Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zion Park Scenic Byway --Rt. 9, Utah

Scenic Highway 9;  Views were awesome!
On our trip out west in June,  we drove on many scenic roads.   The one I'm talking about today (Highway 9 in Utah) is another one.   Hope you enjoy reading more about this road (especially the building of the tunnels) ---and enjoy our photos.   Be sure to enlarge the photos for a much larger picture.

Look at our fabulous views from this scenic byway.
Scenic Highway 9,  from the south entrance of  Zion National Park to the intersection of US-89 at Mt. Carmel Junction,  is a 14-mile scenic highway.  Some people call it  the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway,  and others call it the Zion Park Scenic Byway.  We loved this highway, and there was so much beauty all around us.  There were six switchbacks and two tunnels.

We traveled through 2 awesome tunnels dug through the rock.  Be sure and read my information about the building of the tunnels.
When they surveyed the area in 1923,  they settled on the Pine Creek route,  which required a tunnel through the Great Arch (pictured 2 photos below).  Work began in 1927 and was completed in 1930, at a cost of $503,000.   The tunnel was dedicated on July 4, 1930.  The first tunnel features a 5,613 foot (1.711 mile) tunnel.  The second tunnel is much shorter.

See that hole?  That is one of several 'galleries' inside the tunnel.  We were driving inside ALL of that rock... Amazing, huh?  Read why they put in these galleries below.
Construction of the tunnels used mining techniques rather than traditional tunneling techniques.  They used  galleries (holes that they put in the walls at various places) to provide light and ventilation through the canyon wall to the outside air.  The galleries also provided a place to dispose of rock generated during construction,  which was dumped through the galleries into the canyon. 


Here is the Grand Arch --where the tunnels went through!  WOW!!!
Some of the galleries have had to be repaired and partially closed with concrete due to damage from rockslides.  The interior of the tunnel is rock-faced with concrete reinforcement at selected locations.   At the time of completion,  this tunnel was the longest non-urban road tunnel in the United States.  We really enjoyed going through these tunnels ---while we thought about all of the man-power it took to build them.


Gorgeous scenery all along that scenic road
The tunnel's restricted dimensions require that vehicles over 11.33 feet in height or 7.83 feet in width give advance notice so that two-way traffic can be shut down in the tunnel --allowing oversize vehicles to proceed down the center of the tunnel.  Vehicles over 13.08 feet tall and semi-trailers as well as bicycles and pedestrians are prohibited in the tunnel.  There are rangers at both ends of the tunnel.  I think it's a $15 fee if a large vehicle needs to be escorted through the tunnel. 


Isn't that just gorgeous?  Love the colors...
When we left Zion on June 18,  we took this scenic highway.. It was AWESOME--as good or better than Zion itself (in my opinion).  We were fascinated at all of the gorgeous scenery along the way,  especially reading about the tunnels built through all of that rock.  One of the most interesting parts for us was reading about the galleries... It's hard to believe how hard people worked back then in order to build things.  The sad thing about that though is that most of what they built (pretty much by hand) in those days is much-better built than the roads and tunnels of today!  Hmmmmmmmm.


I hope you enjoyed seeing another of Utah's fabulous scenic highways... If you ever get to Zion National Park,  be sure and take the scenic route across Highway 9 to the Mt. Carmel Junction.  You will be glad you did.  Hope you enjoy our photos  from that experience.


Have a wonderful day...
Hugs,
Betsy

51 comments:

mudderbear said...

It's so nice that you got to see this part of the country. I've seen some of it, but you let me know there is a lot I've missed. Your photos are just awesome.

Ms. A said...

I can't even imagine what the cost would be to do something like this today and they didn't have nearly the amount of technology available.

ladyfi said...

Wow - that scenery is just fantastic! Amazing colours.

Big Dude said...

The scenery is really beautiful but it sounds like a road to avoid if we're RVing - the word switchback is a little intimidating.

Beth said...

The striations of color are incredible. I esp. like that last photo--the gradual change of hue from bright to subdued, but all beautiful.
I enjoyed the history and seeing the place through your eyes! Thanks. :>)

John and Ellen said...

