Walking New York’s most innovative park, the High Line, reminded me of a hike I took last summer in Zion National Park.
Although Manhattan’s elevated promenade doesn’t require the Zion Narrows’ tricky navigation through a swift flowing river, both popular trails have a lot of similarities.
The Zion Narrows in Zion National Park
The Zion Narrows in Utah’s Zion National Park is one of the most unusual trails in the world. Most of the hike is in rocky, swift flowing water that can be quite hard to navigate and some of the hike involves swimming. But the reward for those who attempt even part of this world famous adventure is awe-inspiring scenery that includes 2,000 foot high sandstone walls, sculpted grottoes, and hanging gardens.
The High Line in New York City
The High Line, of course, is man-made. Formerly an elevated freight railroad that serviced warehouses in the meatpacking district, the historic steel structure was rescued from imminent demolition and re-purposed into a beautifully landscaped urban park. The first section, from Gansevort to West 20th Street, opened to much acclaim in 2009; the newest section, continuing the park to 30th Street, opened in June of 2011.
Still, I was struck by their many similarities:
Both Are Popular Trails with Peaceful Canyons
Both Present Interesting Features
Both Allow Serene Views and Quiet Contemplation
Both Have Beautiful Foliage
Both Are Dynamic Landscapes
The High Line Park is an Awesome Accomplishment
The fact that an urban park in New York City can be as soothing to me as a national park in pastoral Utah is a testament to the success of the design!