Zion National Park

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio described version of the official print brochure for Zion National Park. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version describes the two sided color brochure that Zion National Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the cultural and natural history of Zion National Park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your trip.  This audio version lasts approximately 46 minutes which we have divided into 19 sections. Sections 1 through 3 describe an overview of Zion National Park, a link to the large print brochure, and other useful links.  Sections 4 through 9 describe the front of the brochure which includes information regarding the geology and the natural wonders that created Zion Canyon over millions of years and how humans have utilized this space for thousands of years. Sections 10 through 17 describe the back of the brochure including information about the plants and animals that inhabit the rim, canyon, and river at Zion National Park, safety precautions, a map, and general information about visiting the park.  Section 18 provides information regarding accessibility and section 19 provides the mailing address, website, and phone number at Zion National Park.

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OVERVIEW: Zion National Park

Zion National Park, located in Utah, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 146,597-acre park is situated thirty miles north-east of St. George at the edge of the basin and range. This park, established in 1909 as Mukuntuweap National Monument, is the oldest of the national parks in Utah. The name Mukuntuweap comes from Piute and was formalized by John Westley Powell in 1872. Each year, upwards of 5 million visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at Zion. We invite you to explore the park's two-thousand-foot-tall sandstone cliffs. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, visit the Zion National Park Visitor Center, the Human History Museum, or the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure. 

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OVERVIEW: Large Print Brochure


The large format brochure, or a braille version of the main park brochure, can be picked up at any of the park visitor centers. The Large Print Brochure has no audio description at this time, but it may be readable by a screen reader. 

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OVERVIEW: Useful Links

Accessibility Page: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm

Large Print Brochure: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/upload/NPS-ZION-LargePrintBrochure.pdf

Shuttle Narration: https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/photosmultimedia/shuttle-narration.htm

Virtual Hikes: https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/photosmultimedia/virtual-hikes.htm

Email Us: zion_park_information@nps.gov

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure includes color photographs, diagrams, text, and a quotation. Across the top is a black bar, with text reading “Zion” and the National Park Service logo.

The top one third of the brochure is a single large photograph of a vista, with a quotation overlaid near its base, reading "All this is the music of waters."

The rest of the page is divided into four horizontal bands of text with accompanying photographs. The first section of text describes the importance of water, with photographs of three resulting environments. The second section of text describes geological forces, illustrated by a diagram of the region and a photograph. The third section describes the different rock layers in the park and labels them on a photograph. The final section of text describes the human history of the area, and shows a historic photograph, artifact, and painting.

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IMAGE and QUOTE: John Wesley Powell

DESCRIBING: A large color landscape photo. 

SYNOPSIS: The blue sky lies horizontally across the top of the entire photo. The orange and white sandstone cliffs containing green vegetation throughout the landscape, meets the blue sky, this area is known as Temples and Towers in Zion National Park. A John Wesley Powell quote is nestled in the lower right-hand corner of the photo, in a shadow of the canyon walls.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This color landscape photo contains an orange and white sandstone landscape which varies in heights, from left to right. The blue sky lies horizontally across the top of the entire photo and is met with varying heights of orange and white sandstone cliffs and canyon walls. These canyon walls and cliffs contain vegetation that varies from light to dark green groups of trees to individual trees in the light and shadows, cliff walls throughout the landscape. The landscape of sandstone varies in heights, this area is known as Temples and Towers in Zion National Park. A John Wesley Powell quote, "All this is the music of waters", is nestled in the lower right-hand corner of the photo, in a shadow the of the canyon walls.

CAPTION: Towers of the Virgin and The West Temple 



"All this is the music of waters."
John Wesley Powell, 1895

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IMAGES and TEXT: Wrought by Water

IMAGE 1 of 3: Green covered rocks

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical color photograph. 

SYNOPSIS: A waterfall runs down a rock face covered in greenery. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A delicate waterfall tumbles down over mossy rocks and into a small, emerald-green pool. Mosses and lichens blanket much of rest of the rock face, glistening with moisture. Ferns and other leafy plants grow out of the rock and drape down. 

