Nothing says summer like spending time in the great outdoors. With the temperatures getting warmer, and the official start of summer just weeks away, now is the right time to start thinking of where to go for that perfect outdoor getaway. Leafcanoer, Daijie, has plenty of suggestions for places to experience the outdoors. One such place is Zion National Park, which Daijie shares in her leaf titled, “Zion Family Adventure.”
Zion National Park is located near Springdale, Utah, in the Southwestern part of the United States. It covers an area of 229 square miles, and features geological highlights like a 15 mile long and half mile deep canyon called Zion Canyon, freestanding arches, and a tributary of the Colorado River called Virgin River. Popular among avid hikers and day trippers alike, Zion National Park offers beautiful views, and an abundance of outdoor activities to keep any visitor happy and satisfied.
Zion National Park has a long and varied history. The first people to have inhabited the area that is now part of Zion were called the Anasazi. Known to be the ancestors of the Pueblo Native Americans, the Anasazi lifestyle centered on agriculture and the cultivation of crops. Despite being in the middle of the desert, Zion offered three things that made farming in the area ideal: a level area for growing crops, a river, and an adequate growing season. After years of living off the land, however, drought and overuse led the Anasazi to move southeast. Subsequent inhabitants of Zion have come and gone, including the Paiute people, as well as European and American settlers. All of these people had to cope with the harshness of the desert climate and landscape. For visiting history buffs, there are archaeological sites that exist throughout Zion, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of what life was like for the early inhabitants of this area.
Zion National Park’s diverse natural landscape, formed from 250 million years of changing climates and geography, draws millions of visitors each year, making it one of the most visited national parks in the United States. The park contains geological features ranging from high plateaus, deep sandstone canyons, rivers, springs, and waterfalls. There are also 2,000 foot Navajo sandstone cliffs. Over 1,000 plant species exist in Zion, including prickly pears, cholla, and yucca. Among the wildlife that live at the park are 67 species of mammals, 29 species of reptiles, 7 species of amphibians, 9 species of fish, and 207 species of birds, according to the National Park’s website.
Popular activities for visitors to Zion include backpacking, camping, canyoneering, climbing, and hiking. The park offers 90 miles of trails for backpacking and hiking. There are 37 designated backpacking sites and three campgrounds for drive up camping. For canyoneering and hiking, The Narrows is a great spot to spend the day. Covering the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, the Narrows has a small section that is paved, while the rest of the hike involves wading through the Virgin River. Another popular hike, for the more advanced hiker, is The Subway, a strenuous 9 mile hike that involves route finding, creek crossing, rappelling, and scrambling over boulders.
Another highlight of Zion National Park is Kolob Canyons, which is located 40 miles north of Zion Canyon and 17 miles south of Cedar City. The canyons offer scenic views, which visitors can see along a five-mile drive through Kolob Canyons Road. For a more up close and personal view, visitors to Kolob Canyons can choose to hike the canyons, or go further into the wilderness for backpacking.
Whether visiting for a day trip, or coming for a multi-day camping trip, Zion National Park offers something for everyone. With its beautiful landscape and scenic hikes, Zion National Park is worth a visit at any time of the year.
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