14 November 2013
Although Zion national park is one of the smaller parks, it makes up in beauty. When people were recommending places to visit en route one of the names that came up on a repeated basis was Zion...... Now I can see why. Driving through the park you will notice the red sandstone as the road cuts it way through tunnels and into the canyon where you will just see why some people say it's Americas most beautiful national park.

Zion National Park  is located in the  Southwestern United States , near  Springdale, Utah . A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km 2 ) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored  Navajo Sandstone  by the North Fork of the  Virgi River . The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the  Colorado Plateau ,  Great Basin , and  Mojave Desert  regions, the park's unique  geography  and variety of  life zones  allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of  bat ), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones:  desert ,  riparian ,  woodland , and  coniferous forest . Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas,  monoliths , rivers,  slot canyons , and  natural arches .

Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups of  Native Americans; the semi-nomadic  Basketmaker  Ansazi (300 CE) stem from one of these groups. In turn, the  Virgin Anasazi culture (500 CE) developed as the Basketmakers settled in permanent communities.  A different group, the  Parowan Fremont, lived in the area as well. Both groups moved away by 1300 and were replaced by the Parrusits and several other  Southern Paiutesubtribes.  Mormons came into the area in 1858 and settled there in the early 1860s. In 1909, U.S. President  William Howard Taft named the area a National Monument to protect the canyon, under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918, however, the acting director of the newly created  National Park Service changed the park's name to Zion. According to historian  Hal Rothman, "The name change played to a prevalent bias of the time. Many believed that Spanish and Indian names would deter visitors who, if they could not pronounce the name of a place, might not bother to visit it. The new name, Zion, had greater appeal to an ethnocentric audience."   The  United States Congress established the monument as a National Park on November 19, 1919. The Kolob section was proclaimed a separate Zion National Monument in 1937, but was incorporated into the park in 1956.
The  geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes 9  formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly  Mesozoic-aged  sedimentation. At various periods in that time warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts, and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of the  Colorado Plateaus lifted the region 10,000 feet (3,000 m) starting 13 million years ago.


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