I have been to the Zion national park many times(6 times approximately) and still believe is one the best weekend getaway for Utahns. It takes me less than 5 hours to drive to Zion national park and great drive. A few details on the national park :
“A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km2) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park’s unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park’s four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.”
Please find some pictures of Zion national park taken in Summer 2011. Enjoy. (Please click on them to view the larger version of the shot)
In my opinion the best time to visit Zion is May, June, and July. Here are a few tips when travelling to Zion :
Sharp changes in weather occur within the Zion National park due to the rugged topography and range of elevations. Seasonal snowfall averages 13 feet but much heavier snows accumulate in high mountain areas above Zion. Summer days are hot, but mountain breezes keep evenings cool especially in lower elevation areas. Visitors should be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions at Zion National Park. Temperatures vary with changes in elevation, and day/night temperatures may differ by over 30° F. Fall days are usually clear and mild; nights are often cool. Autumn color displays begin in September in the high country (Cedar Breaks, Lava Point). Colors in Utah’s Zion Canyon usually peak in late October. Winters in Zion Canyon are fairly mild. Winter storms often bring rain or light snow to Zion Canyon, but heavier snow to the higher elevations. Clear days may become quite warm reaching 60° F or higher; nights are often in the mid 20’s and 30’s. Winter storms often last several days and cause roads to be icy. Zion roads are plowed, except Kolob Terrace road (to Lava Point), which closes in winter. Travelers should be prepared for winter driving conditions from Nov through Mar.