Zion National Park is like the set of a movie that’s so grand you know it’s fake, but you don’t care because it’s delicious to look at; the kind of flick where the art director was given carte blanche and didn’t worry about believability. Something campy about chiseled space-canyoneers colonizing the loveliest side of the Red Planet. Read more...
A dozen desert waterfalls. Angels Landing’s knife-edge tiptoe along a serrated mountain ridge. Rocks that weep. Emerald Pools and waterlogged slogs through Narrow red-rock Subways. It’s equally beautiful and improbable.
Zion is for hikers
From three miles up, the Zion National Park map looks like a naughty geometry student’s desk after protractor unit. The crosshatch of canyons scratched in this step of the Grand Staircase makes for a hundred trails in all kinds of contexts, at all levels of difficulty. To some, “hiking” means walking along sidewalk-grade paths into pretty nature. To others, a claustrophobic slot canyon to a chain-anchored ascent of a vertiginous pinnacle is a “hike.” Zion is for hikers.
Zion is both the oldest and the oldest national park in Utah. It was the state’s first federally designated park (1919), and it shows off the oldest geologic layers this side of the Grand Canyon (~150m years old). It’s also Utah’s most visited national park, drawing 3+ million visitors annually. (Book a trip from November to April to dodge the heat and the crowds.) And, finally, Zion is the best Utah national park, in a five-way tie with all the others.
Zion means “the heavenly city” and the park’s Kolob Canyons are named after a place described in Mormon scripture as being near God’s throne. There are no churches in Zion National Park, but there’s plenty to inspire reverence.