This great canyon in the desert has drawn human visitors since ancient times. Archaeological remnants indicate that people lived in Zion Canyon as early as A.D. 500. They were probably wandering groups of weavers who hunted small game and gathered food in the area.
Later, the Anasazi settled more permanently in the southern end of the canyon, where they built pueblos and irrigation systems to water their crops of corn and beans. The Anasazi disappeared from the area abruptly during the 13th century.
Zion Canyon was sculptured over the course of a million years by the flowing waters of the Virgin River sifting down through layer after layer of the red and white Navajo sandstone that forms the canyon’s sheer walls.
The layers of sedimentary sandstone and limestone had been a desert 15 million years ago. Gradually, these layers were pushed upwards to form the 800-square-mile Markagunt Plateau. Then the Virgin River went to work carving out the monumental canyon. Drawn relentlessly by gravity, it slices its way through the rock down to the desert floor below.
Zion Canyon provides natural sights that have awed people for centuries. Plan a trip there and find out what all the fuss is about.