The Zion National Park in Utah is about 250 km to the north-east of Las Vegas. The national park belongs geologically to the Colorado Plateau, which mainly consists of layers of sand and limestone. 17 million years ago, the former seabed was raised to 3,000 m and has since eroded into a rugged landscape. Zion National Park consists of two parts, the northern part is called the Kolob Canyon Section. This part is characterized by narrow gorges with huge red rock formations. Most of the sights are in the southern part, called the Zion Canyon Section. The Virgin River created the Zion Canyon and exposed huge rock formations that glow in different colors depending on the light.
The Mormons were the first settlers in the park and gave the valley the name "Zion". Zion is a mountain in Jerusalem and is considered to be the place of God. It was a place of calm and security for the Mormons, but they only used the park in summer. In 1918 the "Zion Canyon" was declared a national park. The valley of the Virgin River is around 1300 m high, the highest mountain in the southern part is the 2,380 m high "West Temple". The highest mountain in the northern part is the "Horse Ranch Mountain" with 2,664 m.
Main attractions of the park are the Emerald Pool, the Observation Point and The Narrows at the northern end of the Virgin River. The hiking routes can be found on the map that can be obtained from the Visitor Center or on the Zion National Park website (see link). If you leave the national park to the east (Clear Creek), you will pass petrified dunes. In the very south of the national park is the "Parunuweap Canyon" on the East Fork Virgin River. There is a prehistoric settlement of the Anasazi Indians, who also inhabited Pueblo settlements in Mesa Verde, Colorado.
The "Bryce Canyon National Park" is approx. 130 km/80 miles to the north-east of "Zion National Park". Bizarre rock columns called "Hoodoos" offer an incredible panorama. There are numerous viewpoints along the road that follows the rim. You can also hike the "Rim Trail" or descend into the canyons.
The "Route 66" from Chicago to Los Angeles became obsolete by the construction of the Highways. A trip on the "66" is like a nostalgic journey through the American past. There is a section of the historic "Route 66" just to the south of Las Vegas. Between the towns of Seligman and Kingman in Arizona, the "Historic Route 66" is still preserved.
National parks of the USA
The most famous national parks of the USA are in the south-west, in the states of Utah, Arizona and California. From Las Vegas you can visit the national parks: Grand Canyon (North), Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon (South). If you drive to California you can explore the "Death Valley" or visit the Mojave Desert. National parks in the north of California, like the Yosemite National Park, you'll find on San Francisco > Nature.
If you want to ride on a horse, in this unique landscape, just like a cowboy / girl, you can book a tour at Canyon Trail Rides: