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Adventures in Zion National Park

zion narrows fallZion National Park, located in Southwestern Utah, is a beautiful canyon country oasis. The land is filled with Navajo Sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons, graceful waterfalls and an abundance of diverse plants and wildlife. A trip to the park will surely result in a chance to see species like the endangered California condor and the threatened Mexican owl. Zion National Park is a great place for those who seek adventurous, outdoor fun! The park has numerous locations great for canyoneering, climbing, and hiking!

Zion National Park – Part of the “Grand Circle”
One of the best reasons to stay at Zion National Park is its proximity to other great American landmarks. Zion National Park is part of the Southwest’s “Grand Circle,” an area home to an impressive number of recreational areas, monuments, historical sites, and national parks. Zion National Park is located near Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Pipe Spring National Monument. On this trip, you can hit over 5 historic locations all in one go!

Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyons
The Kolob Canyons, located in the Northwestern section of Zion National Park, feature towering scarlet walls and bright, colorful cliffs. Part of the Colorado Plateau, this unique and awe-inspiring section of the park has a well-protected primitive environment. Visitors must first stop at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center where wilderness permits can be attained. You can then view the canyons on a 5-mile scenic drive or explore the Kolob’s on foot.

The Kolob Canyons are a truly unique area of Zion National Park, filled with soaring peaks of Navajo sandstone, canyon streams and cascading falls, and over twenty miles worth of hiking trails. New experiences and stunning scenery await you around every corner in this majestic land that has never lost its primitive spirit.

Canyoneering Adventures
Zion National Park has become known as one of the country’s best locations for canyoneering. Canyoneering is an exciting way to explore the park’s many canyons. A combination of route locating, swimming, hiking and rappelling, canyoneering is quite the technical feat. There are many great routes for beginners, like the Subway or Orderville Canyon. The Narrows offers a more challenging course for experienced adventurers. All technical canyoneering trips require a permit.

Virgin River, Zion Narrows photo by sufw on Flickr

Virgin River, Zion Narrows photo by sufw on Flickr

The Narrows in Zion National Park
The Narrows is one of the most popular hikes at Zion National Park as well as the Colorado Plateau, and for good reason! The trail runs through a deep gorge, beneath thousand-foot-tall walls and involves wading through the waters of the Virginia River. There is a 1-mile long, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk, but hikers will have to prepare to get wet! The water can be anywhere from knee deep, to waist deep, and some pools can even reach chest-level height. The water is coldest and highest during winter and early spring, so the best time to hike The Narrows is during late spring and summer.

However, this season is when the park can get stormy, leaving The Narrows open to flash floods. When it storms, excess water floods into the canyon rapidly since much of the nearby areas consist of bare rock with no ability to absorb water. During a flash flood, the Narrows can be filled with water in less than a minute. It’s important to always check the weather forecast and flash flood potential before you begin your journey.

The Subway in Zion Backcountry
The Subway, a canyon near the Left Fork of North Creek, is the most popular hiking and canyoneering route through Zion’s backcountry. The route begins at Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and leads to a spectacular pool of water nestled beneath brushed crimson stone. The trail requires some swimming and a few short rappels. Due to its popularity, reservations must be made via a lottery system several months in advance.

Climbing the walls of Zion
Adventure-seekers have found the right place in Zion National Park. In addition to its renowned canyoneering and tremendous hikes, Zion is also a marvelous place for climbers to scale its 2,000-foot sandstone walls. Imagine ascending a towering wall of crimson stone, looking out over a sea of lush greenery, scanning all the way to the horizon line where the deep blue sky melts into the earth. However, these routes are not recommended for beginners. It’s recommended that new climbers set up a training session with a local provider.

A Birdwatchers Paradise
Zion National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise! Rock climbers, canyon explorers and those with high-powered binoculars or telescopes will get a rare chance to see the secret life of a bird nestled up high in the Southwestern cliffs. Zion National Park is a sanctuary for birds like the bald eagle, California condor, the Mexican spotted owl and the Peregrine falcon. There are over 280 different species of birds that find shelter and protection at Zion. When you visit this national park, you have an opportunity to see these birds thriving beneath the golden sun and soaring through the azure sky.

Zion National Park is a dream come true for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and outdoor adventurists! The park’s endless canyons and trails offer the opportunity to explore everything from the water-filled trails of the Narrows to climbs that take you high up on ancient sandstone walls. Come to Zion for beautiful views, exhilarating climbs and an abundance of plant and animal life.

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