Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Whether approaching from the west through Springdale or from the east, you should hit the fabulous ten-mile stretch from the Zion entrance to Mt. Carmel, with switchbacks, slickrock and sweeping scenic views of incredible vistas and seasonal waterfalls,

Domes of slickrock shimmer with icy snow during the winter and visitors can easily distinguish the frozen north side of cliffs from the dry southern exposures. Hoodoos along the way look like giant mud people. Look for Checkerboard Mesa on the south side of the road at the eastern boundary of the park along Hwy. 9. Eons of freezing and thawing created vertical cracks, while erosion by wind and rain accentuated the horizontal bedding planes of this distinctive petrified Navajo sandstone mountain so that over time a pattern of irregular crosshatches emerged, creating the checkerboard effect.

The Zion – Mount Carmel Highway is a 25 mi long road in Utah in the USA, with a 1.1 mi long tunnel. The road runs from the entrance to Zion eastward to Mount Carmel Junction with US 89 as a portion of Utah State Route 9. The road became part of a loop tour of Zion, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The route was surveyed in 1923 by B.J. Finch, district engineer of the US Bureau of Public Roads, Howard C. Means, a Utah state engineer, and John Winder, a local rancher. The National Park Service evaluated alternative routes, including one that used Parunuweap Canyon, but settled on the Pine Creek route, which required a tunnel through the Great Arch. Detailed design work on the road was carried out by the Bureau of Public Roads. Details including bridges, retaining walls, culverts and other features were designed by the National Park Service Branch of Plans and Design under the supervision of Thomas Chalmers Vint. Work began in 1927 on a total of 25 miles of road, which was completed in 1930.

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