After seeing Hoover Dam and the new bypass bridge, I was back on the road by noon. I skirted Las Vegas and headed northeast on I-15 to St. George, Utah. Just north of St. George I left the interstate and headed east on UT-9; I arrived at Springdale, Utah at the mouth of Zion Canyon and entrance to Zion National Park around 3:00 PM. The elevation of Springdale is a little over 3,000 feet, but the sheer cliffs on both sides of the canyon rise to over 7,000 feet.
The area was settled by the Mormons in the mid-1800’s, which heavily influenced the naming of many of the natural points of interest: e.g. Court of the Patriarchs, The Great White Throne, Angel’s Landing, The Temple of Sinawava, etc. The names of three peaks in this picture are (from l. to r.) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This is UT-9, a scenic route winding through southern part of Zion Canyon. About three miles up the road is a narrow mile-long tunnel through the mountain. No hikers or cyclists (Geez, I’ve never seen so many cyclists — thought I was in Portland, OR) are allowed in the tunnel, so I gave two hikers a lift through the tunnel so they could hike over the mountain back to their car.
This was the view from my campsite, pretty decent. It didn’t take me long to pitch my tent, I slept in the car.
I was really disgusted with myself for leaving my wide-angle lens in the car when I set out for the morning. If I ever needed a wide angle lens, it was in Zion NP. The canyon is so narrow and the peaks so high, I couldn’t get everything in the shot — just too close to everything. Consequently, I’m not too wild about any of the shots I took during my brief stay.
Zion NP is another government facility that takes every precaution to keep their assets from walking off.
This turkey tom is a daily visitor at the coffee shop near the Zion Canyon Lodge. He pecks on the door demanding service, working himself into a frenzy when his demands aren’t met. During his tirade, paying customers on the outside give him a wide berth, postponing their morning coffee, while the customers inside get quite a show.
Starting at the Temple of Sinawava, there is a very easy 1.1 mile paved trail that follows the Virgin River up the narrow canyon. The canyon narrows considerably as you head up stream.
I really don’t like this shot, a little over saturated, looks like it came out of a coloring book. Anyway, at the end of the paved path the trail to the iconic Narrows begins, the slot canyon that is barely wide enough for one person and gets sunlight only during the middle of the day. The trail begins on the rocks after fording the Virgin River, is approx. 5 miles one way to reach the Narrows, and much of the trail is in the river. I didn’t take this one.
I limited my excitement to the half-mile Canyon Overlook Trail; short, but with several places to stop and ask myself, “Hmmm, was this built by the lowest bidder?” The trail starts at the east end to the Mount Carmel tunnel and ends at an overlook that gives a wide vista of the canyon and the entrance to the tunnel on the west end.
In the bottom half of the picture, you can see UT-9 winding its way up the mountain to the west end of the tunnel.
I saw a lot in less than 24 hours. Next stop, Bryce Canyon NP.
Thought for the Day: I changed my iPod’s name to “Titanic”; it’s syncing now.