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There are so many amazing national parks in the USA, and we’re visiting lots of them here at the English blog. Today we’re heading to southwest Utah!
Year Established: November 19, 1919
Season: Open year round. Some services or facilities may close or reduce hours during parts of the year.
Cost: $25 for private vehicle, $12 for motorcycles, cyclists and hikers (good for 7 days)
Accommodation: There are 3 campsites in the park. You can also stay at the beautiful Zion Lodge located inside the park. The nearby town of Springdale has several hotels as well.
Brief Description: The meaning of Zion is ‘promised land’ and it becomes obvious upon arrival why it was given this name. Zion Canyon has been inhabited by many different groups of people over the course of thousands of years. In fact, it was Utah’s first national park, founded by Mormon settlers. Zion Canyon is 15 miles long and half a mile deep, cut out by the Virgin River. Many different plants and animals inhabit the park’s four life zones; desert, riparian, woodland and coniferous forest.
Personal Experience: We arrived at the Watchman’s Campsite in the afternoon and got our tent set up. Once we did that we were pretty hungry, so we went into the nearby town of Springdale to find a place to eat. We decided on a quaint little place with a beautiful garden in the back called Bit & Spur Saloon.
Afterwards we stocked up on supplies at the nearby grocery store. Later that evening we went to the ranger led program for which the topic was pictures. We were shown many beautiful pictures of the park from the time before it had been named a national park up to the present day, which made us really excited to begin our explorations the next day.
We started our day with a hike on the Watchman trail, a short two mile hike with fantastic views of the cliff with the same name. We were pretty hungry after that so we headed back to our campsite for lunch. As we were eating, a deer and her two fawns were having their lunch in the campsite next to ours. It was cool how close they were. It was really hot by that point so we jumped on the bus and went to the Zion Museum which is full of interesting information about the park and its history.
From there we hopped back on the bus and took it all the way to the end of the park to the Riverside trail which ends at the Narrows. Even though there were flash flood warnings, we decided to take our chances and hike through the Virgin River, as the pictures we had seen of the area were stunning. We wanted to see it for ourselves. It was the first hike of that type that I’d ever tried, going back and forth across the river.
There was yet another trail we wanted to see so we headed back to the bus and took it to the Emerald Pools trails near the Zion Lodge. Finally exhausted from all the hiking, we went back to the campsite, made a fire and cooked up a tasty dinner. We spent the rest of the evening star gazing and reveling in the light of the moon.
The next day we packed up and drove over to the east side of the park and stopped at the Canyon junction trail which boasts a beautiful canyon overlook at the end of the trail. We made a few more stops on our way out to admire the sandstone rock formations that can only be seen in that side of the park. Our time in Zion Park was amazing but too short. There are many other trails that I look forward to exploring the next time we visit Zion.