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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Zion National Park

Zion National Park was next on our tour of national parks in Utah during our trip West a few weeks ago. Although it was the last national park we visited in Utah, it was the first national park to be established in that state. Most of our previous experiences in viewing canyons involved looking down into them from the rim. Zion National Park is different in that visitors drive through it at the bottom of the canyon, looking up at the canyon walls towering over them.

Actually, it was a bit frustrating at times, because we couldn't see the tops of the cliffs without stopping and getting out of the car to do so. Our necks and backs were getting tired from leaning forward and cocking our heads in an attempt to not miss anything.

IMG_3713_Zion_National_Park_Panorama
Zion National Park

My camera has this neat "stitching" feature that allows me to take multiple photos and then stitch them together to make one "panorama" image. The above photo is an example of that.

We drove from the south entrance of the park to the east entrance, a distance of about 10 miles, on Utah Highway 9. The scenery was, of course, beautiful. Following is another photo from that drive:

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Since private vehicles are not permitted on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, we returned to the Visitor Center at the South Entrance and caught one of the free shuttles for that part of the park.

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The Court of the Patriarchs...Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

IMG_3768_Emerald_Pools_Trail_Zion_National_Park
I took this shot as we walked along a trail to the Emerald Pools. The destination of the hike was a bit disappointing, but the scenery along the trail made it worthwhile.

IMG_3780_Rock_Climber_Zion_National_Park
The sheer rock walls of the canyon attract rock climbers.

As the day wound down and sunset was nearing, we drove to another section of the park known as Kolob Canyons. Park literature recommended seeing this area at sunset because of the effect of the setting sun on the rock walls of the canyon. It proved to be good advice, as you will see in the following images.

IMG_3811_Kolob_Canyon_Zion_National_Park

IMG_3812_Kolob_Canyon_Zion_National_Park_Panorama

IMG_3825_Kolob_Canyon_Zion_National_Park_Panorama

The road through Kolob Canyons is only about five miles, but it proved to be the highlight of our visit to Zion National Park. Compared to the busyness of the main section of the park, Kolob Canyons was so peaceful. There were very few people there. I think we saw only about a half-dozen other vehicles...if that many. It was a wonderful way to end our day of sightseeing.

11 comments:

  1. Oh Linda, You all did almost everything we did on our trip... These photos brought back so many great memories. We loved Kolob Canyon --like you did, since it wasn't crowded and was so peaceful...

    I did not enjoy riding the shuttles at Zion. We were there on a very hot day and it was very crowded. I would love to go back to Zion when I can drive up there.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  2. How beautiful, these places you've roamed. Those canyon walls sure do come alive with the setting sun. Wonderful photos, Linda.

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  3. Very nice shots, I can see why you wouldn't want to miss this.

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  4. Betsy - Yep, we were following in your footsteps during much of this trip. Kolob Canyon was so refreshing, with its peaceful beauty, after the crowds in the rest of the park. We were there in late September. It was still hot, but it might not have been quite as crowded as when you were there.

    Hilary - Thanks so much for your always-kind words.

    Steve - Thanks kindly. It was hard to take a bad picture out there. :)

    Thank you, Ruth.

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  5. Looks like the same guy we saw hanging on the rock wall when we were there in April!!! Great pics!!!

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  6. Beckie - If that's true, I'd rather think that this was a return visit for him than that he's been hanging there since April. Surely someone would have noticed. :)

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  7. Nice job using that stitching feature! That makes some really great panoramic shots! The sun really paints the canyons into beautiful colors.

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  8. Thanks, Elizabeth. I had fun with the stitching feature, once I figured it out. And you're certainly right about the sun painting the canyon walls.

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  9. Gorgeous! The "sheer wall attracts rock climbers"? To a none climber, that's just crazy. I'd run the other way as fast as I could!

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  10. Sandra - I couldn't agree more. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

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