West Rim Trail in Zion National Park. Photo by Na- Wikimedia

Top 10 Facts about the Zion National Park


 

Zion National Park is the most visited park in Utah, 4 million people to be precise, visit the park annually.

There are several attractions in this park that attract all these people, both local and international. Some of these attractions are Angel’s Landing, Weeping Rock, Checkerboard Mesa as well as the Narrows.

It is interesting to learn that the Park was once covered by water. With time, the still water became rivers that dried up. Dunes were formed in the process when it became a desert.

This led to the formation of the beautiful sandstone cliffs that we see today. As nature took its course, erosion made the rock cliffs crop out. This process has been going on for the last 150 million years.   

Zion National Park was established in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. This national treasure has the most scenic views, vibrant floating gardens and mesmerising waterfalls.

As you plan your trip to this Park, here are some useful and interesting 10 facts that will come in handy during your trip.

1. It was known as Mukuntuweap National Monument

In 1909, President William Howard Taft decreed the area, then known as Mukuntuweap, a National Monument to protect the canyon. This was under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

A proposal for a name change was drafted in 1918 by Horace Albright. He was the director of the newly created National Park Service.

The park was named Zion Monument, this name was perceived to be easy to pronounce and attractive to tourists. It covers an area of 229 square miles.

2. The Kolob Canyon and the Zion National Park were once separate

By Diliff – Wikimedia

The Kolob canyon was separate from the Zion National Monument in 1937. It was incorporated into the national park in 1956.

The Kolob canyon has nine rock formations that represent 150 million years of Mesozoic-aged sedimentation.

Before the formation of the rocks, the area was covered by shallow seas, lakes, deserts and streams.

3. It took 3 years to construct the highway leading to Zion National Park

After the Zion National Park was established, the location became a concern since it was not easily accessible.

The park had become popular but the challenge was how to get there. This led to the construction of a 25-mile Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway in 1930.

Workers had to blast through 5613 feet of sandstone cliff through Mt. Carmel. In the process, they created a manmade window with impressive panoramic views of the park beyond.

The Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel is one thing not to miss.  

4.  Human occupation in the Zion Canyon dates back to 8,000 years ago

Archaeologists have identified evidence from the Ancient culture between 7,000 BCE to 300 BCE, Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont cultures from 300 BCE to AD 1225, and Southern Paiute culture from AD 1250 to today.

Small groups of Native Americans lived in the area around the Zion National Park more than 8,000 years ago.

Mormons moved into the area in 1858 and settled there in the early 1860s.

Evidence of their time in this area exist to date. There are granaries and old roads that show their innovativeness and skill.

5. The Angel’s Landing is both beautiful and dangerous

West Rim Trail in Zion National Park. Photo by Na- Wikimedia

Zion’s Angels Landing offers the most spectacular views. It is 1,488 feet above the Virgin River.

This makes it dangerous because of the many switchbacks, exposed edges and long drop-offs.

A hike on this trail is not for the fainthearted. The trail is 2.2 miles long. It can be enjoyed when one goes prepared and is careful.

6. The beautiful features of the Canyon are due to years of erosion by water

By Doc James – Wikimedia

The Kolob Canyon at Zion park is experienced from the bottom. This means that one walks through the towering cliffs and sometimes through the shallow water of the Virgin River.

These beautiful rocks were formed from the constant flow of fast-moving water through them. The result was the uplift joints in the rocks.    

During the Cenozoic era, most of the rocks were removed while others were turned flat into plateaus. Lava flow later covered parts of the area.

The Virgin River continuously carve and shape the canyon. About 1 million tons of sediment is washed away during flash floods.

7. The Park is home to endangered flora and fauna

By Philip N. Cohen – Wikimedia

The California Condor is the largest flying bird in North America. It is found in Zion National Park.

Their wingspan is 10 feet from tip to tip and flies at 55miles per hour, 15,000 feet high.

The population of the birds was affected by lead poisoning making them an endangered species. They are under a captive breeding programme to help save them from extinction.

There are other animals and plants at Zion National Park. The park is home to 79 different species of mammals, 32 species of reptiles and 290 species of birds.

8. Zion National Park has one of the largest freestanding arches

Located in the backcountry of Zion National Park is Kolob Canyons District. Within the canyon is the Kolob Arch.

It forms a majestic curve that looks like a giant wing. This arch is one of the world’s largest arches spanning 287 feet.

9. About 5 million people visit Zion National Park annually

The Zion National Park attracts more than 5 million visitors a year. This number keeps increasing every decade.

These tourists are drawn by the beautiful landscape and its proximity to Las Vegas.

The tourists spend their time at Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, Observation Point, and Emerald Pools.

10. The Zion National Park is a paradise for hikers and rock climbers

West Rim Trail in Zion National Park. Photo by Na- Wikimedia

There are many hiking opportunities along the floor of the Canyon that is about 20 to 30 feet wide, it is known as The Narrows.

The trails differ in elevation. Some have high ascents that may be challenging for beginners.

One of the most challenging trails is Angel’s Landing. It is 2.2 miles at an elevation of above 5,790 feet. There are 21 bends.