Zion National Park
Zion, which is located near the small town of Springdale, was Utah's first National Park. The most famous feature of the park is Zion's reddish and tan-coloured Navajo Stone Canyon which is 24km long and up to 800m deep. Zion National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the south-west of USA, mostly because of it's close proximity to Las Vegas and other nearby national parks.
The entry fee to the park is $25 for a private vehicle, which is valid for 7 days. Alternatively, you can use your annual national park pass. The best option is to park your car near the Visitor Centre and use the free shuttle busses that run throughout the day and you can get on and off as many times as you like. Private vehicles are not permitted on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from March 24 to November 3rd.
Most visitors to Zion come in through the Spingdale side of the park. If you enter the park via the East Entrance gate, you will drive through a tunnel. Before the tunnel there is a short Canyon Overlook Trail that has some stunning views of Zion Canyon. This short trail is about 3.2km return. The best time to visit is at sunset when you can get stunning colours for photography.
The trail has a number of stairs with some narrow and sheer drop areas. You will pass through a cave which offers welcome shade especially during the hot summer temperatures.
There are a few options for accommodation. You can either stay in Springdale which is located near the south entrance to the park or you can stay in the Zion Lodge which is located in the middle of the Zion Canyon. If you prefer camping, there are two campgrounds near the Visitor Centre. Watchman campground accepts bookings but doesn't have many shaded areas. The South Camp is first come first serve and has many trees which offer great shade during summer.
You may encounter wildlife in the park. Most common are: rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, beavers, porcupines, coyotes, skunks, gray fox, ringtail cats, mule deer and the rarely seen, but quite present mountain lions.
We played a little bit with the depth of field on the pictures below.