Zion National Park   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Unaihuiziphotography | Getty Images

cool places to visit in zion

18 Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

As one of the top national parks in the U.S. , Zion National Park brims with awe-inspiring views and outdoor adventures, especially for hikers. Travelers can experience the sunset-colored canyons along any one of the park's iconic out-and-back

  • All Things To Do

cool places to visit in zion

The Narrows The Narrows free

With the Zion Canyon's striated, orange-red walls towering 1,000 feet overhead and the Virgin River, the slimmest section of Zion Canyon is known as The Narrows. It's one of the park's most popular hikes and starts tame with the one-mile Riverside Walk , a wheelchair-accessible hike. After that, hikers will get wet since the trail disappears into the Virgin River where hikers will be wading or even swimming upstream through the slot canyon. 

Most visitors hike The Narrows in the summer or late fall when the waters are at their lowest levels and air temperatures are at their warmest. Would-be hikers need to check-in with a park ranger for the water flow rate (this can close the Narrows trail) and the possibility of storms are in the forecast. The Narrows can fill quickly with life-threatening flash floods. Spring sees increased snowmelt run-off and cooler water temperatures making the hike less pleasant.

cool places to visit in zion

Angels Landing Angels Landing free

While visiting Zion Canyon in 1916, Methodist minister Frederick Vining Fisher is said to have inspired the name of this popular rock formation. According to park lore, he joked that only an angel could land on the rock's elevated perch. Today, Angels Landing has become one of the most popular hikes in Zion, thanks to its stunning views and the harrowing journey required to reach it. Hikers will ascend 1,488 feet during the 5.4-mile round-trip hike, some of which features sheer cliffs and steep switchbacks that includes a chain guide rope for the final push to the summit.

Beginning in 2022, any park visitor who wants to hike to Angels Landing must apply for a timed-entry special permit available by lottery via Recreation.gov . Applications cost $6 per person. If you're able to secure a permit, it costs $3 per person. If you're not able to obtain a permit (or have a fear of heights), you can hike to Scout Lookout, which is located at the base of Angels Landing. You can access Scout Landing via the challenging West Rim Trail, which does not require a permit. The 3.6-mile out-and-back trail to Scout Lookout is considered difficult due to its steep elevation gain (more than 1,000 feet) and series of switchbacks. For groups, Scout Lookout (where restrooms are available), is a good meeting point if part of the group did not secure a permit. 

cool places to visit in zion

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive Zion Canyon Scenic Drive free

U.S. News Insider Tip : Zion Lodge offers a large grassy area in front that is a popular place for picnics and post-hike relaxation. Beer, coffee drinks and light snacks are available to purchase seasonally on the patio. – Catherine Parker

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is one of four main roads in Zion National Park. Along this road, visitors can access famous park landmarks, including Zion Lodge, Angel's Landing , the Court of the Patriarchs and Weeping Rock , to name a few. For much of the year, the only way to access Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is via the park's free shuttle bus. Since 2000, the shuttle bus has carried visitors up and down Zion Canyon, reducing traffic issues along with improving the canyon experience. The shuttle operates daily from March through November. In winter (usually weekdays in December and daily in January and February), visitors can drive their own vehicle along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

cool places to visit in zion

Popular Tours

Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon Tour UTV Adventure (Private)

Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon Tour UTV Adventure (Private)

(596 reviews)

from $ 128.00

 Slot Canyon Tour & Sandboarding UTV Adventure

Slot Canyon Tour & Sandboarding UTV Adventure

(136 reviews)

Award Winning UTV Slot Canyon Tour

Award Winning UTV Slot Canyon Tour

(734 reviews)

from $ 98.00

cool places to visit in zion

Pa'rus Trail Pa'rus Trail free

U.S. News Insider Tip: This trail appeals to a wide range of visitors, so it's the most crowded and everyone from newborns to great-grandparents are found along its route. – Catherine Parker

Pa'rus Trail, a wide concrete sidewalk, is probably the easiest 3.5-mile hike in Zion National Park. Connecting the Zion Visitor Center to Canyon Junction, it's also a great way to reach various sites throughout the park, such as the South Campground and the Zion Human History Museum without riding the shuttle. Plus, its pleasing views of the "bubbling waters" of the Virgin River, for which it derives its Paiute name, are incredibly enjoyable, too. For pet owners, the Pa ' rus Trail is open to pets on leashes, as well as bike riders.

cool places to visit in zion

Riverside Walk Riverside Walk free

If you aren't up for hiking The Narrows , but still want to admire the beautiful Virgin River, consider the Riverside Walk as a much lighter alternative. Accessible via the last stop on the Zion Canyon shuttle (the Temple of Sinawava ), this 2-mile (round-trip) pathway is often called the park's most picturesque trail because it includes striking natural features, including grand, leafy canyon walls on either side and plenty of trees in between, providing a rare amount of shade in the open spaces of Zion. What's more, interpretive signs guide visitors to the important features of the area. Because the path is paved, relatively flat, and accessible to strollers and wheelchairs, it can get crowded.

Recent hikers said this hike is suitable for kids and families, along with those who have mobility concerns thanks to its relatively short distance and easy terrain. Visitors found the scenery along the pathway to be striking with the up-close views of the canyon waters and the Virgin River. However, some noted that because it acts as the entrance to The Narrows, the trail can get very crowded.

cool places to visit in zion

Canyon Overlook Trail Canyon Overlook Trail free

This mile-long moderate trail offers expansive views of Zion Canyon along with the Towers of the Virgin and a slot canyon below. Because of its relatively short length and amazing views, this is also one of the busiest trails in Zion National Park. As you ascend a little more than 160 feet up the path, keep your eyes peeled for Zion's big horn sheep, which are known to frequent the Canyon Overlook Trail.

