Zion NP is one of the most "large-scale" spectacular national parks we have visited. It is on the western edge of the Colorado Plateau in SW Utah. Zion is at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert, so it is especially rich in natural diversity and species. In the geological scheme of the Grand Staircase, it is a step down from close-by Bryce Canyon. The bottom strata of Bryce are the top strata of Zion and bottom strata of Zion are the top strata of the Grand Canyon. Zion Canyon in the center of Zion was formed by the downcutting action of the Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado. Zion was renamed from its previous native-origin name and as befits the new name many of its geological features have been given biblical names. The east side of Zion is home to uniquely eroded examples of Navajo Sandstone mesas and buttes, while the west side has the Kolob Canyon carved into the extreme western edge of the Colorado Plateau and overlooking the Great Basin Desert to the west.
Keywords:Checkerboard Mesa, Kolob Canyon, Utah, Virgin River, Zion National Park