Fall Colors on Pa'rus Trail - Mike Carr

Fall Colors on Pa'rus Trail


The Pa’rus trail in Zion is probably the most versatile trail in the whole park. You can ride your bike on it or even bring your dog along for the fun (no other trail in the park allows those two activities).

But it’s not just the versatility that makes this a great trail. The scenery from the bottom-center of the canyon is spectacular. This trail allows you to enjoy waterfalls on the Virgin river, incredible views of the Watchman peaks, and—if your timing is good—the autumn colors coming to life in the cottonwood trees along the riverbank.

If you’re after those golden leaves, late-October to mid-November is the perfect time of year. Fall arrives a little bit later to southern Utah than it does to most of the country, but it’s worth the wait.

I often feel like talking about the things I’ve captured in pictures is a futile exercise because the images do a much better job of making the point than my words ever will. So if you’re just here to skim my words and mostly focus on the pictures, I don’t blame you.

No matter how you decide to enjoy this trail, the main event is arriving to the bridge at Canyon Junction just before sunset. Even if you aren’t passionate about photography like I am, you will appreciate watching the last light of day grace Watchman. In fact, you might enjoy it even more than me because I’m always a little preoccupied trying to capture the perfect shot of it instead of just soaking it in.

Be warned though—this is basically the spot to photograph the sunset, so you will not be alone. If you prefer to have a slightly more secluded spot to get a very similar shot, I suggest moving down the path a couple bridges. The view is really similar and you just might have it to yourself. I also like this spot because it does offer a little variety from the overdone spot of the main bridge. The pictures will look different and you won’t have to literally rub shoulders with other photographers. I’ve been on the main bridge where it was standing room only along the railing with cameras set shoulder to shoulder.

I genuinely hope that my experiences in Zion and other places will be of use to you and lead you to have better experiences in the outdoors, and maybe even just inspire you to want to get out there more and love the world we call home. If you have questions about my photography or the locations I talk about, like the Pa’rus Trail, please let me know.