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Wilson’s Blog

Ditch couldn't stop saying "U-tah, We-tah, Me-tah!" I asked him very nice to stop. He didn't. Then Ditch and I explored as much of Zion National Park as two gophers could! Did you ever see two GoBros rafting down a fast river, or climb tall rocks with ropes tied onto their little furry bodies? Well, us two GoBros zoomed down a Zion Park river in a raft! We had a guide person in front of the raft. Total gopher fun! Then we went to see a place called Weeping Rock.

Is it a rock that cries all the time? That's what Ditch thought so he took a lot of time saying, "Don't cry, rock!" and "Don't be sad, rock, we like you!" But the rock kept on crying. It's made of something called sandstone and it has water pouring and dripping down it so it looks like it's crying! The water comes from a waterfall in Echo Canyon above the Weeping Rock.

Did you know that dinosaurs used to live a long time ago and walk all over Utah? But they didn't call it Utah. Why? Because I don't think dinosaurs could talk. When GoBro and I heard that dinosaurs lived in Utah, we had to go visit them. Ditch wanted to buy a pie to bring to them. I told him that the dinosaurs were not alive anymore but we could see their footprints and huge bones. We bought a pie anyway and ate it on the way to St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. Have you ever seen a footprint from a dinosaur? Some are big and some are small. Actual fact: they think the footprints are over 205 million years old. That's way older than Great-Great Uncle Varniska, the oldest gopher in our gopher hometown. But he can still dance on his hands! Utah! We-tah! Me-tah!

Apple Pie Picks

Zion National Park - Zion Canyon Visitors Center

This center is the best place to start your visit.  The center has exhibits, maps, a bookstore, and shuttle bus starting point where kids can pick up booklets to earn a Junior Ranger Badge.  The Zion Canyon Shuttle Loop stops at eight locations in the park. You may get on and off as often as you like. The shuttle travels along Zion Canyon Road, a 6 mile road that follows the northern portion of the Virgin River, and stops at overlooks, the starting points of walking and hiking trails and the Zion Lodge.  If you would rather walk than ride, the visitor center is the place to meet up with one of the park's rangers for a tour.   During the summer months kids can go to the Zion Nature Center for fun activities and programs.

The Court of Patriarchs Viewpoint

A great stop to hop off the shuttle bus is at this viewpoint where you can see three of the huge sandstone mountains named The Patriarchs.  Other mountains also in view at this spot are the 5,690 foot tall Mount Moroni and the 7,157 foot tall The Sentinel.  A short hike takes you to the base of these three sandstone monoliths.

Weeping Rock Trail

This easy hike is a stop on the shuttle ride.  This is one of the more popular trails in Zion Canyon. The hike is short and the scenery is spectacular, with views of the 6,744 foot Great White Throne, made of white Navajo sandstone, and parts of Zion Canyon. The trail leads you through beautiful flowers and water trickling down the cliffs.  The water comes through the Navajo sandstone at places where it finds small openings.  Hanging gardens of delicate plants cling to the cliff face. The end of the trail leads into an alcove, behind the curtain of water, where it is cool and moist.

Bryce Canyon National Park - Bryce Canyon Visitor Center

The Bryce Canyon Visitor Center should be one of your first stops when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. Here you can obtain driving and hiking directions beyond those available on this website, weather forecasts, a current schedule of the Park Ranger guided programs and Junior Ranger booklets.  While at the Visitor Center stop to watch the 20-minute award winning film Shadows of Time.  The free Shuttle Boarding Area that makes stops at Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon Lodge and Sunrise Point is located just outside the Visitor Center.

Fairyland Canyon

This is a great place to see the hoodoos up close at eyelevel.  Here the canyon rim is covered in Ponderosa Pine forest where deer, jays, turkey, chipmunks and squirrels make their homes. As you hike into the canyon below, walk through different habitats including areas of Douglas Fir forest and large groves of pine and juniper trees. Fairyland Canyon is the best place in the park to see cool creatures such as mountain lions, foxes, bobcats, and even Great Basin rattlesnakes.  This canyon is also a great place to take in all the beautiful wildflowers in the park.

