“One hardly knows just how to think of it. Never before has such a naked mountain of rock entered into our minds! Without a shred of disguise its transcendent form rises preeminent. There is almost nothing to compare to it…this Great Temple, [has the beauty] of eternity—”
Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh, early American Western landscape artist, on Zion National Park
One of southern Utah’s many jewels, Zion National Park’s rocks rise majestically around you, forming the enclave of Zion Canyon, the result of years of tunneling by the seemingly nondescript Virgin River. With a wide variety of attractions, most of which involve hiking, Zion is a must-see for any visitor to the southern Utah/northern Arizona area.
Along with Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, Zion could very well be considered among the quintessential American National Parks. Whether or not you enjoy hiking, you can appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings at Zion. Simply driving through the park is worth the price of admission (but hopefully you got your National Parks Pass!). The real value is found in the hikes at Zion. In our three days at the park, we were able to enjoy the hiking, but we know we still missed a lot. We got our hiking tips from this fantastic resource, Joe’s Guide to ZNP. While we got to complete our primary objective – hiking Angels’ Landing – we missed out on The Narrows, as the weather was rather chilly, and we didn’t want to trudge through the river. So we will simply have to return at another time!
While we had planned to camp for three days just outside Zion, our plans soon changed upon seeing the weather forecast. With lows in the teens during our stay – unseasonably cold weather for late March – we knew that camping would be miserable. Instead, we booked three rooms at the delightfully retro Quail Park Lodge in Kanab, Utah, about 30 minutes south of the entrance to ZNP. Kanab ended up being a perfect jumping-off point for Zion, as it had a market, liquor store, and restaurants – all of which are harder to find once you get closer to Zion. After checking in, we headed to the park to get the lay of the land for our stay.
Our first impressions – stunned.. We had read numerous TripAdvisor reviews and articles stating that Zion was not only a must-see, but a place to linger for a few days, and the expectations were met. And we hadn’t even gotten to the good stuff yet – the hikes. That would come soon enough!
Until next time,