Standing at the bottom of Zion Canyon, it is easy to mistake the massive canyon walls for towering mountains! The unique and colorful sandstone of the region color the canyons in other-worldly creams, pinks, and reds. Striking rock towers and mesas, steep canyons, and flowing water create a wide variety of habitat at Zion National Park, from large mammals like mountain lions, to hardy desert plant life like cholla and juniper, to rare and threatened birds like the peregrine falcon, California condor, and Mexican spotted owl.
Zion is a rare swath of desert that contains a reliable source of water: the Virgin River. This river, whose flowing waters carved out spectacular gorges over the centuries, also allowed generations of settlers to live in the unusually fertile region. Today's visitors have an opportunity to explore the dramatic scenery and abundant life and learn about the long history of human occupation, from Native Americans to the explorations of John Wesley Powell, from the Mormon settlers to early tourists, and the push to protect and preserve this spectacular place.
The Power of One: Victory at Zion
One of the biggest threats facing Zion National Park is incompatible development on the pockets of private land entirely within the park's boundaries. These private lands within the park are known as inholdings. Already, expanded developments and at least one trophy home have been built on inholdings inside Zion, and other landowners are looking to liquidate private land inside the park. Fortunately, thanks to one anonymous donor, a 30-acre tract at the base of Tabernacle Dome is protected for posterity. Read more about this amazing gift, and how NPCA is working to support funding to incorporate other inholdings into the park, in "The Power of One" on our blog.
A hike in one of the less traveled areas of the park is a truly unique experience, like the Right Fork trail, on the western edge of the park can be awe-inspiring. For experienced hikers with proper gear, we also recommend the Narrows, a 16-mile fork of the Virgin River that can be traveled on foot if the water is calm enough (always check with a Park Ranger before attempting the hike). Read more about the Narrows in NPCA's favorite park trips, on our blog.
Did You Know?
Visitors to Zion have the opportunity to take it all in without worrying about driving and parking! A free shuttle from the gateway of Springdale offers boundless opportunities to explore the park while minimizing the impact of air pollution on this beautiful place.