Recent travelers suggested starting your hike early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the heaviest crowds. Others say that although the trail is relatively short, it's still a challenge because there are steps, along with some narrow, rocky sections and drop-offs, some of which are not fenced.  

cool places to visit in zion

Kolob Canyons Kolob Canyons free

Travelers itching to get away from the crowds in Zion Canyon will enjoy a day in the northwestern Kolob Canyons. Located about 40 miles north of Zion Canyon, the Kolob Canyons offers parallel and narrow box canyons that create 2,000-foot cliff walls from the mountain peaks. As you drive along the 5-mile stretch of Kolob Canyons Road, it's easy to see why this section of the park was dubbed Kolob, which, in Mormon scripture means "residence closest to heaven." Visitors are treated to verdant desert canyons, waterfalls and towering peaks made of Navajo sandstone. For hikers, there are three out-and-back trails ranging in length from 1 to 14 miles.

Recent visitors appreciated how easy it was to reach this area of the park from Interstate 15. Travelers were relieved to find a lot less foot traffic at the Kolob Canyons and some even found it to be more beautiful than Zion Canyon. Visitors highly recommended taking the mile-long Timber Creek Overlook Trail for its view.

cool places to visit in zion

Canyon Junction Bridge Canyon Junction Bridge free

At the intersection of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and Zion Canyon Scenic Road , the Canyon Junction Bridge crosses the Virgin River. For photographers, this is one of the iconic images of Zion National Park as both sides of the canyon frame the image with the river flanked by trees running through the center of it. In the afternoon, the sun lights up the Watchman rock formation and it looks like it's glowing.

According to recent visitors, stopping or parking on the Canyon Junction Bridge will get the attention of park rangers as snapping pictures here is not allowed. Travelers suggested parking at the Zion Human History Museum and taking the Pa'rus Trail to the Pine Creek Bridge, a pedestrian bridge where you can safely take pictures. One photographer also mentioned this area is a prime place to snap nighttime photos of the Milky Way (Zion is a designated International Dark Sky Park).

cool places to visit in zion

Zion Full Day Small Group Tour

(22 reviews)

from $ 354.32

East Zion 4 Hour Slot Canyon Canyoneering UTV Tour

East Zion 4 Hour Slot Canyon Canyoneering UTV Tour

(519 reviews)

from $ 174.00

East Zion Crimson Canyon Hike & UTV Adventure

East Zion Crimson Canyon Hike & UTV Adventure

(594 reviews)

from $ 109.00

cool places to visit in zion

Observation Point Observation Point free

When hikers crest the Observation Point trail, they will find themselves at one of the widest sections of Zion Canyon at an elevation of 6,521 feet atop Mount Baldy. With a bird's-eye view, hikers can take in almost all of Zion's top attractions. Because hikers will ascend 2,148 feet during this 8-mile, round-trip hike, it's not for the faint of heart. Though the East Rim Trail to Observation Point is temporarily closed due to a rock fall, hikers can venture out of the park to the East Mesa Trail. The 7-mile in-and-out route includes a 702-foot elevation gain. The trailhead is located about 10 miles north of the park's east entrance.

Several travelers recommend hitting the trail early to avoid high temperatures and also suggest pacing for the strenuous uphill hike and the return descent. You'll want to bring plenty of snacks, as the National Park Service estimates this hike will take about six hours to complete. Others mentioned bringing sunscreen and plenty of water since some of the trek will be in full sun.

cool places to visit in zion

Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel free

U.S. News Insider Tip : Don't blink or you'll miss the windows bored through the walls of the tunnel. This area is congested, especially when rangers stop the flow for oversized vehicles. – Catherine Parker

In the early 20th-century, park promoters wanted to create a way for visitors to easily access the east side of Zion National Park, as well as nearby parks like Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon . With the creation of the 25-mile-long Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, travelers could tour the Utah national parks in a loop. The now famous Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel was part of this highway project. Bored straight through the sandstone cliffs above Pine Creek Canyon, this 1.1-mile-long tunnel was first started in the late 1920s and saw its first vehicle in 1930. When it opened on July 4, 1930, it was the longest mountain tunnel in the U.S. Today, the sandstone tunnel is a major thoroughfare and top Zion National Park attraction. As you drive through it, you'll see large windows cut out of the sandstone – in addition to light and ventilation, the windows offer drivers a peek at the spectacular views outside the tunnel. 

cool places to visit in zion

Court of the Patriarchs Court of the Patriarchs free

The three distinct striated peaks in this rock formation are known as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There were named by Methodist minister, Dr. Frederick Vining Fischer, who visited Zion Canyon in 1916 and named many of the features in Zion after religious figures. The Court of the Patriarchs is located about a third of the way up Zion Canyon. Though the Court of the Patriarchs is viewable from the road, there's also a 0.2-mile round-trip trail that travelers can hike to reach a better viewpoint.

According to recent visitors, this a must-see when visiting Zion Canyon. Several travelers suggested taking the short, steep hike to the viewpoint instead of admiring the Court of the Patriarchs from the shuttle stop. Several also said there is an interpretive sign to help visitors distinguish the names of the peaks in the area.

cool places to visit in zion

Emerald Pools Emerald Pools free

Zion National Park is known more for its towering rock formations than its gushing waterfalls, but one area where you can catch a glimpse is the Emerald Pools. Found nestled between striking peaks of the park and with views of the Zion Canyon from the upper trails, this area is within walking distance of Zion Lodge. The pools are a result of one flowing stream as the water makes its way over cliffs and down a series of waterfalls before landing in the pools that dot this small area of the park.

