Zion National Park was named "Zion" b/c 19th century Mormon pioneers saw the rocks as the "natural temples of God." They called the canyon Little Zion after the celestial city.
After driving through Zion I understand why the early pioneers were s amazed by what they saw. Even with paved roads, tunnels, and rest areas the dramatic canyon still is worthy of awe.
History of Zion: Zion was formed by millions of years of flowing water cutting through the red and white beds of Navajo sandstone that forms the sheer walls of Zion. The geologic hear of the canyon began as a vast desert million of years ago; almost incessant winds blew one dune on top of another until the sands reached a depth of more than 2,000 feet. (from National Geographic)