Visiting Zion National Park

by ilive4travel

Published on Oct 5, 2023

Are you planning on visiting Zion National Park in Utah, then here you will find everything you need to visit Zion, from the hikes that you can do in Zion to the best time of year to visit Zion and where to stay during your visit to this beautiful park.

Zion is the most visited park in Utah with around 4.7m people visiting the park every year and the third most visited park in the US, though it could shortly beat the Grand Canyon and become the second most visited park.

It first became a national park in 1919 and was the first national park in Utah and the fifteenth in the country.

Zion National Park Itineraries

If you love hiking then this is a great park to visit as there are many hikes with spectacular views within the park, the most famous being Angels Landing.

To see everything within the park you really need to spend a few days in the park, with a 2 day itinerary to Zion National Park you will be able to see a lot of the park, though you may want to spend longer in the park.

Hikes In Zion National Park

There are many hikes in Zion National Park from you to choose from, but depending on how much time you have in the park will depend how many you can fit in. The two most popular hikes in Zion are The Narrows and Angels Landing though these are also the most difficult of the hikes.

There are many other beautiful hikes though for people of different abilities from the Riverside Walk to Weeping Rock and The Emerald Pools.

Riverside Walk

People walking amongst the trees with the cliffs of the canyon in the background

The Riverside Walk starts is one of the easiest walks in Zion National Park and flat in quite a few areas, though there are a very areas where the path is quite steep.

The Riverside Walk is 2.2 miles roundtrip and takes you to the start of the Narrows. If you are planning to hike the Narrows then you will do the riverside trail to get there.

It is beautiful as you walk through the trees and then alongside the river and the further you go, the narrower the canyon gets, until you can walk no further and you are at the river and the start of the Narrows.

This hike is open all year round, though if flash flooding is expected it could be closed.

The Narrows

If you want to hike the whole of the Narrows then it is a 16 mile hike and you will need to get a permit in advance to do it. Most visitors to the park opt to hike the Riverside Walk and hike the Narrows from this side.

From here you can hike to Big Springs without a permit which is around 5 miles one way, which not many get as far as that as it can take a long time to do a short distance depending on the height of the water that you are wading through.

Make sure to check with the rangers on the weather conditions and whether a flash flood is expected. At certain times of the year the hike is closed and can even be closed in June/July due to increased risk of flooding.

You can easily rent waterproofs and shoes in Springdale to do this hike.

Weeping Rock Trail

The Weeping Rock Trail is the shortest hike in Zion National Park at just 0.4 miles round trip. The hike is classed as easy and is paved all the way, though due to it being steep and narrow in places it is not recommended to take strollers or for wheelchair users.

Weeping Rock has its own shuttle stop (number 7) and you can find toilets but no drinking water here.

The hike is normally open all year round, though in winter and when it rains it can get slippery and in winter due to ice fall from above, it may get closed.

This can be one of the busiest hikes in the park as it is the shortest, but well worth doing.

Angels Landing

view of a canyon with steep orange cliffs on either side, in the canyon you can see lots of green trees and bushes

The Angels Landing hike and The Narrows are the two most popular hikes in Zion National Park and because of its popularity, Zion introduced the Angels Landing permit in April 2022.

Everyone can hike up to Scouts Lookout, but past this point the final 0.5km chains section you will need to have secured a permit.

This is one of the most difficult hikes in the park as you climb to an elevation of 454 metres and then walk along a narrow ledge to the final point, but the views from the top looking down into the valley make it worth it.

When is the best time to visit Zion National Park

The best time to visit Zion National Park really depends on what experience you are looking for from the park, if you are looking to hike without the crowds then you probably do not want to visit in summer, but then if you are looking to hike the Narrows then maybe winter is not the best time for you to visit.

You make also not have the luxury of choosing whether to visit the park mid week or in low season, so here you can find out what to expect each month of the year.

What to wear to Zion National Park

It can be difficult to decide what to pack for your trip to Zion National Park but it really depends which month you are planning to visit and which hikes you want to do as to what you will need.

If you are visiting Zion National Park in winter then you will need warm clothes, lots of layers and a big jacket, but if you are visiting in summer, then you will probably only need shorts and t-shirts, sun block and a sun hat and lots and lots of water.

Places to stay near Zion National Park

a road through the town of Springdale with buildings and the orange cliffs of Zion Canyon in the distance

There are many options for accommodation when you visit Zion National Park. Within the park itself there is only one hotel Zion Lodge and 3 campsites to choose from, though you may need to book the campsite in advance, especially in summer.

There are many towns near Zion National Park with the closest town being Springdale, which is located just outside of the park and the nearest hotels within walking distance of the park.

There are many places to stay near Zion National Park and options for all budgets, whether you are looking for something cheap or a luxury spa hotel to relax in after a day of hiking.

A lot of the area around Zion caters towards the visitors to Zion National Park and whether you are looking for Bed & Breakfasts near Zion or Unique places to stay near Zion, like glamping, tiny houses, ranches there is something for everyone.

If you want to know where to stay near Zion National Park, then make sure to read all my guides, which list all of the best options for accommodation near Zion National Park for all budgets.

Zion National Park Souvenirs

If you are taking some souvenirs home from Zion then make sure to visit the visitors center where you will find a shop and Zion specific souvenirs to buy. If you leave the park after the visitors center has closed then you can also visit one of the many shops in Springdale that also sell Zion Souvenirs ranging from tshirts, jumpers and hats to fridge magnets and paintings.

If you have someone in your life who loves Zion and you would like to buy them a present to remember Zion by, then you can check out these Zion National Park Souvenirs.

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——-  About me ——-

girl sat on some wooden stairs wearing a black jumper

Clare from Ilive4travel

Hi my name is Clare and welcome to ilive4travel.  I am originally from the UK but spend most of my time in Peru, the country that caught my heart.

I have visited 73 countries and love to share with you everything I have learnt about these countries in my guides.

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