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Your guide to Mount Zion
All About Mount Zion
Carved out by the Virgin River over millions of years, the deep red-rock canyons of Zion National Park dominate the southwestern corner of Utah, near the borders of Arizona and Nevada in the west of the United States. Hikers, climbers, and white water kayaking enthusiasts spread out over almost 150,000 acres to navigate slot canyons and reach secluded peaks with unrivaled vistas. The park’s sweeping wilderness is made up of vast desert, lofty plateaus, and lush forest and is home to peregrine falcons and ancient fossils. From towering burnt-orange cliffs to minute wildflowers and weeping rocks, there are natural wonders here on every scale, including almost 300 different bird species.
The park offers a wide range of trails, whether it’s the paved Pa’rus Trail crisscrossing the river, the day-hike to freestanding Kolob Arch, or the drive through Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. Those in the know stick around for sunset, when the angular cliffs appear to glow in the afternoon light, while the Museum patio is the park’s premier sunset and stargazing viewpoint — watch as the park’s protected dark sky lights up with rivers of stars.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Mount Zion?
The most enjoyable weather usually occurs between late April to mid-June and late August to mid-October. During this time, the weather is pleasant for renting cabins in the beautiful Zion National Park area. During the spring, Mount Zion blooms with all sorts of wildflowers, and the thawing snow forms runoffs from the Virgin River that flow throughout the slot canyons, which can make hiking hazardous. There are also waterfalls that only form during this time of year. In the summer, the water recedes, allowing guests to hike The Narrows, a popular trail that goes through a shallow riverbed. Be prepared for soaring temperatures and little shade in the warmer months and pack plenty of water for hikes. December through April constitutes the park’s low season. Although there are fewer visitors and temperatures can plummet at night, hikes like Emerald Pool Trail are still accessible with sturdy footwear and the right equipment. And while snow and ice accumulate at the higher elevations, the Zion Canyon scenic drive is only open to private vehicles from March to November, so you can access the surrounding trails on your own schedule. Check with the rangers if any routes are restricted due to the conditions.
What are the top things to do in Mount Zion?
Hiking to the Weeping Rock
One of the most dramatic sites in the Mount Zion canyon is the Weeping Rock — a stone overhang that offers a close-up view of the hanging gardens that cling to the cliff wall. These gardens stay lush due to the constant flow of water from the canyons above. Depending on the season and rainfall, the water flow comes in drips, a stream, or a full waterfall.
Seeing Mount Zion from above
While Mount Zion is known as a hiking destination, visitors can also see it from another perspective — from high up in the sky. Take flight in a helicopter for panoramic views of Zion’s steep red rock cliffs, flowing rivers, verdant valleys, and massive sandstone monoliths. While regulations do not permit flights directly over the canyon and park, you can still get close to several landmarks, like Angels Landing and Kolob Terrace.
The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
To get a different view of the area, go for a drive along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. This 25-mile roadway winds high above the valley, providing dramatic views. The road travels up the mountainside, through a narrow tunnel, and leads out to an overlook offering a bird’s eye view of the valley below.