CAPTION: Green canyons, red cliffs, blue skies: Zion’s colors can stop you in your tracks, as the three photos at left show. Water creates emerald oases of lush plants in an otherwise red desert landscape. 


IMAGE 2 of 3: Red rock

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical color photograph. 

SYNOPSIS: From a hiker's perspective, sheer red canyon walls rise on either side of a winding narrow path.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The path disappears deeper into the canyon. The steep rock walls are streaked with textured bands of red, pink, and peach and are grooved and bumpy in spots. These rock walls are in shadow, although the path appears to lead to a more sunlit section.

CAPTION: Red rocks of a remarkable slot canyon reveal how rushing waters forcefully shaped its narrow and twisting walls.

CREDIT: Tom Till

IMAGE 3 of 3: Snow covered mountains 

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical color photograph. 

SYNOPSIS: Gigantic, light-grey rock formations are partially covered in a blanket of snow. They tower over a landscape also covered by snow, except for a river running through it. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The rock formations are the size of mountains, and are lit by the sun. The rest of the landscape, which includes lower hills, a silvery river with small rocks, and a snow-covered valley floor, are all in shadow, giving the scene a deep blue tint. Above the rock formations, bare tree branches are silhouetted against a brilliant blue sky. 

CAPTION: Tinted blue by sky, winter’s snow highlights the landscape, and then melts to feed scouring river torrents in spring.



Immutable yet ever changing, the cliffs of Zion stand resolute, a glowing presence in late day, a wild calm. Melodies of waters soothe desert-parched ears, streams twinkle over stone, wren song cascades from red rock cliffs, cottonwood leaves jitter on the breeze. But when lightning flashes waterfalls erupt from dry cliffs, and floods flash down waterless canyons exploding log jams, hurling boulders, croaking wild joyousness, and dancing stone and water and time. Zion is alive with movement, a river of life always here and always changing.

Everything in Zion takes life from the Virgin River’s scarce desert waters. Water flows, and solid rock melts into cliffs and towers. Landscape changes as canyons deepen to create forested highlands and lowland deserts. A ribbon of green marks the river’s course as diverse plants and animals take shelter and thrive in this canyon oasis. From the beginning, people sought this place, this sanctuary in the desert’s dry reaches. The very name Zion, meaning ”promised land,” evokes its significance.

More than the river’s music and the soaring heights alone, Zion’s nature multiplies with each slope, aspect, and soil type, with each minute change in precipitation or temperature. Add to these influences species from nearby ecosystems, and Zion becomes an assemblage of plants, and thus of animals, found nowhere else exactly like this. Although the southwestern desert may look homogeneous, each fold, wrinkle, bend, slope, mesa top, and canyon bottom creates its unique conditions. This unlikely desert harbors a mosaic of environments, each fine-tuned to place. Welcome to the one called Zion.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Geologic Contrasts Create Diversity

IMAGE 1 of 3: Illustrated map of area surrounding Zion National Park

DESCRIBING: An illustrated map in gray-scale.

SYNOPSIS: A map showing where the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin Desert meet, Zion National Park and the surrounding geological features.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In the lower left corner is an arrow pointing up and to the left showing North. Zion National Park occupies the center of the map and is outlined. Kolob Canyons and Zion Canyon are labelled. It is surrounded by the Pink Cliffs to the upper right, the White Cliffs to the right, the Vermilion cliffs below, and the Hurricane Cliffs to the left.  The Virgin River runs through Zion Canyon down and to the left off the map. Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park are at the top center of the map. Elevation is listed in feet and meters at the bottom left and top middle of the map. The elevation at the bottom left is 3,100 feet/945 meters.  The elevation at the top middle is 11,307 feet/3,446 meters.

CAPTION: The Vermilion Cliffs, White Cliffs, and Pink Cliffs are part of the Grand Staircase, the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks amphitheaters are etched into the Pink Cliffs at the top of the Grand Staircase.


IMAGE 2 of 3: Areal cliff

DESCRIBING: A color photograph

SYNOPSIS: Mesas, slopes and cliffs are in the foreground with softer, blurred landscape in the background.  Exposed rocks are pinkish brown and light brown.  The tops of the mesas are covered in dense green vegetation.  The slopes are sprinkled with green vegetation. 