Thanks for the nice photographic tour. The Zion area has been one of my very favorites since I was a little boy. Ellen and I have been planning our trip back to Utah for a couple of years now with great anticipation. As always, your photos are beautiful!!!

John
connectedtothevinephotography.blogspot.com

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Betsy, this road was my favorite part of Zion, too. And I didn't get any pictures! So glad to see yours and relive that drive.

Incidentally, there was a cycling event going on the day we were there. Teams of cyclists were waiting to go through followed by a support vehicle. I believe they had to wait for the tunnel to be closed to opposing traffic before they could enter. They had special permits, of course. We saw a couple of motor homes waiting as well.

Darla said...

This is one of my favorite posts so far...I love how the vegetation is 'somehow' growing! Reading about the tunnels and going through the tunnels are two different things.....I would so need a pill or something!

Arkansas Patti said...

Looks like another world and the colors are amazing. Those tunnels are incredible. Interesting idea with the galleries.

Sandra said...

taking a trip with you and George has made me decide Utah needs to be at the top of my bucket list. these photos are just spectacular.
the tunnel not so much, in 1984 I was driving on the interstate in Wyoming and up ahead i saw a hole in the wall just like this one and started shrieking, you drive, i can't drive this big rig through that hole, i did do it but did not like it. Utah is a beautiful state

Fred Alton said...

WoW! I had no idea that these places existed. Makes me want to go there and experience that drive.

Mr. Bill said...

Do you need a driver? Beautiful.

TexWisGirl said...

absolutely GORGEOUS!!! stunning scenes. glorious colors. interesting facts! loved this, betsy!!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

The scenery is so beautiful.The colours of the rock vivid and varied.It is amazing to think that so much of this work was done by hand.I don't think you would find anyone willing to do that kind of work by hand today.People all want a pay check but very few are willing to work for it.

Mama-Bug said...

What some amazing scenery Betsy! I would love to see the inside of those tunnels.

Jeanne said...

I've always heard that Zion National Park was a great place to visit and now I see why. Thanks for sharing.
Jeanne

Janice K said...

Last fall on our trip we entered along that highway. If you will notice in your pictures how bright and new it looks..Well, last fall it was under construction. A lot of it was limited to one lane of traffic. It was harder to watch all the beautiful scenery when you had to concentrate so hard on just staying in the narrow path you were supposed to drive in. There was no place to pull off for pictures, so most of what I took there was from through our front window. We enjoyed the park, and if I were 10 or 20 years younger, I would have wanted to wade in through some of the narrows. Good memories.

Lucy aka Roeann said...

Gosh I haven't been to Zion in many a year. The sixties, I'm thinking. I pass it on 89 everytime I go up there but I should turn off and go in for a day. I've heard you can't drive into it anymore. True??

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Loved the history on the road, and beautiful pictures. You sure make me want to go back!

Dorothy said...

Fantastic pictures, Betsy! I enjoyed taking the tour with you.

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely share today!

Amish Stories said...

Id like to invite everyone to my blog Amish Stories today to read a post from old order Mennonite Jean of New York state. Jean has taken-in a foster child named Michael whose parents are no longer able to take care of him. He's English and Jeans family is old order Mennonite (horse and buggy) but that makes no difference in the love that this young man is receiving from this family. Thank you folks and i hope to see some of you drop by the blog. Richard

Linda P said...

hank you for the amazing photos and the history of the construction of those tunnels. It makes you wonder about the folk who made it possible to travel more easily through the area.

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Good morning, Betsy! What beautiful pictures to start the day with!! Gorgeous Utah scenery and I can't wait to go back to see it. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos. Have a good day!

gigihawaii said...

Never been to Utah. Your photos are beautiful. There is so much of the mainland to see. Why do I go to places like Hong Kong and Tokyo instead? Hmmm.

Linda said...

Stunning images, Betsy. You're triggering that urge to travel again. :)

novita darmawan said...

aunt... i wish i could be there someday... hehehehe... ^.^
your journeys make me have dreams... ^^

Happyone:-) said...

