Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park: A place of Refuge and Sanctuary

April 14, 2011, 10:31 am

by James Rattigan

Zion National Park in Utah offers a serene landscape of sculpted canyons and soaring cliffs. Zion is an ancient Hebrew word meaning a place of refuge or sanctuary. Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. Walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. The unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream to pink to red, like sand castles crowning desert canyons. The natural sanctuary at Zion encompasses the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert provinces.

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Zion National Park, when the temperatures are favorable, though the park is open year round. Be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions–the temperature varies with elevation, and day to night temperatures can range up to 30 degrees.

There are many ways to enjoy your time at Zion National Park. Start out with a trip around Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, a six-mile loop showcasing the beautiful natural scenery. Don’t miss Canyon Overlook, providing breathtaking views into the massive Zion Canyon. Hike the miles of established trails or get prepared and venture into the backcountry to test your survival skills. Tour the scenic landscape, including Angel’s Landing, Virgin River and Double Pine Arch. Try some mountain biking or go for a guided horse back ride. Zion has plenty of outdoor recreation for everyone.

Zion National Park is accessed by Utah Route 9, and is about an hour and a half from both St. George and Cedar City, UT. The park has shuttle tours that will take you around, but having your own car is ideal for traveling at your own leisure. Parking and camping is plentiful.

Check out these great resources to help plan your trip to Zion National Park:

Zion National Park: Information on the park from the National Park Service.

The Grand Circle Association: Resource on southwestern public lands and travel.

Utah St. George: Guide to Zion National Park, St. George, and the surrounding area, including accommodations and more.

Zion Canyon Visitors Bureau in Springdale, Utah. Guide to Zion National Park, Springdale, and the surrounding area, including accommodations and more.

Cedar City, Utah: Guide to Cedar City and the surrounding area, including accommodations and more.

Utah: Utah Office of Tourism.

Image: Angels Landing at Zion National Park. Source: NPS