CAPTION: The Kolob Canyons and Hurricane Cliffs are at the western edge of the massive, uplifted Colorado Plateau.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Map outlining the entire US

DESCRIBING: A graphic of the United States

SYNOPSIS: A pale brown outline of the United States showing the Colorado Plateau in a darker brown with a black dot in Southwestern Utah indicating where Zion National Park is located. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Colorado Plateau covers portions of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming.



It’s ironic, in this seemingly unending desert, that water creates most of what we see. North of Zion, rain falling on the 11,000-foot-high Colorado Plateau races downhill, slices Zion’s relatively soft layers, and pushes its debris off the Plateau’s southern edge. This edge is not abrupt, but it steps down in a series of cliffs and slopes known as the Grand Staircase. Above Zion, topping the Staircase, Bryce Canyon’s crenellated edges form as water trickles off the Plateau. Below Zion, Grand Canyon forms the lowest rung into which 90 percent of Colorado Plateau waters run. Zion’s gathered waters, known as the Virgin River, traverse Mojave Desert lands and join the Colorado River in Lake Mead’s handmade basin before completing their Pacific-bound journey.

Long before today’s landscape even appeared, streams, oceans, deserts, and volcanos deposited thousands of feet of mud, lime, sand, and ash. The immense pressure and heat of accumulating sediments turned lower layers to stone. Later, underground forces uplifted the Colorado Plateau, a 130,000-square-mile mass of rock, over 10,000 feet above sea level. Rain’s watery fingers then worked the Plateau’s minute cracks, loosening grains and widening fractures—and eroding today’s mighty canyons. These processes continue; rivers still deposit sediments that turn to stone, earthquakes still punctuate the Plateau’s upward journey, and erosion pries rockfalls from Zion’s seemingly immutable cliffs. Eventually, this beautiful canyon will melt away and others will form. All it takes is time.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Stratigraphy

DESCRIBING: A larger horizontal picture across the entire cepage of the proc

SYNOPSIS:  Moving from top to bottom, the stratigraphy is explained in the fourth text group on the front page of the brochure. 


IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: There are four text areas displayed in a portrait-style photograph, which is a close up of a segment of Zion Canyon with the explanatory text in the foreground. The picture stretches across the entire front page of the brochure. The rock colors range from a light bright yellowish-brown hue to dark reddish from top to bottom. On the left, lines of text explain the stratigraphy. In the second section, layers of rock are briefly described indicating how the various layers were formed over time. In the third section, the words, Zion Canyon, are displayed. On the right, text explains the formation of each rock layer.

Text on the right (CAPTION): Stratigraphy, the study of rock layers, reveals the relative age of the rocks before you at Zion. These rocks formed in environments as varied as sand dunes and shallow sea bottoms.

Text in the third cluster: Zion Canyon

Text in the second cluster indicates rock formations:








The Virgin River, running along the canyon valley, is also included here

Text on the farthest right:

  • Navajo sandstone’s sweeping lines of contrasting color record the movements of sand dunes. 
  • Kayenta mudstone features dinosaur tracks. 
  • Lower Moenave deposits testify to pooling waters; upper ones indicate swift-moving floods.
  • Chinle Formation shales are soft and contain petrified wood. 
  • Shinarump Conglomerate is composed of varied sizes of eroded Moenkopi rubble. 
  • The Moenkopi Formation records a shallow sea withdrawing, so the marine fossils differ in its bottom and top layers.

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IMAGES and TEXT: In a Haven of Habitats

IMAGE 1 of 3: Historic image

DESCRIBING: The first vertical picture on the left

SYNOPSIS: The picture captures the past. It is a vertical mountain top snowscape, with layered reddish tone rock halfway down and lushes green at the base. Below the mountain, a bridge extends from the bottom left of the picture, connecting to a road seemingly infinitely winds up into the mountains. There are two cars on the bridge and one either comes from or drives toward the mountains. 

CAPTION: Zion’s beauty and bounty have beckoned to humans over a great span of time. 1929


IMAGE 2 of 3: Jar

DESCRIBING: An ancient utensil

SYNOPSIS: Explanatory text on top with a picture below, portraying an ancient container with a large round space at the bottom and wider opening at the top.

