Zion National Park



Zion National Park, located in Utah's southwestern corner (known to early pioneers as Color Country), 250 mi/400 km south of Salt Lake City, is set in a deep canyon. It has towering monoliths, beautifully colored rocks, great hiking, abundant wildlife and fascinating geology. http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm.

Much of your time will be spent looking up at formations known as the Watchman, the Three Patriarchs, Angel's Landing and the West Temple. Their immenseness is overwhelming, but they serve only as preparation for the area known as the Narrows, where the walls of Zion Canyon come close together—very close together. At one point, the walls are only 20 ft/6 m apart, and they tower 2,000 ft/610 m. The only drawback (or advantage, if you're prepared) is that to get to the narrowest part of the Narrows, you have to wade through the Virgin River (it's about knee-high). This can be great fun, but be aware that river hiking is tiring and sometimes difficult. The Narrows can be reached via the popular Gateway to the Narrows Trail. It follows the river awhile before you have to get your feet wet.

Other popular trails include Weeping Rock, Canyon Overlook and Angels Landing (a steep climb with dizzying views). Amenities at the park include a visitors center, camping and picnicking areas, lodging and a restaurant. To relieve congestion, the Park Service instituted a shuttle bus system through the park that runs April-October. There are two lines; the first runs from Springdale to the park's entrance. The second line starts at the park's entrance and runs the length of Zion Canyon Road (about 6 mi/10 km), with stops along the way. The trip is a sight in itself.

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