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zion national park lodging

Why Zion National Park

Just a 3-hour drive from the desert region of Las Vegas, in southern Utah, lays an oasis of sandstone cliffs, springs, and majestic canyons carved by winding rivers throughout millions of years.  Zion National Park is a glimpse into the awe-inspiring abilities of Mother Nature’s capabilities. The incredible differences in elevation allow for an abundance of varied habitats including woodlands, desert, riparian, and coniferous forests just to name a few. Visitors to Zion National Park can experience unmatched views and experiences throughout the 148,000-acre area.

Elevations in Zion range from 3,000 feet to a breathtaking (quite literally) 8,700 feet. Horse Ranch Mountain is the highest peak in the park at 8,726 feet in elevation. The towering colorful Navajo Sandstone cliffs, deep and narrow canyons, natural arches, and grand plateaus look like scenery out of a storybook. The geologic makeup of the park exhibits heavy layered formations of sediment, solidified over time into the great formations that exist today.

In the early 1900’s traveling to the park was quite limited due to the lack of accessibility. In 1927 construction began on a 1.1mile tunnel through the Pine Creek Canyon wall connecting Zion Park and Mount Carmel Junction. Construction was done using common mining techniques as opposed to the traditional tunneling techniques that were used in the day. Construction was completed in 1930 with a total cost of $503,000 (about $8,000,000 today). Six “galleries” or large window-type openings were placed throughout the tunnel to provide light and a place to remove debris from the construction out into the canyon below. Today these windows provide light, ventilation, and glimpses of the majestic ravine.

Hiking is the most popular activity in the park, as numerous trails provide accessibility to all different levels of abilities and experience. Trails range from a handicap-accessible 0.5-mile trail along the Virgin River (Riverside Walk) to one of the most thrilling and vertically-exposed trails in the country (Angels Landing). Riverside Walk trail is the most family-friendly trail in the area. It is paved to make it wheelchair accessible and perfect for little ones who may find some of the other trails’ uneven footing too dangerous. Other easy day hikes include Emerald Pools Trails (1.5-3.0 miles) with its spring-fed pools, waterfalls, and gorgeous views of the canyon; Weeping Rock Trail (0.4 miles) that takes you to a bowl-shaped alcove seeping with water; and Canyon Overlook Trail (1.0 mile) that takes you to a perfect overlook high above the canyon’s majestic arch.

For well-experienced hikers, Angels Landing is the hike that you will not want to miss. It is the most popular trail in the park thanks to its famous (or perhaps infamous) path. The 5-mile round trip trail leads up a spine-like path to a peak 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. The strenuous hike includes 2 miles of steep switchbacks and chain-assisted rock scrambling. The trail is not recommended for those with a fear of heights due to the narrow path with exposure to 1,200-1,500-foot drop-offs on either side. Since 2004, 8 people have fallen to their deaths from the trail. Careful attention to your surroundings and cautious navigation are imperative on this trek. Although it can be challenging and intimidating for many, the views and experience make it one of the most rewarding adventures many people will ever experience.

Although hiking is the most popular attraction in the park, visitors also enjoy bicycling, scenic driving, camping, canyoneering, and of course stunning photography opportunities. Zion National Park lodging is found in the cities lying on the outskirts of the park, including Springdale, UT, and Mount Carmel Junction, UT. Springdale is a small year-round tourism-based city, just outside of Zion. The town boasts art galleries, restaurants, shopping, outdoor supply stores, and museums. The most popular lodging for families and tourists in the area are not the extremely busy hotels, but the array of Zion National Park vacation homes. The vacation homes and pet-friendly cabin rentals near Zion in the city of Springdale, Kanab, or Mount Carmel, Utah offer guests an abundance of space to unwind, recoup, and enjoy spending some downtime. Vacation rentals in the area provide not only privacy and seclusion but also magnificent views of the surrounding landscape from your own personal outdoor space. Zion National Park Lodging is also an affordable way for larger groups to stay together, while still being able to retire in individual spaces and bedrooms.

Mount Carmel Junction is located just 12 miles East of the park. The quaint town not only attracts tourists venturing to nearby Zion but also hosts tourists looking for golfing on the Thunderbird Golf Course and off-roading trails in the hills surrounding the city. The area is less congested than Springdale as far as traffic and visitors but still boasts shopping, dining, and beautiful scenery. Mount Carmel Junction vacation home rentals are a great choice for guests in the area. Homes offer secure private parking, privacy, and perfect accommodations for families and groups. The short drive to Zion National Park (12 miles); Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles); Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles); and Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles) make it the perfect location to enjoy a vast array of some of the country’s most magnificent natural wonders.

Zion National Park is unmatched in potential adventures that await you. Let your adventure begin!

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