Zion National Park

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Zion National Park - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Angels Landing Trail

    As much a trial as a trail, this serpentine path beneath The Great White Throne, which you access from the Lower West Rim Trail, is...

    As much a trial as a trail, this serpentine path beneath The Great White Throne, which you access from the Lower West Rim Trail, is one of the park's most challenging and genuinely thrilling hikes. It had also been on the verge of becoming a victim of its own popularity, suffering badly from overcrowding, until the park service instituted a permit system in 2022, which has greatly reduced the number of hikers at any given time and vastly improved the experience. You now must apply online at  www.recreation.gov (both seasonal and day-before lotteries are held, and the cost is $6) for the chance to hike the famed final section beyond Scout Lookout. Once you've ascended from the Lower West Rim Trail, you'll encounter Walter's Wiggles, an arduous (but not at all scary) series of 21 switchbacks built out of sandstone blocks that leads up to Scout Lookout. From here, assuming you've secured a permit, you'll continue along a narrow, steadily rising ridge with sheer cliffs that drop some 1,400 feet on either side. Chains bolted into the rock face serve as handrails in the steepest places. In spite of its hair-raising nature, and taking into consideration that 14 people have fallen to their deaths on this hike since 2000, the climb doesn't require technical skills and is quite safe as long as you step deliberately and use the handrail chains. Still, children and those uneasy about heights should not attempt this hike. Allow 2½ hours round-trip to hike to Scout Lookout (2 miles), which is itself an impressive viewpoint, and four to five hours if you continue to where the angels (and birds of prey) play. The total hike is about 4.5 miles round-trip from the Grotto shuttle stop. Difficult.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 2. Canyon Overlook Trail

    The parking area just east of Zion–Mount Carmel Tunnel leads to this highly popular trail, which is about 1 mile round-trip and takes about an...

    The parking area just east of Zion–Mount Carmel Tunnel leads to this highly popular trail, which is about 1 mile round-trip and takes about an hour to finish. From the breathtaking overlook at the trail's end, you can see The West and East Temples, The Towers of the Virgin, The Streaked Wall, and other Zion Canyon cliffs and peaks. The elevation change is 160 feet. There's no shuttle to this trail, and the parking area often fills up—try to come very early or late in the day to avoid crowds. Easy–Moderate.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 3. Expert Talks

    Informal lectures take place on the Zion Human History Museum patio. Past topics have included wildlife, geology, and the stories of early settlers. Talks usually...

    Informal lectures take place on the Zion Human History Museum patio. Past topics have included wildlife, geology, and the stories of early settlers. Talks usually last from 20 to 30 minutes, though some run longer. Check park bulletin boards or the visitor center for schedules.

    Zion National Park, Utah, USA
  • 4. Kolob Canyons Road

    Receiving relatively little traffic, Kolob Canyons Road climbs 5 miles into red rock canyons that extend east-to-west along three forks of Taylor Creek and La...

    Receiving relatively little traffic, Kolob Canyons Road climbs 5 miles into red rock canyons that extend east-to-west along three forks of Taylor Creek and La Verkin Creek. The beauty starts modestly at the junction with Interstate 15, but as the road twists and turns higher, the red walls of the Kolob finger canyons rise suddenly and spectacularly. From Kolob Canyons Viewpoint at the end of the drive, take in views of Nagunt Mesa, Shuntavi Butte, and Gregory Butte, each rising to nearly 8,000 feet in elevation. The entire round-trip drive can be completed in about an hour, without hikes. Kolob Canyons Road does sometimes close as a result of heavy snowfall.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 5. Kolob Canyons Viewpoint

    The big payoff for entering the northwestern Kolob Canyons section of the park off Interstate 15, this spectacular viewpoint lies at the end of 5-mile...

    The big payoff for entering the northwestern Kolob Canyons section of the park off Interstate 15, this spectacular viewpoint lies at the end of 5-mile Kolob Canyons Road. You'll be treated to a beautiful view of Kolob’s “finger” canyons from the several picnic tables spread out beneath the trees. The parking lot has plenty of spaces, a pit toilet, and an overlook with a display pointing out the area's most prominent geological features. Restrooms and drinking water are available at the start of the drive, at Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.

    Utah, 84779, USA
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  • 6. Ranger-Led Hikes

    In summer, daily guided hikes along the 1.7-mile Pa'rus Trail provide an overview of the park's geology and natural and other history. Groups meet at...

    In summer, daily guided hikes along the 1.7-mile Pa'rus Trail provide an overview of the park's geology and natural and other history. Groups meet at 2 pm at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Wear sturdy footgear and bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and water. Wheelchairs are welcome on this paved trail but may need assistance.

    Zion National Park, Utah, 84767, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 7. Ride with a Ranger Shuttle Tours

    Once a day, from Memorial Day through September, rangers conduct shuttle tours of points of interest along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. In addition to learning...

