Rising in Utah's high plateau country, the Virgin River carves its way to the desert below through a gorge so deep and narrow that sunlight rarely penetrates to the bottom. As the canyon widens, the river runs a gauntlet of great palisade walls rimmed with slickrock peaks and hanging valleys.

A million years of flowing water has cut through the red and white beds of Navajo sandstone that form the sheer walls of Zion National Park. The geologic heart of the canyon began as a vast desert millions of years ago; almost incessant winds blew one dune on top of another until the sands reached a depth of more than 2,000 feet. You can still see the track of these ancient winds in the graceful crossbedded strata of Zion's mighty cliffs.

Unlike the Grand Canyon where you stand on the rim and look out, Zion Canyon is usually viewed from the bottom looking up. The vertical topography confines most of Zion's 2.5 million yearly visitors between canyon walls.

ZION SUBWAY

THE SUBWAY

MYSTERY CANYON FALLS

GROTTO FALLS

DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP

BIGHORN AND EWE

ARCH ANGEL FALLS

ARCH ANGEL FALLS

ROCKIN VIRGIN

ROCKIN VIRGIN

J&M NARROWS

VIRGIN NARROWS

VIRGIN NARROWS

WALL STREET

DOWN WALTER'S WIGGLES

DOWN WALTER'S WIGGLES

SUBWAY BOTTOM UP

SUBWAY STEPS

THE WATCHMAN

THE WATCHMAN

SUBTERRANEAN

SUBWAY POOLS

SUBWAY CRACK

SUBWAY CRACK

SUBWAY PORTAL

SUBWAY PORTAL

ANGELS LANDING TRAIL

ANGELS LANDING

MYSTIC CORNER

MYSTIC CORNER

ANGELS LANDING VIEW

ZION CANYON

VIRGINS WALL STREET

WALL STREET

WEST RIM TRAIL

WEST RIM TRAIL

PULPIT OF SINAWAVA

PULPIT OF SINAWAVA

FALL FISSURE

FISSURE