July 28th, 2014

Rappelling in Birch Canyon

Canyoneering is the ultimate way to explore the beauty of Zion National Park. National Park Services describes canyoneering as an outdoor activity combining route finding, rappelling, problem solving, swimming, and hiking. Some of the most beautiful sights in the region are those found deep inside a canyon, only reachable to the adventurous few who are willing to rappel down.

At Zion Ponderosa we both recognize and encourage this unique opportunity. Experienced canyoneering guides are available to take guests on either a full day or half day canyoneering adventure. Even if you have no experience rappelling, our guides are trained to assist you and ensure your safety.

Before even heading to the canyon, a guide will provide a complimentary rappelling lesson and allow you to practice down our outdoor climbing wall. Once everyone is comfortable, the group will be carpooled to their canyon. Half day canyoneering trips are at Orderville Canyon, and full day is at Birch.

Both are slot canyons and filled with beautiful sights, multiple rappels, down climbs, and hiking. Birch contains eight rappels and three down climbs, whereas Orderville has three rappels and two down climbs. Prices for canyoneering can be found here. 

When asked why he loves canyoneering so much, lead guide Eric Brown stated, “I love being deep in a canyon and feeling like I am somewhere where no one else has ever been before”. Canyoneering is something everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or experience.

Utah For Veterans

July 21st, 2014
Utah For Veterans Sign on our Recreation Barn

Utah For Veterans Sign on our Recreation Barn

Zion Ponderosa is proud to have hosted Utah For Veterans this past weekend. This nonprofit organization was founded by Utah native Mary Southerland. After returning from service in Iraq, she came to understand how hard of an adjustment it is for veterans. To read her incredible story, click here. 
Veterans with General Manager, Michael Kane, and Front Desk Manager, Erin Anderson.

Veterans with General Manager, Michael Kane, and Front Desk Manager, Erin Anderson.

Here’s the vision according to their website: bringing Veterans, Civilians, and Contractors that have served in war zones to Utah’s State and National Parks. Southerland wanted to provide an opportunity for Veterans to truly experience the beauty of the nation they were serving. In her own words, “[Veterans have] seen war zones but they haven’t seen the national parks that they’ve fought for.”

This vision inspired their first one-week trip, which began July 15th and concluded at Zion Ponderosa. Their trip was filled with tremendous support and adventure. The Veterans spent this week in Salt Lake City, Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Zion National Park. It has provided an opportunity for Utah communities to show their gratitude for the service of so many, and given these Veterans one of the most beautiful places to decompress and heal.


The Sunset from Zion Ponderosa Property

Indeed, Southern Utah is a very different kind of desert than Iraq. From ziplining and swimming to a sunset jeep tour, we hope Utah For Veterans had an enjoyable stay at Zion Ponderosa and we were grateful for the chance to host them.

To follow this organization and to hear about their future trips, find them on Facebook at  They created the following video to document their time here, taken from their Facebook page:

Cable Mountain

July 16th, 2014

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets, Cable Mountain is a hike within Zion National Park that offers one of the most spectacular views into Zion Canyon.

Named after the Cable Mountain Draw Works built at the top of this trail, this historic structure can still be found for those willing to make the hike. The Cable Mountain Draw Works was even listed in 1978 in the National Register of Historic Places.

The history of this famous structure is as interesting as the view from the top of the trail. In 1863 Mormon leader Brigham Young prophesied that one day lumber would be transported “as the hawk flies” from that canyon rim. Years later David Flanigan saw his vision of the Draw Works as a fulfilment of that very prophesy. He envisioned and constructed this aerial tramway, which transported lumber over 2,000 feet into the canyon beginning in the year 1901.

Although this hasn’t been used since 1927, the Draw Works still remains in its historic location. Unfortunately Cable Mountain attracts very few people due to its long and strenuous nature. The hike is 15 miles round trip from the Weeping Rock Trailhead or 18 miles round trip from East Rim Trailhead.

However, what many guests do not know is that there is a much less strenuous way to hike Cable Mountain and still experience the great view. From Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort you can also access this trail and avoid most of the elevation gain. Beginning on our property, you can enter Zion National Park from the East and enjoy this fairly moderate hike, just under 8 miles round trip.


With signs on our property directing you to the trailhead, and a well maintained trail within the park, it is a beautiful and straightforward hike worth checking out.