Colorful cliffs within Zion National Park provide unforgettable views. Ride horseback, hike, bicycle or ride a shuttle through the canyon to observe striking geological formations etched from orange, pink and white layers of sandstone.
The terrain offers delightful trails for every hiking skill level. Ride the 80-minute-roundtrip shuttle, stepping off at multiple points to take photos. For easy to moderate walks, follow Pa’rus Trail along the Virgin River or Lower Emerald Pool trail to reach a waterfall. Both provide valley views. Ride horseback along Sand Bench Trail and hike atop a landslide.
For greater challenges, make the strenuous half-day hike up 27 switchbacks to Angels Landing, a ridge 1,500 feet (460 meters) above the valley floor, for 360-degree views of Zion Canyon. Far below, hike through the Narrows at river level, learn to canyoneer on the Subway trail to Keyhole Falls or hike to Kolob Arch, one of the world’s largest freestanding arches. Try other activities: wilderness backpacking, camping, river tubing, four-wheel drive touring, rock climbing and of course, taking beautiful photographs.
Look for more than 900 species of plants, some seemingly growing from barren rock. Over 200 kinds of birds live here or migrate through. Spot the brown shapes of mule deer or desert bighorn sheep moving slowly in front of orange sandstone and look for a California condor high on the cliffs.
This popular site attracts millions of visitors annually, meaning parking spaces within the canyon fill rapidly. Park in Springdale and catch the free Springdale Shuttle for convenient park access. Then use the free hop-on, hop-off Zion Canyon Shuttle to move within the park.
Zion National Park is at Utah’s southwest corner, a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas, Nevada. After visiting Zion, continue northeast to the strikingly etched landscapes of Utah’s four other national parks. If you have a large vehicle, be aware of Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel permit requirements. To camp, make reservations, especially during peak seasons.
Purchase an economical interagency pass for access to all U.S. national parks seniors receive big discounts. Zion National Park is open year-round. Enjoy your visit to this colorful treasure.