Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zion National Park Revisited

In July of 1996 we visited Zion with our kids.  We spent a day riding horses through the canyon and hiking.  Yesterday we went back for another look.

One of the best changes that have been made since our first visit is there is now a shuttle into Zion Canyon.  Cars are no longer allowed.  The buses were great running every 6 to 8 minutes and even included very interesting narration as you drove from stop to stop.  Too bad some people were too rude to stay quiet so I couldn’t hear all of it.

In Zion the main road is at the bottom of the canyon which gives you a very different perspective than at most other canyons.  This section is called Towers of the Virgin (the Virgin River carved the canyon).  The mountain on the left is the tallest in the park.

Zion Nat'l Park Towers of the Virgin

The park got its name from early Mormon settlers who named it using the biblical reference of Zion.  Many of the landmarks in the park have biblical names given by the Mormons and a Methodist minister.

Zion Nat'l Park Court of the PatriarchsThis area is called Court of the Patriarchs.The peaks are named Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The entire canyon was carved by the Virgin River, rain and snow.  There is no evidence of any glaciers.  The power of running water is amazing.

Zion Nat'l Park Virgin River

The Bridge Mountain Arch is 1,000 feet from the floor of the canyon.  There is a trail to it, but you have to bring 150 feet of rope to rock climb up part of the trail; not for us :)  The arch is in the center of the picture and looks like it’s vertical.  Can you see it?

Zion Nat'l Park Bridge Mountain Arch 

Zion Nat'l Park Upper Emerald Pool 1We hiked along 3 mile Emerald Pools trail.  There are three pools, the lower, middle and upper pool.  These trails required some climbing, but the pools were beautiful.  They’re created by water running down the sides of the cliffs.  Here’s the water falling over the rocks at the Upper Emerald Pool.

Another amazing spot is the Weeping Rock.  Water seeps out of the sandstone and makes it seem as if rain is coming out of the rock.  There are hanging gardens in these areas created from the water flowing out of the rocks.

Zion Nat'l Park Weeping Rock 1

Zion Nat'l Park The Great White ThroneThis is called The Great White Throne and is white Navajo sandstone.


Zion Nat'l Park Rock Climbers 1Zion is the second most popular extreme rock climbing place in the country, second only to Yosemite.  These guys were about half way up.




Zion Nat'l Park Rock Climbers 2Here’s a picture of the entire wall for perspective.  The climbers are a little to the right of the small light colored rectangle in near the center.  Everyone who saw them agreed it was crazy!


Zion Nat'l Park Fall ColorsMany of the trees still have their leaves.  I like how you can see the red sandstone wall through the red leaves.





Zion Nat'l Park Mule DeerThis young mule deer was grazing along the side of a river trail.  His mom wasn’t too far away in the bushes.  He must be pretty young because he still had the spots on his back.

I was really surprised to see that the campground was full for the weekend this late in the season.  Zion’s elevation is a bit lower than some of the other parks and is in the very southwest corner of Utah.  They don’t get as much snow or cold as other parts of Utah.  Coming from the east you have to drive down a very windy road which includes a mile long tunnel.  There are strict height restrictions and certain vehicles have to pay a fee for an escort through the tunnel.  I would recommend anyone wanting to camp at Zion come in from the west entrance.  It’s a much easier drive.  Then definitely take a drive to the east entrance.  It’s an amazing scenic drive, just not while towing.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!