By Michael Lanza

Even in the Southwest, a region where the extraordinary becomes ordinary, Zion National Park stands out. Other places have natural arches, spires, and ancient cliff dwellings, but no place really matches Zion’s grandeur: cliffs up to 2,000 feet tall stretching for miles, the rock’s purity of white and deep burgundy, and patterns of striations rippling across a span of stone that dwarfs Man’s greatest buildings and monuments. Perhaps that’s why it was Utah’s first national park, designated in the same year, 1919, as Grand Canyon and Acadia.

As the photos below demonstrate, Zion harbors some of America’s best dayhiking and backpacking.

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Zion deserves the attention of every avid and casual hiker, backpacker, and parent wanting to raise a child with a love for America’s greatest natural heritage: our national parks. The good news is that Zion offers hikes ranging from short and easy to multi-day backpacking, including a classic north-south traverse of the entire park. Then there’s the technical canyoneering possibilities in Zion, which open up an entirely new world.

Scroll through the photo gallery below for a sense of the hiking and backpacking opportunities in Zion, then see the links below the photo gallery to my stories about hiking and backpacking in Zion.

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West Rim Trail, Zion National Park.
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