Thursday was the third time I have been to Zion. I was here several years ago which is a story I will tell when I post some closeups I today took with the digital camera. I also stopped here last year when I was staying down in Kanab, but the Park was packed and I only took pictures from the main road. You can find those photos if you enter “Zion” in the search box on the Home page, then look at the posts dated in 2017.
The main road through Zion goes from west to east. Visitors may see many interesting views from that road, but parking is tedious (believe me, people manage to find every nook and cranny on the roadside) and crossing the road as a pedestrian is dangerous.
There is also a road which goes to the north, up into the Canyon, and the only way to get there is to take the free Shuttle Bus. This is by far the most relaxing way to see the Park. Parking is VERY limited (not much at the Visitor Center, and last year even the overflow lots outside the Park were full). Even though the signs at the entrance said that the Visitor Center lot was full, contrarian that I am had to try it and sure enough, a truck was just backing out of a spot so I snagged a place right next to the Visitor Center.
As with the scenery in many Parks, there is lots of repetition and I’ll try not to bore you with too many pictures of basically the same thing.
This is the Zion Lodge. It is a hotel and has a number of restaurants, and is one of the Shuttle Stops in the Canyon. The only vehicles permitted in the Canyon are Shuttle Buses, Park employees, and visitors staying at the Lodge (and they are only allowed to drive to the Lodge. There is no vehicle parking allowed along the road or in any of the overlooks where the Shuttle Buses stop).
There were seven Shuttle Stops, including the Lodge, where I got off the shuttle to take pictures. Shuttles run every few minutes you could spend as much time as you wanted at each stop before catching a bus to take you further. Shuttle Stops are also where hikers may embark on some of the many trails through the Park, ranging in difficulty from easy to extremely strenuous. I also saw a number of folks on bicycles. The Park was busy but not really crowded. The weather was pleasant, though it got VERY windy in the mid-afternoon.
I was surprised to find that when I got back to the car the temperature was in the low 90’s. It didn’t feel that warm in the Canyon, though the elevation does increase from the Visitor Center up to the last Shuttle Stop.
As I drove down to Zion in the morning I noticed that Kolob Canyon, which is technically part of Zion National Park but is located just off the dreaded interstate several miles north of the main Park, was closed for a series of construction projects. I am glad I stopped there when I was in the area last year. To see those photos, enter “Kolob” in the search box on the Home page.
I will post closeups taken with the digital camera either later today or over the weekend. I will also share my amusing JohnBoy stories about the Park.