Showing posts from January, 2012

Zion National Park

I have written several posts about my hikes during the three months I spent in Zion National Park, so I am using this post as a collection point for those posts and as an overview of the park.

Zion is located is southwest Utah and has incredible topographic variation, ranging from less than 3,700 feet to over 8,700 feet.  The red rock canyons of Zion are in many places cliffs that rise as much as 3,800 feet straight up from the valley floor.

Most people who visit the park see the it from Zion Canyon, where the town of Springdale, the visitor center, park headquarters, lodge, campgrounds, and most popular trails are located.  Spring and fall are the most pleasant times to visit the park, but April through October visitation is so high and parking so limited in the canyon that personal vehicles are not permitted on the park road.  Two free shuttle routes operate in the canyon. One goes from the visitor center up the canyon to several stops within the park.  The second operates in the …

Big Bend National Park

Location: southwest Texas
Dates: 10-11 January 2012

Big Bend National Park is an 800,000 acre expanse of the Chihuahuan Desert along the Rio Grande in Texas.  The park is centered around the Chisos Mountains, the only mountain range that is entirely within a national park as well as the southernmost range in the United States.

I had hoped to stay several days and do some backpacking in the Chisos, but unfortunately that will have to wait until a later date.

The first place I stopped in the park was the Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail.  This is an easy one mile round trip trail through a dry wash to the 100'+ pouroff that becomes a waterfall after heavy rains.  The cliffs along this trail are fairly colorful and an interesting lesson in geology.

After setting up my campsite at the Chisos Basin Campground, I hiked along the trails leading from the campground that provided good view of the Window before sunset.

I also hiked the Boquillas Canyon Trail, which is the canyon downstream…