Text: Zion’s beauty and bounty have beckoned to humans over a great span of time. This corn and its storage jar, found in the park, are over 1,000 years old.

CAPTION: This corn and its storage jar, found in the park, are over 1,000 years old.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Painting

DESCRIBING: A painting of dramatic depth and clear foreground, attributed to the Library of Congress. 

SYNOPSIS: In the foreground are many rocks with trees to the left, and a river flows from right to left, winding into the mountains. Along the river, there are lush trees and pastures. At the foot of the mountain on the right, smoke rises from a house. The mountains are steep and look as if they suddenly and dramatically disappear beyond the horizon. 

 CAPTION: In the 1800s, popular artist Thomas Moran captured the majesty of Zion Canyon that sparked making it a park and a premier American vacation destination. Water both fashions beauty and supports the richness that makes Zion such a haven of habitats.



People have occupied the landscape of what is now Zion National Park for thousands of years. Zion’s first residents tracked mammoths, camels, and other mammals through open desert and sheltered canyons. With climate change, disease, and overhunting, these animals died out 8,000 years ago. Hunters adapted by hunting smaller animals and gathering food. As resources kept diminishing, people adjusted to suit their location. One desert culture, evident here still, evolved over the next 1,500 years as a community of farmers now known as Ancestral Puebloans. The diverse geological setting gave them a combination rare in deserts: terraces to grow food, a river for water, and an adequate growing season. On the Colorado Plateau, crops grow best between 5,000 and 7,000 feet of elevation, which makes Zion’s elevations nearly ideal. But drought, resource depletion, and migrations eventually decreased the Ancestral Puebloans’ dominance. The Southern Paiute people who followed brought traditions suited to the harsh desert climate and thrived here.

Westward expansion eventually brought new settlers to the canyon. In the 1860s, early Mormon pioneers came to the region and built small communities and farmed the river terraces. Through hard work and faith, the new residents endured in a landscape where flash floods destroyed towns and drought burned crops. The same threats exist today, but Zion daily draws new explorers to experience the beauty and the sanctuary of this place that countless generations have considered home.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The back of the brochure is comprised of text, numerous small color photographs, and a large park map.

Across the top is a black bar, with text reading “Zion’s Natural Diversity.” The top one third of the brochure includes text about the diverse ecosystems of the park. Next to this text are three rows of five photographs each. The photographs in each row show plants and animals, divided into the three main park ecosystems: rim, canyon, and river.

The bottom two thirds of the brochure is dominated by a large map, which shows the full acreage of the park and includes roads, trails, waterways, and points of interest. Small text sections are arranged to the right of the map. One text section, with a color photograph, covers safety information. Three other text sections explain wilderness designation, basic park information, and park contact information.

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IMAGE and TEXT: The Nature of Sanctuary

DESCRIBING: A faded color photograph background

SYNOPSIS: A cluster of orangish yellow flowers with dark greenish to brown stems and leaves on pale brown sandstone with gray cracks.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This image does not have any defined boundaries and is used as a background for this part of the brochure.  It looks to have been faded to about 50 percent of the original image.

CAPTION: A crack in Navajo sandstone affords a home for this blooming Indian paintbrush.



Tucked in niches, hidden in soil, peeking from cliffs, or scampering between our feet, an amazing array of plants and animals thrive in Zion National Park. Tiny piñon mice, golden eagles, mountain lions—all thrive in Zion’s many habitats. Park elevations range from 3,600 to 8,700 feet and provide vastly different environments. Fir, ponderosa pine, and aspen prefer snowy highcountry winters, while piñon, cliffrose, and mesquite flourish in the desert’s heat.

Water, and the lack of it, decides what grows where. On the plateau, above the canyon rim, annual precipitation tops 26 inches. In this relatively cool and moist environment, sego lilies sprout under greenleaf manzanita, yellow-bellied marmots scurry between white fir, and elk mix with an occasional black bear. Here the Virgin River begins in an underground cavern of melted snow.

