Here's one secret -- if you are alone, park in Springdale and walk or take the free shuttle bus to the park entrance. Admission to the park is then $12 instead of $25. You can no longer drive up the canyon -- you have to take the free bus anyway. Court of the Patriarchs is one of the stops. Here's Abraham and Isaac. Jacob is MIA.
I saw some climbers out the roof vent of the bus. They now use things called chocks, which don't leave a permanent mark on the rocks.
Another stop for the bus is Weeping Rock. Alcove springs such as this occur when water-saturated Navajo sandstone, the predominant geologic feature in Zion, meet with older less permeable Kayenta clay-based mudstone.
The last stop up the canyon is the Riverside Walk, a 1-mile stroll up to the Narrows. From there on, you have to wade.
Once you pay your $12 walk-in fee, you can actually get into the park with your car, as long as you don't pick up a hitchhiker. I drove to Canyon Junction, where I took this shot of the Watchman.
Then drove through the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway tunnel to the East side of the park. This is the view through one of the windows in the tunnel.
The rock formations up there are spectacular!
Now for the last secret -- I stayed at a free spot, right along the Virgin River, just west of MM24 on Highway 9, between Rockville and Virgin. Big rigs may find it a little difficult, but it's great for everyone else.