Best Things to do in Zion National Park

Experience Zion’s wonders! Hike The Narrows, a thrilling slot canyon journey. Conquer Angels Landing’s heights with a timed-entry permit. Relax at Riverside Walk’s picturesque path.

Explore Canyon Overlook Trail for breathtaking views. Discover Kolob Canyons’ tranquility. Capture the beauty of Canyon Junction Bridge, a photography gem day or night in Zion National Park.

The Narrows (Zion National Park)

The Narrows
The Narrows

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Zion Canyon’s towering orange-red walls, reaching heights of 1,000 feet, as you embark on one of the park’s most beloved adventures: The Narrows. This iconic hike begins gently with the wheelchair-accessible one-mile Riverside Walk, but soon transforms into an exhilarating journey through the Virgin River, where hikers wade or even swim upstream through the slot canyon.

For the best experience, many adventurers opt to tackle The Narrows during the summer or late fall when water levels are lower and temperatures are warmer. However, it’s crucial to check in with park rangers for updates on water flow rates and potential weather hazards, as flash floods can swiftly fill The Narrows with danger.

Springtime brings its own challenges, with increased snowmelt runoff and cooler water temperatures, making the hike less inviting. To stay safe and prepared, consider sealing valuables in waterproof bags, bringing along a hiking stick and sturdy waterproof shoes, and arriving early to beat the crowds.

Accessing The Narrows is made easy with the free Zion Canyon Shuttle, which takes hikers to the Temple of Sinawava. From there, adventurers can embark on various routes, including the popular 10-mile round-trip trek to Big Stream. Remember, access to The Narrows is included in the park entrance fee, but shuttle services may have limited hours.

Prepare to be captivated by the sheer beauty and exhilarating challenge of The Narrows—a journey that promises unforgettable memories amidst nature’s grandeur.


Experience The Narrows:

  • Marvel at Zion Canyon’s towering orange-red walls and the Virgin River.
  • Begin with the gentle Riverside Walk before plunging into the adventure.
  • Wade or swim upstream through the slot canyon for an unforgettable experience.

Best Times to Hike:

  • Opt for summer or late fall for lower water levels and warmer temperatures.
  • Check in with park rangers for updates on water flow rates and potential hazards.
  • Be aware of springtime challenges, including increased snowmelt runoff and cooler water temperatures.

Safety Tips:

  • Seal valuables in waterproof bags to protect them from water exposure.
  • Bring along a hiking stick and sturdy waterproof shoes for traction.
  • Arrive early to avoid crowds and ensure a smoother hiking experience.

Accessing The Narrows:

  • Utilize the free Zion Canyon Shuttle to reach the Temple of Sinawava.
  • Various routes are available, including the popular 10-mile round-trip trek to Big Stream.
  • Remember that access to The Narrows is included in the park entrance fee, but shuttle services may have limited hours.

Angels Landing

Angels Landing
Angels Landing

Back in 1916, Methodist minister Frederick Vining Fisher is rumored to have coined the name “Angels Landing” while marveling at this striking rock formation in Zion Canyon. Legend has it, he quipped that only an angel could land atop its lofty perch. Today, Angels Landing stands as one of Zion’s most sought-after hikes, revered for its breathtaking vistas and the thrilling trek required to reach its summit.

Embark on a heart-pounding adventure as you ascend 1,488 feet during the 5.4-mile round-trip hike, navigating sheer cliffs and steep switchbacks, with a chain guide rope aiding the final push to the top.

Starting from 2022, all visitors wishing to hike Angels Landing must secure a timed-entry special permit through Recreation.gov’s lottery system, priced at $6 per person for applications and $3 per person for successful permits. For those unable to obtain a permit or facing a fear of heights, Scout Lookout serves as a worthy alternative at the base of Angels Landing. Accessible via the challenging West Rim Trail, this 3.6-mile out-and-back journey boasts a steep elevation gain of over 1,000 feet and a series of demanding switchbacks.

For group outings, Scout Lookout—complete with restroom facilities—serves as a convenient meeting point, particularly for members without permits. Whether you’re scaling Angels Landing’s heights or exploring Scout Lookout’s rugged trails, prepare for an unforgettable experience amidst Zion’s awe-inspiring landscapes.


Angels Landing History:

  • Named by Methodist minister Frederick Vining Fisher in 1916.
  • Fisher joked that only an angel could land atop its lofty perch.
  • Now a famed hike renowned for stunning views and challenging terrain.

Hiking Angels Landing:

  • Ascend 1,488 feet during the 5.4-mile round-trip hike.
  • Encounter sheer cliffs and steep switchbacks, with a chain guide rope for assistance.
  • Thrilling journey culminates in breathtaking summit vistas.

Permit Information:

  • From 2022, visitors must secure timed-entry permits via Recreation.gov’s lottery system.
  • Application fee of $6 per person; $3 per person for successful permits.
  • Scout Lookout offers an alternative base for those without permits.

