Zion National Park Journals

On the Plateau, Part I: The Canyons of Zion

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A June 2006 trip to Zion National Park by callen60

In the River Photo, Zion National Park, Utah More Photos
Quote: Our first and next-to-last stop on the Colorado Plateau, we explored Zion Canyon and its lesser known partner, Kolob Canyon. From sunrise to sunset, Zion is full of beauty, from its sublime cliffs to the splendid chasm of the Narrows to the peaceful Emerald Pools.

On the Plateau, Part I: The Canyons of Zion

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Overview

Kolob Canyons Photo, Zion National Park, Utah
Quote:
Nowhere on earth are the results of water rushing over rock as dramatic or ubiquitous as on the Colorado Plateau. Although ‘slot canyons’ are scattered throughout this region, where intermittent waters have carved nearly subterranean chasms into the sandstone, Zion is in many ways a slot canyon writ large—the Virgin River, as scrawny as it may appear, authored this entire 20-mile canyon into the White Cliffs of the Grand Staircase, from its broad opening south of Springdale to the 16-foot-wide narrows upstream in the park’s northeastern corner.Framing the river are some of the steepest, most sublime cliffs you’ll ever see. In Zion Canyon, these faces are white sandstone, crowned with remna...Read More

Terrace Brook Lodge

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Hotel

Terrace Brook Lodge Photo, Springdale, Utah
Quote:
There are lots of hotels along Zion Park Boulevard, the two-lane approach to the park that runs through the town of Springdale. Your options run from bare bones motels to national chains to locally-owned resorts, and nearly all will have nice views of the sandstone walls behind them, since Springdale sits in the wider southern end of Zion Canyon.If you’re looking for a simple, reasonably priced place to stay, you can’t do much better than Terrace Brook Lodge. On the west side of the boulevard, about a mile from the park, this place changed hands over the winter after we made our reservation, but they honored the price we were quoted. We arrived near dinnertime after the drive from Las Vega...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 7, 2006

Terrace Brook Lodge
990 Zion Park Blvd.
Springdale, Utah 84767
(435) 772-3932

Pioneer Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Pioneer Lodge"

Quote:
Despite the number of people that visit Zion, there’s still a bit of an older, small-town feel to Springdale. Yes, there are newer coffee shops and chichi restaurants here and there, but many of the lodgings are locally owned and a bit older (although Best Western, Quality Inn, and a few other chains do have locations here now). One of the oldest establishments is the Pioneer Lodge, located quite close to the park on the west side of Zion Park Boulevard. After packing as much as we could into the hours between 5 pm and the fall of darkness, we ended up here in our search for a place to eat.This is a combination motel and restaurant with a cowboy/western/wilderness look and feel. The buildi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 7, 2006

Pioneer Restaurant
828 Zion Park Boulevard
Zion National Park, Utah
435-772-3009

Zion Lodge

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Attraction | "Hiking Zion: Court of the Patriarchs to Zion Lodge"

View from Zion Shuttle Photo, Springdale, Utah
Quote:
We arrived in Springdale later than we’d anticipated, mostly because I didn’t realize that we’d change time zones between Las Vegas and Utah. After settling our accommodations, we headed to the car for the short drive to the park, anxious to begin our experience in the canyon.Dropping the car at the visitor center, we raced to catch the waiting shuttle. As we headed north up the canyon, the early evening sun illuminated the east rim, making the sandstone glow nearly golden in color. The three-mile ride to Court of the Patriarchs had us scrambling from one side of the articulated bus to the other, pressing our faces into the half-open windows, looking up the faces of the cliffs to the templ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 7, 2006

Zion Lodge
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, Utah 84767
(435) 772-7700

Zion Shuttle Bus

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Attraction

Zion Shuttle Bus Photo, Zion National Park, Utah
Quote:
If you’re here from April–October, you’ll probably have lots of company. Over 2.5 million people visit Zion each year, more than enough to overwhelm the narrow scenic drive that takes you up the canyon carved out by the Virgin River. Ten years ago, the park service instituted a seasonal mandatory shuttle system, the only way to reach Scenic Drive above the Junction in high season.It appears to be a huge success. The buses run every 6-10 minutes for the majority of a summer day, usually with enough room to get everyone at a stop (download the latest Zion Park Guide from the Park services for full details on the schedule, plus a really complete ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 7, 2006

Zion Shuttle Bus
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, Utah 84767
(435) 772-3256

Weeping Rock Trail

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Attraction | "Falling Water: Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock"

Above Lower Emerald Pool Photo, Zion National Park, Utah
Quote:
These two sites are beautiful, popular, paved, easy to reach—and both teach you something about Zion’s geology. At each site you’ll find water coming from the rock, but for different reasons. The Emerald Pools are a pair of waterfall-fed ponds, whose moisture is funneled from the large slot canyon above to the little oasis here on the bluffs. Trails start west of the footbridge over the river at Zion Lodge—turn right for the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, and left for the steeper Middle trail along the bluff. We started up the lower trail in early morning, while the Sun was entering the canyon and taking the chill out of the air. The trail followed the riverbank for a quarter-mile, with ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 7, 2006

Weeping Rock Trail
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, Utah 84767
(435) 772-3256

Dining and Hanging Out at Zion Lodge

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Story/Tip

Zion Lodge Photo, Zion National Park, Utah
Quote:
Zion Lodge sits in a beautiful spot, where the canyon floor widens enough to allow the river, a road, and a suite of buildings to occupy nearly the same ground. Since the canyon is still, and will forever be, prone to landslides, there are plenty of places where rock formerly resident on the vertical faces is now filling in the floor below. What makes this spot even more beautiful is its location opposite one of the prettiest cliffs: if you land a restaurant table by the windows or on the patio (which you should), you look right at it—and if your neck muscles can handle it, up it.Like the lodge at the North Rim, this one is a replacement. Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed the original—one...Read More
Riverside Walk Photo, Zion National Park, Utah
Quote:
Narrow canyon… flash flood danger… a family adventure? After a lot of reading, I proposed to our crew that we make this our major outing in Zion. After some conversation and additional looking around, we decided to devote an afternoon to hiking the Narrows of the Virgin River. We were very glad we did. Looking back on our whole trip on the Plateau, this was one of everyone’s favorite experiences. Chances are, you’ve never done anything like this: the whole hike takes place in the river, at the bottom of a small-scale version of Zion’s vertical sandstone canyons. Zion is a pretty intimate place, but there’s a whole ‘nother level of intimacy here, as you lean on those walls for support against the water...Read More

Kolob Canyons: Zion's Northwest Corner

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Story/Tip

Visitor Center at Kolob Canyons Photo, Zion National Park, Utah
Quote:
Red Zion instead of white, this is a smaller and much less visited part of the park. Kolob has to be one of the few National Park areas reached directly from an expressway off-ramp, but by the time the scenic drive curves away and heads east up Taylor Creek, I-15 could be a light-year away. This area was set aside as Zion National Monument in the mid-thirties, and incorporated into the park two decades later. Although only 20 miles from Zion Canyon, it’s an hour drive from Springdale. Given that separation between the two canyons, Kolob is still essentially its own place. It was easiest for us to visit as we returned to Vegas on the last leg of our trip, eight days after leaving Zion Canyo...Read More