11 Rock Formations in Zion National Park

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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 has the most impressive formations that are up to 2,500 feet thick, making it the world's deepest desert landscape.

Utah is famous for its natural arches, most notably Delicate Arch from Arches National Park prominently honored on the Utah centennial license plate. Not to diminish the splendor of these fantastic works of nature, but it should be noted that Utah features many other beautiful rock formations.

The Three 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

Telephone Canyon, the Temple of Sinawava.

Telephone Canyon, the Temple of Sinawava.

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.

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