Zion – Day 3 (& the top 5 most visited National Parks)

The 3 Lil Rookies and I took one last trip to Zion on Wednesday to get our Junior Ranger badges and enjoy a few more hikes and viewpoints. (Here are Zion Day 1 and Zion Day 2).

Sadly they were doing construction on the one trail we were looking forward to the most (Lower Emeralds) but it’s all good. 🙂

We started with some wandering around the Big Bend area which we had enjoyed Friday.

This time we saw a wild turkey right ahead of us on the path:

It is such a pretty and quiet area:

Look at all the “snow” falling! They are actually seeds from the Cottonwood tree and it’s everywhere…flying around and piling up on the sides of the road just like snow.

We had lunch next to the river, talked to a fellow homeschooling mom, and then walked on the Grotto trail as we headed back down canyon. We picked up the shuttle to get to Court of the Patriarchs and there they are! Abraham Isaac and Jacob, named by Frederick Vining Fisher, a Methodist minister who ventured into Zion in 1916:

We saw another wild turkey on that trail!

We did not get as much wilderness / quiet time at this park compared to others. Lots of trails were closed and it just isn’t as vast as other places/ parks we’ve been. We could have looked into a wilderness permit but we really did have our fill because my goodness… it is gorgeous isn’t it !? Even just the views from the shuttle (which we were on a lot lol) were great:

Look at this cutie sitting outside waiting to congratulate the kids on another Junior Ranger Badge.

(Will post RR’s later. He doesn’t keep his on his bag)

The Junior Ranger really is awesome. We have learned so much!

I don’t think I shared much info about Zion so let me give a run down from our ranger talk:

  • 1847 Mormon settlers from Salt Lake City come south to settle and name this area by the Virgin River the Kolob area (which I guess in their book is a place closest to God’s residence). There’s also an area west in Zion you can visit called Kolob Canyons which I think may be a hidden gem that few go to…but we didn’t take the time to get there and check it out.
  • 1858 a southern Paiute guide takes Mormon missionary Nephi Johnson into the canyon who then wrote a favorable report of the agricultural potential and sent word out
  • 1863 the floor of the canyon was settled by Isaac Behunin who farmed corn tobacco and fruit trees. He and his family lived where the Lodge is now in the center of the park. His description of the area when he first came was that it was a temple… truly a most beautiful place to worship God and enjoy …. and then less then a decade later he had had enough of the rock slides mud slides monsoons crushing his crops haha and he was outta there. 🙂
  • 1903 Frederick S. Dellenbaugh painted and captured Zion. We learned about him at the Grand Canyon. He was assistant topographer to Major John Wesley Powell during the 2nd expedition of the Colorado River 1871 – 1873.
  • 1904 he takes those paintings to the world’s fair and nobody believes its a real place, especially that it’s in America. These paintings had a huge influence on…
  • 1909 President William Taft named the area Mukuntuweap National Monument in order to protect the canyon.
  • 1918 the director of the newly created National Parks Service said, “Really!? We gotta change that name” …. or something like that so they changed it to Zion.
  • In 1919 it was changed from a monument to a park!
  • And tourism has steadily climbed from there! Zion National Park is now the 4th most visited national park. That was shocking to me.

Friends! Do you know what the most visited national park is according to 2018 attendance records!?

Drum roll……

Great Smoky Mountains! Yay NC !!!!! (And numerous other states haha because to be fair this national park is HUGE and in many states).

Here’s the run down for those interested. Most visited national parks by 2018 attendance

1. Smoky Mountains (11.4 million visitors)

2. Grand Canyon (6.3 million visitors who look at the canyon for 15 minutes on average. Sad)

3. Rocky Mountain (4.5 million)

4. Zion (4.3 million)

5. Yellowstone (4.1 million)

I was super surprised that Yellowstone wasn’t higher. Okay enough information!

We did drive through the Dr Seuss area again as well. We looked for the big horn and found them! They were up super high by the 2nd tunnel but we didn’t get pics.

So many colors, textures, lines, waves, cracks, patterns!

One last thing. We finally captured this house that we all love so much! MomMom this is so you:

Thanks for coming along with us. We love Utah!!!

5 thoughts on “Zion – Day 3 (& the top 5 most visited National Parks)

  1. Kate Kitchen

    Love all the “National Geographic” photos. I see a travel, coffee-table book in the works! But my favorite was the beautiful family pic with everybody looking happy, healthy, and tan! Love you and miss you!

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