Let us introduce you to the picturesque Zion National Park, one of the most beautiful in the United States. The park’s unique geographical attributes allow for an odd mixture of flora and fauna to coexist side by side. The view of Zion Canyon with its characteristic copper red peaks that stretch all the way into the distance is especially striking during sunset. Campers and hikers are welcome to this natural wonder for an experience that is simply unforgettable!
The park is located in the Southwestern region of the country, in the state of Utah. It spreads over three counties and covers an area of nearly 150 000 acres with four life zones. It is home to more than 500 animal and plant species and features several types of rock formations. The Park welcomes around 3 million visitors each year, most of whom come in the summer time.
A number of hiking trails make it possible for visitors to easily explore the Park by foot. Visit the Subway trail if you enjoy remaining in the shade. This is a canyon with rocks arching over in the form of an incomplete subway tunnel. If you want something even grander, hike down to the Narrows where huge walls of rock will tower above you. It is a humbling experience. If you prefer to walk in higher altitudes, perhaps it is best to walk towards the Kolob Arch, the second largest natural arch formation in the World.
For the lovers of nature, it will be pleasing to know that the animals of Zion are so numerous that you are bound to meet them at some point. Do not be surprised if you run into one of the many squirrels of the Park, peacefully munching away on an acorn or pinecone. The rocks that get the few rays of sunshine able to penetrate the narrow trails often have large lizards warming themselves up. On several trails, you will come across road signs warning about mountain lions. This is nothing to worry about, as these creatures are nocturnal and do not usually like to approach humans in the daytime.
Aside from animals, the Park is also home to numerous plant and wild-flower species, which beg to be photographed. Visit in the springtime to see the large cactuses blossom or come in the autumn to marvel at the many colors of the leaves. It is possible for visitors to commute within the Park using other methods such as horseback riding, cycling or river tubing. For those who prefer going upwards rather than forwards, there are multiple sites for rock climbing.
If you want to have a chance to see the Park through the perspective of a knowledgeable expert, sign up for a Ranger-led activity. These are free programs, which last for no more than a few hours and allow visitors to gain insight into some of the interesting but perhaps not very well known aspects of the Park. It is also a great way to meet other nature enthusiasts and potentially form friendships with likeminded visitors.
If you prefer to discover things for yourself, keep in mind that several activities require licenses and permits. Hiking permits must be obtained for visiting the Subway and the Narrows. While the Park advises everyone to go with an experienced hiker who knows the area, visitors at their own responsibility can navigate without expert help using a detailed map. For a unique adventure, try canyoneering, an extreme sport that combines mountain climbing, swimming, hiking and problem solving.
As for camping, Zion National Park welcomes everyone to one of the three campsites, two of which are located in the scenic Zion Canyon. Due to the Park’s popularity, expect a full campground in the months of June, July and August. Fortunately, it is possible through the Park’s website to make reservations and every visitor is encouraged to do so. For those who cannot make a reservation in advance it is recommended to arrive as early as possible to secure a spot. The climate of the park is fairly warm all year round and every camper should prepare to find it challenging to stay cool. There are no showers or electrical outlets at the campgrounds but there is running water and flush toilets along with a picnic table and a grill. The maximum number of nights that a camper is allowed to stay in peak season is 14, which is extended by 30 days during the off-season.
The nearby town of Springdale, Utah is located next to the Zion Canyon. There are restaurants, launderettes, shower facilities and food stores that make the lives of campers a little easier. It is always nice, if you have time, to drive down Route 89 and pay a visit to the nearby Bryce Canyon with its brick-orange rock peaks and its dust that will die your shoes pink-orange. The world-famous Grand Canyon is also located in the close vicinity of the Park and it is a must see natural phenomenon.
To ensure that you make the most out of your time there, please check out some of our other articles where we give you useful tips on general camping, recipes and even choosing the most suitable equipment! Be safe and happy camping!