Archive for the ‘Canyoneering’ Category

Waterfalls in Zion National Park

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Dual Waterfalls in Zion National Park

Dual Waterfalls in Zion National Park

Zion National Park has been eroded and shaped by the constant effects of water moving over the soft sandstone formations.   Melting snow or rain storms are most prominent in the spring-time and this leads to opportunities to view some magnificent waterfalls within the park.   Zion National Park is actually a large plateau where deep canyons have been carved into the plateau.   The plateau gathers snow and rain and then funnels the resulting water flow down, sometimes into narrow canyons commonly referred to as slot canyons.  As water gathers from multiple points on the plateau, it gathers force and often jettisons itself out over the edge of the plateau before gravity grabs hold and curls the force of water downward.


With so many gathering points
along the top of Zion, waterfalls may often be seen at nearly every turn.   This only occurs during days of strong snow-melt or during a heavy rain-storm.   So count yourself lucky if you are in Zion National Park when these events occur.    The water from these falls funnel down to gathering points on the valley floor where they flow eventually into the Virgin River.  The Virgin River is the main water flow through the Narrows of Zion and this river continues through the park, out past the towns of Springdale, Rockville, Virgin and on to Hurricane, St. George and eventually to the Colorado River.

Waterfall from a slot canyon at Zion National Park

Waterfall from a slot canyon at Zion National Park

Flash Floods: With so many narrow slot canyons in Zion National Park, the fast gathering water has no outlet and walls of water will come raging down a slot canyon at a rapid rate and at heights that can exceed 40 feet.   This is a rare occurrence but one that you do not want to witness from the bottom of a slot canyon.   So on rainy days, be sure to stay out of slot canyons.   Also be wary of strong increases in temperatures on spring days when melting snow can quickly gather water in large amounts.


Guided slot canyon trips:
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers guided canyoneering adventures into area slot canyons.   Click here for more details.

Bring your camera: The waterfalls in Zion National Park are a spectacular sight and you’ll want to shoot plenty of photographs.   You’ll find that spring-time is remarkably scenic with the blooming flowers and budding trees.   Combine this with the waterfalls, and occasional views of wildlife and you’ve got some great compositions and colors for beautiful photographs.

Canyoneering at Zion National Park

Friday, October 16th, 2009
Canyoneering in Zion National Park

Canyoneering in Zion National Park

Canyoneering:

Most people have never heard the term canyoneering.    In fact the dictionary doesn’t even recognize the name.   So what does it mean?   Essentially canyoneering is the art or experience of exploring and traveling through canyons.   The similar term of canyoning is used outside the United States to describe this experience.

Wading through pools of water in slot canyon

Wading through pools of water in slot canyon

Canyoneering participants are most often walking, down-climbing (sometimes with ropes) and negotiating technical obstacles in canyons that often contain flowing water or in some cases, remnant pools of rainwater.    With these pools and/or waterfalls, there is often also the need to swim.

There are few places in the world that offer a more magnificent canyoneering opportunity than Zion National Park.  If fact, look-up canyoneering in Wikipedia and the first photo you’ll see (10-16-09) is one of Mystery Canyon in Zion National Park.

Why is canyoneering in Zion National Park so unique? The answer is that the canyons in Zion are comprised of sandstone that has been stained by oxidizing iron.   The many hues of white, ochre and red sandstone provide a colorful experience not found, in such abundance, anywhere else in the world.   Mix in the pine trees, scrub-oak and cottonwood trees that cling to the rock crevices and line the canyons, the blue-sky far overhead, and you have an remarkable color palette.

Some canyoneering experiences require many rappels (with ropes), and therefore also necessitate that at least one or two people in the group have strong skills with rappelling.   The good news is that Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers skilled guides to take you on a canyoneering adventure, so that you won’t need to acquire rappelling knowledge.    There are canyons to explore that require just the ability to scramble over or down obstacles or rocks that are 10 to 20 feet high.   In these cases, a simple strong rope and some basic skills and agility will suffice.

Gazing up at the sot canyon walls that rise vertically to great heights

Gazing up at the sot canyon walls that rise vertically to great heights

Zion National Park offers some of the world’s best slot canyons for canyoneering exploration.   Places such as The Narrows, The Subway, Orderville Canyon, Mystery Canyon, Englestead Canyon and others offer various levels of adventure and challenge.

In Zion National Park it is often best to start at the top of the canyon and hike down.   Zion Ponderosa offers shuttles to pick you up at the end of your canyoneering adventure.   You may also choose to enter the Narrows from the bottom and walk up-river as far as you choose and then turn around and come back down.   With this method you can leave a car outside the park and return via Zion National Park shuttle (during main season).

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Visit our canyoneering page by clicking here to learn more about the special slot canyon adventures that we offer.

Zion National Park Lodging

Monday, October 5th, 2009

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Choosing Zion National Park Lodging:

Zion National Park lodging choice over a hotel or motel

Zion National Park lodging choice over a hotel or motel

This post is an explanation of why selecting Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort as your Zion National Park lodging experience is the right decision.   First let’s review the lodging options at Zion Ponderosa.

1- Camping / RV Park. We have many guests who would rather bring their RV or tent and stay with us because of the full package of dining and activities we also provide.

2- Cowboy Cabins. These inexpensive cabins will sleep up to six and are the equivalent of staying in a Zion National Park motel except that the bathrooms and showers are in nearby facilities, but all cabins have a front porch for enjoying our beautiful mornings and evenings.

3- Cabin Suites. These nicer cabins will also sleep 6 and are the equivalent of staying in a Zion National Park hotel, but you have your own place with with full bathrooms, air conditioning and a great view from your own front porch.

View from the porch of a cabin suite near Zion National Park

View from the porch of a cabin suite near Zion National Park

4- Vacation Homes. We have 20 different vacation home rentals (cabin style) which are generally the equivalent of staying in a deluxe Zion National Park hotel suite.   There are many sizes, and varying degrees of amenities.  Just pick the one that suits your needs.   These are great for groups of friends or families who want to be together.   These can be quite economical when spreading the cost over a larger group.

So there a simple overview of why Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is the choice when selecting your place to stay for Zion National Park lodging, hotels, motels and resorts.

What other reasons can we offer for choosing us as your Zion National Park hotel, motel or lodging option?

a- Dining. During the main season we offer excellent fine dining at the Blue Belly Grill.   Our guest rave about this fine dining experience.   It makes their choice for Zion National Park lodging even easier.    Through all the months we are open, we all offer buffet and À la Carte dining at Gus & Rosey’s Buffet.   The quality of this option is also excellent.

Two-tierred swimming pool - gravity edge at Zion Ponderosa

Two-tierred swimming pool - gravity edge at Zion Ponderosa

b- Activities. When you’re choosing your Zion National Park hotel or lodging, you really want to have options for things to do.  Consider, as compelling evidence, our large two-tierred gravity edge swimming pool and a host of other activities such as horseback riding, ATV tours, climbing wall, zip-line, paintball, rifle range, and more.    At Zion Ponderosa we offer more on-property activities than any place in Utah.   We even offer some excellent packages that make these activities quite inexpensive.

c- Proximity. Our location on the border of Zion National Park and just 75 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park, makes us a convenient place to unpack once and spend many days.   The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument begins just 25 minutes away.  We are situated on the upper side of Zion National Park among the Ponderosa Pines at 6,000 feet and just minutes from the official east gate of Zion National Park.

So this provides just a few clear reasons why choosing Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort as your Zion National Park lodging is the right choice.   We invite you to call and ask questions about availability and the many reasons whey you’ll enjoy staying with us.   800-293-5444