Zion was little visited by outsiders during the 19th Century. The region's isolation began to erode in 1908, when Deputy Surveyor Leo Snow mapped the upper Virgin River for the U.S. Department of the Interior. Snow's report was so persuasive that just the next year, President W.H. Taft created Mukuntuweap National Monument. By 1919, it had been enlarged and renamed Zion National Park.
[Photo inset caption] Leo A. Snow, a native of St. George, Utah, on a survey expedition. In his report recommending that Zion be designated a national Monument, Snow wrote that "a view can be had of this canyon surpassed only by a similar view of the Grand Canyon..."
[Blue marker below]
The name Mukuntuweap, derived from a Paiute word, was assigned to Zion by Major John Wesley Powell, who explored the area in the 1870s. Local residents preferred the name Zion, and in 1918 the monument's name was changed. The following year, Zion became a national park.
At first the remoteness of Zion limited visitation. That changed in 1923, when the Union Pacific Railroad brought service to Cedar City, and the State of Utah then built a road into Zion Canyon. Visitation increased again in 1930, when the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and tunnel were completed.
During the Depression of the 1930s a Federal work program, the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, made substantial contributions to Zion. CCC workers constructed roads, trails, and buildings throughout the park. The distinctive design of these stone and timber structures is visible today.