Top Trails: Best Hikes in Zion National Park

Top Trails: Best Hikes in Zion National Park

Looking to explore the stunning landscapes of Zion National Park? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll take you on a breathtaking journey through the best hiking trails the park has to offer. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail for everyone to enjoy.

Zion National Park is renowned for its diverse and picturesque hiking trails. From easy family-friendly hikes to challenging summit adventures, you’ll find yourself immersed in the beauty of this natural paradise. Lace up your boots, grab your backpack, and let’s hit the trails!

With so many trails to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. That’s why we’ve curated a comprehensive list of the best hikes in Zion National Park, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the must-see destinations.

Whether you’re seeking awe-inspiring views, serene waterfalls, or the thrill of conquering a challenging trail, Zion National Park has something for everyone. So get ready to experience breathtaking vistas, encounter diverse wildlife, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Ready to embark on your Zion adventure? Let’s dive into the top hiking trails and discover the wonders that await!

Family-Friendly Hikes

Zion National Park offers several family-friendly hikes that are suitable for all ages. These trails provide the perfect opportunity for families to explore the beauty of the park together while enjoying the great outdoors.

“Getting kids out in nature is a great way to create lifelong memories and instill a love for the outdoors.”

—Jennifer Thompson, Outdoor Enthusiast

The Emerald Pools Trail (Lower) is a network of trails that lead to the lush and picturesque Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools. Along the way, families can enjoy the cascading waterfalls and mesmerizing emerald-colored pools. This trail is perfect for families looking for a leisurely hike with beautiful scenery.

The Northgate Peaks Trail offers expansive views of Zion National Park and is a great option for summer hiking. Due to its high elevation, this trail provides cooler temperatures, making it more comfortable for families to explore during the warmer months.

The Pa’rus Trail is an easy out-and-back trail that is wheelchair accessible, open to cyclists, and allows dogs on a leash. This trail follows the Virgin River and offers stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and wildlife. It’s a great option for families looking for a relaxing walk in nature.

The Riverside Walk/Gateway to The Narrows is a short, paved stroll along the Virgin River. This trail leads to the stunning mouth of Zion’s famous slot canyon, known as The Narrows. Families can enjoy the tranquil sounds of the river while taking in the breathtaking views of the towering canyon walls.

Key Highlights:

Trail Difficulty Distance
Emerald Pools Trail (Lower) Easy 1.2 miles
Northgate Peaks Trail Easy 4.4 miles
Pa’rus Trail Easy 3.5 miles
Riverside Walk/Gateway to The Narrows Easy 2.2 miles

Moderate Trails

For those seeking a more moderate hiking experience in Zion National Park, there are several trails that offer a perfect balance of challenge and beauty. These trails provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the park while enjoying a moderate difficulty level. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just getting started, these trails are sure to offer an unforgettable adventure.

Canyon Overlook Trail

If you’re looking for a short yet rewarding hike, the Canyon Overlook Trail is a must-visit. This out-and-back trail leads to a breathtaking overlook of lower Zion Canyon, offering sweeping views of the surrounding cliffs and canyons. The trail is approximately 1 mile long and is moderately rated, making it accessible for hikers of various skill levels.

Chinle Trail

If you prefer a less crowded alternative to the steeper hikes in the park, the Chinle Trail is a great option. This trail offers expansive views of the surrounding landscapes and provides a peaceful and serene hiking experience. With its moderate difficulty level, it offers an opportunity to explore the beauty of Zion National Park at a more relaxed pace.

Emerald Pools Trail (Middle-Upper)

The Emerald Pools Trail, known for its stunning natural pools, offers a network of trails that lead to the captivating Middle and Upper Emerald Pools. Along the way, you’ll be treated to lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and enchanting scenery. This moderately rated trail is a great choice for those looking to experience the natural beauty of Zion National Park.

Kolob Arch Trail

For a longer adventure, consider embarking on the Kolob Arch Trail. This long day hike or short overnight backpacking trip takes you to one of the largest freestanding arches in the world. The trail features diverse landscapes, including canyons, forests, and stunning vistas. With its moderate difficulty level, this hike is sure to provide a memorable experience for avid hikers.

Taylor Creek Trail

Passing through historic homesteads, the Taylor Creek Trail offers a unique glimpse into the history of the Zion National Park area. The trail leads to the impressive Double Arch Alcove, showcasing the park’s geological wonders. With its moderate difficulty level, this trail is an excellent choice for those seeking a combination of history and scenic beauty.

