Heading off to Zion National Park in Southern Utah will surely be memorable, but if you want the trip to be filled with fantastic memories, you need to know what to include in this vacation. This article presents some things that should not be overlooked in your Zion itinerary.
Zion National Park has interesting histories, both geological and sociological. Geologists, the world over, dream of visiting and studying Southern Utah and Zion Canyon to see rock formations carved out by water, ice, wind, and earthquake over millennia. These earth scientists see layers of rock and effects of animals, including dinosaurs, which usually validate their studies, and sometimes wow the geologists by making their textbooks come alive for the first time.
Knowing some basic geology will enhance your visit, so I recommend a burst of geological curiosity as part of your Zion itinerary. You can search online or ask the rangers at the Visitors Center to explain some finer points of Zion’s geology so you’ll know what to look for. Even the “young-Earthians” have some persuasive discourse on how the Park arrived at its current state over only several thousand years, instead of billions.
Learning some social history of Zion National Park is also a stimulating exercise: ancient Native Americans, modern-day Indians, and, of course, the Mormon Pioneers. This, too, can add richness to your Zion itinerary.
Choose Great Lodging
Your Zion itinerary should include comfortable lodging, such as one of the several unique hotels in Springdale, Utah, which sits at the entrance to Zion Park. Watchman Villas offers classy villas, complete with all the comforts of home, except maybe the smell of smoking. Haha. The Watchman Villas have five condo styles to choose from, and each is beautifully furnished with comfy furniture and all the right kitchen appliances. The Watchman’s views of the surrounding canyons are spectacular, and a shuttle to and from the Park makes transportation convenient and free.
Hit The Ponderosa
If you’re into an active lifestyle, or have kids with you, heading north 40 minutes to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is a real treat. Choose from the many gigs: zip line soaring, paintballing, horseback riding, mini-golfing, Jeep touring, shotgun shooting, swimming, canyoneering, and stargazing. The Ponderosa will infuse more fun and danger into your Zion itinerary, not to mentions keeping your kids engaged and attentive.
Don’t Forget Bryce
Another hour’s drive will take you to Bryce National Park, where you can see entirely different canyons and rock formations. Bryce is famous for its Hoodoos, the vertical statues of sculpted, orange sandstone. They stand like alien guards over the valleys and cliffs of Bryce. You can stop at one of the many lookout parking spots along the highway to see what you’ve never seen before. You may even want to hike the many trails, one of which takes you to Queen Victoria’s Garden, named because of a rock that eerily resembles the face of Queen Victoria.
Frequent Springdale’s Businesses
To enrich your Zion itinerary, be sure to visit the gift shops in Springdale. Some very cool stuff, both made by local artists and imported, awaits you in the Springdale gift shops. While in Springdale, eat at some award-winning restaurants. Local recipes and cuisine brought from out-of-state chefs will be delicious and satisfying.
The Best Parts of Your Zion Itinerary
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