Visitors can access the pools via three separate trails. The 1.2-mile Lower Emerald Pool loop trail is the easiest as it's on a roughly paved path. From here, hikers can reach the Upper Emerald Pool trail. The Middle Emerald Pools Trail is a 2.2-mile unpaved trail with a steep, 150-foot climb that the national park labels as moderate in difficulty. The Upper Emerald Pools Trail is a 1-mile trail with a 200-foot gain that forks off the Middle Emerald Pools Trail. The best time to visit the Emerald Pools is during spring, when runoff from winter's snow creates more robust falls.

cool places to visit in zion

Watchman Trail Watchman Trail free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Shuttle passengers should pack a bag for the day in Zion Canyon with high-energy snacks (if hiking), a water bottle, a hat and sunscreen along with a layer, just in case. – Catherine Parker

The 3-mile round-trip Watchman Trail doesn't ascend the Watchman Spire, but it does afford a spectacular view of the Watchman, Temples and Towers, lower Zion Canyon and the town of Springdale. As the trail only ascends about 400 feet, it's a good path to start out on for those new to hiking and features desert cacti and greenery along the way.

cool places to visit in zion

Peekaboo Slot Canyon UTV and Hiking Adventure

(937 reviews)

from $ 99.00

Great Chamber/Peekaboo Slot Canyon UTV Tour 4hrs

Great Chamber / Peekaboo Slot Canyon UTV Tour 4hrs

(237 reviews)

from $ 169.00

The Narrows: Zion National Park Private Guided Hike

The Narrows: Zion National Park Private Guided Hike

(43 reviews)

from $ 364.00

cool places to visit in zion

Weeping Rock Weeping Rock free

Zion National Park might be in the desert, but it's not completely devoid of water. In addition to the Virgin River, there are several areas within the park where groundwater oozes out of the cracks and crevices in the Navajo sandstone, including at Weeping Rock. Thanks to the water supply, moss and plants form a hanging garden along the rock face, and it's possible for a drip or two to land on hikers. To see the Weeping Rock, visitors can take a 0.4-mile paved trail that climbs nearly 100 feet in elevation.

According to recent visitors, this hike is steep, yet short, so it's not exhausting. Many recent visitors found the view stunning and worth the effort. Summertime visitors appreciated the occasional drips from the sandstone on a hot day. A couple of hikers mentioned that if others were short on time, this area was similar to the Lower Emerald Pool .

cool places to visit in zion

Checkerboard Mesa Checkerboard Mesa free

Between the east entrance of the park and the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel , this sandstone formation features cracks and fissures in a horizontal and vertical grid, resembling a checkerboard. What's more, the Checkerboard Mesa is lighter in color than some of the surrounding sandstone, adding to its distinctive look. With a lookout point and parking lot, this is a popular stop on the east side of the park.

Several recent visitors said Checkerboard Mesa was worth a stop for the unique rock markings. A few reviewers said the best time to visit is in the morning when crowds haven't filled up the small parking lot. According to travelers, you'll also want to keep your eyes peeled for the mountain goats that frequent the area.

cool places to visit in zion

Temple of Sinawava Temple of Sinawava free

Located at the beginning of Zion Canyon, the Temple of Sinawava is a natural amphitheater formed by the Virgin River. The towering canyon walls and surrounding vegetation create a dramatic scene that visitors flock to see. The Temple of Sinawava forms the gateway to two popular hikes – the Riverside Walk and the Narrows . Day-trippers can take the Riverside Walk for a 2.2-mile hike that is mostly flat. Visitors who are interested in more of a challenge can continue on to the Narrows, which starts at the end of the Riverside Trail and is labeled a strenuous trail that covers up to 9.4 miles roundtrip. This trail does not require a wilderness permit, through rangers advise would-be hikers that 60% of the hike will be in cold water and hikers might have to swim. Hikers are advised to check in with rangers for the forecasted weather as this is an area that is prone to flash flooding.

Travelers gushed over the experience hiking along the Riverside Walk and several mentioned it was the most popular hike and easy enough for most. Wintertime visitors mentioned the drinking water was turned off in the area so others should pack water. Most who went to the end of the Riverside Walk mentioned there was water on the trail, close to The Narrows trailhead.

cool places to visit in zion

Zion Human History Museum Zion Human History Museum free

Inside of one the historic Mission 66 buildings (the mid-century initiative to modernize national park facilities), the Zion Human History Museum houses a collection of rotating artifacts found in the park. Visitors can learn about human history in the area, from the Southern Paiute from thousands of years ago to the Mormon pioneers of the 1800s. Water, and its role is role in creating and sometimes destroying the desert landscape, is also a theme. Visitors will also find exhibits on geology, the park's flora and fauna, and the tools used by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

In addition to the exhibits, the building itself is worth a stop: it was used as the Zion Visitor Center until 2002, when a new building opened. The back patio offers views of West Temple and the Towers of the Virgin with the Bridge Mountain visible from the front. Rangers recommend this area for sunrise and sunset since visitors can drive and park in the area. Visitors will find a bookstore inside the Zion Human History Museum as well.

cool places to visit in zion

The Subway The Subway free

Adventure travelers who have successfully traversed the heart-stopping Angels Landing and lengthy The Narrows should choose The Subway as their next challenge. Aptly named for resembling subway tunnels, The Subway – also known as the Left Fork of North Creek – is a slot canyon that is not for the faint of heart and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. Not only do you need a wilderness permit, but the National Park Service also recommends that hikers traverse this natural wonder with someone who has already completed the hike.

While this all may sound intense, the unique geography truly makes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Though there are two routes available along The Subway, it's recommended that hikers take the Bottom-Up Route, which does not require rope, repelling skills and a wet suit for swimming through deep, cold pools like the Top-Down Canyoneering Route. However, the 9-mile-long Bottom-Up Route does require climbing boulders, crossing creeks and ascending about 1,300 feet. All hikers need to have the most detailed route information available for their hike.

cool places to visit in zion

Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon Tour and Sandboarding UTV Adventure

(48 reviews)

Zion Sunset Jeep Tour

Zion Sunset Jeep Tour

(154 reviews)

from $ 69.00

3 Hour Guided E Bike Tour in Zion National Park

3 Hour Guided E Bike Tour in Zion National Park

(8 reviews)

from $ 100.00

Things to Do in Zion National Park FAQs

Explore more of zion national park.

Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection by Hilton

Best Hotels

World Map

When To Visit

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


The 28 Best Water Parks in the U.S. for 2024

Holly Johnson|Timothy J. Forster May 8, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

The 18 Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Sharael Kolberg April 23, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

The 25 Best Beaches on the East Coast for 2024

Timothy J. Forster|Sharael Kolberg April 19, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2024

Christina Maggitas February 6, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

The 32 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Gwen Pratesi|Timothy J. Forster February 1, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

9 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in Florida for 2024

Gwen Pratesi|Amanda Norcross January 5, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

24 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for 2024

Erin Evans January 4, 2024

cool places to visit in zion

26 Top Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resorts for 2024

Zach Watson December 28, 2023

cool places to visit in zion

Solo Vacations: The 36 Best Places to Travel Alone in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Erin Vasta December 22, 2023

cool places to visit in zion

26 Cheap Beach Vacations for Travelers on a Budget

Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023

cool places to visit in zion

Zion National Park Bucket List | 27 Things You Must Do

Zion is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I knew it would be nice but had no idea it would end up being arguably one of the most stunning adventure places in the USA or maybe on earth.

It is so great I made an entire list of Zion things you have to do and cannot miss! Below you will find Zion National Park’s best hikes, great hotels, incredible pictures of Zion National Park so you can take them too, best things to do and amazing restaurants in Zion.

Best Hikes in Zion The Narrows

There is so much to do, a ton of unique views, activities, hikes and beyond that you could spend a week there easily. The landscape and space lends itself to a myriad of options for anyone looking for an adventure vacation.

I rate Havasupai Falls as one of my favorite places on earth and a 10/10… Zion has to be a 9.5 out of 10 and really isn’t missing much if anything. The natural beauty is some of the nicest in North America and if you haven’t been you need to go asap!

Zion Bucket List Upper Emerald Pools Cliffs

What started out as a bucket list with 10 items, similar to some of the “must do” articles on the internet has turned into 20+ things you have to do in Zion when visiting. Not to be a nerd but also the wildlife! Think I saw 10 different animals on my trip!

So what are you waiting for, plan your trip, see these top things to do in Zion and get on it. No time like the present and it is only going to get busier and busier with each year!

Find The Sonic The Hedgehog Cave & Sandbox On Canyon Overlook Trail

cool places to visit in zion

Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the best easy hikes I have ever seen. In terms of bang for buck and being a short hike it is unreal! However, don’t just stop at the overlook, be sure to take some time and explore to find some hidden gems!

Did I make up The Sonic The Hedgehog Cave? Yes… does it look like Sonic, also yes, so hopefully if I add one thing to Zion this is it! The cave is really cool and there are tons of other unique little spots at all along the Canyon Overlook Trail.

Best Hikes To Do In Zion Canyon Overlook 22

If you want to find the caves and the sandbox then just venture down and to the right from the main overlook. I wouldn’t venture too far past either of those points though as the rock is easily comes unattached from the mountain if you try to go further to the right past this year… yes I almost died, that’s how I know, ask Kenny Macavoy!

Stargazing & Spot The Milky Way In Zion

Milky Way Bucket List Zion National Park

Getting out of the city is great for so many reasons but seeing a sky full of stars is one of the best! Zion is a perfect place for stargazing being such a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.

You can see them from wherever you’re staying or just drive 5 minutes to get away from the town’s lights and see them full throttle like Charlie’s angels 2. Not only are the stars amazing but you also get to see the Milky Way!

I don’t think I have ever seen the milky way so this was a treat, at first I didn’t even know it was the Milky Way but said to my friend… “hey, I think that is the Milky Way” to which he said “why do you think that?” and my response was… “well, it looks like a Milky Way…” Sure enough, some Google Magic and here we are.

Milky Way Zion Bucket List Must Do Things

Some cool spots are back towards the park if you wanna walk or bike ride back into the park or near the entrance. The East side of the park also has zero lights around and there a ton of places to pull off the highway to check things out.

Other good spots are alongside the river with the sound of the stream and looking up at the stars… not much better. If you’re on a couple trip maybe some wine, a blanket.. just throwing it out there. Another great spot is just out of town near the Watchmen trailhead.

Look For Deer & bighorn sheep

Zion Bucket List Bighorn Sheep

In Zion bighorn sheep were actually locally extinct in the mid 1900s meaning you kind of get to see an animal brought back from extinction. in the 1970s bighorns were restored to the area and now there are over 500 in the area!

You are most likely going to see them in the East side of the park between the East Entrance & the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. According to the government they sheep have done so well they are no concerned about the high population density!

Zion Bucket List Angel's Landing Deer Sheep

If you miss the sheep, there is a great chance you will see a dear. Dear seem to be everywhere along the drive in Zion National Park. Keep your eyes open on your drive/shuttle/bike in and hopefully you get the chance to be closer than normal to some of the gentle creatures.

Go Tubing Down The Virgin River

Bucket List Thing To Do In Zion National Park Tubing

Tubing down the Virgin River is so much fun and a nice break from hiking every day. Sometimes you just need to lay down, enjoy the water and maybe have a drink or two.

You can of course tube down the river yourself or get hooked up via Zion Tubing who drop you off and pick you up. $25, 1.5 hours of relaxation and drinks on the river… I couldn’t sign up quick enough.

cool places to visit in zion

There are some mini rapids along the way adding to the fun and we saw vultures, goats. ducks and roosters along the way, we basically visited a zoo. Zion tubing is just 15 minutes outside of Springdale so definitely check it out after a hike or on a rest day.

Drive The Zion-Mt Carmel Highway & Go Through The Tunnel

Bucket List Things To Do in Zion Views Mt Carmel Highway

If you came from the East then you don’t need this advice… but if you came from the Southwest entrance via Hurricane & Rockville then you need to make this drive.

This was our first welcome to Zion and wow, it was such an incredible drive. We had no idea what to expect and out of nowhere you are suddenly dropped into a screensaver.

cool places to visit in zion

What I loved about Zion was how green it was while also having the amazing red rocks and cliffs. The contrast between the red rocks and bright green foliage is breathtaking.

