Scenic USA - Utah

Towers and Temples

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Towers and Temples - Zion National Park, UT

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Over a long period of time, perhaps as long as 12,000 years, people have lived in the Zion Canyon area. In what is Zion National Park today, each successive group came and went, chased away by a depletion of resources, climate change and powerful flash floods. Zion Shuttle Bus - Zion National Park, UT Today the same threats still exist, but canyon residents have been replaced by millions of visitors every year. One of the constants at the park are its majestic mountains, patches of contrasting greenery and Utah’s deep blue skies.
     When Mormon pioneers arrived in the early 1860s, the enormity of these towering cliffs left them in awe and disbelief. Some of these dramatic towers and temples, standing 2000 to 3000 feet above the valley floor, earned their own unique names. Slowly, word of Zion spread across the United States and the rest of the world, with some people refusing that such a place could exist. Just 50 years after the first settlers arrived, the entire area surrounding Zion Canyon was established as a national monument.
     This view of Zion’s shear canyon walls is Mount Carmel Highway - Zion National Park, UT located behind the Zion Human History Museum, the first stop into Zion Canyon aboard the shuttle bus. To the far left is the immense West Temple, rising 3800 feet above the Virgin River Canyon. Among some of the first peaks in the park to catch the morning sunrise, the lightly shaded 7540 foot Navajo sandstone peak is called the Sundial. The Altar of Sacrifice is easily recognized by the blood stains that cascade down from the peak. Collectively known as the Towers and Temples of the Virgin, this stop may not be on everyone’s must see list in Zion Canyon, but once realilized that this is one of the park's iconic scenes, one has to stop. Park rangers at the museum use the rear patio for lectures and talks, with this famous Zion view in the background. If this landscape view looks slightly familiar to Zion visitors, it has beautified the park brochure for years.

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