Zion National Park, Utah (NPS)

Curving road in Zion National Park, Utah (Robert Glusic/Photographers Choice/Getty)

Zion National Park, Utah (Photodisc)

Virgin River in Zion National Park, Utah (PhotoDisc)

Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah (Digital Vision)

Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah (Nathan Borchelt)

The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah (Nathan Borchelt)

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah (Nathan Borchelt)


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What to do in Zion National Park

Standing between a pair of 200-million-year-old sandstone walls, it’s easy to feel the same reverence as one might in St. Peter’s. But Zion is a different kind of hallowed ground: a spectacular temple to geology. The best way to see its reddish veins and undulating pink- and cream-colored formations is on foot—or armed with a rope and harness. Carved by the Virgin River, the 16-mile Zion Narrows requires wading, swimming, and walking on river-bottom boulders as slippery as bowling balls. The reward includes 2,000-foot-high canyons that slim to a mere 20 feet wide, lush hanging gardens, and sandstone alcoves. Technical canyoneers shouldn’t miss The Subway—a route that involves rappelling—where you’ll swim through pools in a perfect sandstone tube, offering a unique view of the wild forces that created these rock cathedrals.