immense rock walls of red and white Navajo sandstone that rise more than 2000 feet into the sky. If you look closely, you might even spot some climbers carefully making their way upward, mere specs on a vertical landscape.

This geologically unique area has colorful sandstone canyons, high plateaus, and rock towers. Natural arches and exposed formations of the Colorado Plateau make up a large wilderness of diverse ecosystems.

Hiking downriver through the Narrows or peering beyond Angels Landing after an ascent is indeed amazing. But, for all its awe-inspiring majesty, the park also holds more delicate beauties: weeping rocks, tiny grottoes, hanging gardens and meadows of mesa-top wildflowers. Lush vegetation and low elevation give the magnificent rock formations here a whole different feel from the barren parks in the east.

Wildlife such as mule deer, golden eagles, and mountain lions, also inhabit the Park. Formerly “Mukuntuweap National Monument” opening on July 31, 1909; incorporated in Zion National Monument March 18, 1918; established as a national park on Nov. 19, 1919. The Zion Natural History Association (ZNHA) is also a great source of information about the park.

The Subway is another popular area. It is a roughly half mile stretch where the canyon resembles a subway tunnel. Access to the Subway is limited and requires a permit, so planning in advance is highly advised.