As always i love all your photos. I've been on this road and it was so beautiful to be there in person. It was truly awesome and brought tears to my eyes as we drove along because of the indescribable beauty.

Ginny said...

These pictures should define the word "AWE". The rock looks like marble. Are there lights in that tunnel? Your story is just WILD!! I just checked out your post for yesterday, and I must say that I am in tears right now. George looks so much like his dad. Wonderful pictures. I have a good friend whose dad passed away a long time ago, but his mom is getting ready to celebrate her 106th!!!!

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

Wow...there aren't words for these magnificent sites!!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Betsy!!! These photos don't even look real!
Gorgeous...would love to see it in person as well.
xo

Becca's Dirt said...

What an awesome place Betsy. I love those pics. I can only imagine what a sight to behold in person. The colors in the rock are beautiful. I am also amazed at the work and the craftmanship that goes into a tunnel like that.

Rose said...

You guys really did take the trip of a lifetime...what amazing country. I have sure enjoyed seeing it through your lenses.

Chatty Crone said...

Okay the scenery was just awesome I admit - and the history fascinating - but I have to tell you that tunnel scared me! Not sure if I could do it or not - well I would - but I'd still be scared. Wonderful pictures.

sandie

LV said...

I know I am too old to be adopted. But, I sure would enjoy being one of your cast a ways on all these great trips.

KathyA said...

Yes, imagine the man power needed to accomplish those tunnels! And how miniscule man seems beside those tremendous mountains of rock!!

These photos are magnificent!

Denise said...

Absolutely breathtaking scenery out there. It's been some years but your photos have sown the seeds again for a return trip. Fabulous photos Betsy.

Shug said...

The color layouts are outstanding...certainly a gorgeous span of highway. I can only imagine how the colors in the rocks glow at sunset...Wow

Hugs,
shug

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Awesome. Perfect timing. We are getting excited to visit there soon.

Neal said...

Great blog Betsy with some really great pictures. The second picture is my favorite.....I think. :)

However, I hate to tell you this but 5613 feet is not 1.711 miles. :)

Ann said...

I want to visit Utah after seeing all your gorgeous photos. The scenery is just amazing. Those tunnels really fascinate me. It's amazing how they can build them. It made me think of the tunnels we went through when we went to Virginia Beach to visit my step son. They are under the water. Because of the naval ship yard there, they couldn't build the bridges tall enough for the ships to pass under so they put the tunnels under the ships

Lola said...

So thoroughly enjoyed the "drive". It is fantastic. All the different colors & all that rock. Makes one wonder. Thanks Betsy, this is my way to see the West.

Daisy said...

Awesome pictures, Betsy! So gorgeous!

Catherine said...

You always see some terrific things on your journey Betsy ~ thanks for sharing!
xo Catherine

carolina nana said...

It's mind boggling to me to imagine how these tunnels were constructed back before our modern equipment.
That is beautiful country out there!
Blessings
Marilyn

Donna said...

Oh, I adore Zion and want to go back! Beautiful photos and great info. I was familiar with the tunnel construction, which has been used to build one of the dams on the Colorado. Our tour bus went through a tunnel, but I have no idea what road it was. We were there just two short days. That's for this lovely post!

SquirrelQueen said...

The scenery is gorgeous, what a great drive this must have been. The building of tunnels fascinates me, I really enjoyed reading about the construction of these.

I love that last photos Betsy, I am amazed at the different shades and colors of the sandstone

Ann said...

I remember the Canadian and American tunnel at Detroit/Windsor.

Lynda said...

Definitely absolutely gorgeous! I loved the pic of the mountain as you enter the tunnel - - - but wonder if I would get claustrophobic in the tunnel. Also, love the one outside the tunnel - - - the white little mountain by itself. You all really did plan a great route on your trip.
The flower in your header is stunning, too!

Loren said...

Gosh, Betsy ~ I just love seeing these through your eyes and learning along the way!! What gorgeous pics, it truly looks as if God just sat down and painted all of these....course HE did just not in that way huh :)

Thanks for yet another wonderful lesson and pictures too! You are the best!

Cicero Sings said...

Simply WOW Betsy. What a trip you had this year!