Monday, 26 August 2019

Zion National Park Pa'rus Trail Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 5.6 km (3.5 miles), terrain: flat riverside run, gain 30 meters

The Zion Pa'rus Trail is a great out-and-back run, leading you among Zion's majestic peaks from the Visitor Center to Canyon Junction, at the beginning of Zion Canyon. The trail provides a truly memorable run along a flat, paved track along the Virgin River (Pa'rus means tumbling waters in Paiute).
The Virgin River along the trail
You can also easily vary the length of the run. To shorten it by half, you can just run up to Tram Stop 3 and take the free tram back. Or you can lengthen it as far as you want up into the canyon. Only shuttle buses are allowed past the Junction (okay, and the occasional delivery truck and lodge guest car), so running on the canyon road is not bad at all.

The trail is easily accessible from both park campgrounds or from Springdale, taking the free town tram to the Visitor Center.

It's an easy, slightly uphill grade the whole way. The trail is open to bicycles, so you have to share the paved path. The trail crosses the river on four pedestrian bridges, and there are several river-access points to check out the water at the riverside. I would recommend doing this at least once to take in the beauty of the whole scene.

Jagged, multi-colored peaks rise up from every angle. This is definitely one scenic run! You can't get lost: just follow the trail.
Trail-head map and info board
So, if you're ready to run, find your way from the Visitor Center building to the Pa'rus trailhead just across the bridge over the Virgin River. Immediately turn right and follow that asphalt track at the riverside.
Rounding South Campground
The trail starts by skirting the back side of South Campground to your left side, then heads out through wild meadows. Enjoy the jagged horizons to every side, and Zion's famous multicolored slick-rock.
Through the meadows
Later, you'll come to the first river access point, and the first of the four bridges will appear.
Two of the four footbridges
At the 1-kilometer mark, there is a side trail that links the Pa'rus to the Museum of Human History, where you can experience the world of the Paiute Indians and their ancestors, who have inhabited the area for thousands of years.
Heading under the Zion Highway bridge
When you go under the wooden car bridge of the Zion-Mount-Carmel-Highway, you're almost at the end. Zion Junction, just to the right of the bridge, is where the Canyon Road branches off the main highway and heads north into the wonders of Zion Canyon. The trail ends by merging into Canyon Road at Tram Stop 3.
View back towards Watchman Peak from the highway bridge
If you care to, you can just keep running as far as you please, and run back from there. Or just run to any of the tram stops (there are a total of nine), and take the tram back.

Have fun in this most beautiful of national parks!

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