a brief drive-through at Bryce Canyon and then headed toward
Zion National Park. We found an RV park close to the eastern
entrance to the park and stayed the night to prepare for our
transit of Zion. Zion has a series of tunnels that go from
the eastern highlands through the cliff walls and descends to
the bottom of the Virgin River Canyon.
The photos below are what we saw.
Zion Nation Park through the eastern portal gave us a great view
of the so-called "Checkerboard Mesa" formation. This
sandstone was formed from "frozen" sand dunes. The
layering of the ancient dunes is visible in the bedding of the
checkerboard cracks in the canyon walls went on for several
in the sandstone allowed the formation of alcoves in the cliff
northern canyon walls a huge arch structure had formed.
road descended the apparent height of the mesa increased.
These are huge cliffs.
cliff wall had intermixed red and white sandstone.
first tunnel was easy and there were no restrictions. The
second tunnel required one-way traffic and therefore paid
"tunnel pass" (nothing more than a tax as all types of vehicles
were subject to the one-way restriction but only the tall
vehicles paid more).
were out of the first tunnel we could see new rock strata that
exhibited different weather patterns that revealed the ancient
peaks grew in height relative to the roadway.
second tunnel required one-way traffic due to the height of some
of the RVs. We were instructed to drive through the center
of the roadway to maximize vertical clearance. Every 50
meters or so had a side tunnel to the cliff face to provide
ventilation. There were no lights in the tunnel.
exited the tunnel and completed the first switchback we could
see the ventilation portals for the tunnel. The tunnel is
inside the cliff walls. One of the ventilation portals is
visible in the photo above.
second switchback had a pull-out that allowed us to dismount and
take a few photos.
pull-out provided a good view of the opposing canyon walls.
headed down the switchbacks, the true height of the canyon walls
Gail followed us in their U500. I have christened their
truck "Odin", a nice Norse 4-letter word.
multi-hued canyon walls were truly impressive.
floor of the Virgin River Canyon was a mad house of vehicles and
no place to park. We were going to park and take the NPS
shuttle through the canyon, but there was no parking available
so we rolled on. Even the cliffs at the mouth of the
canyon were impressive.
We did a
"supply stop" at the state liquor store in Hurricane, UT and
then headed into Arizona. It was getting late in the day
so we decided to do a side-of-the-road camp in the Kaibab
forest. We found a great place that was close to the highway
and was flat. Once the trucks were stopped it was "beer
thirty" for the crew.
We had a
nice night in the Kaibab; it was cool but not too cold.
After breakfast the following morning we continued east to the
highway skirted the south edge of the Vermillion Cliffs and gave
us some great views of the multicolored cliffs.
terrain leading up to the cliffs was very barren and
colors of the rock were clearly illuminated in the morning
stopped at the Navajo Bridge over Marble Canyon. Over a
thousand feet below was the Colorado River.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.