Skip to content
March 5, 2013 / mws

2013 Zion National Park March

 March 22 2013

Kolub Canyon

Today was a  driving day as we transitioned from Capitol Reef Park to Zion National Park. We took 24 West to I-70 and then I-15 South.  This led us to the remote part of Zion Park.

In the early afternoon we made a stop in the northwest wilderness area of Zion Park known as the Kolob Canyons. Here in the northwest corner of the park, narrow parallel box canyons are cut into the western edge of the Colorado Plateau forming majestic peaks and 2000 foot cliff walls.

From the Timbercreek Overlook trail

After a stop at the Visitors Center we started out and at the first bend in the road, the majestic Kolub Canyon peaks appeared.  We enjoyed the short scenic drive and the panoramic landscape views.  At the end of the scenic drive we hiked the short Timbercreek Overlook Trail for great photos.

March 23 2013

Zion Architecture

I call Zion Park the sleek and classy park!  It’s amazing to see how centuries of erosion created this splendid array of natural architecture.

Waterfall along the Riverside Trail

For today’s activity we decided on the main canyon area scenic drive.  This was the last day that private vehicles could drive into the canyon, so we arrived at Riverside Trail at 8AM ahead of the crowd.  The Riverside trail is at the far end of the scenic drive and is an easy walking path.  It starts out with the wide river views and narrows at the end.  We enjoyed the canyon views and the small waterfall along the way.

IMG_0747Many stops were made along the scenic drive and early in the morning there was room to park at the pulloffs.  However, at the Weeping Rock Trailhead, there was no room in the lot, so we drove to the next pulloff and parked there.  The Weeping Rock Trail is short but steep and leads to an overhanging rock that “weeps”.  Oddly, it was cold enough this morning that there were icicles at the rock overhang and on the chain supports at the steps.

At Lower Emerald Pools

As we continued on the Scenic Drive, the scenery just kept getting better since the sun was getting higher and there was more light on the rocks.   At the lodge, the Emerald Pools Loop Trail was closed, so we took the Emerald Pools trail to the Lower Pools. There is great scenery along this trail and the water features at the lower pool area are fun to see. You can actually walk under the falling water and possibly get wet!  There was several small falling sprays of water but the actual “pool” was just like a big brown water puddle.

By mid-afternoon, the crowds had arrived and were out on the trails and driving through the park. We made a few more stops whereever we could park.  It’s easy to understand why the mandatory shuttle starts tomorrow.

IMG_0827

Spring in Zion

We made a stop at Zion Lodge to look around and then visited the Zion Visitors Center.  Around the Visitors Center, spring was starting to emerge.   The scenic drive is a must-do if you are in Zion Park with many stops and hiking trails for all abilities.

March 24 2013

IMG_0882

View from Kolub Terrace Road

We drove west along Route 9 past the main canyon area.  At the town of Virgin, Utah there is a turnoff for Kolub Terrace Road. This is a switchback road, but paved.  Lance and Marilyn both thought that they had traveled this road before, but neither remembered the rugged countryside.

The Kolob Terrace is a lesser-traveled section of Zion and we enjoyed being away from the canyon crowds.  The drive through the Terrace up to Lava Point offers a good sampling of wondrous views, from golden valleys to the majestic North and South Guardian Angels high in distance.

IMG_0831

Private Ranch along Kolub Terrace Road

On the first part of the road before the major switchbacks there are private homes and ranches.  There is even one small gated community.  As you travel north, the altitude increases and the temperature decreases.

IMG_0851

Snow covered roads in upper Kolub Terrace

The upper sections of the Kolob Terrace Road are not plowed during winter, so this part of the park is typically inaccessible during the colder months.  Today the gate above Wildcat Canyon trailhead was open so we drove through.  However it was one lane open with that lane being in the middle of the road!  Fortunately, there was very little traffic!  After a few more miles, the road was completely snow covered and we had to turn back.

IMG_0890

Roundup on Kolub Terrace

On the way back we stopped at the Wildcat Trailhead and hiked on the first part of the trail.  It was mostly dry with some spotty mud and snow patches in the woods. After our hike we drove south toward Route 9 and got stopped for one of our favorite activities…cattle roundup.  It’s always fun to see the ranchers moving the cattle down the road.

March 25 2013 

IMG_0905

Narrow part of the trail

The Canyon Overlook Trail is a short easy hike to a great overlook of the main canyon. To get to the trailhead, drive up Route 9 to the parking lot just beyond the east entrance to the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.  Info I received about this lot being small was certainly correct.  We arrived about 9:30 and there was one spot left in the 10 car area.  Just down the road is another small parking area.

IMG_0916

Canyon Overlook Trail viewpoint

The Canyon Overlook trail is mostly level and was carved out of the rock above Pine Creek. Although there are a few exposed sections, this is a good hike for just about anyone, including children and seniors.  As with most hikes in Zion, there are exposed areas where one could fall if not careful.  Halfway to the viewpoint is a wonderful little shaded alcove with lush ferns growing out of the sandstone walls.  At the end of the trail is a viewpoint with various rock formations and Zion landmarks.

IMG_0951

View from Museum trial to Parus trail

Just north of Zion’s Main Entrance is the Human History Museum.(which used to be the Visitors Center)  Here you can find permanent exhibits that display the valuable human history of Zion National Park. There are displays of American Indian culture, pioneer settlements and information about the growth of Zion as a National Park.

Water as a resource is featured at the museum to explain why people have traveled through and settled in Zion.  There is a short film about the park and how erosion created this masterpiece.  As you exit the museum, to the right is access to the Parus Trail. This first part of the trail from the museum is dirt and rocky.  But the views from there were great as they were from the back of the museum.

IMG_0965

Virgin River along the Parus trail

The Pa’rus Trail is one of the newer and most accessible trails in Zion National Park. In addition to hikers, this trail is open to bicycles and pets and is wheelchair-accessible. The trail starts at the South Campground just north of the Visitor Center, and skirts the Virgin River in the flat and open lower section of Zion Canyon and ends at the Canyon Junction.

IMG_0895

Full moon over Zion

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Zion and it is difficult to leave such a beautiful place.  We were even treated to a full moon over the sandstone cliffs!

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
― John Muir

To see more photos of our trip to Zion Park, click here

top of page

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. marycheshier / Sep 7 2014 2:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    What a great trip! Thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: