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Checkerboard Mesa facts for kids

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Checkerboard Mesa
Checkerboard Mesa, Zion N.P. UT - panoramio.jpg
North aspect, viewed from Highway 9
Highest point
Elevation 6,520 ft (1,990 m)
Prominence 520 ft (160 m)
Isolation 0.55 mi (0.89 km)
Parent peak Crazy Quilt Mesa (6,760 ft)
Checkerboard Mesa is located in Utah
Checkerboard Mesa
Checkerboard Mesa
Location in Utah
Checkerboard Mesa is located in the United States
Checkerboard Mesa
Checkerboard Mesa
Location in the United States
Location Zion National Park
Kane County, Utah
United States
Parent range Colorado Plateau
Topo map USGS Springdale East
Age of rock Jurassic
Type of rock Navajo sandstone
Easiest route class 2 scrambling

Checkerboard Mesa is an iconic 6,520+ft (1,990+m) elevation Navajo Sandstone summit located in Zion National Park, in Kane County of southwest Utah, United States. Checkerboard Mesa is situated immediately southwest of the park's east entrance, towering 900-feet (275 meters) above the Zion – Mount Carmel Highway. Its nearest neighbor is Crazy Quilt Mesa, one-half mile immediately west, and separated by Checkerboard Mesa Canyon. This canyon holds pools of rainwater which provide a vital source of water for resident bighorn sheep. This feature's name was officially adopted in 1935 by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The descriptive name stems from the cliff's distinctive multitudinous check lines in cross-bedded white sandstone which give the impression of a checkerboard. The horizontal lines are caused by cross-bedding, a remnant of ancient sand dunes. The vertical and sub-vertical lines formed by the contraction and expansion of the sandstone caused by temperature changes, freezing and thawing cycles, in combination with wetting and drying. This peak was originally named Checkerboard Mountain by the park's third superintendent, Preston P. Patraw. Precipitation runoff from this mountain drains into tributaries of the Virgin River.


Spring and fall are the most favorable seasons to visit Checkerboard Mesa. According to the Köppen climate classification system, it is located in a Cold semi-arid climate zone, which is defined by the coldest month having an average mean temperature below 32 °F (0 °C), and at least 50% of the total annual precipitation being received during the spring and summer. This desert climate receives less than 10 inches (250 millimeters) of annual rainfall, and snowfall is generally light during the winter.

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