8 Best Tips For Hikes In Zion National Park Utah
Zion National Park in Southern Utah is Utah’s first national park. It started out as Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909, but was granted national park status by the U.S. Congress in 1919. The highlight of Zion National Park Service is an expansive canyon, averaging 2,000 feet deep. It is a convenient stop for those visiting Salt Lake City, Las Vegas or Grand Canyon National Park.
It is definitely one of my favorites because you can see everything in a short area. We are not considered hard hearted hikers, our fitness is average, but we are starting to get our feet wet with more adventurous hikes. We love Zion because it offers great opportunities to hike and backpack longer if you are looking for more adventurous excursions into the park on easy, moderate and hard trails. The city offers iconic hikes, such as the Zion Narrows and the famous Angels Landing.
You can stop by the Zion Canyon visitor center which has a gift shop & interpretive displays, a departure point for shuttles to mountain trails.
We have a list of my favorite easiest hikes and most challenging hikes too.
Zion National Park Pass
All park visitors are required to purchase a recreational use pass upon entering Zion National Park. The fee for a 7-day pass into Zion National Park is $30 per vehicle. If you’re on foot, bike or motorcycle, the fee is $15 per person. We have an Interagency Annual Pass: $80, good for a year to all National Parks and monuments.
1. Parking at Zion & Shuttle
If you can get to the parking lot at the visitor’s center by 7 or 8 am at the latest you might be okay, but any later you’ll risk not having a spot. If that happens, you’ll need to drive back into town and find somewhere to park, take a shuttle to the visitor’s center, and then get on the park shuttle.
The Zion Canyon Line, or park shuttle, runs from the Zion Canyon visitor center up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to destinations including the Zion Lodge and trailheads for hikes to Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, West Rim Trail, and the Narrows.
Zion National Park Map Canyon Shuttle
2. Can you hike in Zion without shuttle?
Yes, you can walk in, bike in or e-bike like we did through the entrance of Zion National Parks. E-bikes are allowed on the main road, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and you can park by the hike trails in the bike rails (we locked ours just in case). Cycling is permitted on all public park roads and on
the Pa’rus Trail. Cyclists must ride single file and stop to let shuttle buses pass. Do not pass a moving shuttle bus. Each shuttle bus has a rack for bicycles. All other park trails, off-trail routes, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel are closed to cycles. Only class 1 pedalassist E-bikes are allowed and must follow all of the same rules as bicycles.
Map Of Zion National Park Hikes
3. What is the best Zion hikes?
Angel’s Landing is the most popular hike in Zion National Park. With a demanding 5.4-mile (8.7 km) round-trip hike with 1500 ft elevation and incredible views, it’s no wonder this is such a sought-after trail. In the summer, temperatures reach 100 degrees or more on the canyon floor and top out in the nineties at higher elevations. Fast moving thunderstorms can cause flash floods during this period (be sure to check the weather).
If you’re up for the challenge, make sure to add to hike Angel’s Landing to your list!
We hiked it last year in 2021 and it was very hard but the views are incredible.
After April 1, 2022, everyone who hikes Angels Landing needs to have a permit. For more information about permit, here is the link.
The Pa’rus Trail is a fabulous introduction to Zion Canyon and it’s bold scenery. Starting from the Zion Canyon Visitor Centers, the paved trail follows the banks of the Virgin River nearly two miles (3.2 km) to Canyon Junction. This is the only trail that you can bring your dog on.
Pets are not permitted – on any other trails, wilderness areas, on shuttle buses, or in public buildings in Zion. Pets are welcome in the campgrounds and picnic areas. We didn’t bring our dogs to Zion since they are only allowed on one trail (Pa’rus Trail).
4. What is the best easy hike in Zion National Park?
Middle and Upper Emerald Pools require moderate hiking, but Lower Emerald Pool is an easy hike from Zion Lodge . The Lower Emerald Pools Trail is a great hike for families and those looking for an easy stroll through nature. The trail is only 1 miles long, but make sure to bring plenty of water as it can be quite hot in Zion National Park!
5. What is the best moderate hike in Zion National Park?
If you’re looking for a moderate hike that offers beautiful scenery, the Riverside Walk is definitely the trail for you. With a distance of just 2.2 miles, this hike takes hikers on a journey through the Virgin River canyon. Walk starts at the Temple of Sinawava (riverside walk shuttle stop #9). The paved path twists along the banks of the Virgin River, passing lush springs and hanging gardens en route to the start of The Narrows.
6. How many days do you need in Zion?
That really depends on what you want to do. If you’re only interested in doing some easy or moderate hikes, then you could probably do it in a day or two. However, if you’re looking to do some more challenging hikes, or take advantage of the backcountry camping opportunities Zion National Park offers, then you’ll need a few more days.
In general, we recommend spending at least 3-4 days in Zion National Park. This will give you enough time to do some of the more popular hikes, as well as explore some of the less crowded areas of the park.
7. Which hikes do I need a permit for?
If you want to hike the popular trails in Zion National Park, such as Angels Landing or the Narrows, you will need a permit. These permits can be obtained by entering a lottery system or by making a reservation in advance. Otherwise, you do not need a permit for the other trails.
You also need a permit for the Virgin River Narrows Trail.
If you plan to complete all 16 miles of the Virgin River Narrows in a single day, then you will only need to obtain one Wilderness permit for your group, for the date of your trip.
This Wilderness permit will allow your group to start at the Chamberlain’s Ranch Trailhead, hike 16 miles through the Virgin River, and exit at the Temple of Sinawava on the same day. Spring rains and winter snowmelt often raise the water level of the Virgin River, making The Narrows not safe for hiking. Check the river conditions on the National Park Service Page.
Zion National Park is a great park for travelers because it offers a little bit of everything. With its iconic hikes and wide variety of trails, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful park. So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, make sure to add Zion National Park to your list!
8. Are there any waterfalls in Zion National Park?
Yes, there are several waterfalls in Zion National Park. Some of the most popular ones include Emerald Pools Falls, Hidden Falls, and Weeping Rock.
We stayed at Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort about a mile from the the park entrance (the location was great). If you are looking for vacation rentals, check VRBO or AirBnb.
So there you have my best hikes in Zion National Park. It’s a great place for hikers of all levels. With its wide variety of trails, outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and easy access, there’s no wonder why this park is such a popular destination. So, if you’re looking for an adventure, make sure to add Zion National Park to your list!
You may also enjoy reading: The 16 Best Dog Friendly National Parks for 2022.