Zion: Southwest Desert

The Southwest Desert is one of the least famous and least visited areas of the park. With all of the tall red rock that Zion is known for, why bother with desert? Whatever its merits to others, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

The primary access to the SW Desert, the Chinle Trail, begins by passing through a housing development. Not a bad place to live, I’d say.
Mt Kinesava dominates the views for the first couple miles on the Chinle Trail. Here, the horizontal bands of light gray and red remind me of badlands formations. Perhaps they are.
Most of the SW Desert sits in the shadow of Zion’s rock mountains, The trail in front of you may be pretty ordinary, but off to one side, the scenery is impressive. (Off to the other side, it’s less than impressive.)
One of the strange things about Zion is that for a red rock area it contains so much green. And notice that white rock is overtaking the red rock.
The view toward the non-Zion side of the area has an entirely different look. I have found that It is not at all unusual for park boundaries to reflect starkly different terrains on each side of the boundary.
This is a strange knd of rock. It’s about 12 feet tall. I never saw another one like it.
This was one of several good views from my campsite.
This was one of several good views from my campsite.  No neighbors to worry about here.
The evening light gives a golden/pinkish glow to the redrock near my campsite
The evening light gives a golden/pinkish glow to the red rock near my campsite
20 minutes later, the same rock is much redder and darker. I find red rock to be endlessly fascinating.
See that stretch of something lying diagonally across the trail? The one that hikers walk over, breaking it into a bunch of fragments? Does it remind you of a tree trunk? It has been lying here for a very long period of time. How many hikers realize they are walking over petrified wood?
To me, this was a study in contrasts. The bright yellow tumbleweed and the green shrubbery contrast with the bland sagebrush of the foreground. The low rocky rising behind them differs from the gray and red bandlands mounds on the left. The red rock hill on the far left contrasts with the distant red rock formations which appear bland due to the distance and the lighting.

Next destination: Miscellaneous Places