Throughout this national parks journey, there has been a common theme threading all of the parks together. It is literally a system of roads connecting people to the parks and opening new horizons to places of immense wonder. There are many untold stories of those who labored over these roads and trails, and some of the roadways through and along mountainsides seem impossible to behold.
Zion National Park is famous for its red cliffs and heavenly vistas, but here the roadways and trails are quite simply magical too. The effort to build them reflects our desire to wander and explore, as humans have been doing for thousands of years. The first natives came to this area over 8,000 years ago, and in 1858 Mormons found refuge in these lands.
What Wanderers Can Do
Before the parks’ establishment in 1919, the landscape of Zion made access nearly impossible. But the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel completed in 1930 allowed people to enter a stunning landscape carved by the Virgin River and centuries of wind and rain. Perhaps one of the most famous trails in the park – Angels Landing – is also one of the most dangerous and incredible to behold.
Angels Landing Trail reveals the power of determination – where there’s a will, there’s a way. Built in 1926, the 2.6 mile trail carves through pure stone and features 21 switchbacks to reach the final landing, surely a place where angels watch over the world.
Words of the Wandering Spirit
It’s difficult to leave uninspired, and so here are a few words to celebrate the magical trails into Zion, a story of the wandering spirit.
Dust settles on wheels still turning
Red and rust, a painter’s dream
with tire tracks still fresh
The horizon here is ever luring
Cliffs and canyons, a sculptor’s paradise
but rain does not fall
A road beckons the warm heart beating
Explore and discover, a wanderer’s quest
the new roads less traveled
We know not what the spirit is seeking
Questions and answers, the human story
why this is that, and that is this
There is comfort in the road leading
Miles and miles, along an intricate web
and mind wonders, forever curious