Zion National Park located in Utah. This popular national park has more than two and a half million visitors annually, and is a must visit in the itinerary of anyone planning a southwest national parks tour.
Giant sandstone cliffs tower from the valley. Remnants of ancient sand dunes that are believed to have been the tallest in the world.
Over time the many rock layers of the Colorado Plateau have eroded due to exposure to sun, rain, snowfall, and have realigned to form distinctive formations, structures and layers corresponding to a period of several years in its history. While the elevation of the basin of the canyon in Zion National Park is nearly at sea level, over 240 million years of erosion have resulted in the piling up of thousands of feet of sediment layers. Many of these layers have a unique color band, which is an added attraction for the tourists to the area.
One of the most prominent attractions of Zion national park are the breathtaking arches of different size which have been formed naturally due to erosion and sedimentation over a period of several million years. The arches at Crawford and Kolob are the largest arch formations. While the Crawford arch of about thousand feet is easily accessible, the Kolob arch is located some distance away from the crowded entrance area. The Crawford arch rises 1000 feet from the basin floor, is more easily visible and is located near the base of Bridge Mountain.
The unique geological formations of Zion national park make it suitable for walkers and photographers of all levels and abilities. There are a number of streams and rivers flowing through the park, including the Virgin River which originates the Cascade falls, just outside the park. Inside the park a section of the Virgin River provides a fun river walk called the Narrows. On a hot day it provides welcome shade and swimming opportunities.
Our favorite walk:
Kolob Arch is a seven mile hike from the main areas of Zion Natural Park, scenic and uncrowded, a chance to take a break from the hectic city life and enjoy nature.
Why we love it:
The Kolob Arch is the second largest natural formed arch in the world, with a length of 287 feet and height of approximately 850 feet from the canyon floor. It’s also much less crowded than the valley itself.
During the summer months temperatures can soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hiking around sunset or sunrise not only provide the best lighting for photographs but is also cooler.