The Best Hikes in Zion National Park: Top Trails for Every Adventurer in Utah
Step into Zion National Park and you will be greeted by towering cliffs and mesmerizing shades of red, orange and cream painting the landscape. The mesmerizing beauty of the park will sweep you off your feet and leave you craving for more.
- Best Hiking Trails in Zion National Park
- Angels Landing
- The Narrows
- Emerald Pools
- Observation Point
- Riverside Walk
- Canyon Overlook
- Weeping Rock
- Don’t Miss These…
- Things to Know to Stay Safe
- How Much does it Cost to Visit Zion?
- Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
- Where to Stay in Zion National Park?
- Camping in Zion National Park
- Hotels near Zion National Park
- How to Get to Zion National Park?
- Zion National Park Shuttle Services
- Zion Helicopter Tours
- Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
Here, nature proudly displays its most exquisite works of art through intricate rock formations, lush green valleys and cascading waterfalls. Dive into the heart of this awe-inspiring paradise as you explore the many things the park has to offer and ensure you get the most out of your visit.
Best Hiking Trails in Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a true gem in the state of Utah. With towering red cliffs that reach for the sky, and canyons that delve deep into the earth, this national park is a feast for the eyes.
The unique geological formations found here make it one of the most picturesque spots in North America. But the beauty of Zion doesn’t stop there; the park is also a bustling hub of plant and animal life, with a diverse array of species calling it home.
Angels Landing is the crown jewel of Zion National Park, offering intrepid hikers an exhilarating journey to one of the most breathtaking vantage points in the park.
This 5-mile round-trip landing trail ascends approximately 1,500 feet, challenging hikers with steep switchbacks, narrow ridges, and a heart-pounding finale that requires navigating a section of chains for stability.
As you begin your hike angels landing, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of Zion Canyon, with each step offering a more spectacular panorama than the last.
After conquering the notorious Walter’s Wiggles, a set of 21 steep switchbacks, you’ll reach Scout Lookout, where many hikers choose to rest and take in the stunning surroundings. This spot is like angels landing, providing a taste of the breathtaking views awaiting at the summit.
From here, only the brave proceed to the final stretch, which involves traversing a narrow ridge with sheer drop-offs on either side, using the provided chains for support. This part of the landing hike is known for its adrenaline-inducing challenges.
Upon reaching the summit of Angels Landing, you’ll be rewarded with a heavenly view that stretches across the entire park, including a sight of angels landing and the narrows. The feeling of accomplishment combined with the breathtaking beauty of Zion National Park makes this hike an unforgettable experience for those who dare to conquer it.
The Narrows, one of Zion’s most iconic trails, beckons hikers to immerse themselves in the park’s captivating beauty.
This unique trek takes you through the narrowest section of Zion Narrows, with towering walls of sandstone closing in on both sides, offering an intimate encounter with the park’s geological wonders. The trail varies in length, depending on your chosen route, but can extend up to 16 miles if you opt for the top-down route from Chamberlain’s Ranch.
As you venture into The Narrows, the Virgin River becomes your trail, requiring you to wade through its gentle currents and navigate across slippery rocks.
The water levels can range from ankle-deep to waist-high, so be prepared to get wet! The awe-inspiring walls of the canyon envelop you as you progress, with the sunlight casting an ethereal glow on the textured sandstone.
Remember, before embarking on a hike through The Narrows, always check the weather forecast and flash flood potential, as conditions can change rapidly and pose a danger to hikers.
Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Emerald Pools Trail, a serene oasis nestled among Zion’s towering red rock giants. This picturesque trail leads you on a journey through lush vegetation and over gentle streams, culminating in a series of shimmering pools fed by cascading waterfalls.
With three distinct sections—Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools—hikers can choose their desired difficulty level and still be rewarded with breathtaking sights.
The Lower Emerald Pool is easily accessible and perfect for families, while the Upper Emerald Pool offers a more challenging trek for those seeking a bit more adventure.
If you crave an awe-inspiring, panoramic view of Zion National Park, look no further than the trail to Observation Point. Climbing steadily through the park’s diverse ecosystems, this 8-mile round-trip hike takes you to an elevation of 6,508 feet, rewarding your efforts with a bird’s-eye view of Zion’s majestic canyon below.
