And Finally: Zion Canyon… One of the World’s Great Natural Treasures

Early morning view of Zion Canyon. Photo taken by Curt Mekemson.
An early morning view of Zion Canyon.

I’ve saved the best for last in my Zion National Park series, and I’ve done it for two reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to emphasize that there are other areas in Zion that deserve your attention, areas of incredible beauty and interest like Kolob Terrace, Kolob Canyon, East Zion, and the petroglyph hike Peggy and I took you on. Second, I wanted to suggest areas that lack the crowds you will face in Zion Canyon. We didn’t see anyone on our petroglyphs hike.

None of this is meant to detract from the beauty and grandeur of the Canyon. There are reasons why millions of people visit it every year. It is one of the great natural wonders of the world. I wouldn’t think of going to Zion National Park without visiting, and I’ve been doing so for 50 years. My first trip there was in 1973. I put on my backpack and hiked up and over the 2000 feet canyon walls to a lovely oasis known by the unglamorous name of Potato Hollow. Nobody was there, either. Grin. I remember the aspens carved with names of early Basque sheep herders and a cool stream. I’m a bit ashamed to mention that I remember the hike down even more. It was 105° F. I finally arrived back at my car with hot, blistered feet where I had an iced cold beer waiting. Something like a Bud. It may have been the best beer I have ever downed. It was so good, I immediately drank a second.

Peggy and I took a shuttle from our campground in the small town of Virgin into Springdale and grabbed a Park shuttle out to the end of the road. It was 7 AM and cold. We then jumped off and on shuttles, stopping at major sites and working our way back to the beginning of the park. We took 200 photos which I then worked down to a hundred and finally the 22 shown below. I’ll skip the commentary today on most of the photos. They speak for themselves. They are split between photos Peggy took and photos I took.

Photo of Zion Canyon by Curt Mekemson
The Virgin River.
For fun.

This wraps up our visit to Zion National Park. Peggy and I hope you have had as much fun with the posts as we had putting them together. Next up is Bryce National Park. Once again we will focus on the surrounding area as well as the four miles of Bryce Canyon most people visit. I’m estimating that there will be seven posts altogether. As you read this we will have finished our trip up the Rhine River and returned to our base camp near Waterford, Virginia. Starting in September, we will be on the road again, this time for five or six months.

We are wrapping up our Rhine River Cruise. Considerable beauty… And lots of castles! This is Marksburg Castle which was one of three we toured.

30 thoughts on “And Finally: Zion Canyon… One of the World’s Great Natural Treasures

  1. In case you were wondering, I’m pretty sure that tree trunk/root is a stegosaurus. So funny to scroll through all those delicious red rock photos and then spot a castle, and my first thought was “There’s a castle like this in Utah?” before I read the rest of the paragraph. ha ha!! Anyway, Zion is right up there with my top favourite parks in the US, and your photos do it justice. It’s always extra special to visit in the spring, when there is lots of water, too.

    • Laughing. Utah has more than its share of castles in the form of Mormon church tabernacles, Crystal, but none like the castles along the Rhine. Stegosaurus? Now we know. 🙂 And isn’t the canyon gorgeous. There’s a reason several thousand people crowd into it every day. Thanks. –Curt

    • The towering cliffs are spectacular, Andrew. I can’t imagine anyone not feeling a bit of awe. FYI: We really enjoyed our river cruise up the Rhine. We are seriously considering one on the Nile, as well. Also, thanks for your recommendation on the Ibis. As I write this, I am looking out our eight floor window at the busy harbor. –Curt

  2. Believe it or not, I was a reluctant visitor to Zion. And then … wow! It really was one of the most beautiful places, and I enjoyed hiking almost every part of the park, including that spectacular canyon.

  3. Great photos of Zion, Curt. And then suddenly the castle at the end. Lol. Well, that’s an entirely different landscape. I hope your Rhine cruise has been wonderful. I’m a fan of castles since we don’t have them here. How fun that you toured a few. I’m looking forward to those posts! And welcome home.

    • Thanks, D. We certainly have no lack of blog material! The Rhine River cruise was great. It will make some fun blogs (once I work my way through the rest of Bryce, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and some other fun places along the way. Peggy and I have already scheduled our next river trip. This one on the Nile, which has been on my bucket list for decades. –Curt

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