Think hard for a moment. When was the last time you visited Zion National Park? What pictures come to mind when you think of Zion? The towering red-orange cliffs dramatically contrasted against the bright blue sky? Or maybe you are thinking about the tranquil Virgin River as it meanders through the arid desert. Those are great images, but this is winter. Have you ever experienced Zion dusted with a light blanket of snow? As that snow turns to rain, something magical happens; waterfalls begin to appear out of nowhere. It’s almost as if every crevice among the towering vertical cliffs that soar to heights of over 3,000 ft above the canyon floor opens up and pours out water. If you are lucky enough to be in the park during a rain storm, or during the snow melt, you are in for a treat.
When to visit: Great adventures can be found in Zion every day throughout the year. To experience dozens, if not hundreds of waterfalls, watch the weather and seek out a rain storm. Late December and early January tend to be wetter than average, and Zion experiences significant freeze thaw cycles during these months, making it a great time to visit. The best part about visiting in the winter is the park is almost deserted by contrast to the hoards of people that visit in the Summer. Most of the year, the park operates a mandatory shuttle system, forcing you to ride a standing-room only bus filled with a cacophony of unpleasant smells. In the winter, you can drive your car all the way to the end of the canyon, and enjoy the serenity of solitude.
Best places to see waterfalls: Temple of Sinawava, Canyon Overlook Trail, Weeping Rock, Court of the Patriarchs OverlookVisit http://www.zionnational-park.com/ for information about these and many more trails.
What to bring: Make sure and pack your binoculars, a camera, a healthy lunch, hiking boots, and rain gear. However, be ye warned, Zion is a mountainous environment, and the weather can change in an instant. Afternoon temps in the winter can range from below freezing to over 70 degrees. Be prepared for radical swings.
Joe Allen, Principal Broker for Realty Absolute, is a skilled negotiator, salesman, and business analyst, but he is also an adventure guide. When not selling homes, Joe shares his knowledge of rock climbing, hiking, canyoneering, mountain biking, and skiing with others, and can usually be found competing in local marathons and triathlons. You can contact Joe through www.RealtyAbsolute.com or Joe@RealtyAbsolute.com.