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June 2002
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Zion National Park is located along the edge of the western margin of the Colorado Plateau.
The park is famous for the many colourful sandstone canyons, rocky deserts and forested plateaus.
The most visited canyon is also the largest. It was named Zion (a Hebrew word) by the Mormon pioneers. The canyon has been carved out by the Virgin River. Red rock and white sandstone cliff up to 762 metres (2,500 feet) tall, tower on each side of its banks. In many areas on the cliffs ferns, grasses and wildflowers grow-all fed by water seeping through cracks on the rocks.
A forest of juniper and pynion pine grows on the sunny slopes. On the high plateau ponderosa pine, firs and aspen trees grow. In many sections of the park, wild flowers such as columbine, Indian brush, wild snapdragon, sacred datura and many kinds of sunflowers bloom from spring right through the summer.
In 1956 Kolob Canyons, just as spectacular as Zion, were added to the national park.
Kolob is at a much higher altitude than Zion. During winter it is closed to the public because of dangerous amounts of snow.