PeaceJoyAustin

Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Zion National Park

13015338_10153533899936546_3054556462326147479_n

  • Centered around a red cliff canyon
  • Home to natural arches, spring-fed pools, and rivers
  • Famous for the iconic Angels Landing and Narrows hikes

When To Visit: Year-round

Climate: Hot in summer, cool in spring and fall, cold with some snow in winter

Location: Southern Utah 1 hour from Bryce Canyon National Park

Zion is one of the most popular national parks that isn’t located near a major city, and once you see its stunning sandstone cliffs, you’ll see why so many people make the journey to this iconic park each year. Zion Canyon, bordered by multi-colored rock walls and centered around a tranquil river, is a wonderful place to take a hike or relax and savor natural beauty.

Photo: Angels Landing

What To See & Do in Zion

13417003_10153651588991546_7756144340031493190_o
Crawford Arch

While the majority of Zion’s land is outside of Zion Canyon, almost all of the park’s activities center around this beautiful canyon. To see Zion Canyon, you’ll need to park near the park entrance and take a shuttle; you can drive to the less visited Kolob Canyons and Wildcat Canyon sections of the park.

Zion Hikes

13412110_10153651588581546_6155465701373122706_o
The top of Angels Landing
  1. Angels Landing

    • 5.4 miles round trip, out & back, 3-4 hours, strenuous, 1,400 foot elevation gain
    • Ends at the best view of Zion Canyon
    • The last part of the hike requires holding onto chains next to sharp drops – it’s not as scary as it sounds and a unique hiking experience
  2. The Narrows
    • 5 miles round trip, out & back, 3-4 hours, moderately strenuous, 345 foot elevation gain
    • Walk through an incredible narrow river gorge
    • The majority of the hike requires you to walk through a river
    • Begin at Temple of Sinawava and turn around at Orderville Canyon for the 5 mile hike; you can make the hike shorter or longer
    • You can also do an easy 2-mile round trip hike to see the edge of The Narrows without getting your feet wet
  3. The Grotto / Lower Emerald Pool /  Kayenta Trail
    • 2.5 mile loop, 1.5-2 hours, easy to moderately strenuous, 255 foot elevation gain
    • A combination of three short hikes – can be done in either direction
    • Tranquil natural pools and small waterfalls
  4. Sand Bench Trail
    • 7.6 miles round trip, out & back, 4-5 hours, easy to moderately strenuous, 465 foot elevation gain
    • See the results of a gigantic landslide in the highlands above the canyon
    • Much less crowded than other trails but you will have to share it with horses
  5. Weeping Rock and Hidden Canyon Trails
    • 2.8 miles round trip, out & back, 2-3 hours, strenuous, 950 foot elevation gain
    • A peaceful rocky area with dripping water
    • Natural arches and a narrow canyon
  6. Kolob Arch Trail
    • 14 miles round trip, out & back, 7-8 hours, strenuous, 1,035 foot elevation gain
    • A great hike if you’re looking for a challenge
    • Ends at the world’s 6th largest freestanding arch
    • Begins on Kolob Canyons Road outside of Zion Canyon
  7. Watchman Trail
    • 3.3 miles round trip, out & back, 1.5-2 hours, moderately strenuous, 370 foot elevation gain
    • Great viewpoint of lower Zion Canyon, Towers of the Virgin, and surrounding areas
13411793_10153651588176546_7930476657241781150_o
Zion Valley

Where To Stay & Eat in Zion

The historic Zion Lodge in the center of the park has both food and lodging, and there are many additional eateries and hotels in the town of Springdale just outside the park boundaries.

There are two campgrounds in the center of the park – South (first-come, first-serve) and Watchman (reservable). A third first-come, first-serve campground (Lava Point) is an hour’s drive from Zion Canyon.

Nearby Side Trips from Zion

13403791_10153651590406546_3761322475969044231_o
Landscape Arch in Arches National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park: The largest number of hoodoo rock formations in the world are found in this park only an hour away and they create a stunning canyon view you’ll never forget. Read more.

Arches National Park: This stunning and wildly underrated park 4 hours away has the highest concentration of arches in the world – over 2,000! Read more.

Four Corners Monument: 5 hours southeast, this is the only place in the country where you can stand in four states at once. Read more.

 

%d bloggers like this: