The Oasis With It All
With mountains to trek and ski, canyons and boulder fields to climb, and everything in-between, Utah really has it all, it’s actually really surprising they have to advertise to adventurers. The topography and environment in this west-southwest state provides adventurers with endless backcountry entertainment. In fact, Utah is home to five national parks, one of which being Zion.
Zion is a canyon oasis of high cliffs, lush valleys, and water carved stone. It’s a menagerie of colors and life, and there are trails that lead through all of it. These trails lead to the high peaks and plateaus of Angles Landing and the Valley Overlook, and lead through the slot canyon of the Subway. But between these two extremes is where all the rest of the excitement of Zion is found. Climbers from around the world venture to Zion to test their skills and abilities on the vast rock walls that create Zion’s canyons. For many climbers Zion is the grandstand of traditional and sport climbing. So, if it’s superior climbing you seek, look no further than the red rock walls of Zion.
Equal to it’s fine climbing, Zion provides alluring hikes and backpacking trips as well. There are over ninety-miles of trails that traverse the watery narrow canyons, cliff edges, and tree shaded valleys of the park. Each trail offers a unique experience some lasting thirty minutes for a round trip while others can last all day and even multiple days depending on the adventure you’re looking for. Really, you can’t go wrong in Zion. Some parks you must choose wisely where you will trek and spend you backcountry permit, this is simply not the case in Zion, you’re sure to see something cool and experience something new wherever you explore.
On one trek through the park, I hiked the high switchbacks of weeping rock, but while in route to the top of the canyon I detoured to the park overlook. There I watched over the entire valley floor. The view of the meandering Virgin River that was surrounded by green trees and carpeted brush of the low-ground shifted as the peaks of red, orange, and ten grew from it toward the blue cloud spotted sky. I sat for some time while the day moved on shifting the light and changing the view below. As much as I wanted to stay and take it all in I knew I had to move on to where I would stay for the night, before it got too dark.
I traveled back down to where I met my detour and continued up the other side until I had once again reached the top. Once there, the ground leveled off and appeared flat in all directions as if there was no canyon at all. It was here that I set camp and enjoyed the shifting Utah sky that stretched forever until the stars shined bright and the moon cast shadows in the night.
At the time of this writing the entrance fee to the park is $30.00 for personal vehicles, $25.00 for motorcycles, and $15.00 per person if walking in. And permits are required for some hiking, camping, canyoneering, climbing, and river trips.
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