Zion National Park – Tunnel and Beyond

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Zion is such a great adventure.  If you drive the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, about 6 miles from the Visitor Center, you will find the Tunnel.  It is about 1.1 miles long, and when it was completed in 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its type in the United States.  It is a dark and spooky drive with a few openings along the way that let in some light and some views of the mountains.  Beyond the Tunnel is a completely different section of the Park with some great hiking spots to explore.

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Watchman Trail – Trail Map

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The Watchman Trail is listed as a moderate hike in the Zion National Park Hiking Guide with a distance of 3.3 miles and an elevation change of 368 feet.  I think a lot of people may take a pass on this trail because it kicks off right from the Visitor Center.  However, I liked the trail and its scenic views of the Zion Canyon and beyond. Here is the Trail Map and several photos taken from ground level or from a very low elevation at the beginning of the hike.  As you may know by now, Zion National Park is a beautiful place.

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Zion National Park – North Fork Virgin River

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Part of the West Rim Trail runs along the Virgin River. This is the river (The North Fork) that runs through Zion Canyon and creates a lovely background noise of running water over rocks. At a few points, the trail provides river access so you can get next to or in the river for some fun.

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Zion National Park – West Rim Trail – Trail Map

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Today’s mission – get as far up West Rim Trail as possible. As you can tell from the pictures, this is a challenging trail, full of switchbacks. It is like a super stair climber at the gym. I would have liked to go farther, but my daylight was limited and I needed to save some energy for the drive back to Las Vegas. If you hike this trail, you will be rewarded with some awesome views of the Park.

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