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Zion Canyon zion National Park Canyoneering

Zion Canyon is a magnificent crevice forged by rock/landslides as powerful floods of the North Fork of the Virgin River forcefully tear through the canyon leaving  single massive rocks, monoliths, protruding from the canyon floor.  The normally tame waterway travels many miles within the park with a gradient of 50-70 feet per-mile, moving debris at a rate of 300-million tons per-year.  Unlike the Grand Canyon where you stand on the rim and look down into the canyon, in Zion you stand on the canyon floor and look up. Nearby on Cedar Mountain is Cascade Falls which is fed via a sinkhole and lava tube from Navajo Lake.  Water moves downstream from the falls to Chamberlain’s Ranch in East Zion.  Then the water forges and carves its way 16-miles through the Zion Narrows into Zion Canyon.  The Narrows ends at the termination of the Riverside Walk which hikers stroll along for another mile to the Temple of Sinawava where canyon walls open wide.  The large area serves for a parking area, trailhead and the last stop the Zion Canyon shuttle makes before it turns around and heads back to the Visitor Center near the parks south entrance.  What is referred to as Zion Canyon is the section you see while riding the shuttle from Canyon Junction, the intersection of SR-9 and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, to the Temple of Sinawava.   Beyond Canyon Junction toward the Visitor Center is referred to as Lower Zion Canyon.   Then river merges with Pine Creek which runs downstream from the East entrance of the tunnel and under the Pine Creek Bridge at the lowest switchback.  Finally it leaves the park and the East Fork of the Virgin River which begins near Alton and runs through Mt. Carmel Junction.  A hike similar to the Zion Narrows, Parunuweap Canyon, is in this section of the East Fork of the Virgin River.  Both forks merge behind the Fruit Stand in Springdale, where it becomes simply the Virgin River.  It will finally empty into Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Grand Canyon North Rim Map Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map

Zion Narrows - The wider section of Zion Canyon is the 6 mile Zion Canyon scenic drive, but at its end, past the Temple of Sinawava, visitors can stroll along the easy path that runs alongside the river. This is the Riverside Walk were you can enjoy a variety of views such as hanging gardens, Canyon grape trees, monoliths and riverside ecosystems. Beyond the Riverside Walk hikers can trek for two days into a narrow section of the canyon with towering sandstone walls on both sides ending in East Zion. This route is called the Zion Narrows and it is chalk full of magnificent microenvironments. Watch for canyoneers sliding into the narrows on a rope a couple of miles into the narrows as they complete their trip through Mystery Canyon.link

Driving the main road in Zion, SR-9, is allowed year-round. Oversized Vehicles

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. Exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.

Zion National Park Maps
 
Zion Canyon

Zion Photo: The author Tanya Milligan on Observation Point looking down on the Virgin River and Zion Canyon. The Observation Point Trail links to the East Rim Trail taking hikers on a 10-mile hike to a very different part of the park called slickrock country.

 

Zion National Park Lodging

Lodging Zion National Park Lodging and services are available in East Zion. The main road through Zion, the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (SR-9) is open year-round, and is not a route the Zion Canyon Shuttle takes. Zion Canyon is deep inside the park. Towering 3000' walls form a slot canyon, forged by the violent rush of torrent water over millions of years. From late March to late October access through the six mile stretch of road is via the Zion Canyon Shuttle, the rest of the year the canyon is accessed in private vehicles.

 

Zion Canyon Shuttle Schedule - To get to the trails in Zion Canyon, leave your vehicle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or the Zion Human History Museum and get on the Zion Canyon Shuttle. The shuttle takes the visitor to view points and hiking trails in Zion Canyon. Even if you're not planning to hike any of the Zion Canyon trails, do take the time to ride the Zion Canyon Shuttle and see the views at each of the Pine Creek Canyon stops. Usually from April 1st until October 30th Zion Canyon is accessed via the shuttle. Private cars are allowed in Zion Canyon in the rest of the year. As soon as the temperature rises in mid-March the canyon fills with cars forcing the shuttle to begin its travels. The Zion Canyon Shuttle leaves early in the morning from the Visitor Center for the Temple of Sinawava, then it leaves every 10 to 30 minutes throughout the day making a loop from the Visitor Center to the last stop in Zion Canyon. The trip is a short 6-mile spur, but it is time consuming due to all the stops and people getting on and off. Take along appropriate provisions for the length of your shuttle trip and planned hikes. A round-trip takes a minimum of 90-minutes. Without the shuttle system in this busy park, the parking spots inside the canyon would quickly fill up, preventing most from ever seeing Zion Canyon. The shuttle system also has allowed Zion to keep a high standard of air quality, clear blue skies and there are reports that wildlife sightings are now more common that most vehicles are not allowed in the canyon.

Zion Photo: Author of the site, Tanya Milligan, in Zion's Pine Creek Canyon. The North Fork of the Virgin River merges with the water from Pine Creek before it combines with the water from the East Fork of the Virgin River.

 

Zion Canyon Horse Trails - Horse rides in Zion Canyon are located at the Sand Bench Trailhead across the road from the Zion Lodge. This is the only trail in the park that commercial horse rides use.
Any other trail rides you see listed are on the edges of the park and not allowed inside the park itself.
For Reservations Call:435-679-8665

Zion Canyon Hiking Trails - Classic trails in Zion Canyon: Angels Landing, Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, Emerald Pools, Sand Bench Trail, Weeping Rock, Riverside Walk and Zion Narrows

 

History of the Thunderbird

Best Western
East Zion Lodge

Reservations
1.888.848.6358

Zion National Park Lodging

East Zion Lodge
Vacation House
Group Lodging
East Zion Golf
East Zion RV Park
Vacation Packages
Family Reunion
Bus Tours
Business Retreat

Mileage from
Mt. Carmel Jct.

Zion National Park 12
Bryce Canyon 60
Grand Canyon 85
Cedar Breaks 45
Grand Staircase 9
Dixie Forest 22
Sand Dunes 11
Coyote Butte 57
Red Canyon 47
Tuweep 90

Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.

In these pages you will find insiders information on Zion National Park lodging & camping. This guide includes maps, pictures and even information on Zion's hidden treasures.

 

Next:
Hiking to the
Water in Zion

Hiking in the
Winter in Zion

Hiking in Zion Canyon

A drive along either the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive through Zion Canyon or the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway through the main park has few comparisons.

 

This is my new favorite quote:
"
I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."

 
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Zion History
Zion Landmarks
Zion Geology
Zion Geology II
Zion Geology III
Zion Fauna

Zion Rock Art

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