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. Sheer, vividly colored cliffs tower above as you follow this road along the floor of Zion Canyon. This narrow, deep canyon is the centerpiece of the park. Today the canyon continues to spark a sense of wonder and disbelief in those who come and stand beneath its 2,000 to 3,000 foot high walls. At the canyon"s bottom flows the Virgin River, a river with the looks of a creek and the muscle of the Colorado. This small river almost single handedly carved the profound rock gorge of Zion Canyon. Is began its down cutting more than 13 million years ago and continues its work today.
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. As you travel from one side of the long tunnel to the other, the landscape changes dramatically. On one side lies Zion Canyon with its massive cliff walls. The colossal size of the canyon is matched by one of the most striking attractions along this road - the Great Arch of Zion, a "blind" arch carved high in a vertical cliff wall. On the other side of the tunnel is slick rock country. Here rocks colored in white and pastels of orange and red have eroded into hundreds of fantastic shapes, etched through time with odd patterns of cracks and grooves. The mountain of sandstone known as Checkerboard Mesa stands as the most prominent example of this naturally sculptured rock art.
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. Two roads lead into the northwestern corner of the park, where streams have carved spectacular canyons at the edge of the Kolob Terrace. Both routes climb into forests of pinyon and juniper; ponderosa pine, fir, and quaking aspen are found at Lava Point.