Trail Difficulty Level Distance Highlights
Canyon Overlook Trail Moderate Approximately 1 mile round trip Breathtaking overlook of lower Zion Canyon
Chinle Trail Moderate Varies Expansive views of surrounding landscapes
Emerald Pools Trail (Middle-Upper) Moderate Varies Beautiful natural pools and waterfalls
Kolob Arch Trail Moderate Approximately 13 miles round trip One of the largest freestanding arches in the world
Taylor Creek Trail Moderate Approximately 5 miles round trip Historic homesteads and the impressive Double Arch Alcove

These moderate trails in Zion National Park offer a perfect combination of challenge and scenic beauty. Don’t forget to pack your hiking gear and set out to explore these incredible hikes that showcase the best of what the park has to offer.

Strenuous Trails

For experienced hikers looking for a challenge, Zion National Park offers some incredible strenuous trails. These hikes will push your limits and reward you with breathtaking views and unforgettable adventures. Whether you’re seeking steep ascents or rugged terrains, these challenging trails will test your endurance and provide an opportunity to connect with nature on a deeper level.

Angels Landing

One of the most iconic hikes in Zion National Park, Angels Landing is a thrilling out-and-back trail that requires scrambling and perseverance. As you ascend the 1,488 feet to the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Zion Canyon. This strenuous hike is recommended for well-conditioned hikers with no fear of heights.

The Narrows

Embark on an unforgettable out-and-back hike through the famous Zion Canyon Narrows. As you walk beneath towering thousand-foot walls of Navajo sandstone, you’ll be immersed in the sheer beauty of the narrow canyon. This challenging trail offers a unique experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s creations.

Orderville Canyon

For the adventurous canyoneer, Orderville Canyon presents a technical one-way day hike that delves into the heart of Zion National Park. Along the way, you’ll navigate through narrow slots, scramble over rocks, and be surrounded by the rugged beauty of the canyon walls. This strenuous trail is a true test of skill and stamina.

Embark on these strenuous hikes in Zion National Park and push your limits to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes and the thrill of conquering challenging trails. Remember to come prepared with adequate gear, including sturdy hiking boots, plenty of water, and a sense of adventure.

strenuous hikes in zion national park

Trail Description
Angels Landing An exhilarating out-and-back hike with stunning panoramic views of Zion Canyon. Requires scrambling and is suitable for experienced hikers with no fear of heights.
The Narrows A breathtaking out-and-back hike through the famous Zion Canyon Narrows. Hikers walk beneath towering thousand-foot walls of Navajo sandstone.
Orderville Canyon A technical one-way day hike that takes canyoneers deep into the heart of Zion National Park. Experience the rugged beauty of the canyon walls and navigate through narrow slots.

Hikes Near Zion

If you’re looking to explore the areas surrounding Zion National Park, there are several hikes worth checking out. These trails provide an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and diverse landscapes that can be found near Zion. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few notable hikes near Zion National Park:

Gooseberry Mesa

Distance: Varied

Views: Stunning views of Zion, Eagle Crags, and the Virgin River Valley

Gooseberry Mesa offers a range of trail options, catering to hikers of all skill levels. This area is known for its unique geography and panoramic vistas. The trails wind through towering cliffs, sandy terrain, and rocky outcrops, creating a memorable hiking experience for nature enthusiasts.

Grafton Trail

Distance: 5.5 miles

Views: Open country views

The Grafton Trail takes you to the ghost town of Grafton, offering a glimpse into the area’s rich history. As you hike along this scenic trail, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful landscapes and charming remnants of the past. It’s a great option for those looking for a blend of nature and culture.

Eagle Crags Trail

Distance: 6.6 miles

Views: Stunning views of Zion National Park

The Eagle Crags Trail is a hidden gem near Zion National Park. As you ascend along the trail, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the park’s iconic red rock formations and expansive landscapes. It’s a challenging hike that offers a unique perspective of the surrounding area.

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

Distance: Varies

Views: Unique desert ecosystems and protected species

Located about an hour from Zion, the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is a natural sanctuary teeming with diverse wildlife and stunning desert landscapes. The reserve features a network of trails that allow visitors to explore its vibrant ecosystems, including rare plants and endangered species. It’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

These hikes near Zion National Park offer a chance to expand your outdoor adventure beyond the boundaries of the park itself. Whether you’re seeking panoramic views, cultural exploration, or a close encounter with unique ecosystems, these trails are sure to leave a lasting impression. Take the time to explore these nearby hiking destinations and make the most of your visit to the beautiful Zion National Park.

