Making Our Entrance
(Click to enlarge)
Day Trip to Kolob Canyons
in Zion National Park
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
May 31, 2019

We have visited Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park on several occasions, and are always awestruck to contemplate the pristine beauty of its towering red rock cliffs. Driving our previous Nissan LEAF there was a challenge, due to its limited range and the steep climb to the park entrance: we would have to stop in the town of Leeds to recharge at an RV Park about halfway there.

Now that we have our Tesla Model 3, however, we can easily make the round trip without the need to plug in. The Kolob section of the park was closed for repair and renovation for most of last year, but since it recently reopened, we were able to drive Correcaminos there for the first time. It most certainly won’t be the last! Photos and movies cannot adequately capture the panoramic vistas of these canyons, visitors really need to see them with their own eyes, but below is a sampling to whet your appetite to visit our area sometime soon.

NOTE: You can click on any of the following photos to enlarge them and the movies to play them.

In this introductory video, I explain where we are headed for the day trip, and demostrate how Correcaminos’ Autopilot makes the journey more relaxing and less stressful, all the way to the exit for the park entrance.

Made it to the Kolob Canyons Vistor Center.

I am so thrilled that the facility is powered by solar panels!

Zion National Park also provides EVSEs for visitors to plug in at the Visitor Centers, which costs $5.00 for three days of unlimited charging. We would use these chargers when we had our LEAF, but there was no need to plug in Correcaminos: the battery had way more than enough charge to tour the park, make a few side stops, and return home.

After taking ‘Tisa for a walk, we put her back in the car with Dog Mode enabled since pets aren’t allowed in the Visitor Center. As you can see, I always put signs in the windows, because we’ve found that passersby rarely look at the screen to know that climate control is in fact on, keeping her comfortable and safe.

This is a movie as we drove up the road into the canyons. You can see how Autopilot handles the curves, even —surprisingly— when the center line sometimes disappears under the recently laid asphalt.

Here are Tamara and ‘Tisa taking a break.

The towering cliffs at that viewpoint dwarf Correcaminos, but in reality... you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Nothing makes me happier when visiting these pristine spots than knowing we’re helping to keep it that way by driving a car without a tailpipe.

I understand that there is a trailhead near this spot, and that it is possible to hike it all the way to the main Visitor Center in Zion Canyon —if you’re willing and able to backpack the necessary equipment and supplies to camp overnight en route.

You can appreciate the extent of Kolob Canyons in this video. Tamara passed the camera to me, since the view when driving up the road was on my side. Too bad there was such a reflection on my window!

We made it to the top of the road, where tourists can view the majestic cliffs from the highest parking lot.

Correcaminos is aptly named: corrió el camino sin problema.

And here we are, once again, loving the view spread out on the opposite side of the valley.

That vista is much more impressive when we’re not blocking the view.

Dogs are not allowed on the trails, so we again put ‘Tisa in the car with Dog Mode enabled and took a short hike along the ridge. On the trail we could catch a glimpse of Pine Mountain in the opposite direction.

The vegetation this year is particularly green, given all the moisture we’ve had for the last 5 months. I was impressed with the intricate, gnarled branches of this tree, which struck me as a mirror image above ground of what its roots probably look like underneath.

I took this panorama shot of the cliffs, but to truly appreciate its size and details, click it to open an enlarged version, which you can click in turn to expand it further.

We stopped at a few more viewpoints on the way back down the road.

I managed to snap this shot of Correcaminos and Tamara, with some of the most rugged peaks behind her.

It was only fair to let her take a more closeup shot of me and ‘Tisa.

When dropping back down toward the highway, you can see the rural town of Kanarraville in the distance.

You can also see Pine Mountain more to the south.

It is rare to still see snow on the mountain at this time of year, but the weather so far has been wetter than usual.

Here are several videos on the highway after leaving the park, going to Cedar City farther up the road to get a picnic lunch, and then driving south again to enjoy the meal at Red Cliffs Recreation Area.

I took this video to show what was visible of the park from the highway on my side of the car, and you can again see how Autopilot handles the traffic.

The exit for Red Cliffs took us to the main street of Leeds, beyond which was the entrance to the recreation area.

We then turned into that entrance and drove up to the campground and picnic area to have our lunch.

This is the parting shot of the day, as we left Red Cliffs and headed home.

Here is the odometer readout since our last charge when we pulled in the garage.

As you can see in the above display, we had driven 142.1 miles that day, using 35 kWh, at 246 Wh/mi. That's only 6 watts higher than Correcaminos’ lifetime average, and better than I would have expected —given that most of the driving was at 80 MPH on the interstate, with a steep climb to reach the National Park and even moreso to its highest lookout.

It was a great daytrip, and reminded us why we decided to move to this area of the country, with so many natural wonders within a day’s drive of our home. Now that we have a Tesla Model 3, we intend to take full advantage of such opportunities much more often.