Zion National Park located near Springdale, Utah has 229 square miles (590 km2) and features Zion Canyon, a 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish Navajo Sandstone by the Virgin River. The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain.
Flora & fauna
Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park’s unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity.
Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park’s four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest.
Common plant species include cottonwood, Cactus, Datura, Juniper, Pine, Boxelder, Sagebrush, yucca , and various willows. Notable megafauna include mountain lions, mule deer, and Golden Eagles, along with the reintroduced Bighorn Sheep. Zion´s also has rare and endangered species such as the Peregrine Falcon, Mexican spotted owl, California condor, desert tortoise, and the Zion snail, found nowhere else on earth. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.
Notable geographical features of the park include: Virgin River Narrows, Emerald Pools , Hidden Canyon Angels Landing , The Great White Throne, Checkerboard Mesa , The Three Patriarchs and Kolob Arch.
The National Park is open throughout the year, but from December to March there are no bus services to the park and no accommodation for visitors. Between May and October temperatures frequently rise above 99°F/37°C, and there are often short, violent thunderstorms during the afternoon in July and August. The best times for a visit to the National Park is spring and autumn.
Seven popular trails with round-trip times of half an hour (Weeping Rock) to 4 hours (Angels Landing) are found in Zion Canyon.
Hiking up into The Narrows (Zion National Park) from the Temple of Sinawava is popular in summer. Orderville Canyon, a narrower slot canyon, is also popular. Backpacking down The Narrows from the top takes 12 hours. Other often-used backcountry trails include the West Rim and LaVerkin Creek.
Zion is a center for rock climbing, with short walls like Touchstone, Moonlight Buttress, Spaceshot, and Prodigal Son being very popular.
Lodging in the park is available at Zion Lodge that is open year-round and has motel units and cabins, as well as a restaurant, café, and gift shop, but rooms fill up fast. Also three campgrounds are available. Adjacent to the park on the south is the town of Springdale, Utah, which offers services such as lodging, food, and entertainment.
Guided horseback riding trips, nature walks, and evening programs are available from late March to early November.