Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

5 Essential Items to Prepare for Zion Weather

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Zion National Park ranges in elevation from just under 4,000′ to over 8,700′, and temperatures can be quite different at varying elevations. Zion Ponderosa sits at 6,500′ and is therefore cooler than the bottom of the park, and that is a great thing during hot summer months. The upper areas of the park are part of large plateaus and are less shielded from breezes so during winter, spring, and fall, wind-chill is something to take into consideration.

Zion Hiking

Hiking to upper elevations in Zion National Park.


Layered Clothing:
With exposure to wind, sun, and the rare chance of rain or snow, it is always good to bring along some layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed. Light long sleeve shirts, and zippered leg-pants that turn long pants into shorts, or vice-versa, can be handy. If you intend to be in the water (slot canyons) it is wise to put some articles of clothing in water-proof or zip-lock bags so you’ll have some dry clothing.

Foil blanket and rain pancho

Take these items along every time you hike. They are small, light, and inexpensive.

Rain / Wind Protection: It is wise to include an inexpensive rain poncho, and an emergency reflective foil blanket, as these items are small, light, and always easy to include in a small backpack or waist pack.  These items can be converted into a crude shelter if needed.

Sun hat

Broad brimmed hats give better coverage from sun exposure.

Broad Brimmed Hat: No matter the time of year a hat is always a good item to have along since the skies over Zion are mostly clear, and sun exposure should be anticipated. It’s always wise to include sunscreen for any other parts of your body that will get too much sun exposure.

water bottles

Bring water on every walk or hike.

Water: No matter the time of year, if you are outdoors and walking for any lengthy period of time, you’ll need water. In summer months it is wise to plan on approximately ½ a liter of water for each hour, and depending on your level of exertion you may wish to have more. Water filtration bottles are easy to carry and not a bad idea for emergency situations.

Insulation: If you intend to go into one of the Zion area slot canyons where you’ll be in and out of water, then you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for water temperatures and sun-shaded canyons. In non-summer months water and air temperatures can be quite cool and you’ll need insulation for your feet, and/or your whole body (wet or dry-suit).

Other items for emergencies: It’s always good to bring a portable first aid kit and some matches or some way to start a fire to keep warm.

Rain in Zion – Consider yourself lucky!

Monday, November 25th, 2013
A waterfall cascades off a very large cliff formation in Zion National Park

A waterfall cascades off a very large cliff formation in Zion National Park

For some people rain is not desirable, but if you are in Zion National Park when it rains, consider yourself blessed. The formations of Zion National Park are part of a huge plateau that has been eroded and carved by the constant flow of water.

A waterfall courses over the rough surfaces of a sandstone formation in Zion National Park.

A waterfall courses over the rough surfaces of a sandstone formation in Zion National Park.

The tops of most formations are very flat and as rain water gathers on the plateau it quickly accumulates and then forces its way over the edge of the plateau often cascading in dramatic fashion down cliff faces, some of which are one to two thousand feet high.

Water shapes the formations in Zion National Park.

Water shapes the formations in Zion National Park.

During light rain their are many areas that just off the road where one can view or even experience the light water flows. However, be mindful not to enter a slot canyon or venture near a high water flow as these areas can be dangerous.

Small waterfalls stair-step their way down across formations in Zion National Park

Small waterfalls stair-step their way down across formations in Zion National Park

To photograph or shoot video during the rain, you simply need to cover your camera with some plastic or other water resistant material. Remember to bring a soft cloth to wipe the rain drops that may spot your lens from time to time.

View this video of the rains and waterfalls in Zion National Park.


Learn more about Zion National Park.

Fall Getaway

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Fall Getaway by Susan Strayer

Zion National Park in Autumn

Zion National Park in Autumn

 

My husband’s brithday is in October and this year we decided to celebrate with a two night stay at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. We’d been there earlier in the summer, but I was excited to see Zion National Park with fall colors. James was excited to ride the trails on the Ranch’s UTV.

Staying in a Comfortable Cabin Suite.

Fall Getaway at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

When we arrived at our cabin suite, I could already feel my muscles relax in anticipation of our vacation. The rustic style of the cabin suites, combined with the kitchenette and separate seating area made me feel right at home. We could’ve stayed in any of Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort’s six lodging options, but the cabin suite was the perfect choice.

 

We started our stay with dinner at the Blue Belly Grill. James had “the tastiest Bleu Bacon Cheesburger he’s ever had” and I had delicious Spicy Vegetarian Pasta. We enjoyed the food so much, we made a point to eat there again the next night.

Dinner at the Blue Belly Grill was delicious.

Dinner at the Blue Belly Grill was delicious.

 

In the morning we played mini golf before heading out on the trail. The Utility Vehicle we rented could seat six and easily handled the bumps of the numerous off road trails surounding the Ranch. We made our way to Jolley Gulch and Pine Knoll Observation point where we could see Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and way in the distance the north rim of the Grand Canyon. James loved it so much, I’m sure owning a UTV will be in our future.

 

Riding the trails in a UTV at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

Riding the trails in a UTV at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

We loved the UTV ride, but could’ve also gone horseback riding, ATVing or Rock Climbing thanks to all the activities Zion Ponderosa ranch offers. The weather in October was perfect, unlike the sweltering heat of the summer, the air was warm with a cool breeze.

Zion National Park in Autumn

Zion National Park in Autumn

 

The rest of our time was spent exploring the area’s National parks. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is located on the eastern border of Zion National Park, so of course we went there to see the fall colors. In October, the summer crowds have all disappeared so the park was relaxing and beautiful. The next day we decided to drive just over an hour to Bryce Canyon National Park to see the hoo doos there. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort’s unique location between the two made it a great place to stay, and the beautiful fall weather made it the perfect time to visit.