Zion National Park

Fun Places to Visit in Utah...

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No Utah vacation is complete without a visit to Zion National Park. If you are planning a family vacation to Utah,
then a trip to Zion should be high on your list of places to visit. Zion National Park is located in the southwestern
part of the state about halfway between St. George and Cedar City. The south entrance of the park is at
Springdale, Utah, but there is also an entrance on the east side of the park. When we visited we entered the park
through the Springdale entrance.

Lodging and food service is available inside the park, although nearby cities offer a wider selection. If you intend to
see Bryce Canyon on your trip then you may want to consider using Cedar City as your base camp since it offers a
wide range of services and it is about halfway between Zion and Bryce Canyon. This location worked out well on our
trip and allowed us to visit both parks.

For those who have visited
Bryce Canyon much of your time is spent viewing the canyon from the above plateau
rim and if you are adventurous you can hike down the trails into the canyon floor. Zion offers just the opposite.
Typically, you are looking up from the canyon floor and travel along the beautiful Virgin River. From here you have
great views of the majestic peaks above which are adorned in a wide range of colors. If you are adventurous then
you can hike trails up from the canyon floor to the peaks above. When visiting either park it is impossible to take it
all in behind the wheel of your car or in a shuttle bus. You can experience much this way, and see some
breathtaking scenery, but to gain a greater appreciation you will need to do some hiking.

Below are some pictures of Zion National Park from the Springdale entrance when we visited in June of 2008. Enjoy!
utah vacations - zion national park
zion canyon springdale shuttle loop
court of the patriarchs - abraham peak, isaac peak
court of the patriarchs -  isaac peak, mount moroni, jacob peak
zion canyon springdale loop
zion canyon springdale loop
zion shuttles - covered waiting area
zion shuttle buses
the organ and the great white throne
zion canyon springdale loop scenery
zion canyon scenery
Beginning of the Emerald Pools Trail
Emeralds Pool Trail - Peaks Above
Emeralds Pool Trail - Virgin River looking north from bridge
Emeralds Pool Trail - Virgin River looking south from bridge
As mentioned earlier, its difficult to experience something as expansive as Zion National Park without getting off
the beaten trail and doing some hiking. Fortunately, Zion offers many hiking trails to choose from where you can
experience more of the park. Some of these are fairly short, but still quite rewarding, and others are longer and
more difficult and more geared toward the back country enthusiast.

The Emerald Pools Trail is about 2 miles round-trip and begins near the Zion Lodge or Grotto Picnic Area. This
trail crosses over the Virgin River and continues up the canyon. It offers some very nice views of the peaks above
and has great views of the river as you travel higher up the canyon. Below are some pictures taken along the trail
in the Summer of 2008.
Emeralds Pool Trail scenery
Emeralds Pool Trail - peaks above
Emeralds Pool Trail - well maintained
Emeralds Pool Trail - View of Virgin River from above
Emeralds Pool Trail scenery
Emeralds Pool Trail - water fall above pool
Emeralds Pool Trail scenery
Emeralds Pool Trail scenery
One of the last shuttle stops on the Zion Canyon Springdale Loop is at the Temple of Sinawava. This is well worth
the short hike from the shuttle stop to see this. Especially on a warm day, it offers a great chance to splash around
in some clear, refreshing water and cool down a bit.
zion temple of sinawava
zion temple of sinawava - virgin river
zion temple of sinawava - scenery
zion temple of sinawava - virgin river
zion temple of sinawava - virgin river
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