Definitely take your time on the drive and stop to take pictures along the way. You will also go through the enormous tunnel, which seems to go on forever as you go through a giant mountain.

Zion-Mt Carmel Highway Zion Bucket List Must Do Things 3

You can even see the little peep holes from the tunnel when you hike Canyon Overlook, showing you the mountain you drive through.

Stay in maybe the nicest place I have ever seen | Zion Red Rock

I have so much to say about the Zion Red Rock properties I wrote 1,200 words on them in this article here. I will keep it short but Zion Red Rock has four unreal properties and a couple of them are the most stunning places I have visited.

Best Place to Stay Zion Zion Red Rock Oasis

The Villa is a mediterranean style mansion and is one of the prettiest looking houses in the USA. The Oasis is probably my favorite home on earth with an indoor soccer field, movie theater, giant kitchen & bar, private lake, private river access and so much more!

Best Place to Stay Zion Zion Red Rock Oasis

If your pocketbook doesn’t have super-mansion in it then don’t fret, they also have some incredible affordable options. They have their chalet with 5 bedrooms and truly anything you need for a standard vacation. There is also their Inn, which is a bunch of separate private cottages all beautifully decorated as well.

Best Place to Stay Zion Zion Red Rock Oasis

Overall Red Rock Zion has a place for every budget and if you were looking for a place to get married… this is the place. The Villa or Oasis might be the best wedding venue in the USA, let alone just Zion or Utah.

Find the perfect swimming hole

Best Hikes in Zion Riverwalk Trail The Narrows 3

If you are visiting from May to October it can be hot and Zion delivers with a ton of great little swimming holes down the Virgin River. Take strolls along the Riverside walk or Pa’rus trail, which both run alongside the Virgin River.

You should be able to find a spot without anyone around and a place to take a dip. Zion is a gift that doesn’t stop delivering and that includes having the river that runs right through it!

Best Hikes in Zion Riverwalk Trail The Narrows 3

My favorite swimming hole, pictured above is located at the end of the Riverside walk just before the Narrows Begins. There is also a natural little kiddie pool nearby as well for the little ones!

Hike Angel’s Landing | One Of The Best Hikes In The USA

Zion Bucket List Angel's Landing 5

Made it so far in this article and haven’t even mentioned a hike yet! Angel’s Landing is arguably the best hike in Zion if not all of the USA. Of course The Narrows and Observation Point are two other favorites but this one edges them out for me. You can see a full guide on the Angel’s Landing trail hike here.

Zion Bucket List Angel's Landing 3

Observation Point offers better views but also is significantly longer for those who might not be able to hike the 8 miles and 2,100 ft. Angel’s Landing also has the spine and terrifying hike to get to the top adding the facing of your fears!

Zion Bucket List Angel's Landing Hike Trail Best Hike In Zion 16

Angel’s Landing offers so many different views and unique sites along the way. The cliff overhanging walkway, the switchbacks, trees, stream and starting with a walk along the Virgin River. Each turn is incredible and it was a perfect length to get some exercise but also not make it overly agonizing.

Spend The Day At The Lake

Bucket List Thing To Do In Zion National Park lakes

The Zion area is home to a ton of lakes within an hour of Springdale. They all have their charm with some being busy spots and others off the beaten track and a little more peaceful.

Pictures above is Quail Creek State Park, full disclosure it isn’t as amazing as that picture but still a nice refreshing spot. A couple of other great spots are the busier Sand Hollow Reservoir and then the more secret Kolob Reservoir, with less people as it is further out of town.

Bucket List Thing To Do In Zion National Park kayak lake

Going to the lake is a great escape if you need a day off from hiking and just want to lounge. The lakes also offer a bunch of water sports and are the perfect place to spend a hot day in Zion.

Get a fish pedicure in the Virgin River

Bucket List Things To Do in Zion National Park Fish Pedicure

Save $25 in the Cancun airport or wherever you are getting fish pedicures and get lucky in the Virgin River! There are schools of fish, either Flannelmouth Suckers or Desert Suckers, and they are not afraid to come up and give you a nibble removing any dead skin and such on your body!

There are fish of all sizes and it is a little unnerving when the larger ones come but in the end it is quote a unique experience to have these little fish coming up giving you a little fish pedicure out in the wild!

drink a local pint Brew

Eat Bumbleberry Pie from the Bumbleberry Inn

Bucket List Things To Do in Zion National Park Bumbleberry Pie

If you have never had bumbleberry pie, you are missing out. It is one of only two pies I will eat, that one and then my grandma’s grasshopper pie, made with real bits of grasshopper. 

What is a bumbleberry pie? A bumbleberry pie really is just some of my favorite foods in a pie crust and is delightful. A bumbleberry pie typically consists of at least three kinds of berries and can even contain rhubarb. Please don’t ruin it with apples thanks.

The bumbleberry pie is just overflowing with all of the best sour berries exploding in your mouth with every warm bite! It’s almost like the fruit version of a chocolate lava cake, which is my other favorite dessert.

Bumble Berry In Best Place to Stay Zion

The Bumbleberry Inn is also a great place to stay! It is really affordable and maybe the most cost efficient place in Zion, which also looks great inside and boasts stunning 360 views of the red rock around you. 

Take a Private Jeep Tour With Zion Jeep Tours

Zion Jeep Tours Must Do Zion

As you may know I am not a “take a tour” person as I can’t stand waiting for people or stopping at every blade of grass. With that said, Zion Jeep Tours puts most tours to shame and actually does some really cool stuff off the beaten path!

They can give you private shuttles to Zion National Park, private jeep tours, a full safari through places most tourists don’t see, they do Grand Canyon tours and even have helicopter tours! If you want a tour company, they are so helpful and great to work with!

Hike The Narrows

Another pretty obvious choice for the Zion National Park bucket list but it lives up to the billing! If you are a photographer this is a photographers paradise.

The only thing wrong with the Narrows is how incredibly crowded it is, especially near the start. I am not an early riser by any means but definitely get there before 8am.

