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.
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.