Canyons of Zion National Park


The high cliffs of Zion were formed about four million years ago through a process where layers of rock were broken, pushed up and on their side, eroded, cracked and weather beaten. The colorful rock within the Colorado Plateau formed the Grand Staircase between Bryce and the Grand Canyon. The rock that is at the bottom of Bryce forms the top of Zion and the bottom rock of Zion is the top layer of the Grand Canyon.

Throughout this process, a river was formed that cut through layer after layer of rock.  The canyon you see before you is the result of these natural forces. Geologists can read the eons of information exposed on the hillsides like a librarian reads a book. The Virgin River whisked away several thousand feet of rock that it is still excavating. The river still runs through the heart of the canyon, offering exciting landmarks like the Emerald Pools and the Narrows and wonderful places to get out and get dirty.

Orderville Canyon is The Narrows’ little brother and its northern tributary. More playful but less adventurous, the canyon offers canyoneering for the regular guy. You still get to swim through deep pools, scramble over obstacles and figure out a way around obstructions. Short rope descents offer easy rappelling and long periods of dry canyon floor mean that there are long sections of easy hiking.