Scenic USA - Utah

Checkerboard Mesa

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Checkerboard Mesa - Zion National Park, Utah

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Zion National Park, one of Utah's well known Grand Circle parks, easily exceeds a first time visitor's preconceptions with its wondrous beauty. While the terms jaw-dropping and breathtaking are overused today, they truly apply to this national park. The popular park is famous for its majestic canyons, beautiful streams and pools, winding roads, wildflowers and naturally sculpted rock. With so much to see, Zion is extremely busy during the summer months and shuttle bus service eliminates traffic concerns in Zion Canyon. Easy hiking trails (Weeping Rock, Emerald Pool, and Riverside Walk) offer a close up look at popular park features. For experienced hikers, Kolob Arch, East and West Rim trails await.
     Mount Carmel Highway, a popular entrance road to Zion Park from the east, sees plenty of traffic streaming in Mt Carmel Road - Zion National Park, Kane County, Utah from Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon national parks. A marvelous introduction to Zion, the 30 mile highway passes a handful of landmarks, including Canyon Overlook Trail, The Great Arch and the famous Zion Tunnel. The 5,600 foot tunnel follows the profile of Pine Creek Canyon wall, allowing light to enter the narrow rock-faced tunnel through side portals. An impressive man-made wonder, the drive continues to many roadside pull-outs and scenic viewpoints. In a land where sandstone is a mixture of white and various shades of red, orange and tan, Checkerboard Mesa puts on a grand display of park geology. Its marvelous textures of grooved Navajo sandstone represent horizontal cross-bedding in a large scale when sand deposits were first laid down. The vertical grooves were carved later when the mesa was exposed again to everyday elements, such as wind, rain and frost. One of the most recognizable landmarks along the highway, Checkerboard Mesa is a must-see pullout just down the road from the East Entrance.

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