|9:30 a.m. -- Just down the road from our campground.|
Our day trip to Zion National Park will not cover the entire park. Here's why: From April through October, access to Upper Zion is available by shuttle bus only. Our campground is too far away to leave the dogs in the coach at the campground and the car would get too hot to leave them in it while we shuttle to and fro. So we will be content to travel (with the dogs) in our car along scenic Zion Park Boulevard and then south to Springdale, Utah. We packed a lunch to eat along the way.
|Zion celebrated its 100th year as a national park in 2009.|
Along about 1989, a study of the many accidents and near accidents in the tunnel uncovered a not-surprising fact that today's larger vehicles couldn't maneuver the curves while meeting oncoming traffic without high risk of collision. Solution: Traffic control and escort through the tunnel for large vehicles. I would have gone directly into hyperventilation if we'd taken big Endie through it.
Zion is the oldest and most visited of the national parks in Utah and has some pretty spectacular scenery. The brochure boasts "deep sandstone canyons, striking rock towers and high mesas and plateaus". My photos below attest to that claim.
|Zion has 5,000 feet of vertical relief, is an endless playground, full of dramatic views and surprises at every turn.|
To our surprise, and dismay, upon reaching the southeastern gate to Zion, we found miles of cars lined up at the entry gate. Without a way to U-turn, we knew we too would be in the great line of visitors to be checked into this gate. We opted to take the large circular route that would lead us through several small towns, into another part of Zion National Park, through Dixie National Forest and back to Glendale. It was a good decision as we found the best yet to come!
|Taking Highway 9 out of Zion there were still plenty of beautiful sights to see.|
|"Kolob" is from Mormon scripture meaning "residence closest to heaven."|
|Couldn't resist this nice photo op.|
Kolob was explored by the Spanish but the Mormon pioneers settled the area in 1852. They harvested timber, raised livestock and prospected here. In 1937, the Canyons were set aside for protection as a national monument. It was added to Zion National Park in 1956.
Our route through Zion Kolob traversed a lovely ridge line and we climbed some 1,000 feet to the Timber Creek Overlook. From here, there's an absolutely breathtaking view of the Kolob Terrace.
There are many hiking trails, some as much as 15 miles, through Kolob Canyon. We could see many of them from our perch along the roadway. I couldn't help but wish we could take a nice long hike through this beautiful park.
But alas, the tour of Kolob Canyon ended and we returned to I-15 north to Cedar City.
From Cedar City, we took part three of our four part drive back to Glendale. This was Highway 14 through a part of Dixie National Forest, past Navajo Lake and through Duck Creek Village. The grades were severe and there was plenty of snow remaining for us to see.
|A view of resort town, Duck Creek Village..|
|It's near 70 degrees on the plains below us, yet this snow is more than a foot deep.|