As you ascend, you’ll pass through the enchanting Echo Canyon, where fascinating rock formations and a lush, narrow slot canyon will capture your imagination. At the summit, you’ll be greeted by a jaw-dropping vista that stretches across the park’s iconic landmarks, including Angels Landing and the Great White Throne.
The Riverside Walk is a delightful, leisurely stroll along the banks of the Virgin River, offering hikers a chance to experience the captivating beauty of Zion Canyon without the challenges of a strenuous hike.
This 2-mile round-trip, paved trail is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, making it a perfect outing for families or those seeking a more relaxed experience.
As you meander through the riverside landscape, you’ll be enveloped by lush vegetation, towering canyon walls, and the soothing sounds of the river’s gentle flow. The Riverside Walk is also the gateway to the famous Narrows hike, giving you a tantalizing glimpse into the wonders that await further upstream.
When most people think of Zion National Park, they picture the soaring red cliffs of the main canyon. But there’s much more to this park than meets the eye.
Nestled in the southwest corner of Utah, Zion is home to a variety of landscapes, from alpine forests to desert canyons. And while the main canyon is certainly the park’s centerpiece, there are plenty of other places to explore, including Kolob Canyons.
Kolob Canyons is a series of five side canyons located in the northwestern part of Zion National Park. These canyons are narrower and less crowded than the main canyon, making them a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy some solitude. The trail is moderate in difficulty and is suitable for experienced hikers.
The Canyon Overlook hike is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park. The trailhead is located just a short walk from the park entrance and shuttle stop. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow.
It winds its way up a series of switchbacks to the top of a hill, where it offers stunning views of the canyon below. The total hike is just over a mile round-trip, making it a great option for those looking for an easy hike with beautiful rewards.
Discover the enchanting Weeping Rock, where nature’s tears gently seep through the sandstone cliffs, nurturing an oasis of lush greenery. This short, yet steep, 0.4-mile round-trip trail leads you to a captivating alcove adorned with hanging gardens and glistening droplets of water cascading from above.
As you stand beneath the weeping sandstone, you’ll marvel at the magical interplay of light and water, casting a soothing ambiance that invites reflection and tranquility. The Weeping Rock Trail is a must-visit destination for those seeking a brief escape into the nurturing embrace of Zion’s natural wonders.
Nestled deep within the untamed wilderness of Zion National Park, the enigmatic Subway lures adventurous souls with its spellbinding, cylindrical slot canyon.
Venturing into this extraordinary realm is no small feat, demanding keen route-finding abilities, intrepid swimming, and a willingness to scramble over the many obstacles strewn throughout the canyon.
As you traverse the sinuous bends and twists of the Subway, prepare to be captivated by a dazzling tapestry of vivid hues, ethereal light, and the sublime dance of water carving its path through the ancient stone.
Don’t Miss These…
Zion National Park, located in the heart of Utah, is renowned for its stunning array of hikes that cater to adventurers of all levels. Whether you’re planning a day hike or a more extensive exploration, Zion offers some of the best hikes in Utah, each unveiling the park’s breathtaking beauty.
The West Rim Trail and the East Rim Trail are two such examples, presenting hikers with unique vistas and landscapes. For those seeking a shorter journey, the Canyon Overlook Trail and Watchman Trail provide a more condensed yet equally enchanting experience. These trails allow you to witness the awe-inspiring views in Zion without committing to a full-day trek.
Families and casual hikers can enjoy the Pa’rus Trail, a family-friendly hike that meanders along the Virgin River, offering picturesque scenes and a relaxing atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Taylor Creek Trail and La Verkin Creek Trail showcase the serene side of Zion, guiding you through quieter sections of the park.
For the more intrepid souls, the challenge of the Zion Narrows awaits. This unique canyon hike takes you through the Virgin River, surrounded by towering canyon walls. It’s an unforgettable experience and is often listed as one of the best hikes in national parks across America.