Best Hikes in Zion The Narrows

Getting there early is also important as the harsh sun hasn’t come in and the photos are much better. You will be cold though in the morning so definitely layer up on your body since you will be walking through water pretty much the entire way.

Best Hikes in Zion The Narrows

Take your time though, definitely go half a mile or a mile down Orderville Canyon as it has some unreal views as well and it won’t have anyone around in the morning. Overall though the Narrows is one of the more stunning hikes in the country and definitely one you have to go do!

Drink a Utah Or Local Beer

Bucket List Thing To Do In Zion National Park Local Beer

Utah has some great beer and it is isn’t 3.5% like you might think! When in Rome, drink and support local, even if Bohemian Brewery is in Salt Lake City. They have some amazing beer and you can buy it in any grocery store for your trip to the lake or when going tubing.

I had Zion Brew Pub pencilled in here as the spot but I literally had the worst experience there so just couldn’t do it. I hope it was just an unlucky time I went there and hopefully on my next visit it can be better.

Zion Canyon Brew Pub Beer

I just don’t want to tell you a place is amazing and then you come back at me saying it wasn’t a bucket list place at all! If anything I am authentic but if you love beer, go try this place out as you can’t beat the patio views with a local brew.

Scare Debbie Laveay or your own mother

Best Hikes To Do In Zion Canyon Overlook 22

There are so many different vantage points and unique places to go in Zion. There are plenty of optical illusions you can take advantage of to keep your mom on edge… or maybe that’s only funny to me.

Go Rock Climbing 

Rock Climbing Zion Bucket List Must Do Things

If you have ever wanted to try rock climbing & rappelling then now is the time and Zion is the place to try it out! You won’t get many better places and views to try your hand at a little rock climbing!

If you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, Zion is a rock climber hot spot with the endless cliffs and incredible views. Zion Adventure Company & Zion Mountaineering School are great places to start!

Visit Cafe Soleil – Have a Latte & Legitimately the best breakfast I have ever had

Best restaurant in zion

This is not hyperbole, I think the breakfast I had at Cafe Soleil is truly the best breakfast I have ever had in my life. I am a typical bacon and eggs guy but always like to try something different when I can. 

Their huevos rancheros was next level, I couldn’t even comprehend how good it was! I kept taking bites thinking that it could be the best breakfast ever… I think it was. They also have a vast selection of coffee, which is actually hard to find in Zion.

Best restaurant in zion

I know my family is already palming their face cause I don’t drink regular coffee and just iced-mocha-lattes with almond milk… but sorry I like stuff that tastes good and not dirt. With that said, it is hard to find places that do “specialty coffees” of which Cafe Soleil has you covered!

Stop By Checkerboard Mesa

Checkerboard Mesa Zion Bucket List Must Do Things

A very simple and quick stop if you are coming in from the East Entrance. It really isn’t that enthralling when you put it next to the rest of Zion, however a quick stop to check it out nonetheless. 

If you came in from the SW then definitely be sure to get all the way here when doing your Zion-Mt Carmel Drive that I told you to do a few BL items ago. It is good spot to see and turn back into town.

Look for unique flying wildlife

cool places to visit in zion

Some things that scare us fly and there are two in particular that are synonymous with creepy and scary animals. Zion has both vultures and bats flying around, which are always so neat to see.

I don’t know why but vultures just remind me of being on a safari and of course bats are just mysterious and have their own creepy side, but you still want to see them! According to the Zion National Park ther are 17 species of bats in Zion!

Bucket List Zion Turkey Vulture

Then there are the turkey vultures… they are enormous! I always expect them to be devouring on an old carcass but unfortunately they are normally just flying around or perched up somewhere. Nonetheless, for the nature lovers they are a pretty cool site, I had no idea there were vultures even in the US!

Take A Walk Down Canyon Overlook Trail

cool places to visit in zion

Canyon Overlook Trail is probably the easiest hike with the best view of any hike I have ever seen. It is a very simple mile round trip, no major elevation change and the entire walk itself is really pretty.

Best Hikes To Do In Zion Canyon Overlook 22

As mentioned above there are also some secret spots to checkout on the hike that not everyone knows about! Even if you don’t check out those spots the view is the most well known view in Zion and is THEE picture.

cool places to visit in zion

Anyone can do this hike and I suggest doing it for sunrise vs. sunset due to where the sun goes down. This is a mandatory visit in Zion, especially since it is so short and easy for everyone. Add this to your list when seeing Checkerboard Mesa and driving the Zion Mt-Carmel highway.

Eat Inside an Old Texaco Station

Best restaurant in zion

Another favorite place to eat was at Whiptail Grill. It actually is an old gas station that has since been transformed into the perfect Route 66 style place to eat. 

The food is great, it has that small town movie like charm and local brews waiting for you. For the kids they even have the good root beer and such in glass bottles, the place is definitely worth checking out for lunch or dinner!

Go For a Scenic Bike Ride

Mountain Biking Zion Bucket List Must Do Things

I sound like a broken record but Zion is also an amazing place to go for a bike ride. Do you want an amazing place to go mountain biking? Then Zion has incredible trails with views like no other!

If you just want a standard bike ride then you can ride the Pa’rus Trail all along the Virgin River taking in the surrounding canyon walls. Zion is a bikers paradise whether you want to be adventurous and intense or casual.

Pay Homage To The Court of the patriarchs 

cool places to visit in zion

Court Of Patriarchs is a cool little stop on the shuttle or bike on the way out to stops for Angel’s Landing, The Narrows and most of Zion National Park.

It isn’t really a hike and is just more of a scenic stop to look, take a picture and move on. The Patriarchs are three sandstone peaks named after the biblical fathers of Abraham Peak (left), Isaac Peak (middle) and then Jacob Peak (right).

Go back Into time at Fort Zion

Bucket List Things to do in Zion Historic

Just 15 minutes out of Springdale you can take a trip through time, see a petting zoo, eat and have ice cream! It is like some sort of utopia in the middle of nowhere!

