Of the five national parks in Utah, Zion is the most visited. It offers views that are unique to the state and draws large numbers of tourists there every year. However, the park has a few unique features that set it apart. We’re looking at Zion National Park’s breathtaking scenery and exploring ten incredible facts about it.
1. It’s Utah’s First National Park
In 1919, Zion National Park became the fifteenth park to be included in the national park system. However, the region’s history predates even that, dating back around 7,000 years, when the first nomadic Indian groups passed through the area. The Southern Paiute tribes originally called the region Mukuntuweap, which translates to “straight canyon.” The area was settled by Europeans in the late 1800s, and they gave it the name Zion, which translates to “refuge” or “sanctuary.”
In 1909, President Taft designated the area as the Munkutuweap National Monument and set aside it for Zion National Park. In 1918, the name was changed to Zion National Monument, and in 1919, it was modified one last time to its current name.
2. It’s the 3rd-Most-Popular National Park in America
4,692,417 people visited Zion National Park in 2022. That is only forty thousand less than the Grand Canyon! It might soon overtake other parks in terms of visits if the numbers continue to climb. However, with almost 13 million visits, there’s probably no way it can catch up to the champion, Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
3. The Park Is Home to an Endangered Species
The Bird Life International programme has recognised Zion National Park as an Important Bird Area. It is home to North America’s largest flying bird, the California condor. There are only about 275 California condors left in the southwestern United States, making them an endangered species. Numerous them make their nests in Zion, and occasionally they can be seen above Angels Landing in the park.
4. It’s Home to One of the Largest Natural Arches in the World
One of Zion National Park’s most distinctive features is Kolob Arch. Although getting there requires a little hiking, the vista is well worth it. With a span of 287 feet, the arch ranks as the second biggest natural arch in the United States and the sixth largest in the world. Though much smaller than Kolob, there are a few more arches in Zion.
5. It Can Get Pretty Warm
Utah is well-known for its scorching summer temperatures, which frequently reach the 100s during the hottest parts of the day. However, July 11, 2021, was the hottest day at Zion, with a maximum temperature of 115°F.
6. There’s Hiking For Everyone At Zion
The abundance of hiking opportunities in Zion National Park is one of its best features. A few trails are wheelchair accessible, and there are simple hikes that begin at 0.4 kilometres. There are additional hikes that are more difficult; the Zion Traverse is the longest and most taxing hike. Expert hikers can traverse the 49.7-mile trek from Lee Pass to the East Rim Trailhead.
7. The Park Is Connected By Roads to the Grand Canyon
For a very long time, reaching Zion wasn’t a simple task. The roads to Zion were terrible dirt roads, and the nearest rail station was eighty miles away. The goal of the park service was to provide a connection between Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Canyonlands and the ever-popular Grand Canyon. Despite being so near together, the attractions were just surrounded by roadways. In order to address this, the Zion-Mount Carmel Road was built. It passes through Zion and connects visitors to the other two national parks. It roughly halves the journey between Zion and the Grand Canyon. On the other hand, it might actually lengthen travel times during peak hours.
8. It’s Home to a Very Dangerous Hike
Angels Landing is one of the most well-liked and hazardous hikes in Zion National Park. The journey to the summit is only 2.2 miles, but along the way, there are high cliffs, small trails and large drop-offs. That’s only one of the numerous reasons a permission is needed for the walk.
Hikers should be aware of what they are getting into, which is one of the key reasons the permission is so crucial. While there are undoubtedly safer spots to trek, it’s still advisable to exercise caution because at least 15 hikers have lost their lives while ascending Angels Landing. Please be aware that there is a ½ mile stretch of extremely narrow trail with sheer cliff faces on both sides. To further increase safety, the portion has chain link handrails.
9. Zion Has a Subway
Now, Zion’s “Subway” is essentially a trail; unlike New York, it does not have an underground transport station. The Left Fork of North Creek is referred to as the Subway due to its resemblance to New York City subway stations. The top isn’t blocked off, yet it still has the appearance of a tunnel. The Underground floor is covered in pools of water instead of train vehicles.
10. The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded Was -15 Degrees
Zion National Park had the worst winter temperature ever in 1937. That year on January 21, the temperature was reported by meteorologists to be -15°F. Winters in the park are always frigid, but that particular one was undoubtedly the coldest.