Zion National Park is, in a lot of ways, the best of everything. You've got the mountains, you've got canyons, you've got greenery... what else do you need? Whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a more peaceful retreat into nature, you'll find that Zion National Park has it all. The colors, the cliffs and the canyons will definitely enchant even the most experienced adventurer!
Paws up for Zion's pet-friendly hiking trail! Leash up your pooch and take them for a scenic stroll along the Pa'rus trail- it's located near the park's entrance and it follows the Virgin River. It's super flat and paved over (good for biking, too) which makes it a great beginner hike/leisurely stroll- but just because it's less intense doesn't mean the views aren't any less spectacular!
One of Zion's most-photographed features is a canyon called The Subway. However, in order to visit, you need a permit (which requires sending in an application to an online lottery 3 months in advance) and some serious hiking skills. It's a strenuous 9-mile hike that might, depending on the route you take, require rapelling (they suggest bringing along someone who has done the journey before, just in case). If you can get a permit, it's well worth the trouble- there's nowhere else in the world like it!
The Temple of Aeolus
Angels Landing, formerly known as The Temple of Aeolus, is the most famous hike in the park- it goes right to the top of a massive, 1, 500-foot-tall rock formation that offers the ultimate view of the park. If you're intimidated by the thought of steep drop-offs, narrow trails and slippery rocks (plus, the last half mile involves using chain grips), then don't worry! Hiking up the famous Walter's Wiggles and stopping at Scout's Lookout, the last overlook before the trail gets super challenging, still offers spectacular scenery.
Sloths and camels and mammoths, oh my!
Today, the wildlife in Zion is mostly birds, bighorn sheep, lizards, tarantulas (they're not as scary as they seem- promise!) mountain lions, and the like... but back in the day, like way, way back, the area ws inhabitated by camels, giant ground sloths, and huge mammoths. Climate change and overhunting soon led to the sad demise of these creatures, but it's still difficult to picture a mammoth among the canyons of Zion!
Cry me a river
Zion isn't all dry and dusty! Case in point: Weeping Rock, a cliff face that always seems to be drizzling water. Standing below the water as it drips off the rocks is the perfect way to cool off after the short little hike. The rocks soak up water from above like a sponge, and it runs out along the sides and bottom. Plus, the alcove at the end of the trail offers a view that is quite literally perfect. Between the mist, the hanging gardens, and the water, it really does feel like an undiscovered prehistoric paradise!
Get up close and personal with the buffalo at Zion Mountain Ranch! It's more than just a buffalo ranch, though. The rooms are rustic perfection, they've got an incredible sauna, fire pits, and the food! My God, the food! They nail the farm-to-table thing... you won't find any restaurant more dedicated to fresh and delicious cuisine in the area than their Buffalo Grill. If you're looking for a place to pitch your tent (or your RV!) then look no further than Watchman Campground, right inside the park, nestled at the base of the mountains. Perfection!