Located in Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park was the Beehive State’s first national park. Although a good percentage of the park is designated as wilderness, there are many developed areas which can be visited with a minimal effort. At the top of the list is Zion Canyon, a 15-mile drive bordered by spectacular sandstone cliffs. Over on the west side of the park, Kolob Canyons offers a more bucolic view of the Colorado Plateau; while the eastern Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway connects Zion with Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. No matter where you look, there’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery in this national park.
- Don’t miss the free Ride with a Ranger Tours that are offered twice daily on the park shuttle buses. These two-hour narrated tours include several stops along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Advance reservations are required, and they can be made up to three days in advance. And the good news is, all park shuttle buses are lift-equipped, so everyone can enjoy these tours.
- If you want to dodge the crowds, then explore the five-mile long Kolob Canyons Scenic Byway, located in the northwestern corner of the park. This scenic route climbs 1,000 feet in elevation and offers great views of the red Navajo sandstone canyon walls along the way. There are a number of paved pullouts on the route, and although none of them are striped, they are strategically placed so you can get good windshield views.
- For a very accessible place to rest your head, consider staying in cabin 529 at Zion Lodge. This historic cabin dates back to the 1920s, and it includes a queen-sized bed and a bathroom with a roll-in shower. As an added bonus, this lodge is one of the most scenic national park properties around, as it’s surrounded by Zion Canyon.