The unique geographical location of Zion and the great variety of life zones combine to create a variety of habitats which offer a surprising variety of plant and animal species. It is situated on the Colorado Plateau, but borders the Great Basin and Mojave Desert.
Our adventure begins on the last stop of the tour Zion Park, The Temple of Sinawava. The shuttle bus drops you at the beginning of a very comfortable path, which is called the Riverside Walk, and from here you can just walk at your own pace. The landscape changes as the path becomes more narrow as you near the end. Be careful with the river, the rain can raise the height of the river quickly, and this causes flooding on the path. It can be very dangerous because the slopes are so vertical you have no where to climb. At the end of the path there is the path mother, only to experts, they call it The Narrows. The end is a dead end which takes 12 hours to reach. The problem is that there is no other path available to go upstream, the slopes are fast becoming a narrow gorge. Whoever wants to reach the end will have to ask for permission from the rangers. When it rains, the river becomes quite dangerous and the day I took the photos I was not able to pass. In fact there was a sign forbidding entry, passing through the narrows was truly a adventure.
100 miles separate the Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon NP, a beautiful 161 km trip by road. We left for the east of the park, again finding ourselves with beautiful views whilst saying good bye to our last resort. The route takes you up 3 distinct climbs and through 3 tunnels. They are so close that you can go by bus or caravan but those with the latter must request permission from the Rangers. The rangers work very well and efficiently to make sure the roads remain relatively traffic free however we had to wait a little. Once up the hill you come across a similar landscape. Moving away from the boundaries of the park, we found a wide, flat plateau, with lots of grass. The rest of the trip goes on this plateau at 2,000 meters altitude.
Perhaps of all the trails in Zion NP that we came across, this was the most spectacular, the Emerald Pools. There are three interconnected circuits. We did all of them, and it was worth it. We could see the falls from above below. A waterfall that leads to another two below. The path was very good, although the slopes were rather slippery, we had to be careful. It's a shame that you cannot capture it in photos, but the perfectly vertical slope, the reflection that it gave, the waterfall and the lush vegetation makes you feel like you are in a unique, magical place, like a true adventurer wanting more experiences to discover. The ups and downs were the worst, but it was still so rewarding ...
The Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado River, winds around the Zion National Park. A river which in some places can be very dangerous (Narrows) runs at other points so slowly you can hardly notice it. Sit by the shore, or even go camping as there suitable areas for this, do not lose sight of where we are at any point.
There are many paths to follow in Zion Park, with varying levels of difficulty. The Riverside Walk is the easiest and most comfortable in the area. At the last stop of the tour, The Temple of Sinawava, the shuttle bus drops you off at the start of the path 1.5km or so from which point you can only walk. The landscape changes as the throat becomes narrower as you near the end. Be careful with the river, with the rain it can rise very quickly causing the path to flood. It can be very dangerous because the slopes are so steep you have nowhere to climb. The wildlife here is diverse: the golden eagle, big-eared mule deer, mountain lion (cougar) ... but we just found a friendly squirrel. At the end of the path is the mother of paths, only for experts. It is known as The Narrows. It is a dead end and is reached in 12 hours.