Checkerboard Mesa, Zion National Park

One of my favourite sections of Zion National Park was the first part I saw: Checkerboard Mesa.

It has layers upon layers of slickrock as seen in the foreground of this image I made of a lone pine tree growing mysteriously out of the rock. The Mesa is the great mountain in the background with criss-cross lines like a checkerboard.

Checkerboard Mesa, Zion National Park, Utah
Please click the image to view a larger version.

Most people don’t enter the park from the east side. It is well worth the trip not only to see the 1.1 mile-long Zion – Mt. Carmel tunnel, an engineering feat that took 3 years to build, but also to see the Checkerboard Mesa on the other side.

If you drive an oversize vehicle they charge you $15 for an escort through the tunnel while closing it to other traffic. Of course we didn’t venture to tow our fifth wheel up there. I don’t think we would have had any brakes left coming down the curvy hills to the valley if we tried. But we were lucky that our Big Baby Blue was one inch smaller than the maximum width so we did not require an escort to go through with the truck alone.

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  1. Mim says

    Gorgeous capture of that pine tree growing in rock. Anne. And, yes, it’s beautifully composed.

    I went through that tunnel with its tiny windows back in the early ’80s. Pretty special, eh?

    • says

      Hi Mim, that tunnel is really cool. I like how it has the little windows you can peek through as your driving past. It really makes you want to stop and get out to take a photo! But of course, you can’t. Thank you very much for the compliment on the composition, much appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Robin, I know what you mean about getting good images at checkerboard mesa. I thought I was getting all kinds of great shots, but it really is hard to convey what the place is like. I do have quite a few of frame filling patterns and textures that I’ll go back and process later, but this tree is my favourite of the images I made there.

    • says

      Hi Andy, I know it is incredible really how a tree like that manages to grow out of a rock. You wouldn’t think there would be enough soil in between the layers of rock to support it. Or that it would get enough water. It’s roots must go on forever. Thanks for your comments.

    • says

      Hey Toad, thank you very much! I think I have some shots of that tunnel, but I know Ray definitely does. I’ll see what I can find. It is neat because there are these little windows as you go through the tunnel and you can see the magnificent view for a fraction of a second as you drive by (no stopping allowed). But from the other side when you leave the tunnel you can look back from the road and see how small the windows look compared to the whole mountain.

    • says

      Thank you very much Jim! I really liked how the lines of the layered rock in the foreground contrast with the checkerboard in the background. Thanks again for your comments.

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