Zion National Park (est. 1919) in Utah has a rich human history dating back over 8,000 years, with evidence of the Paiute people and later Mormon pioneers found throughout the area. But honestly, most visitors come for the natural grandeur. Towering cliffs, painterly rock strata, sweeping vistas, the cooling Virgin River, and outrageous geological formations carved by wind and water.
Zion’s trails offer breathtaking views. The towering red and white cliffs of the iconic Zion Canyon seem to stretch to the heavens. The most popular Angels Landing trail offers a thrilling ascent to the top of a towering cliff. The Narrows leads through a dramatic slot canyon; Emerald Pools leads to a series of beautiful waterfalls and pools.
The southern gateway town of Springdale offers diverse dining and lodging options, galleries, and shops. Just what you’d expect. The park’s shuttle system makes it easy to get around – except for the crowds. Absolutely don’t miss the less-visited northern Kolob Canyons district. — Kim Grant