Tomorrow, November 19, marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Zion National Park in southwestern Utah in 1919. The park covers nearly 150,000 acres (60,000 hectares) and has many colorful canyons, some of which are extremely narrow and have steep, plunging walls. The Zion National Park Forever Project’s “We the Keepers” centennial campaign included a benefit performance featuring the rock artist Sting and the Utah Symphony. A centennial film also encouraged the park’s 4.3 million annual visitors to care for Zion’s delicate habitat.

The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah. Credit: © Galyna Andrushko, Shutterstock

A hiker splashes through a fork of the Virgin River in the Narrows, a popular site within Zion National Park. Credit: © Galyna Andrushko, Shutterstock

Zion Canyon is the main feature of the park. It is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) long and from ½ mile (0.8 kilometer) to less than 50 feet (15 meters) wide. Its walls tower as high as 3,000 feet (910 meters), in some places almost straight up and down. Rock formations at Zion National Park range in color from dark red and orange to light purple and pink. These colors change continuously as the light changes. Wild plants and such animals as mule deer and bats flourish there.

Zion National Park lies in southwestern Utah. It has many colorful canyons and unusual rock formations. This picture shows the park's visitor center. The park's steep cliffs rise in the background. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Steep cliffs rise behind the visitor center at Zion National Park. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The park was originally set aside in 1909 as Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918, the park was enlarged, and in 1919 it became Zion National Park. Zion National Monument, a vast area of rugged land adjoining the park, was added in 1956.

Click to view larger image Zion National Park lies in southwestern Utah. It is known for its many colorful canyons, including the spectacular Zion Canyon. This map shows the borders of the park and some of its main attractions. Credit: WORLD BOOK map

Click to view larger image
Zion National Park lies in southwestern Utah. Credit: WORLD BOOK map