Photographer's Note

The first whitemen to explore the Zion area was the 1776 Dominguez-Escalante Spanish padre expedition searching for a viable overland route from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Monterey, California. They came within 20 miles of Zion Canyon but the tough terrain forced them to turn back to Santa Fe without blazing a route to Monterey.

Fifty years later Jedediah Smith leading fur traders from Salt Lake City in 1825 followed the Sevier River which connected to the Virgin River. Smith continued following the Virgin River westward through Zion, and successfully created a route to Monterey, which was named the Old Santa Fe Trail.

In 1858 Mormon settlers led by Nephi Johnson with the goal of creating a settlement corridor to California were the first whitemen to explore Zion Canyon. They created farms in nearby Springdale on the Virgin River.

Public awareness and interest in Zion's majestic scenery was first stimulated by a one arm Civil War veteran Major John Wesley Powell in the early 1870s. His written descriptions and the photographs of J.K. Hillers excited the Public's imagination leading to future visitors.

In this scene is a wide area of Zion Canyon, the Virgin River, and in the distance the highest point - the West Temple.

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Additional Photos by Ray Anderson (photoray) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1203 W: 1 N: 3169] (13981)
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