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 Canyon is the largest and most visited canyon in the park. The North Fork of the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge here, with canyon walls in most places rising 2000-3000 feet above the canyon floor. The southern part of the park is a lower desert area, with colorful mesas bordered by rocky canyons and washes. The northern sections of the park are higher plateaus covered by forests.
The Zion National Park mission is to preserve the dynamic natural process of canyon formation as an extraordinary example of canyon erosion and to protect and preserve the valuable cultural, geologic, vegetation and wildlife resources while providing safe, sustainable and cost-efficient access for visitors experience and enjoyment. In addition, the park aims to educate both visitors and the general public about this exceptional environment.
Established as Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909; name changed to Zion National Monument in 1918; expanded and established as a National Park in 1919; Kolob Canyons section established as a National Monument in 1937 and added to Zion National Park in 1956.
Zion , a Hebrew word referring to a place of safety or refuge, was given to the canyon by Mormon pioneers in the 1860's.
Evidence of 6,000 years of human occupation by Archaic, Ancestral Puebloans, (known by archaeologists as the Virgin Branch of the Kayenta Anasazi and Parowan Fremont) Southern Paiutes and Mormon settlers who arrived in the 1860's.
146,597 acres (229 square miles) 90% recommended wilderness
99 miles of perimeter boundary
highest 8,726 ft (2660 m) Horse Ranch Mountain
lowest 3,666 ft (1128 m) Coalpits Wash
River length in park: 18 miles (Primary tributary length in park: 39 miles)
Gradient: 50-70 feet per mile
Sediment transfer: One million tons per year (average)
A two mile section of the North Fork of the Virgin River above the Temple of Sinawava that in places is only 20-30 feet across with 2000+ foot canyon walls on each side
A 6.5 mile section of the North Fork of the Virgin River that has carved out a major canyon from the Temple of Sinawava to Springdale .
Depth: 2000-2500 feet
Width: Up to .25 mile
Annual Precipitation: 15 inches ( Zion Canyon) Temperature extremes: Highest: 115 F ( July 13, 2002 ; Zion Canyon Lowest: -2 F (January 1, 1989; Zion Canyon)
Approximately 900+ species (richest diversity of plants in Utah )
Exotics: Approximately 100, of which 15 are of major concern
430 sites (13% of park surveyed to date)
Frontcountry Camping (limited to 14 days)
Watchman Campground: 168 sites (hookups, reservations April-Oct.)
South Campground: 126 sites (no reservations)
Lava Point Campground: 6 sites (primitive, no reservations)
4 (Grotto, Kolob Canyons, Nature Center, Zion Canyon VC)
Guided horse trips in Zion Canyon (March-October)
Programs presented: 2004 (numbers do not include visitor center contacts)
Talks, hikes, evening programs, shuttle tours: 36,993 visitors
Zion Natural History Association: A non-profit organization that supports education, research and other programs for the benefit of Zion . Financial aid is provided to the park through the sales of interpretive products. Outlets for these products are located in the two park visitor centers and the Zion Human History Museum .
Zion Canyon Field Institute: A non-profit organization that provides year-round field education classes dealing with the Zion Ecosystem.
57 miles (Paved and gravel)
Constructed: 1927 - 1930
Length: 5613 feet (1.06 miles)
Width: 22 feet
Height: 16 feet