Scout Lookout Trail:

  • Accessible without a permit via the challenging West Rim Trail.
  • 3.6-mile out-and-back hike with steep elevation gain and switchbacks.
  • Convenient meeting point for groups, equipped with restroom facilities.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

Discover Zion’s Hidden Gem: Unwind at Zion Lodge’s picturesque grassy area – perfect for picnics and relaxation after a thrilling hike! Sip on refreshing beverages and enjoy light snacks, available seasonally on the patio. Catherine Parker recommends it as a must-try insider tip!

Explore Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, the gateway to iconic landmarks like Angel’s Landing and the Court of the Patriarchs. Accessible via the park’s free shuttle bus from March to November, the shuttle enhances your canyon experience by reducing traffic. In winter, enjoy the drive in your own vehicle on weekdays in December and daily in January and February. Embrace the beauty of Zion National Park with ease and comfort!


Zion Lodge Amenities:

  • Large grassy area in front for picnics and post-hike relaxation.
  • Seasonal availability of beer, coffee drinks, and light snacks for purchase on the patio.
  • Endorsed by Catherine Parker as a popular spot.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive Highlights:

  • One of four main roads in Zion National Park.
  • Provides access to iconic park landmarks, including Zion Lodge, Angel’s Landing, Court of the Patriarchs, and Weeping Rock.
  • Accessible for much of the year via the park’s free shuttle bus (March to November).
  • Shuttle bus implemented since 2000 to reduce traffic issues and enhance the canyon experience.
  • In winter, visitors can drive their own vehicles along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (usually weekdays in December, daily in January and February).

Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk
Riverside Walk

If tackling The Narrows seems a bit much for you, fear not! The Riverside Walk offers a more leisurely experience to soak in the beauty of the Virgin River. Accessible from the last stop on the Zion Canyon shuttle (Temple of Sinawava), this 2-mile round-trip trail is often hailed as the park’s most picturesque.

Imagine strolling along a paved path, surrounded by towering canyon walls and leafy trees that provide a rare oasis of shade. The beauty is complemented by interpretive signs guiding you to key features. Perfect for families and those with mobility concerns, the path is flat and wheelchair-friendly, making it a popular choice. However, be prepared for crowds as it serves as the gateway to The Narrows.

Recent hikers raved about the suitability for kids and families, praising the striking scenery with close-up views of the canyon waters. While it may get busy, the Riverside Walk promises an accessible and visually rewarding experience for all.

Canyon Overlook Trail

Canyon Overlook Trail
Canyon Overlook Trail

Explore Zion National Park’s beauty on the Canyon Overlook Trail, a moderate mile-long hike boasting breathtaking views of Zion Canyon, the Towers of the Virgin, and a stunning slot canyon below. While the trail is relatively short, its popularity makes it one of the busiest in the park.

To make the most of your experience, consider starting your hike early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the crowds. Keep an eye out for Zion’s big horn sheep, known to frequent the area as you ascend 160 feet along the trail.

Although the trail is manageable, it presents some challenges, including steps, narrow rocky sections, and unfenced drop-offs. Hikers suggest exercising caution, especially in these areas. Enjoy the journey, and soak in the incredible vistas that make this trail a must-visit in Zion National Park.

Kolob Canyons

Kolob Canyons
Kolob Canyons

Escape the crowds of Zion Canyon and discover the tranquility of Kolob Canyons in the northwest. Just 40 miles north of Zion Canyon, Kolob Canyons boasts stunning box canyons with 2,000-foot cliff walls, forming a breathtaking landscape. The 5-mile Kolob Canyons Road drive showcases why this section is named Kolob, meaning “residence closest to heaven” in Mormon scripture.

Immerse yourself in lush desert canyons, witness waterfalls, and marvel at towering peaks crafted from Navajo sandstone. Hikers can explore three out-and-back trails ranging from 1 to 14 miles.

Recent visitors praised the easy accessibility from Interstate 15, providing a refreshing break from the crowds. Many found Kolob Canyons even more enchanting than Zion Canyon. Don’t miss the mile-long Timber Creek Overlook Trail for its awe-inspiring views, a highlight recommended by enthusiastic visitors.

Canyon Junction Bridge

Canyon Junction Bridge
Canyon Junction Bridge

Welcome to the stunning intersection of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and Zion Canyon Scenic Road! Here, the Canyon Junction Bridge gracefully spans the Virgin River, offering a picture-perfect view. It’s a must-see spot in Zion National Park, capturing the essence of the canyon with trees lining the river.

For photography enthusiasts, this location is a gem. In the afternoon, witness the Watchman rock formation illuminated by the sun, creating a magical glow. However, a heads-up: snapping pictures on the Canyon Junction Bridge itself isn’t allowed, and park rangers may intervene.

To capture the beauty without a hitch, follow the advice of fellow travelers. Park your vehicle at the Zion Human History Museum and embark on the Pa’rus Trail. This scenic route leads you to the Pine Creek Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that provides a safe and picturesque vantage point for your photography adventure.

Nighttime photographers, take note! This area is also renowned for capturing stunning shots of the Milky Way, especially considering that Zion is designated as an International Dark Sky Park. So, whether you’re a daytime explorer or a nighttime stargazer, this spot promises a memorable experience in the heart of Zion National Park. Enjoy your visit!

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