Earlier this spring we had the opportunity to spend two weeks in southern Utah, photographing a large part of
Zion National Park, with its stunning cliff-lined canyons, and highways stretching from
there to Kanab and Panguitch.
My assistant, Kenyon, and I began in the Kolob Canyons of Zion National Park, where we
drove the length of Kolob Canyon Road and took a few short hikes.
The Kolob Canyons are a series of small, cliff-lined canyons which cut into the sandstone cliffs of the Kolob Plateau.
You can follow our path on the Timber Creek Overlook Trail, the
La Verkin Creek Trail,
and the Taylor Creek Trail.
Our next morning began early at the La Verkin Overlook. Perched atop this mesa, The towns of La Verkin and Hurricane, among
the fastest growing cities in America, lie below your feet, with Toquerville off in the distance. The Virgin River gorge, with gray
stony sides, divides the two towns with a deep gash in the ground. A variety of mesas, cliffs and mountains rim the horizon.
Turning behind us we saw the opening of Zion Canyon. Following State Highway 9, we worked our way up the canyon flanked by
mesas, amd contrasted by the ribbon of cottonwoods and willows bordering the riverbanks. The canyon, being very wide at its mouth,
gradually narrows, as you pass through the towns of Virgin, Rockville and
Springdale. After entering the park boundaries, immediately
after Springdale, the canyon walls rise in great cliffs on either side of the valley.
|La Verkin Overlook|
At Canyon Junction, we abandoned State Highway 9 to follow the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.
We also had to abandon our vehicle, as this road is only open to shuttle buses. This was a beautiful, although
unusual hike, along this road through the heart of Zion Canyon, ending at the
Temple of Sinawava, interrupted only occasionally by the tell-tale drone of
the approaching shuttle bus. Take a moment now to travel this beautfitul stretch of highway, with stunning cliffs at every turn. Numerous
trails lead to a variety of intriguing sights along the canyon floor.
Checkerboard mesa is the first landmark that greets visitors arriving through Zion's east entrance. From here Utah Highway 9
makes a torturous journey through a tumble of cliffs and gullies. A mile-long tunnel finally connects the road to Zion Canyon
at Canyon Junction. Beginning at Checkerboard Mesa, our next day's journey led us through the forests and meadows of the mountains
east of the park, down into Long Valley at Mt. Carmel Junction, and from there across the
Sand Hills to Kanab.
With continued sunny weather, we spent two days hiking trails in Zion Canyon, beginning in the
Court of the Patriarchs and the
Sand Bench Trail. The Emerald Pools
trails access some of the most beautiful and popular spots in the park. The Riverside Walk
leads into the "Narrows of the Virgin", where Zion Canyon becomes too narrow for a road, and the opposite cliff
faces can be as close as 20 feet apart. The Weeping Rock Trail leads to a cliff face where water drips out of rock.
|Court of the Patriarchs||