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National Parks

Zion National Park

Utah's First National Park

Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons.

Nature & Science

Located in Washington, Iron and Kane Counties in Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park encompasses some of the most scenic canyon country in the United States. The park is characterized by high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep sandstone canyons and striking rock towers and mesas.

Zion National Park is a showcase of geology. Geologic processes have played an important role in shaping Zion. The arid climate and sparse vegetation allow the exposure of large expanses of bare rock and reveal the park’s geologic history.

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Wrought by Water
Immutable yet ever changing, the cliffs of Zion stand resolute, a glowing presence in late day, a wild calm. ...

Geologic Formations
Zion National Park is located along the edge of a region known as the Colorado Plateau. The rock layers have been ...

Freestanding Arches
The incredible geology of Zion has created environments as widespread and diverse as the ...

Wildlife / Animals
Contained within the park are:
78 species of mammals
291 species of birds
44 species of reptiles and amphibians
8 species of fish


Located on the Colorado Plateau, but bordering the Basin and Range Province, Zion is home to plants from both regions. Sedimentation, uplift, and erosion have resulted in elevations ranging from 3600 to 8700 feet. The unique geology of massive cliff walls has created such diverse environments as: deserts, canyons, slickrock, hanging gardens, riparian, and high plateaus.


Human use of the Zion National Park landscape dates back to at least 6,000 B.C. Archeologists have divided this long span of human history into four cultural periods, each characterized by distinctive technological and social adaptations, that are briefly summarized here.

Source: NPS

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These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
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