Zion offers spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas carved by a river

Stanthorpe Border Post - - ESCAPE -

ZION is the com­plete op­po­site of Bryce Canyon. While Bryce is red rocks and spires reach­ing up to blue skies, Zion is sheer cliff faces, vis­tas of green­ery and trick­ling streams and rivers. In Bryce Canyon you hike down into the land­scape. In Zion, you start on the canyon floor, climb­ing up and out along the many hikes.

Zion seems to be the most pop­u­lar of the Utah na­tional parks I vis­ited. Once in the park, all the keen hik­ers poured on to buses (the only mode of trans­port in the park) to get to the stops within the park.

The Emer­ald Pools seemed to be the first big stop on the bus route. It is an easy walk with con­crete paths for most of the way to the first water­fall, but af­ter that it’s rock steps up to the first pool.

Then it’s lots of rock and sandy stretches up to the higher pool. There isn’t much shade on the walk up to the Up­per Emer­ald Pools, so slap on sun­screen and a hat.

Once at the top, ei­ther dou­ble back to the bus stop or take the Kayenta Trail, which is about 1.6km long and takes you from the Lower Emer­ald Pool to The Grotto, a shaded oa­sis with restau­rants, pic­nic ta­bles and the Zion Lodge.

From here it’s back on the bus to get to the fur­ther­most point in the park: The Tem­ple of Si­nawava and the Nar­rows.

The Nar­rows are per­haps the most iconic im­age of Zion Na­tional Park. It’s smooth, stri­ated red rock canyons, nat­u­ral springs and hang­ing gar­dens. The land­scape has been carved by the Vir­gin River and is 25km long, up to 609m deep in parts, and fun­nelling down to sec­tions six to nine me­tres wide.

STUN­NING SPOT: The Vir­gin River that eroded most of the Zion canyons.

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