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Zion Ponderosa Adventure Guide Mia Canyoneering

Sometimes passing through a place can change your life forever in the very best way. That’s what happened for Mia, one of our 2018 summer adventure guides. We asked Mia to tell us what she’s been up to since last summer and to share some of her favorite memories of her time at Zion Ponderosa.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Mia McAdams and I worked as a recreation guide at Zion Ponderosa (two years after staying there as a guest). I’m now at Oregon State University pursuing a degree in Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership with a focus on Outdoor Recreation Management.

mia slot canyoneering with east zion adventure guide

What brought you to Zion Ponderosa?

In the summer of 2016, my dad and I were just passing through the area and needed a place to pitch our tent for the night. I never could’ve imagined that the little family-owned ranch resort would change my life forever. We did the canyoneering trip and then did an ATV tour right afterward with a guide that opened my eyes to the opportunities available in the outdoor industry and who also told me about a new trend in universities to have outdoor gear/recreation degree options.

I vividly remember walking back to our tent at the end of the day and telling my dad, “This would be the coolest job ever.” Flash forward to the summer of 2018 and there I was, the summer before I’d begin studying outdoor recreation, working the coolest job ever, with the coolest people ever, in one of the coolest places ever. This is a place that will always feel like home to me now and the people I met there quickly became family instead of coworkers.

East Zion Adventures Recreation Guides

“Working at Zion Ponderosa is absolutely one of, if not the most, cherished moments of my life.”

– Mia McAdams, 2018 Adventure Recreation Guide


How did working at Zion Ponderosa affect you?

Working at Zion Ponderosa as a rec guide was incredibly helpful because it gave me the experience and skills that enabled me to be a part of the Adventure Leadership Institute here at OSU. I also plan on continuing to work in the outdoor industry when I graduate from OSU so this experience will surely be a resume builder for that.


What was your favorite experience at Zion Ponderosa?

It’s really hard to narrow my experience there down to a few favorite moments, but I think it’s safe to say that every single experience I had in a canyon was my favorite part of living and working in southern Utah – whether it was my very first time canyoneering when I was 16 years old and a guest there, or when I was 18 years old and assisting those same trips as a guide, or even just doing some canyons with coworkers on our days off.