Easily accessed by car from Las Vegas, Zion National Park is one of the most stunning of all of America’s great parks. It has some of the best rock climbing and hiking in the world and the stark features of Zion Canyon are jaw-dropping.

Zion Canyon is where it’s at, a 15-mile long gouge through the floor of the park that extends down for a half mile. It is like being in another world and each successive view or feature is as incredible as the next.

Hiking trails run the gamut from beginner to advanced, with the three and a half-mile Pa’rus Trail one of the favorites. It takes in Zion Canyon and is easy to hike or cycle, while the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a mind-boggling six-mile route through the canyon by way of stunning rock formations and vast cliffs.

The Kolob Canyons up in the northwest of Zion National Park are a park highlight and are less crowded, while the Weeping Rock waterfall and the beautiful Emerald Pools are other must-see sights. Meanwhile, culture-vultures can check out the Paiute Indian Temple and naturalists the diversity of plants and animals.

In brief

What is it? One of America’s finest national parks, known for its hiking, climbing and scenic drives.

When to go?** Best visited in the fall months of September and October, avoiding summer heat, winter cold, and spring rains.

Nearest town: springdale, 10 or 15 miles south.

Distance from Las Vegas: about 130 miles to the northeast.

Don’t miss: the cliffs of the Great White Throne and the Pulpit.

Trivia: Zion National Park sits in southwest Utah and you need to cross through Arizona to get there from Las Vegas.

Getting there

There is an airport at the city of St George around 45 miles southwest. Although flights come in from Las Vegas, it is not worth the extra hassle as the drive is straightforward enough and is mainly by way of I-15. Just after the town of St George, UT-9 heads for the park entrance.