Greetings from Zion National Park

Zion National Park will always have a special place in my heart. The first time visiting, I hiked up to Observation Point in the morning and did a few miles in The Narrows in the afternoon. It was a glorious and exhausting introduction to the park.
Years later, I brought my family to this enchanting park. We rode the shuttle to Weeping Rock for a quick hike. When we got off the shuttle, we spied high in the sky a bird that defied explanation. My brain tried to comprehend what type of bird it could be. It soared and circled like a vulture, but my seven-year-old daughter reminded me, “that is way too big to be a vulture!”
We marveled at the gigantic birds’ graceful turns and were mystified as we hiked. Once our hike was finished, we boarded the shuttle again. Once abord, the driver announced, “next stop, Condor Talk.” Of course, the mystery bird was a California Condor! To the surprise of my family, I said “get off the bus!” We hurried off and enjoyed the docent talk, then shared with her our recent encounter. The volunteer lamented that she had never seen a condor in her 10 years at the park. She mentioned that our sighting was rare.
California Condors were extinct in the wild in the 1980’s, but through conservation efforts, now number over 300. Today Zion is one of the few places that these birds live in the wild. This photo of my children comparing their combined wingspan to that of the 10-foot wingspan of a California Condor reminds me of one of my favorite National Park memories.


Zion National Park

Free-flowing rivers cut through multi-hued sedimentary rock to form Zion's deep and spectacular canyons. Park trails lead visitors to dramatic rock formations, hanging gardens, scenic vistas, ancient rock art and natural arches. People have lived in Zion’s landscape for at least 8,000 years, and the park's prehistoric art and artifacts tell the stories of the area’s previous inhabitants. The park also provides habitat for a variety of wildlife and large mammals, hardy desert plants like cholla and juniper, and rare and threatened birds like the peregrine falcon, California condor and Mexican spotted owl.

State(s): Utah

Established: 1909

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