Capturing the Canyons: Zion National Park
Almost an oasis in a harsh surrounding landscape, Zion National Park has seen ancient and modern peoples pass through and occupy the area, always proving to be the unpredictable and wondrous wilderness that has awed for generations.
Occupied by Anasazi peoples 800 years ago, the Zion area proved to harsh and they moved south. Afterwards, the Paiute peoples found great success as they lived in the area. In the 1860s, Mormon pioneers settled the area, planting crops and orchards and otherwise adapting to desert life. Explorers passed through the area, including John Wesley Powell during his expedition to the Grand Canyon.
The waterfalls, the slot canyons, and the majestic (and sometimes terrifying) overlooks define Zion National Park. Visitors today picnic, hike, and explore this area, different from the other parks in the state of Utah, simply because of the ever-present Virgin River continually carving its way through the middle of the park.
Fast Facts about Zion:
Year established as a National Park: 1919
Visitors in 2015: 3,662,220
Size: 229 square miles
How sheer is the cliff at the top of Angels Landing? At the end of the trail, at the top, hikers hike along a narrow strip of rock, with 1,200 ft drop on one side and 800 ft drop on the other. Not for the faint of heart!
Fun fact #1: The water that drips at Weeping Rock has traveled through the rock from a spring for about 1000 years before it reaches the outside of the rock where it drips.
Fun fact #2: Zion is home to about 900 unique plant species that are not found anywhere else in the state of Utah.
Learn more about Zion National Park at the National Park Service website!
Learn more about the Capturing the Canyons: Artists in the National Parks exhibition!
Top image: National Park Service Photo