Zion National Park is Utah’s very first national park, an oasis of sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar high into the brilliant blue sky. This park in southwestern Utah is filled with rich history of Native Americans and pioneers, as well as a unique and vast array of plants and animals. Zion is considered by some to be the most scenic canyon country in the United States, featuring 229 square miles of high plateaus, mazes of narrow, deep sandstone canyons, 2,000 foot Navajo cliffs, and the jetting paths of Virgin River and its tributaries. While exploring this park your group will see pine and juniper dotted slopes, seeps, springs, waterfalls, and lush hanging gardens.
There is a 5,000 foot difference in elevation within this park, lending to it a diverse topography and in turn diverse habitats and species. Travel from desert, to riparian, to juniper, to conifer woodland all on one road. The diverse topography also is due to the neighboring geological structures, such as the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Rocky Mountains. Within this park you will see over 1,000 plant species, including tall cottonwoods, towering pines and firs, prickly pears, chollo, and yucca. In the hanging gardens you will have the chance to see the absolutely beautiful Zion shooting stars, scarlet monkey flowers, and golden columbines. There are over 67 mammals, 29 reptiles, seven amphibians, nine fish, and 207 bird species here as well. The most common species to see would probably be a part of the owl family, allowing your group to see one guaranteed in almost every narrow gauge. You can also see the endangered California condors and Mexican spotted owls often in here!
After you’ve seen the sights from your car your group will have the chance to backpack or hike on any of the 220 miles of trail, bird watch, bike, camp, rock climb, canyoneer (canyon recreation), or partake in any of the Virgin River recreational opportunities or tours. You will also have the chance to head over to Kolob Canyons, discussed in further detail below! Whatever you decide to do, your group is going to love the time you spent here at Zion National Park!
Kolob Canyons - Kolob Canyons are about 40 miles from the main canyon in Zion, but offer a great scenic getaway from the busy tourist filled spots. Here you will have the chance to enjoy the view from the five-mile scenic drive, or get out and explore the trails around the crimson canyons. The scenic viewpoints in this northwestern part of the park are mostly dominated by narrow parallel box canyons off of the Colorado plateau. You will see majestic peaks, streams, waterfalls, 2,000 foot cliff walls, and more luxurious hanging gardens. You will also have the opportunity to stop by the Visitor Center on your way in to get permits, more information, or visit the bookstore onsite!