May 27, 2013

National Parks- Zion, A peaceful Sanctuary

Zion National Park in South-west Utah is a peaceful sanctuary. Earlier it was known as Mukuntuweap National Monument and then was upgraded to National Park in 1919. Mukuntuweap meaning straight Canyon and Zion means a peaceful or perfect place for refuge! High standing cliffs, peaks, the river, slot canyons, mesas, color of the rocks, wildlife and the clear blue sky are so very welcoming that I visited this wonderful place thrice! The high rising towers of red sandstone and the incredible canyons of Kolob region are awe inspiring. Like any other National Park in USA Zion has an entrance fee of $20.

Utah Zion National Park Temple of Virgin
Temple of Virgin
I drove from Bryce Canyon National Park and on the way I was greeted by a thunderstorm. I could see the purple conical cloud formations coming down from sky. The non-stop lightening was scary. The crooked long lines of electricity looked like evil laughter of nature. The sky was melting down ... Why not? Its Zion! I didn't have any choice other than driving through the storm. Then it rained heavily. I was too very scared of the lightening, every time it showed up in the sky with that thunder I jumped. It was hours before the storm subdued and everything was calm and cool again ...

Utah Zion National Park Virgin River
Virgin River
The campground was all wet and slushy. I was lucky to have a fairly nice site in the Watchman Campground. I spent much time in the nearby visitor center asking for information, collecting the permits for backcountry hiking. By then campground was bit dry to pitch the tent. There was no chance I could start campfire in that wet-water filled ring. It was drizzling again! I spent all the evening inside the tent reading a book! 

First things first ... I had to go for Angels Landing hike. The dreadful one! When I asked the Ranger Officer at the desk for the weather conditions for the hike, he raised his eyebrow ... doing it alone?! Good luck lady! Yes, hiking a strenuous 5-miles trail on a 1500ft tall and just 3-5ft wide ridge with long (yeah around 1500ft) drop-offs on both sides. I will have a separate post on my terrific experience doing this hike very soon! Again, the thunderstorm had to arrive by noon! Another evening spent inside the tent ... I spent the whole night listening to the 'tap ... tap' of the big raindrops on the nylon of the tent. The trees swayed relentlessly with the strong sweeping winds. With wind came more drops of water from the trees and chill. Next morning everything was cool. I thought of going for the park tour today. The previous sleepless night was bothering me a bit. Took national park's park-and-ride bus to Virgin River side walk. Very refreshing 2-miles hike.

Utah Zion National Park Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep
The 2.6-miles Emerald-pools loop hike was interesting. The pools might be eternally beautiful in spring. But, when I was there even though after thunderstorms, there was hardly any water! The red sandstone landscape is pretty though. Followed the Pa'rus trail a bit to see the river for a short distance. And here I saw these Zion's Bighorn sheep! They weren't bothered by my existence. 

I drove towards east to Checkerboard Mesa and loved its massiveness! Hiked another trail to Observation Point before ending the day. Whole day I was awestruck by the massive pink and red cliffs, walls and towers. The patterns on the rock were amazing to see! Next morning, I headed to Kolob Terrace area for my most anticipated hike- The Zion Subway! This 9-mile strenuous hike along the Left Fork of the North Creek was crazy! Route finding, boulder scrambling, bush whacking and then walking in the river itself! Again, I will have a separate post on this hiking experience too! Angels Landing and The Zion Subway are the two of my greatest solo hikes! They were not longest or to some highest elevation like Mt. Everest but I can say most fascinating ever!

Utah Zion National Park cliffs Temple and towers of Virgin
Temple and Towers of Virgin
Zion has longest tunnels and driving through them was fun. Some day, I will return to Zion for Zion Narrows river hike. Not too sure when that will happen because I don't want to do it alone! I hope some time soon! That ended my road trip to the amazing trio- GC, BC and Z :) The red land is extremely harsh yet charming! I headed to Los Angeles next to enjoy some of the amusement parks for some fast and crazy rides!

Note: Previous destinations and articles on this roadtrip- Grand Canyon NPAntelope Slot Canyon, Wupatki Ruins and Sunset Crater, US Route 89A, Horseshoe Bend, Angels Landing hike, Zion Subway hike and Bryce Canyon NP.

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Related articles-
Crater Lake National Park, The immeasurable beauty!
Columbia River Gorge, A National Scenic Area
Denali National Park, An abode of Grizzly Bears
Yosemite National Park, The popular one!
National Parks of USA.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday and Nature Notes.

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. It has got lovely landscape. Nice post Kusum.

  2. Zion park has such majestic landscape.
    Great captures!

  3. Great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  4. I'd like to get back to Zion one day. We were there in 1994 and it was very hot. We got up early and the 4 of us did the Virgin River Narrows hike. It was so much fun. Hope you get back there to do it one day.

    1. Wow! You did it! I was much scared of flash floods and couldn't go by myself! Yeah someday ... Thanks!

  5. So lovely, and I have been there many years ago!!!

    1. Yeah, these trips are going to be lifetime memories!

  6. Don't envy you driving through that storm but those views make up for it.

  7. Another great national park visit. The photos are beautiful and I love the bighorn sheep!

  8. Beautiful photos and a great landscape.

  9. Very informative post and breathtaking views.

  10. So very scenic and peaceful!

  11. Amazing and exciting. I like this post.

  12. Beautiful, beautiful place and lovely post.

  13. I love Zion. I went to Bryce and Zion on a solo camping trip in the spring. The weather was perfect and the crowds small. - Margy

  14. Wow...those colors gave me chills.... Beautiful....michelle

  15. thanks for sharing a fantastic and informative post, it is really very crucial for tourists. but I have a nice information for Indian Wildlife.


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