When you enter Zion National Park you will experience a feeling that won't quite fit inside your camera. Your eyes will search to take it all in; your voice will falter as you try to express the emotion, and the only place you'll truly comprehend it is in your heart. Zion will change you, from the inside out. The colors will astound you. The perspective will humble you. The immensity will leave you in awe.
What to do & see in Zion:
Zion National Park located near St. George and Springdale Utah, is 30 miles in length and 15 miles across at its widest point. Elevations range from 4,000 to 8,700 feet yet there are plenty of ways to access and enjoy this park, no matter what your desired level of activity.
It may seem like #1 accolades are common-place in the Zion Park area, but the world is really just starting to learn about the vast scenic treasures of this region.
Hiking is probably the most prominent of activities in Zion. The more active hiker will love trails such as Angels Landing (5-mi. round-trip), the Watchman (2.7-mi. Round-trip) and Observation Point (8-mi. round-trip). Additionally, bikes may be rented locally in Springdale and visitors may ride the Pahrus trail within the park. This may be one of the best ways to see the main canyon of Zion National Park in a relatively short time-frame. Take all the time you want and bring your camera, water and some snacks in your day-pack. Climbing, canyoneering, and photography are also a few of the activities in the area. Also don't miss out on the Zion Canyon Theatre for movie showings in the evening after a long hard day of hiking!
Zion National Park encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems. The elevation of the park ranges between 3,800 and 8,800 feet in an area of 148,000 acres. This drastic elevation difference provides many types of habitat including grasslands, desert, wetlands, riparian and forests. These habitats support many species of plants and animals. There are 67 species of mammals found in Zion National Park, 13 species of snakes, 291 species of birds, 4 fish species native to the area, and 900 species of plants.
Don't forget local museums and galleries as well! See masterpieces at The LaFave Gallery, Worthington Gallery and David West's Gallery.
Get information about Zion Parks history at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, the Kolob Canyon History Center, and the Zion Human History Museum.
How to get to Zion:
The most common entry point into the park is through the town of Springdale on the Southwest corner of the park. Springdale is the closest town to Zion. Visitors coming via Interstate 15 from California/Nevada or Salt Lake City will find the park is just 30 minutes away from the Interstate. Others coming from Arizona or Colorado may access the park through the east-gate via highway 89.
PARK ENTRANCE FEES
Private Vehicles/RVs: $25 per vehicle for a 7 day pass
Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motorcycle: $12 per person-7 day pass, not to exceed $25 per family.
1-6 passenger vehicle: $35 plus $12 per person
7-15 passenger vehicle: $70
16-25 passenger vehicle: $80
26+ passenger vehicle: $190
Fee is based on vehicle capacity. Rates range from car to full size bus.
25.00 per vehicle (vehicle capacity 14 or less)
$12.00 per person (vehicle capacity 15 or more) not to exceed the commercial fee.
Academic fee waiver
Fee waivers are granted to educational institutions whose curriculum relates specifically to the resources at Zion National Park.
History of Zion National Park:
The first humans known to have settled in the region were small groups of hunter/gatherers in around 6,000 B.C.. Though little is known about these people, some artifacts such as baskets, sandals and knives have been found in caves. Around 300 B.C., people began to plant corn and squash. This rudimentary farming allowed them to settle in more permanently, building small dwelling. Between 500 and 1300 A.D., the Virgin Anasazi and the Parowan Freemont lived in the area. These peoples built pueblos, hunted, farmed, created artistic pots and formed social relationships. Droughts in the 11th and 12th centuries may have pushed these Native Americans out of the region, in search of water. Southern Paiute and Ute tribes inhabited the area seasonally. They hunted and planted corn, squash and sunflowers, and gathered seeds and local plants.
Brigham Young, the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) brought members of his church to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Throughout the next decade, he sent parties to settle in parts of southern Utah and many settled near the area that would become Zion National Park. The towns of Springdale, Grafton, and Paradise cropped up. In 1863, Issac Behunin built the first log cabin in Zion Canyon and planted corn, tobacco and fruit trees.
For even more information about Zion National Park, including weather alerts, hiking maps, and more, visit http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm