Zion National Park is one of those places so over visited it sucks the life out of the place. It’s clogged with tour buses, cars and humans tramping up everything, everywhere.
Zion has some world class photo ops like “The Subway”, but fighting the crowds to get to them takes a lot of the fun out of it. That is especially true given that the Grand Staircase-Escalante (GSENM) is right next door. GSENM has far more amazing, pristine world class hiking and photography places hidden within its vastness… and few people.
But you are obligated to make a quick spin through Zion sometime if you travel the area enough times. This must have been my time. I had an afternoon this trip and it was close by so opted to stop in.
I’d hoped to catch decent sunset lighting but that was thwarted by clouds on the horizon.
Zion is the Yosemite of red rock country.
In concept, the original intention was to make the entirety of southern Utah and northern Arizona into one humongous national park that was to include Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and their surrounding territories.
Their surroundings include the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges and Vermillion Cliffs national monuments. In addition it would have contained the Goosenecks, Goblin Valley, Valley of the Gods and the entire San Rafael Swell. But the gigantic task of making agreements with local residents took too long so national parks were just spun off as land became available. The San Rafael Swell is still largely unprotected lands.
It was my first visit to Zion and perhaps last until I tackle “The Subway”. In landscape photography circles, The Subway is one of Zion’s most prized photo ops.
Unfortunately, time didn’t allow fighting the crowds to hike in, so I missed it. I just drove the main road and snapped a couple pictures.