One Incomparable Place: Hiking and Backpacking in Zion National Park
By Michael Lanza
Even in the Southwest, a region where the extraordinary becomes ordinary, Zion National Park stands out. Other places have natural arches, spires, and ancient cliff dwellings, but no place really matches Zion’s grandeur: cliffs up to 2,000 feet tall stretching for miles, the rock’s purity of white and deep burgundy, and patterns of striations rippling across a span of stone that dwarfs Man’s greatest buildings and monuments. Perhaps that’s why it was Utah’s first national park, designated in the same year, 1919, as Grand Canyon and Acadia.
Zion deserves the attention of every avid and casual hiker, backpacker, and parent wanting to raise a child with a love for America’s greatest natural heritage: our parks. And experiencing the breadth of opportunities Zion offers demands a serious commitment of time, with hikes ranging from short and easy to multi-day backpacking, including a classic north-south traverse of the entire park. Then there’s the technical canyoneering possibilities in Zion, which open up an entirely new world.
The photo gallery below spotlights images from the many hiking and backpacking trips I’ve taken in Zion.
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For more photos and tips on planning your trip here, see a menu of all of my stories about Zion National Park, including my feature stories about a family backpacking trip, a 50-mile dayhike across the park, and hiking Zion’s Subway, and this photo gallery from hiking in Zion’s Kolob Canyons.
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