(Editor’s Note – This original post from February 2010 has been updated to reflect current Grand Canyon vacation details.)
Established in 1919, Zion National Park was Utah’s first national park and another in a series of US national parks established in the same region as the Grand Canyon and Bryce National Park, where the wonders of geologic rock formations never ceases to amaze visiting tourists.
Zion National Park attractions are numerous but a little more difficult to access because of the steep sandstone cliffs, some of which are classified as the highest in the world.
Different environments have emerged throughout the Zion Park according to the variation in sedimentation. This has brought about the existence of diverse fauna and flora, which can be seen in the many types of woodland, desert areas, coniferous forest areas, and the riparian zones (where the land and rivers meet).
Settlers in the region revered the natural beauty of Zion National Park and gave many of the park’s unique features such names as the East Temple, Angels Landing, the Great White Throne, the Court of the Three Patriarchs and the Temple of Sinawava.
Here is an overview our top 8 Zion National Park attractions:
8. Angels Landing Trail –This is one of the most popular hiking trails in Zion Canyon. Visitors that reach the summit are treated to a spectacular panoramic view of Zion National Park. Other notable trails in Zion Park include Emerald Pools Trail, Hidden Canyon Trail and Canyon Overlook Trail.
7. Zion Canyon– Over millions of years the Virgin River carved through the soft sandstone creating the 15-mile long Zion Canyon that in some places is as deep as a half a mile.
6. Zion Narrows– The narrowest point of Zion Canyon is a steep gorge just 20 feet wide and aptly named Zion Narrows (located at the mouth of Zion Canyon).
5. Virgin River Narrows– Located just upstream of Zion Canyon but within Zion National Park is Virgin River Narrows. This prime 3.6-mile hiking area traverses through a narrow gorge called “The Narrows” and is part of the Colorado Plateau.
4. Kolob Arch– Considered to be the second longest natural arch in the world, Kolob Arch is uniquely situated, framing the nearby sandstone cliffs in the Kolob Canyon.
3. Checkerboard Mesa– Millions of years ago wind-blown sand cut deep grooves into the Navajo sandstone creating a checkerboard pattern in this unique geological wonder.
2. Great White Throne– Located near Angels Landing, the north face of the Great White Throne, which gets its name from the white sandstone cliffs, towers 2,350 feet above the Zion Canyon floor and is considered by many to be the symbol of Zion National Park.
1. Three Patriarchs– These massive cliffs rise over 2,000 feet above the Zion Canyon floor and feature three different rock formations dating back to the Jurassic age including Moenave, Kayenta and Navajo Sandstone. Other notable sandstone cliff formations in Zion National Park include East Temple, Temple of Sinawava, and Horse Ranch Mountain, the highest point in Zion National Park at 8,726 feet above sea level.
Getting Around Inside Zion Park
No private vehicles are allowed within Zion National Park and transportation is given via free shuttle buses. These Zion National Park Tours are the best way to view the outstanding geological formations known as the Grand Staircase, which represents millions of years in sedimentation in the area.
Zion Park Lodge
The word “Zion” means a place of refuge (or peace). Zion Park Lodge, which was built in 1925, is aptly named and located in the center of the valley floor, offering a unique perspective of the surrounding massive sandstone cliffs and unique rock formations of Zion Canyon.
Zion Park Lodge is open for guests year-round who come to explore the magnificent surroundings of Zion National Park. The original Zion Lodge structure was destroyed by fire in the mid 1960’s and although the lodge was rebuilt the same year, it did not regain its original rustic appearance until it was refurbished in 1990.
Caravan’s current Grand Canyon Tour itinerary includes two nights at the acclaimed Zion Park Lodge.
Visit Zion Park Attractions with Caravan Tours!
In addition to two nights’ stay at the Zion Park Lodge, many of the above mentioned attractions are included as part of Caravan Tours’ fully escorted 8-day Grand Canyon Tour, which is all inclusive and affordably priced.
These Grand Canyon vacations always book up quickly! Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to check availability or reserve your spot today.