Looking out the window of the car you can see the clouds covering the top of the mountains, as we begin our tour of Zion National Park. Zion was Utah's first park. Cold misty snow covers the trees, the peaks, and the roadways. You might want to keep this picture handy when you're complaining about being hot in the middle of August. I think seeing it will help to cool you down. lol. Seriously folks can you feel the cold from you sit?
Put on coat, hiking boats, hat, and mittens and come along with hubby and I for a winter hike. Regardless of the season you must come prepared at Zion. Elevations vary from 3,666 to 8,726 feet. With that much elevation change you can have a 30 degree temperature swing in any one day.
Keep your eyes peeled though, it's getting late and some of the animals are out looking for food. Even when they're on the path give them the right away. Don't run! Be still, or move slowly to get out of their way. Running is never good. Firstly, they move a whole faster then we do. Running get's their attention and they to give chase; plus you risk falling...particularly when it's slippery.
We scrambled as best we could off the trail up the hill a bit. I was holding onto a tree, pulling my sister-in-law up after me. Her hubby, my brother and my hubby we're fast behind us. We had a hard time holding on while we waited for it to leave. I tried to use my zoom with one cold hand to get the picture. Which is why it's not very good. It was a good size bull and it stared at us for what seemed like a long time. Then he started towards us. We remained quiet and motionless; finally he lost interest and went the other direction. We made out way quickly back to the visitors center; as we were almost done with our hike when this occurred. It was getting late, and we were all cold.
I suggest you eat light if you want to squeeze through. Some of these crevasses are pretty tight. Sandcastles in desert canyons in every direction will keep you snapping pictures constantly. So much to see. Zion rests on the border of the Mojave Desert and is part of the Colorado Plateau. Many different weather zones produce a big variety in animal, and plant life. The area was once home to Ancestral Puebloans, The Anasazi.
Even with snow you can see how red and pretty the cliffs are at Zion National Park. No wonder visitors has grown from 3,692 in 1920 to 2.5 million by 1996.
Just as we headed back to our cars the sun began to set, look at the beautiful color even in the dead of winter. This is January in Zion National Park. Perhaps someday we'll return for a tour during warmer months. You can rest assured though if you tour, as we did during the winter months, you see different sites than the average visitor; and it's not crowded!
The park is open all year, except Christmas Day. Some area's maybe restricted if unsafe due to weather in the winter months. Hours vary too by the seasons, open from 8 A.M. to 5 in Spring and Winter, 6 in Fall, and 8 P.M. in Summer.
Jr. Ranger Programs exist, so please get the kids signed up if you have young ones in your group. Bikes and pets are permitted on certain trails. Truly something for everyone, almost everyday of the year.