In the desert over 500 times more species are found at water sources than in the surrounding arid country. The Virgin River’s perennial waters give life to an overstory of Fremont cottonwood, singleleaf ash, and boxelder. The rare Zion snail lives only in Zion’s isolated hanging gardens that grow lush with maidenhair fern, scarlet monkeyflower, and golden columbine. Canyon treefrogs bleat while campers sleep, and great blue herons wade the river’s currents. When summer monsoons send flash floods roaring down canyon, it’s a testimony to evolution that anything survives.

That’s also true away from the river, where aridity has real meaning. Zion Canyon’s annual precipitation may total a mere 15 inches. At the lowest elevations, Mojave Desert species—desert tortoise and honey mesquite— infiltrate Zion’s dry, south-facing canyons. At mid-elevations, Great Basin Desert species like shadscale and big sagebrush mingle with the Colorado Plateau’s bigtooth maple and Utah juniper. Zion’s biotic diversity is the result of these three communities coming together in one location. 

Part of Zion’s uniqueness comes from its geology. Great Basin and Mojave Desert soils tend to be similar over great distances. But Zion’s stacked prehistoric environments erode into many soils. The Chinle Formation’s ancient lakes and volcanic ash, for example, corrode into a soil rich in the poisonous mineral selenium. Specialized plants like prince’s plume and milkvetch (also known as locoweed from the effects of its selenium-infused leaves) grow on such odd soils and increase Zion’s diversity. Individual and unconnected canyons also increase diversity because isolation can lead to variation among species.

This national park is beautiful but not pristine. Research shows that 150 years of farming, grazing, and recreation changed Zion’s environment. Exotic species like tamarisk and cheatgrass replace native willow and native grasses. It is the mission of the National Park Service to provide sanctuary for and reinvigorate Zion’s remaining diversity. Although most park species are not unusual and much has changed, these unique assemblages create and sustain the relevance and sanctity of this wondrous place called Zion.

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IMAGE 1 of 5: White flower

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A white flower with pale yellow stamen

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Filling the center of the image is a white flower with three large, overlapping petals. The flower has a deep cup at the center, where the petals and stamen both have a pale yellow color. Green and brown blades of grass can be seen hazily in the background. 

CAPTION: Sego lily


IMAGE 2 of 5: White and yellow trees

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A cluster of trees pictured in the fall with yellow-orange leaves.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This image looks up into a canopy formed by a cluster of aspens. The trees have slender white trunks and dusky orange leaves that stand out against the brilliant blue sky.

CAPTION: Quaking aspen


IMAGE 3 of 5: Blue bird

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A bird with a cyan blue chest, dark purple head, and stiff purple crest.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This close-up view shows the chest and head of a bird seen in profile. Its head is mottled purple and blue with a circle of grey around its eye. The bird has a purple-black beak and a stiff crest of dark purple feathers that sweeps out from the back of its head. It has a band of grey feathers that wraps around its throat and neck. Below that, its chest feathers are deep cyan blue.

CAPTION: Steller’s jay


IMAGE 4 of 5: Three elk

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A male and two female elk stand on a hillside.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This image looks up a dry hillside to three elk standing with their backs to the camera. The most prominent of the three is a buck with an imposing rack of antlers. The other two appear to be females with ears perked in a listening stance. The male has thin withers, a thick neck, and light brown coloration to match its two companions.



IMAGE 5 of 5: Falcon

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A bird with brown feathers clutches a worm in its beak.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This bird is featured with its breast turned to the camera. It sits on a naked rock outcrop. Its chest and legs are covered with light brown feathers that lay atop each other like scales. It has darker grey wings and black markings on its head and the sides of its neck. One eye can be seen from the viewer’s perspective. That eye is prominent in relation to the bird’s head with a pastel yellow sclera and a large black pupil. The bird appears to have a worm clutched in its beak. The worm’s pale pink body is almost invisible against the falcon’s throat and chest.

CAPTION: Peregrine falcon


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IMAGES: Canyon

IMAGE 1 of 5: Bat

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A bat holds a scorpion in its mouth as it flies toward the viewer.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A bat has its black wings spread mid-flight. Its body is small in relation to its wings, which stretch up to the edges of the image. The bat’s two fuzzy ears are pricked, its black eyes are pointed toward the ground, and its mouth is clamped on a scorpion whose white legs and tail are just visible at the bottom of the image. The scorpion has a black body, two white pincers that curve out from its head. Four of its legs can be seen and a long, segmented tail.

