Favorite thing: This is a three mile hike to the base of the Watchman formation. From here, there are excellent views of Zion Canyon. But even if you don't have time to hike it, make sure to stop at this viewpoint and take a look as you will not be disappointed. Another tip for thise short on time: the Zion Overlook Trail is a shorter alternative for seeing the splendor of Zion Canyon.
Lower emerald pools trail
Favorite thing: The lower emerald pools trail is another short and easy walk. The paved trail begins across the street from Zion Lodge and passes through a forest of oak and other trees and past some beautiful views of canyon walls to the base of the pool. The journey is actually better than the destination on this hike as the pools, although worth looking at, pale in comparison to the views along the way. From the lower pool, its another half mile to Upper Emerald Pool, but the path is steeper.
This is a nice walk in the summertime due to the shade provided by the trees. In the winter, the path can be icy and very slippery, even with the handrails along the base of the pool.
Zion Canyon Overlook Trail
Favorite thing: The Zion Canyon overlook trail is a great way to get an overview of the park scenery. The trail is located on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive just east of the Mount Carmel Tunnel. It is a one mile trail which climbs a bit to an overlook of Zion Canyon. The trail passes underneath some rock formations which must provide welcome shade in the summer. In addition to Zion Canyon, there is a great view of Court of the Patriarchs from here as well.
Favorite thing: I love waterfalls, and there was no shortage of them at Zion NP. We had just experienced three days of rain in southern Utah, so I suspect there were a few extra waterfalls during our visit!
The sandstone cliffs in the park are up to 2000 ft high, so it is very dramatic to see the water tumbling from this great distance.
This waterfall was found at the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop.
- National/State Park
Easy Paved Walking Paths
Favorite thing: I thought it was great that many of the hiking trails in Zion NP are at least partially paved, and two of them are completely paved making them wheelchair and stroller accessible. Those would be the Pa'rus and Riverside trails.
This makes a visit to Zion a pleasurable experience for people of all ages and physical abilities.
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
Fall Colours at Zion NP
Favorite thing: I loved the fall colours that we encountered while touring Zion National Park. We arrived in the last week of October and were told the fall colours were just starting to show.
We saw the most colourful trees in the higher elevations of the park along Hwy 9. Use the roadside pulloffs to park your car and wander down to the stream. You may be lucky to capture some nice reflections in the water.
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Favorite thing: The Virgin River is the force which created Zion Canyon. Despite the warm temperatures during the summer in Utah's Dixie, the river only reaches a temperature of about 70 degrees f. in the summer and is much, much colder in the winter. Those who hike the Zion Narrows in the fall or winter should wear wetsuits to protect against hypothermia.
Temple of Sinawawa
Favorite thing: The last stop on the Zion shuttle route is the Temple of Sinawawa. From here, there is a one mile path leading to the Zion Narrows. Its an easy walk to the Narrows and a bit cooler later in the day since the canyon walls block out the sun. The trail follows the Virgin River, shown in the photo, past a hanging gardens and ends at the Narrows.
Favorite thing: Zion canyon was carved by the Virgin River. The rock formations for which make Zion famous are composed of nine rock layers, the outer layer of which is sandstone. Rust from minerals such as iron creates the reddish brown appearance of the rocks.
Getting to Zion
Favorite thing: The south entrance into Zion is located off Utah 9, which can be reached off of I-15 and leads into the small town of Springdale. A free shuttle bus runs the length of Springdale, stopping at or near the hotels, restaurants and shops and drops you off at Zion's main visitor center.
Zion is about a 2 hour drive from St. George and 3 1/2 to 4 hours from Las Vegas. There are several commuter flights per day between Salt Lake City and St. George.
Angel's Landing Trail
Favorite thing: The Angel's Landing Trail is a very steep trail to the Angel's Landing summit. The last part is so steep and slippery that chains have been installed along the path to keep hikers from falling. Definitely not for everybody, especially those that are afraid of hikes. But, like so many challenging trails, the view from the top makes the climb worthwhile.
Along route 9
Favorite thing: This was quite a peaceful place in the early morning hours. You can see that the sun is just beginning to rise above the canyon walls and cast its light upon the cliffs along the road. Driving along the winding road just after daybreak, Five for Fighting's "100 years" playing on the radio, which was very fitting, made this a great place to stop for a moment and watch the sun make its entrance on another beautiful day.
I love it when the music matches the scenery. In this case, the lyrics could not have been more perfect:
There's never a wish, better than this, when you've only got 100 years to live.
Zion National Park Area
Favorite thing: I did not stay in or near Zion National Park while visiting it. There were motels in Mount Carmel Junction (between Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP) and Springdale. There is also Zion National Park Lodge, which is only accesible by shuttle.
Court of the Patriarchs
Favorite thing: Another shuttle stop where a short trail leads to an overlook where you can view the three sandstone formations otherwise named Abraham, Issac and Jacob. The Court of the Patriarchs is one of the most popular Zion overlooks and one of the famous pictures of Zion.
Favorite thing: The visitor's center is located just east of the main entrance into Zion. There are several exhibits about Zion's landscape, plant and wildlife and the formation of Zion. From the visitor center, you can catch the free shuttle to the main road of Zion Canyon.
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