Zion is known worldwide for having some of the most stunning and dramatic canyons you can find anywhere. Standing atop Angels Landing or the Overlook Trail is just an inspiring experience. At least that’s what I used to think, until I had the opportunity to go for a helicopter ride in Zion. After which everything I thought I knew about Zion and southern Utah was turned up on its head.
You see I’ve spend a considerable time in the backcountry of Zion, and St George, I’ve seen some amazing places that by comparison few have ever seen, but as we took off and began our trip around St George and then ending up skirting the outskirts of Zion (you can’t actually fly into the park itself), I realized that I have seen so very little of what is really out there.
Helicopter Ride in Zion
Our ride started with flying over Sand Hollow reservoir which was glistening in the sun, only to then go up over the ridge line and into the oft overlooked, but quite beautiful Warner Valley, with views for miles and miles before me.
We then banked west and headed out over St George on our way to Snow Canyon and the Red Mountains. I have hiked all around the Red Mountain, from the Vortex to the Snow Canyon Overlook, but as we flew over Red Mountain I found myself feeling quite sad that I’d never taken the time to hike around on top. There were pools of standing water and views that would be hard to match anywhere in the world.
After Red Mountain we headed east towards Kolob Canyon and Zion. Only to encounter another area of St George that I felt remised that I have never been to. Before reaching Silver Reef we flew over red rocked canyons I had always seen in the distance but had never explored, and had no idea how expansive they were.
In fact here’s a video of this area that I just didn’t know was as expansive as it was.
Riding a Helicopter in Zion
We continued flying east and soon were able to soak in the views of Kolob Canyon and the five fingers (again you can’t fly into the park itself, but trust me viewing it from the outskirts is still unbelievable). We flew along the park lines seeing views of Zion that you just can’t appreciate unless you’re there. It was simply amazing!
Our flight then took us south of Springdale into an area I didn’t even know existed, the Cannan Wilderness area. This was the part of the flight that really put me in my place, for all I have done here I have never ventured to see this area, and it was simply incredible. Our skilled pilot took us over the area and then right at the edge of this sheer cliff wall, he banked to the side to give us a view of this area that I’ll never forget, and combined with my heart feeling a little like I was on a roller coaster it only added to the experience.
Our flight continued as we headed west again back to where we began, but the beauty and ride wasn’t over yet. We then were able to fly over the some of the best mountain trails anywhere at Gooseberry Mesa, and I was able to quickly understand why Gooseberry is such a sought after mountain biking area.
With the sun going down and the sky in the distance turning bright orange I realized that all I knew about St George, Zion, and southern Utah was in reality so little. That there is so much more out there to go and see, and to experience. That you can’t ever stop exploring, seeing, and being. Thank you Zion Helicopters for the amazing experience, one I’ll never forget.