    Once a day, from Memorial Day through September, rangers conduct shuttle tours of points of interest along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. In addition to learning about the canyon's geology, ecology, and history, you'll be treated to some great photo-ops. The two-hour tour takes place in the morning and departs from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Make reservations in person at the visitor center up to three days in advance for up to eight people in your group.

    Zion National Park, Utah, 84767, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Oct.–late May, May–Sept., daily at 9 and 6:30
  • 8. Taylor Creek Trail

    This trail in the Kolob Canyons area descends parallel to Taylor Creek, sometimes crossing it, sometimes shortcutting benches beside it. The historic Larson Cabin precedes...

    This trail in the Kolob Canyons area descends parallel to Taylor Creek, sometimes crossing it, sometimes shortcutting benches beside it. The historic Larson Cabin precedes the entrance to the canyon of the Middle Fork, where the trail becomes rougher. After the old Fife Cabin, the canyon bends to the right into Double Arch Alcove, a large, colorful grotto with a high blind arch (or arch "embryo") towering above. To Double Arch it's 5 miles round-trip, and takes about four hours. The elevation change is 450 feet. Moderate.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 9. The Narrows

    This sinuous, 16-mile crack in the earth where the Virgin River flows over gravel and boulders is one of the world's most stunning gorges. If...

    This sinuous, 16-mile crack in the earth where the Virgin River flows over gravel and boulders is one of the world's most stunning gorges. If you hike through it, you'll find yourself surrounded—sometimes nearly boxed in—by smooth walls stretching high into the heavens. Plan to get wet, and be aware that deadly flash floods can occur here, especially in spring and summer. Always check on the weather before you enter.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 10. The Narrows Trail

    After leaving the paved ease of Riverside Walk (aka the Gateway to The Narrows Trail) behind, this famous and challenging trek entails walking on the...

    After leaving the paved ease of Riverside Walk (aka the Gateway to The Narrows Trail) behind, this famous and challenging trek entails walking on the riverbed itself. You'll find a pebbly shingle or dry sandbar path, but when the walls of the canyon close in, you'll be forced into the chilly waters of the Virgin River. A walking stick and proper water shoes are a must. Be prepared to swim, as chest-deep holes may occur even when water levels are low. More than half of the entire hike takes place at least partially wading or even possibly swimming in the water, but the views of the sheer canyon walls are something else. Always check the weather forecast and with park rangers about the likelihood of flash floods—a hiker was swept to her death following a sudden thunderstorm in summer 2022. A day trip up the lower section of The Narrows is about 4.7 miles one-way to the turnaround point at Big Spring. Allow at least five to seven hours round-trip. Difficult.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 11. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

    Vividly colored cliffs tower 2,000 feet above the road that meanders north from Highway 9 at Canyon Junction along the floor of Zion Canyon. As...

    Vividly colored cliffs tower 2,000 feet above the road that meanders north from Highway 9 at Canyon Junction along the floor of Zion Canyon. As you roll through the narrow, steep canyon, you'll pass The Court of the Patriarchs, The Sentinel, and The Great White Throne, among other imposing rock formations. From roughly February through November, unless you're staying at the lodge, you can access Zion Canyon Scenic Drive only by riding the park shuttle. The rest of the year, you can drive it yourself.

    Off Hwy. 9 at Canyon Junction, Utah, 84767, USA
  • 12. Zion Lodge

    Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, responsible for many noteworthy national park lodges, designed the original Zion Lodge, which opened in the 1920s but was destroyed by...

    Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, responsible for many noteworthy national park lodges, designed the original Zion Lodge, which opened in the 1920s but was destroyed by fire four decades later. In 1990, it was restored to its original rustic style, in some cases down to the very paint color. Natural beauty is on display inside and out, from the lobby's rock columns and exposed wood to the cottonwoods shading the sprawling lawn. The main building includes a gift shop, an upscale restaurant, and an outdoor café with a large patio and beer garden. The lodge has received numerous awards for its eco-friendly practices. Amenities include bike rentals, open-air narrated tram rides, and an electric-vehicle charging station.

    Zion National Park, Utah, 84767, USA
    435-772–7700
  • 13. Zion Natl Park Forever Project

    Formerly known as the Zion Natural History Association, this organization conducts in-park workshops on natural and cultural history. Topics can include edible plants, bat biology,...

    Formerly known as the Zion Natural History Association, this organization conducts in-park workshops on natural and cultural history. Topics can include edible plants, bat biology, river geology, photography, and bird-watching. Most workshops include a hike. For a glimpse of Zion's inner workings, volunteer to assist with one of their ongoing service projects.

    Zion National Park, Utah, USA
    435-772–3264

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From $45
  • 14. Checkerboard Mesa

    It's well worth stopping at the pull-out 1 mile west of Zion's east entrance to observe the distinctive waffle patterns on this huge white mound...

