The Six Sections of Zion: An Explanation

Jun 15, 2018

Posted In: Kolob Terrace

The Six Sections of Zion: An Explanation

When considering every park in the United State’s national park system, Zion is certainly not the biggest, though it is one of the most popular. There are, however, specific sections within the boundaries of the park that make up what we refer to as Zion National Park, each one with its own unique characteristics. It is likely that you have heard someone refer to “the main canyon” which is definitely the most popular and well-known section of the park. This article will explain briefly all six sections of Zion to familiarize you with the geography of the park and get you curious to explore more than just the main canyon. Since the main canyon is the most well-known, we’ll start with the lesser-known sections and work our way through.

Desert Lowlands

Of all the sections inside Zion, the Desert Lowlands is the driest, hottest, and lowest region, as you can surmise by its name. This is most certainly the least-visited section of Zion. Because of its low elevation and dry landscape, this particular section should be visited during the off-season months (Fall/Winter) to most view its subtle beauty. There are some washes located in this section that are really neat and are most definitely worth exploring. As lonely as this section of the park is, there are most assuredly still some great backpacking and hiking opportunities in this section that are isolated and quiet. The Desert Lowlands are located north of Route 9 and southwest of Springdale.

Kolob Canyons

The words isolated, subdued, and remote are sometimes used to describe the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. This area is characterized by Navajo sandstone all around that has vivid orange and pink hues. It’s located a ways from the main canyon, approximately 40 miles from Springdale. Because of the fact that it there is such a distance between this section and the main canyon, it has its own visitor center and ranger station. If you want real serenity while backpacking and hiking, this is where you should go. Kolob Arch and the Taylor Creek Trail are highlights. The Kolob Canyons section of Zion is located in the northwestern section of the park.

Kolob Terrace

This section is home to the “Subway”, one of Zion National Park’s most spectacular locations. A handful of primitive camping sites, some fantastic scenic drives, and the highest point in Zion, Lava Point, all exist here. There is no access to this section of the park during the winter because upper portions of Kolob Terrace Road are not plowed. This is the road that leads to the Kolob Terrace part of the park.

Zion Narrows

Considered by some as the very best that Zion has to offer, the Narrows section of Zion is unlike anywhere you’ve been before. Dozens of miles of closed-in canyon walls carved over countless years by the Virgin River has created a meandering labyrinth of sandstone, tributaries, and side canyons allowing hikers to walk through the water (and sometimes swim) from the top to the bottom. It’s one of the best and most memorable hikes in the world. Experienced canyoneers can take routes that descent down into the Narrows.

Upper East Canyon

Do you like scenic drives? The Upper East Canyon inside Zion National Park will give you something that you’ll never forget. Taking Route 9 through the Upper East Canyon will show you amazing drainages, slickrock formations, and right through the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel. Instead of traditional trails, this section mostly allows visitors opportunities for photographs and exploration. Checkerboard Mesa is in this section.

Main Canyon

And finally, the main canyon. Home to Angel’s Landing, the Great White Throne, Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools, as well as Zion Lodge and the Visitor Center. This is more most travelers spend most of their time and is where you’ll find yourself when driving through Springdale and through the park entrance.

The Six Sections of Zion: An Explanation


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