Zion National Park

This past week we had a opportunity to spend half a day in Zion National Park. Sadly, a few hours is not enough to really to explore all that this park has to offer. Having any time at all here leaves you hungry to explore more of Zion and the other wonders that Utah has to offer.

As Utah’s oldest and most popular national park, Zion is located in Southern Utah, about 163 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The quaint little town of Springdale is the somewhat official starting place to begin a visit. There you can board a tram for entry into the park, spend the night in one of the lodges, stop for a meal or drink in one of the cute cafes or restaurants, or visit one of the many rock and gem stores found there.

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We chose to drive into the park as we had big plans for a picnic after some exploring.

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Once inside you will need to park your vehicle and board one of the trams that run throughout Zion.

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The trams reduce the pollution and congestion within the park. At no cost to the rider, you can hop on or off at one of the many stops. They stop at such interesting places like The Grotto and Court of the Patriarchs. Running about every 15 minutes there is really no disadvantage to this arrangement. In fact, you can get a nice overview and scenic overload from the tram.  Load up your bike, picnic, or hiking gear to head out for an extraordinary day!

Zion is extremely popular with hikers. To really appreciate all of the beautify and diversity found here one might need to explore beyond the visitor center and tram stops. Destinations such as Emerald Pool Trails and Angels Landing called to us but with our limited time and my agility, we had to carefully choose where to spend our time. We decided on The Narrows  which is perhaps one of the most familiar and popular hikes. (A great place if you are in Zion during a hot summer day). We departed the shuttle at The Temple of Sinawava and hiked the 2.5 mile (round trip) Riverside Trail  along the Virgin River to the entrance of The Narrows. Once you begin the hike through the narrows, the water can be ankle deep and even  chest high in some places. I was pretty impressed with myself that I was able to make the hike at all! The trail is nicely paved and even-which makes it wheelchair accessible! Many of the people we passed along the way were prepared for the water. They had hiking sticks, backpacks,  water-proof pants, or water-proof leggings. People of all ages were prepared for the water adventure.

Along the trail we were able to appreciate the hanging gardens…

…plants that seemed to grow right out of a rock wall.

The trail meandered along The Virgin River.

We observed the Weeping Rocks…

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…where water seems to seep from the rocks.

The majestic views were breath taking.

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The canyons were wide and the skies were blue.

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After our hike and the 90 minute tram ride, we headed back to the visitor center and our awaiting picnic.  A few years ago we were able to hike the Timber Creek Overlook Trail which is located in the most northern part of Zion.

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Located in higher elevations, the scenery is as beautiful. There is a five mile scenic drive that rises above the majestic canyons and the red rocks of the Kolob Canyons. It was merely by chance that we discovered this often forgotten area of Zion. When traveling through Utah to another destination, we took a chance to stop here not realizing that  Kolob Canyon is somewhat separate from the main part of Zion but should not be missed!

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With many of Utah’s National Parks yet to explore, we have  Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capital Reef on our list of places to visit. We do love the outdoors and are already planning our next adventure!

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30 thoughts on “Zion National Park

  1. Very lucky indeed! The tram serves multiple benefits-reducing traffic, pollution, and allowing those who have less mobility to enjoy places they might have previously missed out on!

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  2. I know you have been all over so I was surprised to hear that you had not been there yet. I am anxious to explore more. When will you be back from your trip to Ohio and points beyond?

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  3. I’m so glad you made it all the way up to Sandpoint and Lake Pend Orielle! Hubs is from a ranch on the east side of the lake. I fell even further in love with him when he took me across the long bridge…

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  4. We actually made our first trip to Idaho this past summer. We drove up through Boise to Sandpoint, Idaho so I didn’t see the South-East portion. Couldn’t get over all of the trees and the beautiful lakes. Utah is much different let me tell you! Beauty comes in all kinds of packages doesn’t it?

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  5. Thanks, Marlene. My hiking (and even walking sometimes ) abilities are so limited day by day. Think I will have my second knee replacement later this year. Trying to put it off until after summer, if possible. I really lucked out that was a very good day! Still so much to see and do……..little did we understand in our younger days that physical limitations might be in our future! I need the great outdoors-you are so right-it is good for the soul.♡

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  6. Those are wonderful photos, Jan. You are right. That can’t be enough time to enjoy those vistas. I’ve heard so much about our national parks but have never been to most. Hiking is no longer on my repertoire but a ride through on solid surface roads would be lovely. I’m so glad you were able to get there and have a good time. That kind of beauty is good for the soul. 🙂 Hugs.

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  7. I agree. Many of my friends are faltering in their sixties!! A good friend could not believe it would happen to her. One moment she and her husband had just returned from driving Route 66, next he had a stroke, went blind on the left side, and lost his licence. My husband is six years older than me, and starting to get the odd twinge, so now we talk about maximising our next ten years, as who knows the future? I have a friend in Texas who is nagging us for a visit. Maybe we will do that next year. Then we will need plenty of advice as to where else to go in the States!!

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  8. On our list! We’re trying to decide what the best month would be to visit the parks. Can’t believe I grew up in southeast Idaho and have never made it to Zion or the others! Can’t wait! Lynn

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  9. The mountains are beautiful! I love that orange rock against the bright blue sky. The weeping rocks and hanging gardens are lovely. Thanks for the vicarious travel.

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