If you plan to visit this most popular outdoor playground out of all the Utah national parks, then lucky you! Since 1964 this spectacular area has been a protected wilderness for adventurers and outdoor lovers.
Accommodations range from rustic tent or RV sites to cabins and rooms at the historic Zion Lodge.
There are over a hundred hiking trails in Zion. Levels range from easy for beginners to difficult for only experienced hikers. The shortest trek is Weeping Rock Trail at just under half a mile. Experienced hikers come to the park to answer the challenge of conquering the Angels Landing hike.
With the increased popularity of visiting Zion National Park, advanced preparation is necessary. Several hiking trails will require a permit. Some are limited by a lottery system with timed reservations. Check out the National Park Service (NPS) website well in advance to determine which permits you will need.
If your hike requires a permit, print or download the confirmation email before the hike and bring it with you. You may need to show this plus your identification to a park ranger on the trail. Rangers can ask for permits at any point along the trail.
Take a look at the best Zion National Park fun attractions you shouldn’t miss.
1) Narrows Hike
You’ve probably seen the pictures and the videos of this spectacular hike. It’s one of the most popular Zion National Park attractions.
The first mile of the hike, beginning at the Temple of Sinawava, is paved. Once the paved trail ends, the hike continues by walking in the Virgin River. Most people will turn around and return to the Temple of Sinawava. Indeed, the paved section of the Narrows route is an excellent hike.
Or you can continue your explorations by hiking through the Virgin River. This is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. At times the river is only 20 – 30 feet wide, surrounded by rock cliffs up to 1000 feet high.
Permits are required to make the 16-mile through-hike of the Narrows, between Chamberlain’s Ranch and the Temple of Sinawava. However, hiking upstream as far as Big Spring does not require a permit.
Be sure to check the NPS website for possible updates prior to your trip.
2) Timber Creek Overlook Trail
The Timber Creek Overlook Trail is one of the best outdoor adventures for families with smaller children or anyone looking for a short and relatively easy hike.
This hike is 1-mile roundtrip from the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint. The trail is well marked, with stunning views once you reach the Timber Creek Overlook.
Plan to spend 30-60 minutes hiking.
3) Angels Landing
This trek is not for the faint of heart, but photo evidence proving you’ve done it is good for years of bragging rights with your friends. It’s by far one of the most popular spots in Zion National Park.
The roundtrip hike is 5.5 miles with a gain of 1,488 feet in elevation. Along the trail, you will be met with a series of strenuous challenges:
- Walter’s Wiggles – 21 switchbacks with a rapid rise in elevation
- Hogsback – Steep and narrow, with chains bolted into the rock to prevent slipping off the edge.
- Angels Landing summit – Take photos, and wonder how you accomplished this great feat.
The hike is only for experienced hikers in excellent physical condition.
You’ll need reservations with a timed permit, and rangers may ask for them at any point along the trail, so be sure to have yours with you.
There are two seasonal permit lottery options:
- Apply well in advance according to a schedule that’s listed on the NPS site. You’ll choose seven ranked days and times when you plan to be in the park and wait to hear if your request is successful.
- A second opportunity is available to apply for a lottery the day before your hike between 12:01 am and 3:00 pm MT. This option is for people who weren’t successful with their first lottery attempt and anyone else who does not already have the permit.
4) Watch the Sunset From Lava Point
Lava Point is the best place to be for sunset lovers. It’s the highest point in the park, located in the Kolob Terrace section.
Arrive during the “golden hour” to photograph the setting sun over the amazing red rock canyons. You can get there via a 34-mile drive from Springdale on Kolob Terrace road.
5) Weeping Rock Trail
This is the shortest trail in the park. It’s an easy hike at just under half a mile. This is a family-friendly favorite, with hanging gardens that are constantly moist from the water flow coming from the canyons.
You’ll find the trailhead at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop.
6) Mountain Biking
Mountain biking with Zion is available only on an established route. The only trail that allows bikers is the Pa’rus trail. It’s 3.4-miles, out and back.
Otherwise, bikers within Zion are limited to park roads.
7) Horseback Riding Tours
Zion Park is a popular spot for horseback riding tours. Most rides are 1 – 3 hours, led by an experienced trail guide. Horses must stay on the trail.
If you plan to visit the park with your own horse, check the NPS website for a list of trails that allow horseback riders.
Bonus Attraction – An Action-Packed ATV Tour Near Zion National Park!
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