The Magnificent Zion National Park

One of nature's very amazing natural wonders!

Zion National Park is in southwest Utah, 160 miles north of Las Vegas
Millions of years ago this area was a desert bigger than the Sahara
Minerals in rain water, the immense weight of sand a mile deep and an endless supply of time turned a sand dune into a sandstone mountain.
The erosion caused by wind, rain, snow, glaciers and the Virgin River over the course of millions of years created Zion canyon.

The road through Zion Canyon is about 10 miles long
There are unique mountains like this one every step of the way
And both sides of the canyon are equally adorned
It's easy to imagine seeing many faces and figures in these rocks
Monolith in Zion National Park

Every mountain top is unique with it's own colors and shapes
The roads in Zion use sand from the region which blends in so well with the local color
close to Zion National Park

The park has massive natural sand sculptures in every shape and color
And they are all over the park! Look at the lines and colors of this one
Sandstone mountain in Zion

This is the Virgin River as it runs through Zion Canyon
Its hard to imagine that this small river was responsible for carving this entire canyon!
The Virgin River starts near Navajo lake north of Zion and empties into Lake Mead
It is one of the steepest rivers in the world, descending 8000 feet in only 200 miles
The Virgin River in Spring

Here is the pedestrian entrance
If you are over 55, you can buy a senior pass for a one time charge of $20.
After that, you get a life time of free attendance at all national parks!
sign at the pedestrian entrance to Zion National Park

Zion National Park has many great hiking trails,
but Angels Landing seen here is the most spectacular
It got its name because it was thought that only an Angel could land there
Its a thin sliver of sandstone 1480 feet tall
centered in it's own round natural amphitheater
Angels Landing

This post card picture was taken from the West Rim trail
You can see the finger of land that is Angels landing
And the series of 20 switchbacks that are called Walter's Wiggles
Zion National Park - Walters Wiggels - Angels Landing

It looks like the trail is leading to a sheer wall,
but the trail goes most of the way up this mountain
before it turns into a tall narrow crevice
Start of the trail to Angels Landing

Here is looking back at the trail before the turn into the crevice
Switchbacks in the trail to Angels Landing in Zion National Park

and here is what it looks like in the crevice
trail to Angels Landing in Zion National Park

It's Walter's Wiggles!
Twenty short switch backs with a big altitude gain
Walter's Wiggles in Zion National Park

This is what the last half mile and the last few hundred feet of elevation gain look like
The trail up to this point did not require you to use your hands
Past this point there are several sections of chains that are secured to posts that are anchored in the rock
the last part of the Angels Landing trail
For a large 14 megapixel picture, click on  Close up
There are over a dozen people on the trail in this picture!
You can see them if you zoom in on the highly detailed close up

There are long sections guided by chain near the top of the trail
If looks scary from this vantage point, but it is not that bad with a thick chain for support
Just stop walking before you look around at the scenery, this trail demands your attention!
chains on the Angels Landing Trail

This is probably the scariest passage on the trail
The "trail" is on slanting sandstone almost too steep to stand on
It doesn't look it, but the fall is several hundred feet
I learned the meaning of "hold on for dear life"
treacherous trail in Zion National Park

This part of the trail will challenge your courage
Its about 1000 feet down on one side and 1200 feet down on the other!
They sort of put some steps in the trail, but they are uneven and irregular like the rest of the mountain
Land bridge to Angels Landing with dropoffs

Here are some of the chains near the top of the hike
I think I also sat down where the lady is on the way down
The scary part being is a spot like this lady is,
and another hiker grabs the chain, which pulls on your part of the chain!
near the top of the Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park

Finally at the end of the trail, a 2.5 mile journey and 1480 feet up
This is the view of Zion Canyon looking south
View from Angels Landing

This is looking up the canyon to the north
Angels Landing view

And here I am at the resting place of Angels
Me at the top of Angels Landing

Here I am in a picture from about 30 years ago
This is the end of the trail to Observation Point
Its 8 miles round trip with an elevation gain of over 2100 feet
The first 3 miles are at a constant 13.5% grade and there is little to no shade
It's a difficult climb but the view from the top is spectacular
Angels landing can be seen in this picture,
its the ridge of land between my fellow hikers
Observation Point trailend

Looking at this makes me wonder what happened -
With all of the tremendous forces of nature at work that created this canyon,
why did nature spare this peak and go around it for millions of years?
And why did nature go around a tall skinny sliver of land like Angels Landing?
Zion Canyon from Angels Landing

Other Incredible parts of Zion National Park

This is the trail to the Virgin River Narrows
At this point the canyon is relatively wide
Soon the canyon will narrow to only several feet
The trail to the Virgin River Narrows

This is where the path ends and you have to walk in the stream
Try to wear sneakers with a lot of rubber around the outsides,
Walking on the slippery rocks makes your feet slide and hit other rocks
the Virgin River Narrows trail as it enters the water

This is deep inside the Virgin River Narrows
Only a fraction of the height of the canyon walls are visible in this picture
The median width is 18 feet wide and the median height is 1800 feet,
mostly straight up on both sides.
The Narrows are just like this for well over 10 miles
The Virgin River Narrows

This Hershey's kiss shaped mountain is Checkerboard Mesa
The horizontal lines were carved by glaciers
The vertical lines were caused by erosion
Look at the cars at the bottom to get an idea of the size of this mountain
Checkerboard Mesa
Thanks for looking!


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