Zion has quickly become one of the hottest national parks in the country. People from all over the world flock to the canyon to canvas its trails and soak in its indescribable beauty. With a wide variety of hikes and a pristine landscape, there is truly something for everyone. Of Utah’s five beautiful national parks, Zion is definitely its most trafficked. While most of Zion is bustling with activity, some of its greatest treasures are less traveled.
Rock art is my favorite part of hiking in the desert, so finding some in Zion was exciting to say the least. Part of the park requires use of the shuttle system, but this section allows visitors to drive their own car. The spot is closer to the Northern entrance, about 2.5 miles east of the Mount Carmel tunnel on Highway 9. There is a small pullout on the side of the road. No signs mark the area, helping it stay more under the radar.
The trail is only about a half mile long and rated easy. Hikers can start anywhere near the pull off and make their way down to the sandy wash at the bottom of the hill. The trail follows the wash under the road. After a few minutes of walking, the trail veers to the left. The petroglyphs are etched along a short wall, marked by a small wooden fence. The fence is to help preserve the glyphs, as touching them can be damaging.
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A variety of symbols have been drawn among the art including circles, a snake, sheep, and a variety of differently posed humans. Some of the men sit in a row while another stands straight up with an identical shadow or reflection flipped upside down beneath him. There is even an ancient sharpening rock used to maintain their tools. It is always interesting to try and interpret the stories of the people that once lived in the canyons. It amazes me how much we are able to learn through pictures, ruins, and artifacts.
Zion does charge a fee of $35 per vehicle, though if you plan to visit just a few more parks $80 will cover an annual Parks Pass. The $80 pass can be used at any National Park in the country for one year. ‘The annual pass does not cover fees for state parks. Pets are not allowed on the trail, but if you are lucky you may see some bighorn sheep grazing around the rocks. Since the hike is so short, it can be fun to combine it with other shorter hikes in the park or the area. The imagery is so special it may be my favorite spot in the park.
Written by Lauren Kehoe