Saturday, May 21, 2016

Zion National Park | The Tunnel | Utah

A friend and I took a day trip to Zion National Park to scout out some boondocking areas as well as a quick drive through in the areas we can drive in the park.  Most of the area is only accessible by shuttle, which is great, since we don't have to drive while trying to look at all the scenery. They stop at every overlook and you can get off whenever you want and stay at that area for as long as you want.  I will be visiting that area in the next couple days, so I'll be posting more in the near future.

The main area you're allowed to drive through is the road to The Tunnel. This is a tunnel that was built in the 1920s, completed in 1930, in order to get from one side of the mountain to the other, a total of 1.1 miles. There are numerous "windows" in the tunnel where the workers were able to toss out the rubble as the tunnel was drilled and blasted as they went along.

Since it was built that long ago, it's a very narrow tunnel with not much height for large trucks and RVs. The height in the middle of the two lane tunnel is 13' 2". Height on one side or the other is much lower. In order to get an RV through, you need a permit ($15) and they will stop traffic both ways so you can proceed through, driving right in the middle of the tunnel. 
On the other side is more of the park, a little different in terrain, but it includes Bighorn Sheep that we were able to photograph. The scenery here is spectacular and some of these rock mountains can be up to 3000' high.

On the way back through the tunnel from the other side, we were able to slow down and take a few photos through the "window".
When you go to the Grand Canyon, you stand on the rim and look over. When you get to Zion, you enter the canyon at the bottom and the road to the tunnel climbs the sides of the canyon with multiple switchbacks, providing amazing views at every turn.

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