During peak visitation seasons, Zion offers a variety of ranger-led activities to help you get the inside scoop on the park.
Zion Ranger Shuttle Tours
Of all the varied ranger-led programs at Zion National Park, more people line up for the Ranger Shuttle Tours.
These tours are offered twice a day from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, on up to the Temple of Savawava at the upper end of the Zion Canyon. The 30-passenger shuttle leaves with a ranger at the helm and the tour takes about 90 minutes.
"These aren't canned presentations," said Ron Terry, park spokesman. "Each ranger gives his or her own interpretation." Topics include the canyon's geology and ecology, the river, wildlife and the history of the region, he added.
"A ranger might point out some rock climbers, and use that as an opportunity to talk about climbing and geology," said Terry.
Terry said seating is based on advance reservations, on a first-come, first-served basis, at the visitor center. Reservations may be made, in person, 24 hours in advance at the information desk at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. No telephone reservations accepted.
Note: Because large groups can impact the availability of tickets for other visitors, group tickets are limited to 8. This includes people sharing the same affiliation (school, club, scout troop, family, friends) on any one tour.
Zion Ranger Talks
At the Zion Human History Museum and the lodge, rangers will lead Patio Talks. These 20-30-minute talks cover a range of issues, so check the schedule posted at key locations to ensure that you don’t miss a favorite talk. In the evening, the park presents 45-minute Evening Programs in Watchman Campground amphitheater and at the Zion Lodge.
These varied programs are meant to inspire and educate and can feature film, slides, and other forms of presentation. Finally, rangers often lead Guided Hikes to key locations. These easy hikes are typically appropriate for everyone, but check with the Visitors Center if you have health problems or other limitations.
Walking Ranger Programs in Zion
For the more active visitors to Zion National Park, rangers offer a wide range of walks and talks, where the required physical exertion ranges from easy to moderate to the strenuous.
Check at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for the current schedule, starting points and how strenuous the walk/talks might be.
Here's a sampling:
Canyon Country (3 hrs, strenuous 2.5-mi) Uncover the beauty and hidden surprises in Zion's narrow canyons. Not suitable for young children.
Discover Kolob (2 hrs, moderate, 2-mi) Uncover stories of history and nature as you take an intimate look at the beauty of Kolob Canyons.
Emerald Escape (2 hrs, moderate 2-mi) Experience the splendors found along an the ever-changing Emerald Pools Trail.
Faces and Places in Time (1.5 hrs, easy 1-mi) Follow a tree-lined route along the river as you explore the rich history of Zion Canyon.
From Cacti to Cottonwoods (2.5 hrs, moderate 2.5-mi) Explore the fascinating world of wildflowers, trees, and other plant life.
Hiking the Kayenta (2 hrs, moderate 1.5-mi) Hike along a trail with spectacular views and discover Zion's unique natural and cultural history.
Riverside Ramble (1.75 hrs, easy 2-mi) Discover the power of water in canyon country. Riverside Walk Trailhead.
Rock and Stroll (1.5 hrs, easy 1-mi) Follow the Virgin River and unearth the geologic processes that sculpt the scenery.
Classes at the Zion Field Institute
With specialized classes in photography and seasonal information, participants may hike with a field biologist or work repairing Zion trails. These paid programs help support the park, even as participants learn how to help preserve and protect it.
For More Information:
Download the Park Newsletter at www.nps.gov/zion/learn/news/newspaper.htm