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Zion, the oldest of Utah’s five National Parks, was named after an ancient Hebrew word meaning “sanctuary.” The name is fitting: Zion National Park’s landscape, shaped by weather and the peaceful Virgin River, dazzles with 305-meter-high cream, pink and red cliffs that contrast the brilliant blue sky.

These incredible sandstone rocks, which can be found just northeast of St. George in the southwest corner of the state, also awed 19th-century Mormon settlers. They gave the rocks names like Angel’s Landing, the Three Patriarchs, the West Temple and the Great White Throne. You can enjoy spectacular views of the park by following the trails that lead to these famous rocks and their outlooks. Or, for a closer look at the cliff walls, take a less strenuous hike through one of the park’s narrow slot canyons. As you traverse this otherworldly scene, keep your eyes peeled for the unique creatures — such as lizards, mule deer and bighorn sheep — that call the park home.

Aerial view of Asheville, North Carolina
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