CAPTION: Pallid bat with scorpion


IMAGE 2 of 5: Yellow flower

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: Tall yellow flowers with blue-green stems and leaves

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This flower has slender, blue-green stalks and golden-yellow petals. The flowering portion of the plant has a shape like a bottle brush with fine petals. Many leaves line the stalks, adding a glossy green glint to the image.

CAPTION: Prince’s plume


IMAGE 3 of 5: Mountain lion

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A mountain lion seen in side profile

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The image shows a mountain lion in side profile standing on a rocky outcrop. The mountain lion has a thick brown coat that perfectly matches its rocky surroundings. It has small ears pricked forward, slitted black eyes, a flat pink nose, well-muscled shoulders, and a thick tail that curves out of view.

CAPTION: Mountain lion


IMAGE 4 of 5: Tortoise

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A tortoise and a blue-and-yellow patterned shell

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: With its head turned toward the camera, the tortoise crawls across bare ground populated with errant tufts of grass. The tortoise has a small head like a snake’s with a long slit of a mouth, two nostrils, and dark inset eyes. Its body is mottled green, and it has a hard, blue-and-yellow shell that covers it like a protective dome. Its two legs arch to the sides like flippers that it uses to advance toward the camera. Its shell is patterned with yellow hexagons set against a dark blue background.

CAPTION: Desert tortoise


IMAGE 5 of 5: Spider 

DESCRIBING: A small color image

SYNOPSIS: A large spider seen from above

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A large spider moves across sandy red ground. It has a brown body with eight long legs that arch out to the sides as it walks. It has a fuzzy appearance. Its head is turned away from the camera, and its tangled shadow follows behind as it progresses away from the viewer. 

CAPTION: Tarantula


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IMAGE 1 of 5: White and yellow flower

DESCRIBING: A small color photograph in landscape orientation.

SYNOPSIS: A single flower with yellow stamens, white interior petals and light purple outer petals fills the entire frame of the photograph.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A few dozen yellow stamens protrude from the center of the flower. Each one has a thin stem and a teardrop shape at the end. There are five inner petals surrounding the cluster of stamens that are white in color and have rounded tips. Surrounding the white petals are five light purple petals, which are thinner and pointed at the ends. Protruding from the back of the flower toward the right of the image are two modified petals that look like tails. They are white and a light pink at the tips. The background is very blurry, but there are other columbine flowers behind the one in focus.

CAPTION: Colorado columbine


IMAGE 2 of 5: Green leaves

DESCRIBING: A small, portrait color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A close-up photo of a couple dozen, bright green leaves.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A few dozen bright green leaves fill the frame, except for a small section in the lower right corner. The leaves are shaped like a fan. The edge of each leaf has roughly ten semi-circle bumps per leaf. Several dozen thin, dark green veins can be seen on each individual leaf. The lower right-hand corner shows a few dead, brown leaves.

CAPTION: Maidenhair fern


IMAGE 3 of 5: Frog

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph in landscape orientation.

SYNOPSIS: A brown, wrinkly frog with large green eyes rests on a gray porous rock.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A light brown frog with gray and dark brown splotches and bumps is viewed in profile. It has large green eyes with a horizontal pupil. It is difficult to judge the scale of the frog. It sits on a flat gray rock with many small holes and a few larger ones on the surface. The background behind the frog and rock is so blurry, we can only see more shades of gray.

CAPTION: Canyon treefrog


IMAGE 4 of 5: Cotton hanging from a tree branch

DESCRIBING: A small, square photograph in color.

SYNOPSIS: From a single horizontal branch hangs three tendrils of cotton. Large leaves grow around the branch, and a single tendril of some unrevealed cotton also hangs from the branch.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The single thin branch runs across the frame about one third of the way from the top of the photograph. Connected to the branch and hanging vertically below it are three strands of fluffy, white cotton. An additional strand also hangs vertically from the branch but looks much different. Instead of fluffy cotton, it has fourteen small green spheres. These are unrevealed balls of cotton. Several large green leaves also grow from the branch in all directions. They are wide at the base and come to a point at the tip. They appear shiny as if they have a waxy feel and have large, lighter green veins running through them.