Things to Know

Before embarking on a hiking adventure in Zion National Park, it is important to familiarize yourself with some essential information to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Zion National Park Hiking Tips

Follow these helpful tips to make the most of your hiking trip:

  • Wear appropriate hiking boots to protect your feet and ankles while navigating the rugged terrain.
  • Avoid open-toed shoes to prevent foot injuries.
  • Stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water, especially during hot weather.
  • Pack enough food and snacks to sustain your energy levels throughout the hike.
  • Research the difficulty level and length of each trail beforehand to choose hikes that match your fitness and skill level.
  • Check weather forecasts and plan accordingly, as conditions can change rapidly in the park.
  • Carry a map, compass, or GPS device to navigate the trails and avoid getting lost.
  • Apply sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

Zion National Park Visitor Information

Here are some useful details for your visit:

  • Check the official Zion National Park website for up-to-date information on park closures, trail conditions, and alerts.
  • Review the park’s regulations regarding dogs on trails to ensure compliance.
  • Make sure to pack out any solid waste and dispose of it properly to preserve the park’s natural beauty.
  • Use restroom facilities before heading out on a trail, as they may be limited or unavailable on certain hikes.

Zion National Park Hiking Safety

Safety should always be a top priority when hiking in Zion National Park. Take note of these safety tips:

  • Stay on designated trails to protect fragile ecosystems and avoid potential hazards.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for wildlife that may be present, including snakes and other animals.
  • Check the current weather conditions and be prepared for sudden changes, such as flash floods.
  • Inform someone of your hiking plans and expected return time.
  • Come prepared with a first aid kit and basic survival necessities.
  • Be respectful of other hikers and practice trail etiquette, such as yielding to uphill hikers and minimizing noise.

Reaching Zion National Park and Getting Around

Zion National Park is easily accessible from the St. George Regional Airport or the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. Whether you’re flying in from a nearby city or driving from further away, getting to Zion is convenient and straightforward.

If you’re flying into the area, both the St. George Regional Airport and the Harry Reid International Airport provide convenient access to Zion National Park. From St. George Regional Airport, it’s just a short 1-hour drive to the park. If you’re flying into Las Vegas, the park is approximately 2.5 hours away by car.

Once you’ve arrived at Zion National Park, it’s important to note that the park operates a seasonal shuttle system from March to November. This shuttle system is designed to reduce traffic congestion and parking issues within the park, making it easier for visitors to explore and enjoy their time in Zion.

During the shuttle season, the shuttle bus departs from the Zion Visitor Center every few minutes, providing convenient transportation to various points of interest within the park. Whether you want to visit the Emerald Pools, hike to Angels Landing, or explore The Narrows, the shuttle system makes it easy to get to these iconic locations without having to worry about finding parking.

Outside of the shuttle season, drivers are allowed to access the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive until all legal parking spaces are taken. However, parking within the park can be challenging during peak times, and visitors may need to leave their cars at Springdale, a nearby town, if parking is not available within the park.

Overall, the transportation options in Zion National Park are designed to make it convenient for visitors to access the park and explore its breathtaking beauty while minimizing the impact of private vehicles on the environment.

Zion Visitor Center Shuttle Schedule

Shuttle Departure Time Destinations
7:00 AM Temple of Sinawava (The Narrows)
9:00 AM Grotto
10:30 AM Temple of Sinawava (The Narrows)
12:00 PM Grotto
1:30 PM Temple of Sinawava (The Narrows)
3:00 PM Grotto
4:30 PM Temple of Sinawava (The Narrows)

Where to Stay and Other Visitor Information

If you’re planning a visit to Zion National Park, there are plenty of accommodation options available near the park. Some popular choices include Cable Mountain Lodge, offering comfortable and convenient lodging with stunning views, and Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn and Suites, known for its excellent amenities and friendly staff. Another option is Zion Park Motel, offering affordable rooms and a convenient location close to the park’s entrance.

When entering Zion National Park, it’s important to note that visitors are required to purchase a recreational use pass. The entrance fees vary depending on the type and number of vehicles and visitors. These fees help support the park’s maintenance and conservation efforts, ensuring its natural beauty is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

In addition to accommodation, there are several restaurants near the park where visitors can grab a bite to eat. Zion Canyon Brew Pub offers a relaxed atmosphere and a variety of delicious pub-style dishes, while Switchback Grille Steakhouse is known for its mouthwatering steaks and scenic views. Thai Sapa offers authentic Thai cuisine, and Oscar’s Cafe is a popular spot for hearty breakfasts and tasty burgers.

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