Sunset Point

Sunset Point offers vistas of some of the most famous and breathtaking of Bryce Canyon's hoodoos. Directly below the point and to the south, the Silent City rises from the canyon floor, a maze of hoodoos and fins packed in tight formation. Just below the overlook on the northern edge, Thor's Hammer, a huge Hoodoo, stands alone and is one of the most famous Hoodoos in the park.

Check Out The Night Sky

Bryce Canyon is the best place to see the stars at night due to the park's high elevation and because the sky is so dark so far away from the bright lights of cities.  There are few better places on planet Earth for astronomy! The night sky at Bryce is so dark you can see 7,500 stars on a moonless night!  The astronomy rangers, also known as Bryce Canyon's "Dark Rangers" and volunteers are very talented and can help you with your stargazing.  With big telescopes available, on a clear dark night, you can see 2.2 million light years or 527,000,000,000,000,000 miles to the Andromeda Galaxy.   Don't forget to check out the fun and educational multimedia shows, Astronomy and Night Programs, Full Moon Hikes and Solar Viewings through the Park Rangers.

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Local Chow

Trail Mix

The best thing, along with water, to take out on a day of outdoors and hiking is trail mix. Trail mix is great because it is tasty, lightweight and easy to store.  Trail mix, when made with healthy items can be very nutritious, providing a quick energy boost.  Energy can come from the carbohydrates in dried fruit and granola.  More sustained energy can come from the mono-and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts.  It is easy to make your own trail mix by combining some or all of the following delicious snacks: dried cranberries, raisins, apricots, apples, chocolate chips, cereal, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, banana chips or shredded coconut.  Put all these things together in a bag or container and you are good to go!

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Digging History

Bryce Canyon National Park


U.S. Army Major John Wesley Powell and a team of mapmakers and geologists, explore the Virgin River area in Bryce Canyon.


Scottish immigrant and pioneers Ebenezer and Mary Bryce settle and make their home in the Paria Valley area, south of Bryce Canyon.

Ebenezer Bryce builds a road in the valley to make transporting of homebuilding supplies, especially logs, easier. Locals named the amphitheater where the road ended, "Bryce's Canyon", which it is still known as today.


President Warren G. Harding names Bryce Canyon a National Monument.


Bryce Canyon Lodge is built near Sunset Point from local wood and stone.


Bryce Canyon National Monument officially becomes Bryce Canyon National Park.


The 1.1-mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel is completed connecting Bryce with other National Parks in the area.


President Herbert Hoover increases the size of the park two times making the size of the park 35,835 acres.


The trails to Sunset Point to Bryce Point, Bryce Point to Peek-a-boo Canyon and Sunrise Point to Campbell Canyon are built.


Rim Road, the scenic drive that is still used today, is completed.


The park hosts the first, of many, star gazing programs with astronomers and park rangers.


The National Park Service begins using free shuttle buses for its visitors during the summer months.


The first Bryce Canyon Annual Astronomy Festival is hosted in the park.

Zion National Park


Isaac Behunin, one of the early pioneers of southern Utah, who names the area "Zion", builds the first log cabin in the area.


U.S. Army Major John Wesley Powell and a team of mapmakers and geologists explore the area around Zion Canyon. He records information about the area by the canyon's Indian name, "Mukuntuweap".


President William Taft names The Mukuntuweap area a National Monument.


The first road built for cars opens in the canyon, making it much easier to enjoy the area.

Wylie Camp, a tent camp, was set up as the first place to sleep overnight in Zion Canyon.


Mukuntuweap National Monument is officially renamed Zion National Monument.


Zion National Monument officially becomes Zion National Park.


The Zion Lodge is built at the site of the Wylie tent camp.


The 1.1-mile-long Zion-Mt Carmel tunnel is completed connecting Zion with other National Parks in the area.


Zion begins using free shuttle buses along Zion Scenic Highway for its visitors.


The new Zion Canyon Visitor Center opens.


President Barack Obama signs into law the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, adding and protecting 124,406 more acres of park land as the Zion Wilderness.

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