Earlier this year, in between and amongst the rain showers, we visited Zion National Park in Southern Utah. Our spring visit covered the main, Highway 9 section of the park, where most of the park’s notable sights sit, and also the much less visited Kolob Terrace area. There is one additional paved road accessible area to Zion that we had heretofore not visited, Kolob Canyon. Ironically, the only section of the park that we had not toured is the easiest of all of the parks areas to access.
The road to Zion’s Kolob Canyon sits just off the I-15 monotony between Cedar City and St. George Utah. We’ve driven by the entrance many times thinking that a stop would be a good break on a long road trip. But, for various reasons we’ve never managed to stop for a visit.
Towards the end of our 2010 summer road trip, we’d get another chance. Ross, Becky, and myself were staying in and around Cedar City. We decided to visit Kolob Canyon and day tripped the short way down I-15 entering the park through the entrance just off the highway. The canyon drive is as scenic and beautiful as you’d expect from a National Park. Perhaps it’s not as spectacular as the main Highway 9 section. But does the beauty of natural wonders really deserve to be ranked and graded anyway?
The highlight of our short visit was a hike on the Taylor Creek Trail to the Double Arch Alcove. This rugged trail follows the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek into the steepening walls of one of the Finger Canyons of the Kolob. I’m not sure that the Double Arch Alcove fit my visions of a red rock arches. The red rock formation is really more like two shallow caves than two full arches. No matter what the name, the large striated-rock echo chamber of the Double Arch Alcove is worth the hike.
Next time you’re driving down I-15 in Southern Utah consider a quick break to see Zion’s Kolob Canyon. It is about as easy a National Park experience as you’ll find.
The full set of pictures can be found on Picasa.