Located in the American Southwest, two and a half hours east of Las Vegas is one of Utah’s most spectacular scenic wonders; Zion National Park. The park is the southernmost of Utah’s five “Mighty” national parks, is also the state’s most-visited park with over 3.6 million visitors in 2015, making it the nation’s 6th most popular.
Fifteen miles long and up to a half-mile deep, Zion Canyon is the centerpiece of Zion National Park, a spectacular gorge cut through the Navajo sandstone by the Virgin River. Dramatic rock formations in ever-changing colors abound, from the steep-walled Narrows to the majestic and magisterial Court of the Patriarchs. Scenic drives feature countless vistas, but hiking the park’s many well-marked trails is the best way to experience this beautiful park’s hidden canyons and meet its diverse wildlife.
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Entering Zion Canyon is a journey into the distant past, surrounding visitors with multicolored formations of 240-million-year-old rock as they plunge 2,000 feet down to a claustrophobic riverbed just 20 feet wide in places.
Convenient to Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon, this popular Utah park also features a striking desert landscape of arches, mountains, buttes, mesas, and monoliths. Zion Canyon can be accessed by the 6.2-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive; visitors are shuttled from the park visitor center to eight stops, including trails to the popular Emerald Pools. At road’s end is the trailhead of the one-mile Riverside Walk, permitting visitors to follow the river through a narrow section of Zion Canyon. Beyond the paved path, hikers can walk or wade into the Zion Narrows. A separate visitor center is located at Kolob Canyon, which has its own five-mile scenic drive; here you’ll find the trail to Kolob Arch, whose 310-foot span makes it one of the largest freestanding rock arches in the world.