The extravagant red sedimentary rock is noticeable in the towering rock formations. The fossil-less cliffs that characterize the rocky, desert landscapes of Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Southern California came from an environment that was once like today's Sahara Desert environment. This geology is called the Navajo Formation. Zion National Park has the most impressive formations that are up to 2,500 feet thick, making it the world's deepest desert landscape.

The Court of the Patriarchs

Zion's 3 Patriarchs Mountain Peaks

Zion's 3 Patriarchs Mountain Peaks

Zion's spirituality and its iconic rock formations are inextricably intertwined. The grand buttes rising from the canyon floor are awe-inspiring. The three patriarchs dominate the valley. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob rest on the west side of Zion Canyon at Birch Creek and are visible from almost everywhere within the valley. Mount Moroni is in front of the Three Patriarchs.

Towers of the Virgin

The Towers of the Virgin in Zion National Park

The Towers of the Virgin in Zion National Park

Towers of the Virgin are another set of prominent peaks on the wet side of the administration building north of West Temple. The Sentinel is the northernmost peak. The Alter of Sacrifice is the one with red blood (iron oxide) streaking down its face.

The Pulpit

"The Pulpit" Rock at Temple of Sinawava in Zion National Park

"The Pulpit" Rock at Temple of Sinawava in Zion National Park

Zion National Park's Riverside Walk begins at the Temple of Sinawava, an open area named after the Paiute wolf god. Look for a rock that looks like a minister's pulpit called, appropriately, The Pulpit.

The Spearhead

The Spearhead rock formation over Zion Lodge

The Spearhead rock formation over Zion Lodge

Just north of Zion Lodge west of the river, look for a giant sandstone cliff that looks like its name, The Spearhead. This stone promontory is part of the lower section of Mount Majestic, located just north of Emerald Pools.

Beehives

The Beehives rock formations in Zion.

The Beehives rock formations in Zion.

Beehives are the set of mound-like (not pointed) mountain peaks also seen from the administration area, which are shaped like, what else -- beehives.

Checkerboard Mesa

Checkerboard Mesa along the Mt. Carmel Highway in Zion

Checkerboard Mesa along the Mt. Carmel Highway in Zion

Checkerboard Mesa is a worn mountain covered with cross-hatching that makes it resemble a checkerboard that lies along the Zion Mt. Carmel Highway.

Lady Mountain

View of the Great White Throne (left) and Lady Mountain (right) from the West Rim Trail in Zion National Park.

View of the Great White Throne (left) and Lady Mountain (right) from the West Rim Trail in Zion National Park.

Across the street from the lodge, look for a mountain that looks like the figure of a lady called Lady Mountain.

Mountain of the Sun

Arch on the west face of Mountain of the Sun in Zion National Park

Arch on the west face of Mountain of the Sun in Zion National Park

Turn around and look south to see Mountain of the Sun, noted for capturing the sun the first thing in the morning and holding onto it longest at night. (Pictured is the arch on the west face)

Angel's Landing

Angel's Landing in Zion National Park

Angel's Landing in Zion National Park

Angel's Landing was named by Ethelbert Bingham in 1916 when he exclaimed to his friends, "only an angel could land on that!" Nearby, The Organ juts out toward Angel's Landing. Some think the wind passing through the pass sounds like a pipe organ.

Bridge Mountain

Crawford Arch on Bridge Mountain in Zion National Park.

Crawford Arch on Bridge Mountain in Zion National Park. 

Bridge Mountain was once named Crawford Mountain after a local pioneer family, but was changed to Bridge Mountain when a natural bridge was found there. The natural bridge turned out to be, not a bridge, but an arch, but the mountain's name appears to be more enduring.

The Great White Throne

Great White Throne in Zion National Park

Great White Throne in Zion National Park

Look for the large, white mountain north of the lodge on the east side of the canyon. It's called the Great White Throne.

Horizontal rule

Need a map? Download an official Zion National Park map for basic road and attraction locations. Want a detailed topographical map of trails in the park? Buy the NatGeo Trails Illustrated Map for Zion National Park at REI.com. The map includes trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, lakes and much more. Or get the complete Utah National Parks Map Pack with five topographic maps. All of the NatGeo maps are printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material.

If you buy from shopping links on this website, National Park Trips may receive an affiliate commission.

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Emerald Pools Waterfall

Waterfalls in Zion National Park

Somehow, one doesn't expect desert terrain to be home of some of the world's most spectacular water features. But, Zion is full of waterfalls from snow melt.

Kolob Arch in Zion National Park's backcountry may be the second longest in the world.

Natural Rock Arches in Zion National Park

Zion has two major Arches and several lesser ones. The most easily accessible is Crawford Arch. Kolob Arch may be the second longest arch in the world.

Winter snow dusting the Court of the Patriarchs along the Virgin River in Zion National Park

Winter Recreation in Zion National Park

Zion's snowcapped mountains are spectacular in the winter. The canyon is not normally subject to heavy snow, so hiking and biking are still popular.

A hiker near the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, holding onto the chains and taking a selfie photo.

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Angels Landing soars 1,488 ft above the Virgin River. Reach the summit and your reward is a spectacular view of Zion Canyon and surrounding cliffs.

Observation Point in Zion National Park on a cloudy day

Top 3 Vistas in Zion National Park

Get the best views in this red-rock paradise in southwestern Utah. If you want to feel on top of the world, here are three fantastic Zion hikes that offer incredible vistas.

A hiker approaches Wall Street in the Zion Narrow

10 Best Things to Do in Utah National Parks

Be sure to hit one, or all, of the Top 10 Things to do and see in Utah Parks. There’s slot canyons, arches, museums, dinosaurs and more.

Cedar Mesa Sandstone in Canyonlands Needles District

4 Districts of Canyonlands National Park

Explore the Needles, Island in the Sky, the Maze, and the Rivers of Canyonlands National Park. But don't miss these two fascinating spots nearby.

Boat Mountain and hoodoos from Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon

7 Top Views in Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos, arches, and fins galore. See Bryce Canyon National Park’s best views and rock formations from these favorite scenic overlooks.

Solo hiker in the Zion Narrows in Zion National Park in Utah

Hiking the Virgin River through Zion Narrows

This slot canyon in Zion National Park, is the premier and most accessible slot canyon in the Southwest. Hikers can take the easy, moderate or challenging route.