Zion National Park

In Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park is sprawled over a large area of 593.26 square kilometres! It houses 4 distinct ecosystems- desert, riparian, woodland and coniferous forest. Because of these zones that coexist in harmony, the park features an extremely unique diversity of flora and fauna. 

However, Zion’s popularity largely stems from its gargantuan geological formations. With canyons, rivers, mountains, monoliths and more, this National Park is a paradise for hikers. There is so much to do and see which can barely be completed in a single visit! In this feature, we will be looking at 4 scenic hikes in Zion National Park!

 

Watchman’s Trail

zion national park

View from Watchman’s Trail | picture credits:Lonni Besançon

 

Often overelooked, this short trail is suitable for everyone! It covers a short distance of 3.3 miles (to and fro). As you wonder along the trail, admire the breathtaking scenery that will surround you. The trail slithers through the park and allows you to revel in the sights of Bridge Mountain, The Watchman, the Virgin River and the Towers of the Virgin! 

 

The Zion Narrows 

zion national park

 

If you are in a for a little challenge, this is the trail for you! Variable and stretching over 16 miles, the difficulty level of this trail can be adjusted to your preference. This is the Park’s most famous trail with reason! Get to navigate through the narrow canyons as you wade in the river. Water levels depend on the weather and the season. While the levels are usually low, flash floods, run-offs and storms can result in the closure of the canyon due to high water levels! Before embarking on this trail do check the weather forecast or ask the visitor centre for information. Adjusting the difficulty of the trail is dependent on hikers as they can turn back at any point of time if the trail gets too taxing. A moderately difficult hike would last approximately 6 hours (to and fro). 

 

Hidden Canyon 

Walking through a narrow path | photo credits:GPA Photo Archive

 

Adrenaline junkies rejoice! This strenous trail is may be short (2.2 miles) but it is steep. It is lodged between the Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne. Relatively unexplored by the large crowds that flock to the National Park daily, this trail is perfect for you to take your time and bask in the views of the humongous geological structures that skirt the trail. The trail moves up approximately 300 metres over steep rocks and drop offs. Navigating some parts are incredibly tricky and you would need to suport yourself on chains, etched onto the rocks. Owing to the unsteady terrain, this hike is not suitable for children and those who cannot balance well. Encounter stretches of water and moss-slicked rocks while you embark on your journey. Prepare to get wet and feel your heart thumping through your chest!

 

South Fork of Taylor Creek 

Navajo Sandstone | photo credits: James St. John

 

Lodged in the quieter Kolob area of the National Park, this moderately easy trail is family friendly and caters to those who wish to escape from the crowds of larger trails such as Angel’s Landing. As you trudge on the trail, notice the unique iron-oxide rich canyon walls that erupts in brilliant shades of orange and red! Move up the landslide hill towards the highest point at 800-ft where dense greenery births a whole new life zone of unique flora. Unlike the other trails, this does not pass through waterbodies so your shoes will stay dry. 

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