However, no visit to Zion is complete without tackling the famed Angels Landing. This hike in Zion National Park is not for the faint-hearted, with its steep inclines and narrow paths. But the reward at the summit is unparalleled, offering panoramic views in Zion that are simply unmatched.
The East Mesa Trail, Timber Creek Overlook Trail, and the La Verkin Creek Trail are also noteworthy, each adding its unique flavor to the rich tapestry of Zion hikes. These trails, along with others like the Overlook Trail and Landing Trail, form the list of the best hikes in Zion, ensuring that every visitor can find a path that resonates with their spirit of adventure.
Whether you’re embarking on a trip to Zion to conquer one of the best hikes or simply to see Zion in all its natural glory, the trails of this national park are sure to leave a lasting impression. From the strenuous landing hike to the more tranquil paths like the Timber Creek Overlook Trail, Zion National Park hikes offer an array of experiences that are as varied as they are spectacular.
Things to Know to Stay Safe
Safety should always be a top priority when visiting Zion National Park. Keep these tips in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
- Check the weather forecast and trail conditions before setting out, and plan your activities accordingly. Flash floods, icy trails, and extreme heat can pose risks to hikers. Consult the National Park Service for the latest information.
- Carry plenty of water, especially during the summer months, to prevent dehydration. The park service recommends at least one gallon of water per person per day for most hikes.
- Wear appropriate clothing, including moisture-wicking fabrics, sun protection, and sturdy, well-fitting footwear suitable for the terrain.
- Stay on designated trails to avoid getting lost or causing damage to the fragile ecosystem. Pay attention to posted signs and warnings at the park visitor center and along the trails.
- Be mindful of wildlife and maintain a safe distance. Never feed wild animals or approach them too closely, as this can be dangerous for both you and the animals.
- Know your limits and choose activities that are suitable for your fitness level and experience. If you’re unsure, consult park rangers for advice on appropriate trails and activities.
- Follow the park’s guidelines and practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment and protect the park for future generations.
How Much does it Cost to Visit Zion?
To experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Zion National Park, visitors are required to pay an entrance fee. The fees are as follows: a private vehicle pass costs $35, valid for 7 days; a motorcycle pass costs $30, also valid for 7 days; and individual passes for pedestrians or cyclists cost $20 per person, valid for 7 days.
Annual passes specific to Zion National Park are available for $70, while the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which covers entrance fees for over 2,000 federal recreation sites, is available for $80 per year.
Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
The ideal time to visit Zion National Park depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience. Generally, the most pleasant weather conditions occur during spring (April to May) and fall (September to October).
During these seasons, daytime temperatures are moderate, making it comfortable for hiking and other outdoor activities. The park’s vibrant foliage during autumn adds an extra layer of charm to the already stunning landscape.
Summer months tend to be hot and crowded, while winter brings cooler temperatures and occasional snow, which may limit access to certain trails.
Where to Stay in Zion National Park?
As you venture into the mesmerizing world of Zion National Park, you’ll find an array of accommodations to suit your needs, from cozy campsites beneath starlit skies to welcoming hotels that cradle you in comfort.
Nestled within the park’s embrace, three enchanting campgrounds invite you to become one with nature in a specific section of Zion National Park.
Camping in Zion National Park
- Watchman Campground: A stone’s throw from the South Entrance, Watchman Campground is a sought-after haven for campers, offering tent and RV sites, with some featuring electric hookups. Modern conveniences, such as restrooms, potable water, and a dump station, ensure a comfortable stay. Be sure to reserve your spot early to secure a place in this coveted sanctuary.
- South Campground: Located near its sibling, Watchman, South Campground presents a serene retreat for tent and RV campers. Though sites lack hookups, amenities echo those of Watchman Campground. Plan ahead, as reservations can only be made up to two weeks in advance.
- Lava Point Campground: Perched at a lofty elevation, Lava Point Campground offers a more primitive, intimate experience with just six first-come, first-served sites. While water and RV hookups are absent, rustic pit toilets are available. Lava Point typically welcomes guests from May to September, weather permitting.
For a more luxurious camping experience within close proximity to Zion National Park, consider staying at Zion Wildflower Resort or Zion White Bison Glamping. These unique options allow you to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors while indulging in a touch of comfort and style.
