Temple of Sinawava

Located in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah, the Temple of Sinawava is a stunning geological formation that attracts visitors from all around the world. This natural temple is the result of millions of years of geological processes, and it has been a sacred site for the indigenous people of the area for centuries. In this travel and geological report, we will explore the history, geology, and attractions of the Temple of Sinawava, as well as provide practical information for visitors.

Temple of Sinawava, Zion National Park, Utah, Medium Format Photograph: James L Rathbun
Temple of Sinawava, Zion National Park, Utah, Medium Format Photograph: James L Rathbun


The Temple of Sinawava is named after the Paiute Indian god, Sinawava, who is believed to have lived in the area. For centuries, the Paiute and other indigenous peoples have considered the area to be sacred, and they have performed various rituals and ceremonies there. The Paiute called the area “Mukuntuweap,” which means “straight canyon,” and it was later renamed Zion National Park by the Mormons who settled in the area.


The Temple of Sinawava is located at the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and it is one of the most popular destinations in the park. The temple is a natural amphitheater that was formed by the Virgin River, which has been carving through the sandstone for millions of years. The river has eroded the sandstone in such a way that it has created a stunning array of geological features, including towering cliffs, deep canyons, and narrow slot canyons.

The Temple of Sinawava is a particularly unique geological formation because it is located at the end of Zion Canyon, where the canyon narrows dramatically. The canyon walls rise up to over 2,000 feet in height, and they are composed of various layers of sandstone that were deposited over millions of years. The layers of sandstone are different colors, ranging from red to white, and they provide a stunning contrast against the blue sky.


The Temple of Sinawava offers visitors a variety of attractions, including hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography. The most popular activity at the temple is hiking the Riverside Walk, which is a 2.2-mile round-trip hike that follows the Virgin River to the entrance of the temple. Along the way, hikers will be treated to stunning views of the canyon walls, as well as a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, and numerous bird species.

Once visitors reach the entrance of the temple, they can continue hiking up the river, which leads to the beginning of the Narrows. The Narrows is a narrow slot canyon that is formed by the Virgin River, and it is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. The Narrows can be hiked in two ways, either by hiking up the river or by hiking down the river. Hiking up the river requires a permit and special equipment, while hiking down the river is open to all visitors.

Another popular attraction at the Temple of Sinawava is photography. The temple is a popular destination for photographers, both amateur and professional, who come to capture the stunning beauty of the canyon walls and the river. The best time to photograph the temple is during the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is low in the sky and the light is soft and warm.

Practical Information

The Temple of Sinawava is located in Zion National Park, which is open year-round. The park is located in southwestern Utah, and it can be accessed via State Route 9, which runs through the park. There are a variety of lodging options in the park, including campgrounds, lodges, and hotels, as well as numerous restaurants and gift shops.

Visitors to the Temple of Sinawava should come prepared with appropriate clothing and gear, as the weather can be unpredictable.

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