The unusual, strange, and seldom seen...

Zion National Park--a place of towering sandstone spires, deep and mysterious canyons. And also just 11 miles to the north, as the raven flies, from America's most open community of practicing polygamists. The twin towns of Colorado City, AZ, and Hilldale, UT are as isolated, culturally and geographically, as any place in the US.

There are plently of books and guides about what to see and do in Zion. This blog is a guide to that other "Zion," the one the park was named for--a place some say is God's kingdom here on earth, and others say is a refuge of welfare cheats and twisted old men who force underage girls into marriage.

Here you can learn about how polygamy started, what happened when the women rose up against it, and how Orderville fell into such a state of disorder. You can learn how to spot a polygamist house, and where they go for summer vacation. (But don't stare at that BIG family in the campsite next to yours.) And we'll also daydream about what Zion would be like now if a polygamist Kingdom of Utah had never joined the Union.

Find out here about the wildlife the rangers in Zion won't tell you about. Strange things happen in the desert...

Zion--our favorite national park

Zion is our favorite park because it's exotic, intimate, easy to get around, and in the center of some womderful country.

Most of all, we like it because it's quirky. There's an wonderful mix of people--European visitors, Germans riding rented Harleys, crisp rangers, cheery Mormons, somber polygamists, grizzled ranchers, mountain climbers, and off-the-grid survivalists.

This blog is for people who like to dig deeper into a place--who like to turn over rocks to find the unusual, strange, seldom-seen, and beautiful.

I enjoyed getting into the mood of the place. Perhaps others will find a different ambience--but I found something a bit dark... noir--a backwoods, wild spirit lapping at the outposts of ordered civilization.

Advantages of Zion
  • Campgrounds close to town, stream, visitor center, shuttle buses, & riverside trail
  • Shuttle buses make it easy to visit all parts in the valley
  • Lots of great hikes that aren't too long or difficult
  • A good home base for interesting day trips by car
  • Angel's Landing and the Virgin Narrows are among the best short hikes in the USA