This is a great stop to combine with tubing or going to one of the aforementioned lakes. It is a quick stop just off the road and you could spend 10 minutes there or over an hour!

Take a Ride On The Subway

cool places to visit in zion

One of the other top 4 most well known and photographed hikes is the Subway! It is a long hike and similar to The Narrows you will get wet but wow… this is another must do hike, which also makes Zion one of the best adventure places in the country. 9.5 miles of incredible unique beauty, you have to do this hike on your visit.

Atv and/or Helicopter adventures & tours!

Bucket List Things To Do Zion National Park

If you aren’t the type to non-stop be exercising but still want to see as much of Zion as you can then there is no better way than by ATV or by helicopter. There are multiple companies in town to choose from and Zion Jeep Tours is a great one for helicopter tours as well.

Bucket List Things to do in Zion Helicopter Tour

Shop & Gemstone hunting

Bucket List Thing To Do In Zion National Park Gem Shops

As with all tourist places there is always some unique shopping. Zion is a mecca for gemstones and homemade type jewelry. Definitely make sure to go through all of the shops doing some gemstone hunting and rock collection.

They have all types of rocks & minerals with a plethora of shops along the main strip. Take your time and meander through the stores to find your perfect keepsake. If you ever wanted to buy a walking stick for hiking some stores sell those and it is a great hiking gift to take home.


Hola! I’m Fraser & this site is a guide to help you reach your goals, travel the world and create amazing food in between. Get inspiration for travel, recipes & to follow your dreams.

Related Posts

cool places to visit in zion

Best Vacation Itinerary In Puerto Penasco

cool places to visit in zion

A Trip With Happy Pizza in Cambodia

best hotel in colombia cartagena

Unveiling Colombia’s 3 Best Hotels: Unparalleled Affordable Luxury

@inspiretraveleat, 10 thoughts on “zion national park bucket list | 27 things you must do”.

' src=

Fraser’s Zion post was extremely helpful!! We did the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway through tunnel, Canyon overlook trail, and Zion Jeep tour. Thanks, Fraser!!

' src=

Glad you like it and hope you had an amazing time!

' src=

This is a great article full of bonus suggestions to think outside of the normal Zion Bucket list.

Fraser does a great job of inspiring a mix of extreme adventure and simpler pleasures of good grub and satisfying trails.

Utah is stunning. Thank you Fraser for going off the beaten path of “basic bitch IG influencers” and getting me into the grit of beautiful UTAH!!!

Glad you loved it and happy I could help!

' src=

Thank you for this. I was having such a difficult time trying to schedule and figure so much out. Almost felt like I needed a guide with bits and pieces of information here and there until you sent this. Thank you for sharing. Truly appreciate this information.

Amazing, glad could help!

' src=

Nice information about the park. Many Pools is a fun hike in the East Canyon along with Petroglyph Canyon. Keep exploring!

' src=

WOW… thank you soooooo much for developing and sharing your experiences, ratings, photos… Wonderful!!!! I feel less inhibited about trying to explore Zion with all of your tips and recommendations… so appreciated!!!

Glad we could help! Have the best time!

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


12 Top Attractions & Things to Do in Zion National Park

Written by Lana Law Updated Dec 22, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Sightseeing and outdoor adventures are what Zion National Park is all about. Whether you have only a couple of hours to drive through the park or several days to explore it in more detail, there are some highlights you simply shouldn't miss.

The main attractions in Zion are the sites along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway .

If you're looking for things to do, you'll find hiking trails for all abilities; opportunities for horseback riding; and for the more adventurous, canyoneering and rock climbing. To learn about the people who have inhabited this region over the centuries, be sure to stop in at the Human History Museum.

From mid-March to late November, a free shuttle bus system operates within Zion National Park and from the town of Springdale to the park. The shuttle buses within Zion take you to stops along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, cars are not permitted along this stretch during these months.

Before you head into the park, see our list of the top things to see and do in Zion National Park.

See also: Where to Stay near Zion National Park

1. Explore the Sights along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

2. drive the zion-mount carmel highway, 3. hit the trails on a day hike, 4. weeping rock, 5. riverside walk, 6. lower emerald pools, 7. checkerboard mesa and the east side of zion national park, 8. human history museum, 9. canyon trail rides, 10. canyoneering and rock climbing, 11. camping, 12. visit the kolob canyons, where to stay near zion national park, more great places to explore in utah.

Shuttle bus on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

The most dramatic section of Zion National Park is Zion Canyon. The canyon is accessed along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, an in-and-out road that runs along the canyon floor, with towering cliff walls on both sides.

This road offers views of some of the most famous sites in the park, including a view up to Angels Landing . The road ends at the start of one of the park's signature features, the Narrows . A majority of the park's key attractions are found along the road.

The park's shuttle bus, which allows you to hop off at the scenic sites and hiking trailheads along the way, offers a hassle-free way to explore this area. You can also bike this route. Shuttle buses are equipped with bicycle racks. In winter, when the shuttle bus is not operating, you can drive this route in your own vehicle.

Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway

The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which runs through the park from the South Entrance to the East, is arguably as scenic as the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive but provides a starkly different perspective as it winds high above the valley for dramatic views from one side of the valley to the other.

The road hugs the cliff wall as it climbs up the mountainside. After a steady climb, the road passes through a narrow 1.1-mile tunnel. The tunnel is not wide enough for RVs to pass, so traffic is held back in one direction when RVs are entering the tunnel. RV drivers must pay a fee when they enter the park in order to pass through the tunnel, and a pass is required in advance before you and your RV will be allowed to proceed.

Immediately after exiting the tunnel on the east side is the parking area for the Canyon Overlook Trail , a one-mile round-trip hike to an incredible viewpoint over the valley. Beyond this point, the landscape changes to rolling ridged mountains of orange and cream colors.

This side of the park is higher, often cooler, and home to a scattering of large pine trees.

