Welcome to Zion, a land of shear cliffs, ancient sand dunes, amazing vistas, and verdant garden alcoves.
How did Zion come to be named? Pioneer Isaac Behunin, leafing through the Book of Isaiah one evening, was struck by the way the setting sun's last ruddy light hit Red Arch Mountain. The name came to him by epiphany as he skimmed through Isaiah chapter 2 verse 3: "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up the mountain of the Lord...and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law."
Now about 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world are drawn here each year. Some come to gaze in awe at the majesty of Zion's grandeur, pedestals of stone so tall and massive they seem to support the sky. Rock climbers pit their muscle against these mighty walls, inching upward on ascents that can last days. Geologists work in the opposite direction. Descending the walls and tracking changes in the rock, they can almost travel back through time, learning how our planet works by understanding the changes it has undergone. Others come to celebrate the diversity of life housed here. Reminiscent of Eden, Zion sustains an impressive species list of 800 plants, 75 mammals, 271 birds, 32 reptiles and amphibians, and six native fish.
Zion is also nirvana for the hiker. The park's trails offer a full spectrum of hiking challenges. Following these paths can mean anything from a leisurely riverside stroll to a multi-night backpack to a white-knuckled, chain-assisted ascent over a thousand feet above ground.
Zion is also a crown jewel of the National Park System, a shining result of the dedication of men and women who strive to leave these works of nature clean, beautiful, and natural, for the enjoyment of future generations.