Kolob Canyons/Zion NP, UT

Park Map

On Tuesday June 30, I dropped Margaret off at the airport at 6:30 am, went to the grocery store and picked up fresh fruit and veggies and sandwich makings, brought it all back to the motel and got it ready for my ice chest, checked out, hit Del Taco one last time, filled my tank up with gas, bid farewell to Las Vegas...and hit the road for Utah!

My first stop was definitely going to be Kolob Canyons. This is the northwest section of Zion National Park, which Doug and I had visited last summer. We had tried to hike Taylor Creek, but got rained out and had to high-tail it back to the truck.

Yup, I'm in the right place! Taken from the road driving in. The whole place is full of really gorgeous red rocks.
This is from an overlook, letting you know which mountains you're seeing. Before going to Taylor Creek, I went to the end of the road to hike the overlook trail for Timber Creek, a half-mile trail that looked like fun.
Trailhead. Interesting part of the trail, I assume so that spring rains can run through the cuts in the trail without washing it out... Eastern Daisy Fleabane
Not sure about this one, might be showy goldeneye? Rabbitbrush The trail had many beautiful trees as well as flowers.
Grasshopper! This was the view from the overlook, very nice if a bit hazy. And when I turned back to start hiking back...uh oh, dark clouds. I had asked the ranger at the visitor station if rain looked likely. Oh, he said, rain isn't the problem, it's lightning you have to worry about...!
Some beautiful Firecracker Penstemon. This stuff was everywhere, but hard to get a pic, the wind was blowing all the time. Trees and rocks.
No idea what this is, but the seed pods are interesting. On the way back, there was a side trail that I took (mistakenly) that led to this grinding stone. Interesting! And back to the real trail... Nice people took my picture.
Pretty, but clouds coming in... Pretty. Couldn't figure out what it is...looks like a juniper, but the berries are wrong... A panorama shot of about 180 degrees around the high point of the Timber Creek trail.
Looks like Purple Prairie Clover Beautiful shapes, both the tree and the rocks across the canyon.
Beautiful views as I drive to Taylor Creek Trail. Yes, the road really is red, they use local rock to make it.
And here you can see what happens to these canyons when water runs through them...
The Taylor Canyon trailhead. So far, it's a beautiful day, although clouding over... The trail starts with a bunch of stairs leading down into the canyon. Less fun coming back. Palmer's Penstemon.
And a nice closeup of said penstemon. No idea what this is, can't find it. The flowers look like Alpine Dusty Maiden, but the leaves are wrong. Yellow sweet clover, an invasive species.
The trail winds back and forth over Taylor Creek, which is lovely and fun to cross over and over. Some kind of damselfly (because its wings are together when it's at rest.) About 1 inch long. Water strider near a black rock, also about 1 inch long.
I loved these plants, they were everywhere and were so...VERTICAL. They were really pretty. Rock stripe! Lizard (look near the foot of the tree)
Hey there! I'm a Plateau Striped Whiptail, and don't you forget it! And then there was this tree, which was AMAZING.
One more photo as I pass by... A beautiful spiky tree.
And...the clouds are closing in... A really pretty dandelion A pretty good insect photo! some kind of beetle. Looks like the flower he's on is a whorled buckwheat.
I loved this ant, patiently wandering around with a seed as big as he was! both together were about 3/4 inch.
The canyon is narrowing...there's supposed to be some kind of double arch at the end. Canyon Tree Frog tadpoles, so KYOOT!! They and the water were moving around like crazy, so pics not as clear as I would like...I certainly took a lot of them, but these were the best.
An interesting tree root. This handsome fella looks like an Eastern Fence Lizard. And as I turned a corner on the trail, I saw a gopher snake that had been curled up sunning itself flee into the bushes in terror. Come back, little snake, I love you! I said, but he didn't listen. So this is all I could get of him in a photo.
The Fife cabin, which is as far as Doug and I got last year when the mother of all thunder peals rang out and we ran for the truck, barely getting back before the sprinkle of rain turned into a downpour. Now I'm in new terrirory!
Another industrious ant, this time trying to find his way off the rock and across the stream. I got to climb up this, it's part of the trail! Split rock. Gorgeous colors.
Another cool hunk o' wood. Lesser earless lizard. Another Eastern Fence Lizard, and look at his TOES!! so curly!
And here's the end of the trail! Lovely. I had lunch here and some nice people took my picture.
Some beautiful rocks, and the third pic is a Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake that was hustling away from me, swimming across the stream. I had to whip my camera around fast and didn't have time to focus, this is the best I could do.
Yup, here's another one, definitely showy goldeneye. Doesn't that sound like a stripper name? Wiedermeyer's Admiral butterfly Another lesser earless lizard.
One more interesting rock, one more pretty tree, and I'm actually leaving, not entering...time to go find a campsite for the night!