International Dark Sky Park
State Highway Route 9
Springdale, UT 84767 USA
Zion National Park is one of the ‘crown jewels’ of the U.S. National Park Service system. It is known worldwide as a geologic wonderland of towering cliffs, deep narrow canyons and sweeping expanses of bare sandstone slickrock. Its focal point is Zion Canyon, a steep-walled gorge carved through hundreds of meters of early Jurassic-era Navajo sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. Due to its location near the junction of three great geographic provinces of the American West (the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert), the Park protects a remarkable diversity of plant and animal species inhabiting several different life zones. It also preserves evidence of nearly 8,000 years of human habitation, including the Mormon settlers of the mid-nineteenth century who gave the area its name, used in their religion to connote an association of the righteous.
Today, as one of the “Big Five” national parks in southern Utah, Zion is famous for its many hiking trails and activities including camping, horseback riding, nature walks and rock climbing. Nighttime programming has been a staple at the Park for many years, the area’s dark night skies attracting visitors from around the world. In addition to fulfilling all of the International Dark Sky Park guidelines, Zion is exemplary for its extensive public education and outreach efforts as well as its manifest commitments to protecting dark skies not only in the Park but beyond its borders.