Noteworthy and Favorite Views and Vistas of Greater Zion (outside Zion National Park)
We all love Zion National Park and walk away from it, saying a camera can never truly capture its beauty. A photo simply isn’t going to do it justice. You have to see it to believe it and treasure it in your memory and in your heart.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to put it into a digital image. Whether a pro or amateur behind the lens, those digital images help us remember.
And there are lots of visual delights to take in across Greater Zion, beyond the borders of Zion National Park too. Whether you’re committing them to film, pixels or just to memory, you’ll be amazed at the buffet of views and vistas.
Greater Zion staff can’t get enough and continue to marvel at that “awe at every turn.” We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite eye candy. Make them a check-list, Instagram moments, or an exploratory day trip. However you capture them, hold them in your heart.
Petrified Pools at Snow Canyon
“I love that you can access such amazing views in such a short amount of time.” The Petrified Dunes hike at Snow Canyon State Park is easily accessible to almost everyone and it offers views from every angle. The pools are accessed via this trail and are more pronounced immediately after a rainfall. Even without the water, the Petrified Dunes provide many photo opportunities as you climb and explore these wrinkled layers.
Cliffside Restaurant Patio
“The views from the Cliffside Restaurant patio are stunning.” It’s a taste of the red rock without getting your feet dirty and a taste of some amazing food at the same time. Fine dining with breathtaking and far-reaching views. The green trees and leaves of spring are especially gorgeous against the red rock.
Folks have said you might feel as though you’ve landed on Mars on the Babylon Arch Trail in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The trail, just north of Leeds, abounds with sand and red rock.
Directions: Take the Leeds exit going north on I-15, take a left onto Main St., follow through town until you see the sign for the Red Cliffs Recreation Area. Take a right on to 900 N or Sand Cove Road, as the locals call it. The scenery along that road is beautiful with views of Zion, Pine Valley Mountain and Sky Mountain. This road leads to the trail for Babylon Arch and the old townsite of Babylon, which has petroglyphs. You can follow the road all the way down to the Virgin River and there are ruins from the “Babylon House” or John Vought Home. 4×4 vehicle with high clearance is preferable due to most of the road being filled in with sand.
Snow Canyon Overlook at Sunset
The perfect place to catch the sunset. Every minute provides a different glow, a different perspective on the canyon below. This panoramic view is available just steps from your car at the Snow Canyon Overlook, just off Hwy. 18, north of St. George.
Snow Canyon at Night
Snow Canyon’s red mountains and red sand dunes at night provide a unique and otherworldly experience. Are you sure this isn’t Mars?
Two miles south of Rockville on a dirt road, catch this view of Zion, which you can’t see from the main canyon. Consider it Zion’s backyard.
Draining the south side of Canaan Mountain near the Utah/Arizona border, Water Canyon provides some stunning scenery – red rocks, touched with green and reflections of the blue sky in the stunning mountain water. North of Hildale – close to Zion’s border – but found on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.
Top of the World
Accessible by Jeep or ATV, a sign literally marks the “Top of the World” at Sand Hollow State Park. Take in the red sand dunes and off in the distance you see the layers of different rock, building up to Pine Valley Mountain.
If not by Jeep or ATV, by foot still provides some stunning views from Sand Hollow, incorporating the red dunes, glistening water of the reservoir, mountains and vast sky.
Sand Hollow Sky
And, if you work the camera and angles correctly, it might just look like the sky is touchable!
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
So pretty, it’s been featured on the cover of our travel planner magazine. The canyons of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve – best after rainfall – provides water, red rock and sky in unending combinations. Hike the canyons and see what you can explore and capture.
Drive from Kolob
Really, any of the roadside views coming out of Zion echo the National Park’s beauty, but this is one of our favorites, headed toward Kolob Terrace and Kolob Terrace Road.
The perfectly manicured Sky Mountain Golf Course provides some stunning views for golfers. Green, green grass and blue, blue sky seems to make everything pop. A camera just can’t capture it all. Good luck keeping your eye on the ball with scenery like this!
West Cinder Knoll Trail
West Cinder Knoll Trail is accessible through the city of Hurricane. Black lava rocks are left over from a substantial lava cone, along the Virgin River.
Hellhole Canyon in Kayenta
Starting in the private development of Kayenta, the Hellhole Canyon Trail grants Red Mountain wilderness views. The majority of the trail crosses BLM lands and the trail follows the wash.
Pine Valley Mountain from the Vortex
The Bowl or Vortex near Gunlock State Park … this trail not only takes you to a unique bowl feature, but provides stunning views of the sometimes snow-capped Pine Valley Mountain.
Pine Valley Recreation Area
In the northern section of Washington County/Greater Zion is the Pine Valley Recreation Area … up over nearly 4,000 feet in elevation from St. George. It’s a great escape from the desert heat of the summer. Moderate forest coverage of ponderosa pine and oaks, and views of the peaks around are a photographer’s dream.
Quail Creek State Park
One of the four state parks in Washington County, Quail Creek’s main feature is the reservoir. The shadows from the surrounding mountains and bluffs create some fun light effects while attempting to capture the park’s grandeur.
Gunlock State Park
Tranquil waters beckon you to the shore for a picnic or photography adventure in this somewhat rustic state park.
In between all these views and vistas are hundreds more in this Land of Discovery. Find your own magic in Greater Zion.