People plan entire vacations around going to Zion National Park. It would be easy to write it off as simply wanting to experience the absurd level of natural beauty here, which is absolutely true. But there’s more to Zion than that.
This is a place where visitors can reconnect with nature on a deeply personal level while disconnecting from everything troubling them in their regular lives. It is one of the top National Parks in the United States, and one that everybody should experience at least once.
Establishing Zion National Park
Covering almost 230,000 square miles of southwestern Utah, Zion National Park is one of the most interesting of its kind in the United States. The first human habitation in the region dates back 8000 years ago, making it a historic area.
That being said, the park itself was established much more recently in November 1919, meaning it celebrated its 100th anniversary less than two years ago. There were a variety of reasons for creating this park, but there was, and is, one core purpose.
Zion Canyon and the almost unbelievably colorful Navajo sandstone canyons are the main features of the region. The National Park was established to protect and preserve them while simultaneously maintaining access to these natural wonders.
Interest in the canyons was spurred on by artist Frederick S. Dellenbaugh starting in 1904. His stunning paintings drew an abundance of attention from the public, which led direct to the establishment of the park several years later.
The flora and fauna
Part of what makes Zion National Park so interesting is the extreme level of biodiversity that can be found there. It covers a point where the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions a meet, creating a huge range of environments.
Because of this, visitors end up seeing a wide variety of geological formations, including gorgeous natural arches, mesas and monoliths. At the same time, there are lush river valleys and coniferous forests to spend time in.
Zion is a marvelous place to go birding, with almost 300 species of birds living in the park. That includes several predatory species. Red-Tailed Hawks, Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and more can regularly be spotted hunting around the park.
Beyond that, there are dozens of species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians in Zion National Park. That includes 19 species of bats. Day and night, keep your eyes peeled for the surprising range of wildlife that’s all over place.
So much to do
First and foremost, you’re going to want to take in the beautiful scenery of the park. There are numerous ways to do this, from backcountry hikes to driving through the key areas. Multiple major landmarks and formations are can be found on any path.
Make sure you stop by the Human History Museum. This is the place to learn about the thousands of years of history relating to human habitation of the region, including the Indigenous peoples who have first appeared in the area through the pioneers and beyond.
If you’re feeling especially bold, there are several opportunities for canyoneering and rock climbing. This might not be for everyone, but for interested parties this could be an absolute blast. But if you’re looking for something more low key, check out the horseback canyon trail rides.
The reality of Zion National Park is that it is overflowing with natural wonders, an exceptional variety of flora and fauna, and experiences to suit any taste. This is certainly a place to plan a vacation for yourself or the entire family.