When in Utah, Zion National Park is a stop that has to happen. The beautiful red accented canyons with the in-between running rivers creates for a photo opportunity every step you take.
History Behind Zion National Park
In 1956, Zion officially became a National Park. Going back thousands of years, the first people of Zion scouted mammoths, giant sloths, and camels across the lands; eventually killing off the animals by overhunting. Due to the elevation of Zion being between 3,665 and 8,726 feet, Zion makes a great home for both animals and plants.
Between 1,500 and 800 years ago, the Anasazi colonized Zion but eventually deserted the land due to lack of resources and drought — based on research. The Anasazi people left behind abandoned rock art and cliff houses that can still be seen throughout the park.
What to do in Zion National Park
Zion National Park is home to many outdoor activities including hikes, backpacking, rafting, sightseeing, and so many other opportunities.
One of the most well-known hikes is Angels Landing. Set as a strenuous hike with distance of 5.4 miles/ 8.7 km with increasing elevation of 1,488 ft/ 453 m, Angels Landing is a hike that has its challenges but allows for break spots along the way. If planning on hiking the full trail, set aside about 4 hours of your day. While hiking, I saw everyone of all ages, but be aware that there are steep edges and narrow sections at times — especially the last 0.5 miles of the hike; this portion is called the “hogsback” and is the narrowest part with railings on the inside and thousand foot drops on the other side. You do have the option to mark the end of the hike up right before hitting the last half of mile.. that’s where I decided to turn back.
There are still beautiful hikes that are less intense such as Weeping Rock Trail (0.4 mi/ 0.6km round trip), Grotto Trail (1 mi/ 1.6km round trip), or Riverside Walk Trial (2.2mi/3.5km) — all are rated easy hikes. If looking for more of a challenge, the moderately rated hikes consist of Watchman Trail (3.3mi/5.3km), Upper Emerald Pool Trail (1.0mi/1.6km), and many more. The Narrows is also a very recommended hike. You are able to go the entire width of the canyon or turn around at any time. Be sure to wear lake shoes and also check weather forecast before entering the canyon. Due to the tall canyon walls and in-water hikes, if there are chances of flash floods or storms, it is highly recommended not to go or even closed. All this information will be located on the NPS website.
For more information about all these hikes click here.
Transportation and Camping
Shuttle rides are available throughout the park that are free of charge. Each stop leads to different attractions and hiking spots. Make sure to check out the shuttle schedule and what each spot has to offer, there are usually maps at the visitors center that has all the information needed.
Camping is available in the Park itself, but is difficult to get without reservations. Luckily enough, my boyfriend and I were able to get one of the last spots in Watchman Campground. It is conveniently located in walking distance of the showers and restaurants.
Zion National Park Overall
Zion National Park is somewhere that is like no other place. The thousand feet tall canyons walls that periodically have active climbers to breath taking hikes; it can’t be missed. As some may know, I was lucky enough to get to experience Zion National Park via a surprise road trip — the full road trip can be read on my Best Surprise Birthday Road Trip blog.
If you weren’t sure on visiting this astonishing National Park, I hope this post made the decision to go just a little easier. Be prepared with appropriate attire, snacks, water, and any other supplies that are necessary for the hike/activity you plan on doing.
“You cannot describe Zion, you can only experience it”