Almost 12,000 years ago Zion’s first peoples, who are now almost invisible, tracked mammoth, giant sloth, and camel across southern Utah. Due to climate change and overhunting these animals died out about 8,000 years ago. Humans adapted by focusing on mid-sized animals and gathered foods. As resources dwindled 2,600 years ago, people tuned lifeways to the specifics of place. Such a culture, centered on Zion, differentiated over the next 1,500 years into a farming tradition archeologists call Virgin Anasazi.
Designated in 1919, Zion is Utah’s oldest national park. Most park facilities are located in the Zion Canyon area, and it attracts the most visitors. The Kolob Canyons and Kolob Terrace sections are good choices for travelers who want to see the park’s backcountry. All three areas feature Zion’s trademark soaring towers and monoliths. The park is known for its incredible canyons, including The Narrows, which attract canyoneers from around the world.