Glorious Utah, towards Zion Canyon ....and out

We left Bryce and trundled off down the road to our next destination, Zion National Park. We drove in from the east on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. The day was clear, the sky was blue and the colours of the rocks were beautiful. We passed the Checkerboard Mesa, a strange rock formation, its sides crisscrossed with scars, thought to be the tallest sandstone cliff in the world, and carried on through the tunnel towards Canyon Junction.

Zion is a lot lower than Bryce, in fact the bottom rocks seen at Bryce are the top rocks in Zion, which is again part of the Grand Staircase, on the Colorado Plateau. The rocks are mainly different types of sandstone, with some limestone. It is a true canyon, its slopes having been carved out by the Virgin River. Here is a Grand Staircase diagram, again.

As you drive in there are broad pull off points to admire the scenery, which we duly did. Here are some of the views.

However it was busy, horrendously so with coaches and camper vans, motorbikes and cars. It was very hot and you could smell the exhaust gas. There were queues to get through the tunnel which is single lane, controlled by traffic lights. After the relative peace of Bryce we thought it best to come back earlier in the morning, before the rush, so we avoided the Canyon and instead headed out through Springdale to a side attraction of Zion, the Kolob Terrace Road.

The maps are courtesy of the Zion National Park Service.


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