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 Zion National Park

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Park Visitor Centers
Open All Year

Zion Canyon Center
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kolob Canyons Visitor Center
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



Zion is an ancient Hebrew word meaning a place of refuge or sanctuary. Protected within the park's 229 square miles is a dramatic landscape of sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs. Zion is located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert provinces. This unique geography and the variety of life zones within the park make Zion significant as a place of unusual plant and animal diversity.

Zion is located along the edge of a region called the Colorado Plateau. The rock layers have been uplifted, tilted, and eroded, forming a feature called the Grand Staircase, a series of colorful cliffs stretching between Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. The bottom layer of rock at Bryce Canyon is the top layer at Zion, and the bottom layer at Zion is the top layer at the Grand Canyon.

There is evidence of 6,000 years of human occupation by Archaic, Ancestral Puebloans, (known by archeologists as the Virgin Branch of the Kayenta Anasazi and Parowan Fremont) Southern Paiutes and Mormon settlers who arrived in the 1860's.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
6 miles. Short drive along the canyon floor. Be prepared for hazardous driving conditions during and immediately following storms. Icy spots remain through the winter.
Open to private vehicles during the period from November through March. Accessible the rest of the year via the Zion Canyon Shuttle only. Rt. 9, which traverses the park from east to west, is open year-round to private vehicles.

Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway
10 miles. Steep drive up switch–backs and through tunnels to Checkerboard Mesa. See large vehicle restrictions on page 8. Be prepared for hazardous driving conditions during and immediately following storms. Icy spots remain through the winter.

Kolob Terrace Road
14 miles. Steep drive to the high country. Not recommended for long vehicles. The road is plowed 14 miles north of Virgin, Utah. The rest of the road is closed by snow.

Kolob Canyons
5 miles. Scenic drive skirting the Kolob ''finger canyons.'' The road is plowed in winter but may be temporarily closed during storms or snow plowing.


  Images and text courtesy of National Park Service.




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