CAPTION: Fremont cottonwood


IMAGE 5 of 5: Hummingbird

DESCRIBING: A small color image of a hummingbird.

SYNOPSIS: An image of a hummingbird in flight without a background, allowing the underlying background of the entire page to show.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A hummingbird is pictured in profile facing to the left. It has a long, thin beak and dark green head. There is a thin line of iridescent blue feathers around its neck. Its body is a light cream color with some speckles of green feathers on its back and some speckles of pinkish brown feathers on its belly. Its wings and tail feathers are dark green like its head. There are two small feet poking out of its body. The one eye that's visible is shiny and black.

CAPTION: Black-chinned hummingbird


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IMAGE and TEXT: Be Prepared, Plan Well, Live Long

DESCRIBING: A medium, horizontal color photograph. 

SYNOPSIS: A churning white wave of water barrels toward the viewer, carrying a large mass of brown sticks, logs, and boulders down a stream.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The wave is moving so quickly that the image is blurred. In the part of the channel closest to the viewer, where the flood has not yet reached, the water remains clear and calm, with small grey rocks on the stream bed. The stream channel is lined with green grasses and brush, and a few large, tan rocks.

CAPTION: A human body is no match for floodwaters that rampage through narrow canyons, pushing a raft of boulders and logs.



Know the weather and flash flood potential before your trip. If bad weather threatens, do not enter narrow canyons.

Plan your trip. Choose trails that are within your ability. 

Falls cause most injuries and deaths at Zion.

Carry and drink one gallon of water per person per day. 

Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Avoid or get off high places when lightning threatens.

Know the weather before you go. Distant storms can cause flash floods. When in doubt, stay out!

Cell phones don’t work in most areas and don’t make you invincible.

Your safety is your responsibility.

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TEXT: Wilderness

In 2009, Congress protected nearly 84 percent of the park as wilderness under the 1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness designation protects forever the land’s wilderness character, natural conditions, opportunities for solitude, and scientific, educational, and historical values.

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MAP and TEXT: Visiting the Park

DESCRIBING: A full color, wayfinding map takes up the whole bottom half of the unigrid brochure with north oriented to the top of the page. 

SYNOPSIS: This map shows all 230 square miles of Zion National Park and a couple of nearby towns on a hill shade base layer. The park can be broken down into three sections, the Zion Canyon district, the Kolob Canyons district and the Kolob Terrace Road. 

The park's layout is best described as two rectangles, with the larger rectangle encompassing The Zion Canyon district and the south and east entrances. The second rectangle joins at the northwest corner of the first and is the Kolob Canyons district of the park. The Kolob Terrace road winds through the corner of the park where the two districts meet. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Zion Canyon section is the most developed area of the park with services including a visitor center, human history museum, two campgrounds, the Zion Lodge, restrooms and water filling stations. It also has access to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and many hiking trails. This area is accessed by the south entrance, through the town of Springdale, or through the east entrance by way of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. The hill shade shows a lot of change of elevation in this section of the park as you are following the Virgin River through the base of a steep canyon.

Kolob Canyons has its own visitor center and hiking trails. To travel between the Zion Canyon and the Kolob Canyons districts, you have to leave the park out the south entrance and take State Route 9 west to Interstate 15 and then north to Kolob Canyons. This is a 40 mile drive. This section has varied elevations as the road goes along 5 separate finger canyons.

The Kolob Terrace road has a campsite and restrooms but does not have any water filling stations. This road travels on top of the high plateau that is in between the Kolob and Zion canyon districts.



Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open year-round. A 22-minute orientation film is shown regularly at the Zion Human History Museum. Spring through fall, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to shuttle buses only. Check the park website (see below) or the park newspapers for dates and times: Map and Guide and Backcountry Planner are available at the entrance gate, visitor centers, and on the park website. Service animals are welcome. For firearms regulations visit the park website or ask a ranger.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

At Zion National Park, we strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. If you have any specific questions about program accessibility, or if you need an American Sign Language interpreter, contact a ranger by email at zion_park_information@nps.gov or phone at 435-772-3256 or check park website (https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm) 

At Zion National Park, the visitor centers, Human History Museum, restrooms, shuttle buses, picnic areas, and the Zion Lodge are accessible. Several campsites are reserved for people with accessibility needs, and the Pa’rus Trail and Riverside Walk offer accessible hikes. Service dogs are permitted on a leash throughout the park.

Zion National Park does have a park brochure with large text and images available on this website, https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/upload/NPS-ZION-LargePrintBrochure.pdf

The park also has a braille brochure available for visitors at any of the park visitor centers, including the Human History Museum. 

Zion National Park does provide accessible Ranger-led activities. Enhance your understanding and enjoyment of Zion National Park by participating in a ranger program. Limited programming may be offered throughout the year, with more program offerings in Zion Canyon from mid-May to mid-October. Topics include geology, plants, animals, human history, and more. All ranger-led programs are free and for all ages. Check the current information guide, or at visitor centers and bulletin boards throughout the park for times, places, and subjects. Ranger-led programs are required to earn a Junior Ranger Badge.

Transportation for Zion Canyon. From mid-February through late November access into Zion Canyon is by shuttle bus only (see the Shuttle System page for more information and schedules). All shuttle buses are wheelchair accessible. Use of personal vehicles is restricted to those individuals requiring additional vehicle supported medical devices, those unable to ride the shuttle for medical reasons, or when the shuttle bus cannot accommodate the individual due to weight or size restrictions. The shuttle lift has a combined weight limit of 600 lbs and cannot accommodate chairs larger than 45" long or 25" wide. A special permit for personal vehicle use up-canyon must be obtained from the visitor center or museum information desks.

Follow this link to listen to the Shuttle Narration, which includes an audio transcript, https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/photosmultimedia/shuttle-narration.htm

The Pa'rus Trail currently is the only accessible trail at Zion National Park. The Pa’rus Trail is a 1.5 mile, paved, 8 to 10- foot wide multi-use trail between the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Canyon Junction with minimal grade change. The quarter mile closest to the Visitor Center is asphalt and has cracking, but the remainder is concrete and mostly smooth and level. The most accessible route is to start at the Overflow Parking Lot behind the Zion Nature Center and access the Pa’rus Trail by following the concrete pathway through South Campground. From that point, most of the trail has between a 2% and 5% slope, but three sections of less than 30’ each have slopes up to 10%. Much of the trail is exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day although three resting plazas have shade structures. Bridge surfaces may be slippery. A side trail from the Pa'rus Trail to the Zion Museum is uneven and rocky with large log steps and tight turns.

You can also visit Zion National Park with our Virtual Hikes, https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/photosmultimedia/virtual-hikes.htm

Wilderness is for all, and travel there can be challenging. Designated Wilderness areas, which are defined in the Wilderness Act of 1964, are natural, offer solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation, are undeveloped, are untrammeled, and may have ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value. In Wilderness areas, people are allowed to use wheelchairs and some other power-driven mobility devices. The term wheelchair as defined in Title V Section 508(c) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) means a device designed solely for use by a mobility­-impaired person for locomotion that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area. Nothing in the Wilderness Act prohibits wheelchair use in a Wilderness area by a person who needs one. Many trails in Zion National Park's Wilderness have long drop-offs, grades that exceed 6%, or stream crossings. Trails are also sometimes rocky, sandy, or blocked by obstacles like fallen trees. If you want to learn about trail accessibility or trail conditions, please e-mail us zion_park_information@nps.gov or call 435-772-3256. 

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OVERVIEW: More Information

ADDRESS: Springdale, Utah 84767-1099

PHONE NUMBER: 435-772-3256

WEBSITE: www.nps.gov/zion

Zion is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. At Zion National Park, we strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. If you have any specific questions about program accessibility, contact a ranger by email at zion_park_information@nps.gov or phone at 435-772-3256 or check park website (https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm)

To learn more about parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities, visit www.nps.gov. 

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