About Zion National Park
Located in Washington, Iron, and Kane counties in southwestern Utah, Zion National Park encompasses some of the most scenic canyon country in the United States. The park is characterized by high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep, sandstone canyons, and striking rock towers and mesas. The North Fork of the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge through Zion Canyon, where sandstone walls rise 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the canyon floor. The southern part of the park is a lower desert area, with colorful mesas bordered by rocky canyons and washes. The northern sections of the park are higher plateaus covered by forests.
Zion is one of the earliest additions to the national park system. On July 31, 1909, President William H. Taft issued a proclamation setting aside 15,200 acres as the Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918 another presidential proclamation enlarged the monument to 76,800 acres and changed its name to Zion National Monument. Congress established the area as a national park in 1919. A second Zion National Monument (now called the Kolob Canyons) was established by presidential proclamation in 1937. Congress added the Kolob Canyons to Zion National Park in 1956. The park currently encompasses 148,733 acres.
On March 30, 2009, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (Public Law 111-11) designated the vast majority of Zion National Park as wilderness. A total of 124,462 acres of Zion is designated wilderness (84% of the park), and 9,047 acres (6% of the park) are recommended for wilderness designation. This means that 90% of the park is managed as wilderness, as per NPS policy. The legislation also designated 144 miles of wild and scenic rivers in Zion National Park, the first wild and scenic rivers designated in Utah.
Zion’s spectacular scenery attracts visitors from all over the world. Visitation to the park was about 3 million people in 2012. Visitors to Zion enjoy deep cool canyons, high wooded plateaus, and vast warm deserts. Zion offers a variety of recreational opportunities and activities including driving scenic roads, hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, photography, and wildlife viewing, to name a few.
Zion is a leader in protecting natural resources and embracing sustainable practices that reduce the effects of park operations on climate change. In order to accomplish this, Zion has implemented sustainable policies and practices. Examples included eliminating the need to purchase bottled water in plastic containers by providing and publicizing water bottle filling stations; creating a recycling program for staff, visitors, and concessioners; installing solar panels that provide electricity to many of the park buildings; and using energy efficient vehicles. These actions will help Zion meet the challenge of the National Park Service to leave park resources unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
Source: Foundation Document – Zion National Park
|Date the Park was Established:||November 19, 1919|
|Park Area (as of 2019):||147,242.66 acres (595.9 km2)|
|Recreational Visitors (2018 Total):||4,320,033 visitors|