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Checkerboard Mesa

Zion-Mount Carmel Hwy., 1 mi west of the East Entrance, Zion National Park, UT
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69%
Type: Geologic Formations, Mountains, Outdoors
Activities: Hiking, Watching sunrise/sunset
Owner description: Mesa country that is laid out in a checkerboard pattern and is a photographer's delight.
Attraction details
Type: Geologic Formations, Mountains, Outdoors
Activities: Hiking, Watching sunrise/sunset
Owner description: Mesa country that is laid out in a checkerboard pattern and is a photographer's delight.
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36 reviews from our community

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Pleasanton, California
Top Contributor
341 reviews 341 reviews
204 attraction reviews
282 helpful votes 282 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2014

I was a bit puzzled to find this attraction listed here, so actually stopped on my way to check it out. So here is what I learned from the sign. Apparently, a lot of mountains in this area have layered structure but the layers are mostly horizontal or form some angle. In both cases they end up producing parallel stripes... More 

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Illinois
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
34 attraction reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014

We appreciate the geological significance of the Checkerboard Mesa, but as other reviews have stated it is one of the sights of Zion that one does not need to go out of their way to drive to. If you're going to be passing by, then by all means stop at the pullover and check it out and the intriguing patterns... More 

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Orlando, FL
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
28 attraction reviews
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014

We stopped to see Checkerboard Mesa as we were leaving Zion National Park on Route 9 en route to Bryce National Park. The Mesa is quite interesting geologically and if you are driving that way, there is a small pullout to stop and have a quick look and take a photo but I'd have been disappointed to have driven 14... More 

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Orlando, Florida
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
23 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2014

Zion National Park is about the experiencing nature at its best. The Checkerboard Mesa is a stop along the road in the park. The formations in Zion are monumental, and Checkerboard Mesa is unique as we see the "jointing" created by the millions of years of geological changes. The results of the weathering, geological changes, water, etc. are these groves... More 

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Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
24 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

Checkerboard Mesa and this whole area is stunning in a very different way from the main canyon, but equally amazing in my book. It's like a lunar landscape among the red rocks and grandeur of other areas. The patterns in rock reveal so much of how this area formed and are just fascinating.

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San Carlos, California
Top Contributor
173 reviews 173 reviews
99 attraction reviews
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

We entered the park on the east side and were confronted with these strange geological striations right away. After driving on the Utah highway for a couple hours, these landforms will make you sit up and take notice. The lines are so evenly spaced they look almost man-made! Zion is full of natural wonders and this is just one of... More 

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Ubud
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
43 attraction reviews
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

Checkerboard Mesa is an iconic part of the Zion experience, whether your are entering or leaving from the east, and is worth stopping at for a quick look. The small parking area near it is a good place to take a quick view and shoot a few photos is you are short on time however its worth getting out and... More 

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

I see there are mixed reviews but to me Checkerboard Mesa is almost iconic for the park, perhaps because it is included in many guides and geology textbooks. Furthermore, the character of the scenery to the east of the tunnel has smaller details with the weathering accentuating the ancient sloped dune beds in the sandstone and smaller erosional features. This... More 

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Loveland, Colorado
Top Contributor
215 reviews 215 reviews
77 attraction reviews
875 helpful votes 875 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

These Mesas are one of my favorite landforms in Zion National Park. They are not the most majestic or mammoth, but I think they are the most interesting. The cracking in the rocks is caused by the slowly changing pressures as each layer is buried and exhumed. The colors, when viewed with the other pinks and the green trees are... More 

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Avon, Ohio
Top Contributor
715 reviews 715 reviews
471 attraction reviews
968 helpful votes 968 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

The Checkerboard Mesa is just inside the eastern entrance of Zion NP and will be the first attraction you reach arriving from the east or the last as you leave for points east. In either case, it is worth a short stop to see the unusual erosion pattern giving this mesa its name and which even geologists do not fully... More 

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