- Zion Wildflower Resort offers a variety of glamping accommodations, including canvas tents, covered wagons, and bunkhouses, all designed to provide a cozy retreat amidst nature in different areas of the park. The resort features a range of amenities, such as comfortable beds, private patios, and communal fire pits, ensuring a memorable stay.
- Zion White Bison Glamping presents a chic and intimate camping experience, featuring elegantly furnished canvas tents with plush bedding and private outdoor seating areas. This luxury glamping site offers guests the opportunity to unwind and connect with nature without sacrificing modern conveniences.
Hotels near Zion National Park
If you prefer the comforts of a hotel, the town of Springdale, located just an hour from Zion National Park and outside the park’s South Entrance, boasts numerous lodging options.
You’ll find a variety of accommodations, including boutique hotels, chain hotels, and bed and breakfasts, catering to different tastes and budgets. Many establishments offer stunning views of the surrounding red rock cliffs and provide easy access to the park via the Springdale Shuttle.
If your heart is set on a hotel experience within the park’s bounds, look no further than Zion Lodge. As the only in-park lodging, this historic gem offers a range of accommodations, including hotel rooms, cabins, and suites.
Ideally situated a mere stone’s throw from some of Zion’s most iconic trails, Zion Lodge presents a comfortable and convenient base for restorative slumber before or after a thrilling day of exploration.
How to Get to Zion National Park?
Embarking on a journey to the captivating trip to Zion National Park may seem like a dream, but reaching this breathtaking destination is easier than you might think. Nestled in the southwestern corner of Utah, the park is well connected to major cities and transportation hubs.
The nearest airports to Zion National Park: For those arriving by air, the closest major airport is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, situated approximately 170 miles west of the park.
Alternatively, you can fly into Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah, which is about 300 miles to the north. Both airports offer car rental services, making it convenient to drive to the park at your own pace.
By car: If you prefer traveling by car, Zion National Park is easily accessible from Interstate 15, which connects to Utah State Route 9 (the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) at the town of Hurricane. Follow this scenic byway as it meanders through charming small towns and past striking red rock formations before arriving at the park’s South Entrance.
For those approaching from the east, Utah State Route 9 connects to US Highway 89, providing access to the park’s East Entrance.
Zion National Park Shuttle Services
During the peak season, to ensure the park remains pristine and to minimize traffic congestion, Zion National Park operates a mandatory shuttle service within the park.
This efficient and eco-friendly system comprises two routes: the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (with nine stops at major trailheads and viewpoints) and the Springdale Shuttle (connecting the park’s visitor center to the nearby town of Springdale).
The shuttles run at regular intervals, providing visitors with a hassle-free and enjoyable way to explore the park. This convenient service is included with your park entrance fee, so hop on and off at your leisure as you uncover Zion’s hidden treasures.
Zion Helicopter Tours
For an unparalleled perspective of Zion’s grandeur, consider embarking on a helicopter tour. These exhilarating rides showcase the park’s vast expanse and remarkable topography, providing you with a bird’s-eye view of the majestic canyon, towering cliffs, and snaking rivers and views in Zion National Park
Professional pilots share their wealth of knowledge about the park’s geology, history, and wildlife during the tour. Choose from various tour options and durations to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience tailored to your desires.
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
A journey along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is an unforgettable experience that showcases the breathtaking beauty and grandeur of Zion National Park.
This 57-mile route winds through the heart of the park, offering awe-inspiring views of the towering red rock cliffs, lush valleys, and iconic landmarks such as the Court of the Patriarchs and the Temple of Sinawava.
With ample pullouts and viewpoints along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture the perfect photo or simply pause and appreciate the scenery in Zion National Park’s majesty.
In the vast, awe-inspiring realm of Zion National Park, a treasure trove of natural wonders lies hidden, eagerly awaiting your discovery.
From the tranquil sanctuaries of the Emerald Pools to the soaring peaks of Observation Point, Zion presents a landscape brimming with enchantment and adventure.
As you traverse this extraordinary land, you’ll forge memories that echo through time, leaving you with a profound sense of awe and admiration for the splendor of our natural world.