Posts Tagged ‘canyon’

Observation Point Trail from Zion Ponderosa

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

View from Observation Point.

Observation Point is one of my favorite hikes in Zion National Park.  Although the park is full of stunning vistas, various levels of hiking trails, and an abundance of water and vegetation, Observation Point remains my favorite.  Why?  Well, accessing it from our property here at Zion Ponderosa makes it easy and the hike is filled with diverse landscaping and spectacular views.

When hiking this trail from the park shuttles, it takes about 4-5 hours roundtrip and it’s best to begin early in the morning to begin your ascent before the sun bakes you.  I chose access from the east boundary of the park, which eliminates hiking up the mountain, but does not compromise the experience in any way.  In fact, about halfway to Observation Point there is a great spot to sit, rest, take photos, and soak in the beauty of the canyon to the right.  I especially like this spot just after dinner because the sun is beginning to set and the colors in the canyon awe me each and every time.  Another benefit to accessing the trail from our property is that it takes about 3-4 hours roundtrip.  When you have limited time on your vacation and want to experience the most you can, saving time on the hike is golden.

View of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River in Utah.

The hike is more like a long walk, which makes it great for all ages and skill levels to enjoy.  On the way back I passed a couple with three young children wearing flip flops, on their way to Observation Point.  The kids were all armed with water bottles, something I highly recommend you take – at least two per person.  Although you walk through a forest and some shady spots, most of the trail is open to the sun.

Don’t forget your camera when you go on this or other hikes because you won’t find this kind of beauty in any photo studio.  If you are interested in portraits with everyone in the group included, our photographer finds these assignments some of her favorites!

Portrait photography at Zion Ponderosa.

Once you arrive here and settle in to one of our vacation homes, cabins, your RV, or tent, visit our Adventure Guides in the Recreation Barn to help plan your activities, whether it be one of our hikes, canyoneering, ATV rides, horseback riding – or whatever you can imagine, our team is here to make your visit to Zion Ponderosa full of unforgettable moments.

Zion is the Place for Canyoneering

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The canyons in the Zion National Park area are screaming to for some rappelling action, and Isaac is ready to take you on an adventure you’ll never forget!  This is his third season with us as our guide.  Not only is he a T.A. for the canyoneering class at Brigham Young University, but he recently returned from New Zealand where he spent time canyoning there.

Saturday the weather was hot, the sky clear, and our group was ready by 8 a.m. for a canyoneering trip in a slot canyon  on the east rim of Zion National Park.  A contributary to the Orderville Canyon, it feeds into the Narrows in Zion, another spot famous for canyoneering.  The far left photo is an impressive shot of  the black choke stone.

Over 85% of our clients started here as beginners in the sport, with an age range of 11 – 65 years.  Whether beginner or intermediate, you’ll want to book an adventure at Zion Ponderosa Resort and let Isaac and his team guide, teach, and impress you!

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.