Zion National Park, Utah - The Traveller

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Zion National Park, Utah


Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park – Interesting Feature, Zion Canyon 

Zion National Park is situated in the south-western United States near Springdale, Utah and the most interesting feature of the 229 square mile park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles long and around half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan coloured Navajo Sandstone, by the North Fork of the Virgin River.

 It is an amazing cliff and canyon landscape as well as wilderness which are full of the world’s most unexpected and largest arch, the Kolob Arch which measures around 310 feet. Millions of years of flowing water which has cut through the red and white beds of Navajo sandstones have formed the sheer walls of Zion and the geologic heart of the canyon originated as a vast desert many years ago while the winds blew one dune over the other till the sands reached a depth of over 2,000 feet.

Located between the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert regions, its unique geography as well as variety of life zones have given rise to unusual plant and animal diversity with numerous plant species together with 289 species of bird, 75 mammals inclusive of 19 species of bat and 32 reptiles which inhabit the park’s four life zones namely desert, woodland, riparian and coniferous forest.

Showcase of Geology – Shaping Zion

Besides this, the park also comprises of mountains, buttes, mesas, canyons, monoliths, slot canyons, rivers and natural arches. Wildlife like golden eagles, mule deer together with mountain lion also tend to inhabit the Park. The Park is also in the vicinity of St. George, Utah and is known for Tuacahn Amphitheatre and Tuacahn is an interesting site to explore.

Zion National Park is a showcase of geology with geologic processes playing a very important role in shaping Zion. Its arid climate and sparse vegetation has given rise to exposure of huge expanses of bare rock, revealing the park’s geologic history.

 The rock layers seem to be lifted and eroded which forms a features known as the Grand Staircase, a series of colourful cliffs that tend to stretch between Bruce Canyon and the Grand Canyon while the bottom layer of rock at Bryce Canyon is the top layer at Zion and the bottom layer is the top layer at the Grand Canyon.

Great Place for Rock Climbing

Zion is also a great place for rock climbing with short walls like Moonlight Buttress, Touchstone, Spaceshot and Prodigal Son which are very famous. Accommodation is available at Zion Lodge which is located halfway through Zion Canyon and is open throughout the year. Moreover it also has motel units as well as cabins together with restaurants, café and gift shops.

Three campgrounds are also available namely South and Watchman at the far southern area of the park and a primitive site at Lava Point which is in the middle of the park off Kolob Terrace Road. Watchman seems to be the only campground in the park which has reservations while Lava Point has only primitive facilities which are usually open from June to October and permits are essential for overnight camping in the backcountry. Guided horseback trips, nature walks together with evening programs are available from late March to early November for those interested.

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