Why a Visit to Zion National Park Should be on Your Travel Bucket List

By Lukas Saville

Zion might sound like another planet altogether, but this national park in southern Utah is an absolute gem on Earth. It attracts nearly 4 million visitors every single year- hikers, mountain bikers, nature lovers, and adventurers alike. The geography in Zion National Park is some of the most unique in the United States, including some of the most Instagram-famous natural features in the country. There are near-endless trails to explore, canyons to dive into, and rivers to float along. Here’s why Zion National Park needs to be at the top of your travel bucket list!

What you need to do

Where to begin? You’re not going to run out of things to do in Zion. First and foremost, you’ve got to go hiking! Observation Point is a great mid-range hike that gives you an incredible viewpoint over the Zion Canyon. Of course, the classic Angel’s Landing hike is a must-do, although the crowds and the difficulty can be a bit underestimated. If you want that slot canyon experience, I love The Narrows, which is easy and daily easily accessible. While those three are at the top of most people’s lists, there are so many more stellar hikes in Zion National Park you can choose from.

Beginning-of-Narrows

Mountain bikers flock to the park to cruise high-altitude canyon trails with panoramic views. One of my favourite rides in the park is up the scenic road up beneath Zion Canyon to the Temple of Sinawava, where the Virgin River slices through the Narrows. It’s a ton of quintessential Zion views packed into one fabulous ride.

If you’re willing to let your feet leave the ground a bit, try canyoneering or climbing in the unforgettable canyons and off 600m sandstone cliffs. Of course, guidance is recommended, but dropping deep down into a red-golden slot canyon is one of the most special experiences in Zion.

Looking-along-the-cliff-lined-trail

Horseback riding in the park is a special adventure for equine-savvy tourists, allowing you to enjoy the trails without having to sweat it out on your own two feet. If you’d prefer to ride the waves, cruising on the river along the canyon floor on a raft or kayak is an incredible way to get from A to B.

If you’re a history buff, try hitting up the Zion Human History Museum just inside the south entrance of the park. Here, you can learn about the 8,000 years of human history in and around the park, including the Native Americans who called the park home and the first settlers in the area.

What you need to see

You’re going to need some serious sightseeing time in Zion. While you’re driving in, definitely take the Canyon Scenic Drive to the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which feels like a drive across Mars at times. The Canyon Scenic Drive will take you to some of the top sightseeing spots in Zion, including Angel’s Landing, the Weeping Rock, and the Narrows.

Angel’s Landing is one of the park’s most spectacular scenic outlooks- you’ll be perched atop a 1,760m rock formation with an expansive view across the landscape. If you can brave the intimidating hike, it’s a view you’ll never forget.

The-angels landing-from-Scouts-Lookout

The Weeping Rock is a bowl-shaped alcove where water within the sandstone is forced out of the face, causing the “weeping”. Sometimes it’s just a trickle, and sometimes it’s a waterfall. The water creates an unexpectedly lush garden underneath.

We also love the Emerald Pools, a series of pools along a hiking trail with incredibly vibrant greenery surrounding them. The push to the upper pool might be tiring, but it’s worth the work to see the impressive rushing waterfalls.

 

View of the Virgin River

Checkerboard Mesa is another iconic sight in Zion. The unusual cracking pattern on the sandstone hill makes it a one of a kind geographical feature.

Stunning-view-of-the-canyon-with-the-plateau-above-it

Unfamiliar? Go plug these into Google and you’ll be planning your trip in no time.

Zion National Park is a destination like no other. If you’re feeling the call to hike, raft, climb, or sight-see in this amazing place, it’s time to see what makes Zion such a world-class destination! Pack your boots up and head to Utah, it’s waiting for you.

Looking-back-towards-the-main-Zion-Canyon

Photo Credits: Lukas Saville

Lukas Saville writers for 10Adventures.com


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