Information: (435) 772-3256
Entrance Fee: $20.00 per private vehicle
The new Zion National Park Visitors Center offers a state of the art visitor experience. Most notable is the outstanding outdoor interpretative center.
While many enjoy the top-down view of nearby Grand Canyon, Zion is most easily experienced from the bottom up. In sheer magnitude and color, Zion is very likely one of the most awe-inspiring National Parks in the world with the annual number of visitors ranging over 2.5 million.
Throughout the park iron oxide has colored the sandstone a myriad shades of red, while more natural white or
ochre hues have remained in various sections and layers. Water flow from rain, and river has etched through the rock and created
deep chasms of twisted and convoluted mass. During storms, large boulders and trees crash down these canyons more rapidly eroding
the deepening gorges. Collecting rains on Zion's massive plateaus rage to central gathering points and gush over precipices
descending hundreds and sometimes one-thousand feet in awe-inspiring waterfalls, disappearing within minutes of the conclusion
of a storm. Elevations in the Park range from 4,000 feet in the valley floors to nearly 9,000 feet at the highest points. Rock
climbers and hiking enthusiast from around the world come here to experience the vertical climbs and zig-zagging trails which
ascend to pinnacles, domes, arches and spires. The upper layers of porous sandstone allow water to seep thousands of feet through
the rock, but the more dense lower layers force the water to exit and pour down the faces of sheer walls. Where the water leaves
the rock, hanging gardens and natural stains line the walls, creating a tropical paradise in the midst of the otherwise arid desert
This is the main and most popular section of the park. The visitor center and lodge are found in this part of the park. Popular trail-heads for Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools, Angels Landing, The Narrows, etc. are all found in this area.
Wildlife & Biology:
Skunks, ring-tailed cats, kangaroo rats, deer and big-horned sheep are just some 75 species of mammals visible with the park. Peregrine falcons, eagles, wild turkeys, owls and quail are found in the canyons along with 265 other types of birds. You'll also find a large variety of reptiles on land, along with 8 different fish in the waters of Zion. The great variations of elevations, and formations create very diverse environments and with nearly 800 native species of plants, Zion has the greatest botanical diversity in all of Utah.
Park Interpretive Programs:
Each day park rangers present a series of special talks, guided walks, and evening programs at Zion Lodge and the South Campground Amphitheater. Copies of schedules are posted at visitor centers and on bulletin boards throughout the parkand all programs are free.
Park Junior Ranger Program:
For children age 6-12, this program is held twice each day at the Zion Nature Center. Each session lasts two-and-a-half hours with a $2 per child registration fee. The morning program begins at 9 a.m.; the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The programs are fun explorations of the secrets of Zion's plants and animals, its geology (why are the rocks red?) and its human history.
|Day & Overnight Hikes:
Zion Canyon features some of the most dramatic and challenging hikes and scenery in the world. Among the classic trails of Zion are Angels Landing (West Rim), East Rim, Weeping Rock, Pa'rus, Watchman, Emerald
Pools, Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, and the grand-daddy of them all, The Narrows. Rangers urge prospective hikers to be mentally and
physically prepared and have the right equipment; but most of all, hikers need to have current trail information and know what their
personal limitations are. Permits are required for The Narrows and other back country hikes. Call (435) 772-0170 for information on back country hikes.
Perhaps the most famous and one of the most challenging areas of the park is an area referred to as the "Narrows". The Virgin River
gathers its waters from several northerly tributaries all of which continue to carve deep gorges in the sandstone. Intrepid hikers
may follow the river's path, but plan on walking through water most of the day. The full length of the main "Narrows" canyon is a 12.5 mile trek.
For a good look at the narrows, without the major commitment, drive to the Temple of Sinewava at the top of the main canyon, park your car, and walk
the 1-mile path to what is essentially the kick-off point for going up the narrows. Group sizes are limited in the Narrows and other specific areas of the park.
Storms, Flash Floods, Temperatures:
The above three categories may each be a deterrent to your ability to experience Zion's back-country areas. Stay away from narrow or slot canyons on bad weather days to avoid the dangers of high water levels
and even flash floods. Water temperatures are generally fine during the summer months but shadowed canyons are less likely to keep you warm as you spend significant amounts of time in the water. Special
preparations are required to enter the narrows in the colder months of the year. Check with the National Park to obtain details.
Park Info Continued >>>