Zion National Park called Mukuntuweap by the native Southern Paiute is a place of overwhelming landscape. Towering cliff faces, river banks decorated with lush green trees, sand stone sculpted by time and wildlife make Zion a place of wonder and glory.
The area was first designated as a National Monument in 1909 by President Taft and was named Mukuntuweap which means straight canyon in the native language. In 1919 the Monument was renamed Zion National Monument and signed into existence by President Woodrow Wilson. The Kolob section was incorporated in the main park in 1956 and in 2009 85% of the park was designated as protected wilderness.
Zion draws more than 5 million people every year and the crowds have made it difficult to drive up the main canyon. The park started offering a shuttle system and limiting vehicle traffic up the main canyon. The shuttle system starts at 7 am and buses are so frequent it makes getting in and out of the canyon easy and efficient.
I love visiting Zion National park in the autumn especially in early November when the trees in the canyon bottom have turned vibrant yellow. This time of year is less crowded with cooler temperatures and fantastic light for photographing this beautiful canyon.
For camping in the park you have three choices, Watchman Campground, South Campground and a distant campground on the Kolob Terrace Road at Lava Point. I prefer the Watchman Campground but make sure to book for in advance to get a site.
Whether you are exploring the many small draws and side canyons or hiking to the top of Angels Landing. Zion National Park is the perfect place to explore the rugged sand stone features of the American Southwest and see the rugged beauty carved by eons of time.