    It's well worth stopping at the pull-out 1 mile west of Zion's east entrance to observe the distinctive waffle patterns on this huge white mound of sandstone. The stunning crosshatch effect visible today is the result of eons of freeze-and-thaw cycles that caused vertical fractures, combined with erosion that produced horizontal bedding planes.

    Hwy. 9, Utah, 84767, USA
  • 15. Emerald Pools Trail

    Multiple waterfalls cascade (or drip, in dry weather) into algae-filled pools along this trail that begins along the Virgin River on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive....

    Multiple waterfalls cascade (or drip, in dry weather) into algae-filled pools along this trail that begins along the Virgin River on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The path leading to the lower pool is paved but is too steep and narrow to be appropriate for wheelchairs, at least not without assistance. If you've got any energy left, keep going past the lower pool. The ½ mile from there to the middle and then upper pools becomes rocky and somewhat steep but offers increasingly scenic views. A less crowded and exceptionally enjoyable return route follows the Kayenta Trail, connecting to the Grotto Trail. Allow 50 minutes for the 1¼-mile round-trip hike to the lower pool, and an hour more each round-trip to the middle (2 miles) and upper pools (3 miles). Lower, easy. Upper and Middle, moderate.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 16. Evening Programs

    Held each evening May through September in Watchman Campground and at Zion Lodge, these 45-minute ranger-led talks cover geology, biology, and history. You might learn...

    Held each evening May through September in Watchman Campground and at Zion Lodge, these 45-minute ranger-led talks cover geology, biology, and history. You might learn about coyote calls, the night sky, animal hideouts, or observing nature with all your senses. Slide shows and audience participation are often part of the proceedings. Check the visitor center for schedules.

    Zion National Park, Utah, USA
  • 17. Grotto Trail

    This level, 1-mile round-trip trail takes you from Zion Lodge to the lovely, tree-shaded Grotto picnic area, traveling much of the way parallel to the...

    This level, 1-mile round-trip trail takes you from Zion Lodge to the lovely, tree-shaded Grotto picnic area, traveling much of the way parallel to the park road. Allow 20 minutes or less for this easy stroll through meadows and beneath a light tree canopy. From here, you can cross the footbridge over the Virgin River to connect with the Kayenta Trail, which leads south to the Emerald Pools trails or north to the West Rim Trail and eventually up to Angels Landing (for which a permit is required). Easy.

    Utah, 84767, USA
  • 18. Junior Ranger Program

    Educational activities aimed at younger visitors include the chance to earn a Junior Ranger badge. Kids do so by attending at least one nature program...

    Educational activities aimed at younger visitors include the chance to earn a Junior Ranger badge. Kids do so by attending at least one nature program and completing the free Junior Ranger Handbook, available at visitor centers.

    Zion National Park, Utah, 84767, USA
  • 19. Kolob Canyons Visitor Center

    Stop here at this small visitor center just off Interstate 15 to pay your entrance fee and pick up books, maps, and information on exploring...

    Stop here at this small visitor center just off Interstate 15 to pay your entrance fee and pick up books, maps, and information on exploring the Kolob Canyons section of the park.

    3752 E. Kolob Canyons Rd., Utah, 84767, USA
    435-772–3256
  • 20. Kolob Terrace Road

    Starting around 4,000 feet above the floor of Zion Canyon, and without the benefit of the canyon’s breezes and shade, the landscape at the beginning...

    Starting around 4,000 feet above the floor of Zion Canyon, and without the benefit of the canyon’s breezes and shade, the landscape at the beginning of this less-traveled park road is arid—browns and grays and ambers—but not without rugged beauty. The 21-mile stretch begins 19 miles west of Springdale via the village of Virgin and winds north. As you travel along, peaks and knolls emerge from the high plateau, birds circle overhead, and you might not see more than a half-dozen cars. The drive meanders out of the park boundary and then back in again, accessing a few prominent backcountry trailheads, all the while overlooking the cliffs of North Creek. It eventually climbs into the cooler alpine wilderness, to elevations of nearly 8,000 feet. A popular day-use trail (a $15 wilderness permit is required) leads past fossilized dinosaur tracks to The Subway, a stretch of the stream where the walls of the slot canyon close in so tightly as to form a near tunnel. Farther along the road is the Wildcat Canyon trailhead, which connects to the path overlooking North Guardian Angel. The road then leaves the park and terminates at Kolob Reservoir, beneath 8,933-foot Kolob Peak. Although paved, this narrow, twisting road is not recommended for RVs. Because of limited winter plowing, the road is closed from November or December through April or May. Although there's no fee station on this road, you are required to have paid the park entrance fee, which you can do in Springdale or at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.

    Utah, 84767, USA

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