Springdale Scenic Drives
Imagine driving down a road that follows a beautiful river, surrounded by many colors, that showcases a dramatic red backdrop. You can do that in the Springdale area, and two such drives are the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. Here the destination is not the point because the journey is gorgeous.
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive travels up Zion Canyon from Springdale, and the beauty of this narrow canyon along with the sound of the Virgin River will dazzle your senses. Fremont cottonwood, willow, and velvet ash trees supply shade while flowers, like the Moonlily, provide color for your ride. Animals like the mule deer or cottontail rabbit might even join your journey. However, remember to look up into the trees because many birds, including American Dippers and Black-headed Grosbeaks, spend the day in them trying to escape the heat of the day. Most of the year you will have a chauffeur since you have to ride Zion National Park's free shuttles. These shuttles stop at several hotels, shops, and restaurants in Springdale and at all major trailheads in the canyon.
On the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway you will marvel at the great works of both nature and man. The Checkerboard Mesa (see picture) and Zion Canyon Overlook beckon you because they are evidence of nature's great power and artistry. This drive is more than worth the time because you will see where water etched a checkerboard-like pattern and other shapes on this mesa, and Zion Canyon is as breathtaking from above as within. On the other hand, man's great power is also apparent as this road was built in this treacherous region. In fact, there are two tunnels on this route because those who built the road had to blast through cliffs, and you will wonder how difficult it was to build the tunnel that is just over one mile long. You will not need a chauffeur because this road is open to private vehicles year round.
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