Thursday, July 2, 2015

Utah's Zion National Park: a place of stunning beauty

Zion National Park
Utah isn’t the drab state that many people imagine it to be. Southern Utah is filled with colorful scenery, and nowhere is it more colorful than Zion National Park, one of five national parks in the state.

Zion has gorgeous red rock formations, accented by the greens of evergreen trees, the blues of its creeks and the many shades of brown found in its mountains. The canyon scenery is considered some of the best in the whole United States.

Human habitation of Zion began about 7,000 years ago, though it was the 19th century Mormon settlers who gave it its name, since it reminded them of a sanctuary. Hence, some of the religious oriented names, such as the Three Patriarchs, named for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or West Temple, the highest peak in southern Zion, and its Towers of the Virgin.

Zion is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, bikers, horseback riders and birdwatchers. The scenery also can be viewed by driving the scenic roads.
Kolob Canyon
Zion almost seems like two parks: two entrances are on Highway 9, known as the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, and the Kolob Canyon entrance, which is right at Exit 44 on Interstate 15.

The Zion-Mount Carmel route has a narrow tunnel that was considered an engineering miracle when it was built in the late 1920s.  Because it’s so narrow, RVs and other large vehicles must have escorts; traffic is blocked coming the other way when large rigs to through. The park service charges for this escort service.



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