Zion National Park

Zion, meaning a place of refuge, is the name Mormon pioneers gave to this canyon in the 1860's. It's located in southwest Utah, and features huge sculptured rock formations, cliffs and canyons.
We stayed overnight in the small (pop.457) town of Springdale, which is the southern gateway into the park, on state route 9. That's the view from the motel's parking lot in the above photo; the rocks are that close.

Zion N.P. offers lots to do, and you could easily spend several days here. You can hike, bike, birdwatch, you name it.
We took a 3-hour morning horseback ride into Zion.
It's a leisurely way to see the sights, and not have to worry about sore feet!
(although other parts will get sore)

The horses (and mules) follow the Sand Bench Trail through the southern end of Zion.

After the horseback ride and a bite of lunch, we caught the park shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava.
From here there's a one mile, paved Riverside Walk.

When that ends, you can continue, actually hiking, and sometimes swimming upriver, as the canyon gets narrower. Shoes and bathing suits recommended. The cliffs soar all around you, and the river this day ranged from ankle to waist deep. In the picture below, Jesse checks the water level.

Some of the rocks tower 2000 feet above the canyon.

The rocks in the river can be slippery, and sometimes it's better to just get out of the water and walk along the side.
Often that means crossing to the other side of the river.

The Park Service warns that there is always the chance of a flash flood here in the narrows,
but it wasn't something we were worried about today.

Sometimes, nature provides a rock ledge and a deep pool.
Below, Matt scrambles up then takes a leap.

Late in the day, a last look at the Virgin River from the Riverside Walk, and, below,
one of Zion's feathered residents, a Black-Headed Grosbeak.

For more information about Zion, visit the National Park Service's Zion homepage.

Click to go to the next page, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell).

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