Like a well-irrigated oasis in a dusty sandstone desert, Zion Canyon holds the treasures that make Zion park so famous. Carved by the waters of the Virgin River, this canyon plunges over 2,000 feet from rim to valley floor, where the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive forms a conduit for awestruck travelers. Here in the stunning Zion Canyon, famous sights such as The Great White Throne literally spring up towards the sky. The drive up the canyon is so wildly popular that shuttles are used in summer, but private vehicles are allowed in the canyon during the slower months of winter. For most visitors, the canyon “begins” at the northern end by the Temple of Sinawava, and runs south to the town of Springdale nearly 10 miles away. North of the Temple of Sinawava, the canyon narrows to only 20 feet and is filled by the Virgin River. This part of the canyon forms “The Narrows” trail that’s popular with hikers and visitors, although regardless of where in the canyon you visit, the vertical spires, painted cliffs, and green of the valley floor create a mesmerizing amphitheater in the Utah desert that’s as magical as it is famous.
Zion Canyon runs for approximately 10 miles from the Zion National Park Visitor Center to the Temple of Sinawava. The canyon is closed to private vehicles from March 15 until the middle of October, during which time it’s accessible by park shuttles that run every six minutes. For the best photos inside of the canyon, early mornings offer the most light and the best angle of the sun.