Roadside pullouts offer convenient observation areas all along this drive. The shuttle does not operate along this route.

Canyon Overlook Trail

Zion National Park has outstanding hikes that range in length from less than a mile to multi-day treks. Two of the most famous hikes in the park are Angels Landing and The Narrows .

Angels Landing, stop # 6 on the shuttle, is a strenuous hike that climbs to a spectacular viewpoint looking over Zion Canyon. The trail follows a narrow ridge with long drop-offs and is not for everyone and certainly not for anyone with a fear of heights.

The Narrows, by contrast, follows a river through a huge slot canyon. This is a seasonal hike that takes some planning if you want to tackle it. The Narrows is shuttle stop #9.

Some of the most popular hikes in the park are much easier, one-mile or less in length, and lead to a variety of natural features, from small pools to weeping walls. The Riverside Walk , Weeping Rock trail , and Lower Emerald Pools trail are three of the main walks. These are all accessed from the shuttle bus and offer big rewards with little effort.

For a more comprehensive list of popular hikes, see our article on the best hikes in Zion National Park .

Weeping Rock

One of the major sites along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is Weeping Rock. This dripping stone overhang offers a close-up look at the hanging gardens that cling to the otherwise, sheer cliff wall.

Depending on the season, the amount of water coming off the rock can be drips, a stream, or a full waterfall. Standing at the base of Weeping Rock, you get a different perspective of the valley and a real feel for the enormity of the canyon walls.

Weeping Rock is stop #6 on the Zion shuttle bus through the canyon. To reach the rock requires a half-mile round-trip walk.

Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk is a scenic 2.2-mile round-trip path , but you don't need to complete the whole trail to enjoy this area of the park. This paved trail runs along the Virgin River and is the last stop on the Zion shuttle bus (Temple of Sinawava, stop #9).

Hugging a rock wall in some places, the trail passes hanging gardens, and spurs lead down to the water's edge. Across the valley, on the opposite side of the river, huge waterfalls may be pouring off the cliff wall, particularly in the spring. This is also a good area for spotting birds and other wildlife.

Lower Emerald Pools

Similar to Weeping Rock in many ways, Lower Emerald Pools features a weeping wall and pools at the base. The site is accessed by a .6-mile round-trip paved trail, leaving from the Zion Lodge shuttle bus stop #5.

This is a particularly nice walk in the spring, when the leaves are out and water is flowing over the wall. If you have more time and energy, you can continue on beyond this point, walking behind the falls, to the Middle and Upper Emerald Pools.

Landscape on the east side of Zion National Park

While Checkerboard Mesa has its own parking area and information plaque, several other mountainsides in the vicinity also beg to be explored. Pullouts on this side of the park are small, accommodating only a few cars at a time, but if you can find a spot, it's worth pulling out and taking some time to appreciate the unique scenery.

This white-colored mesa, named for its distinct checkerboard pattern, is the first stop after entering the park through the East Entrance. Beyond here, the landscape reveals a mix of white and amber-colored stone that seems to swirl in ridges up the mountain sides. Large pine trees dot the hillsides.

You'll find this side of the park has a much different appearance than Zion Canyon, on the west side.

Human History Museum

To learn about the cultural history of Zion, stop in at the Human History Museum, the first stop on the shuttle bus. The museum features large, easy-to-read displays and a huge model of the park and surroundings to put the area in perspective.

The permanent collection includes information on American Indian culture, pioneer settlements, and the creation of the park. Temporary exhibits are also on display and cover a variety of topics. A video runs every half hour, and rangers are available to answer questions.

Canyon Trail Rides

From March to October, horseback riding tours take guests for a scenic one-hour ride along the Virgin River, through one of the most beautiful areas of the park. Longer tours are also available for more experienced riders.

This can be a nice alternative to, or a break from, hiking and sightseeing. It's also a popular family activity. It's advisable to book tours in advance to secure a spot. All tours are operated by an authorized concessioner of the National Park Services.

Official site: https://www.canyonrides.com/horseback-riding-zion-national-park/

Rock climbers in Zion Canyon

Zion's slot canyons and unique landscape make canyoneering a popular activity in the park. A variety of outfitters in nearby Springdale offer courses, equipment rentals, and general information on canyoneering in the area. Courses for beginners through to advanced enthusiasts are offered. Even if you are not interested in lessons, these outfitters are also good places to start - especially if you are not familiar with the area.

If you look up as you're driving through the park (or from the shuttle bus), you are likely to see rock climbers on some of the sheer walls high above. Climbing trips can also be arranged through outfitters in Springdale.

South Campground

Spending a night under the stars and canyon walls of Zion National Park is an experience worth pursuing. There are campgrounds outside the park gate, but camping within the park is a whole other experience. Watching birds and wildlife flitting about the campgrounds, sitting around a fire ring in the evening after dark, and peering up at the night sky create a different set of memories than simply exploring Zion by day.

Watchman Campground and South Campground are the two main camping areas in the park, and both offer beautiful natural surroundings and well-spaced sites. These two campgrounds are close to each other, near the West Gate entrance to the park. This is also near the town of Springdale, so you can still easily pop into town for anything you need.

A third much smaller and more isolated campground is located in a separate section of the park, at almost 8,000 feet. This is Lava Point Campground, on Kolob Terrace Road, about 50 minutes from the Zion Canyon section of the park.

  • Read More: Best Campgrounds near Zion National Park

Kolob Canyons

Zion's popularity certainly draws in the crowds, and for some people, this can be a bit overwhelming. For a pleasant escape from the busyness, take a trip to the far side of the park and the Kolob Canyons.

This lesser visited area is, as some people claim, almost as spectacular as the main area of the park. Deep canyons and stunning scenery will leave you awed. The most popular activity and the one that provides the most reward for the least amount of energy is the five-mile Kolob Canyons Road. Strategically placed viewpoints afford incredible views out over the surrounding countryside.

For those interested in venturing off on a hiking trail, several good options exist. Of the 10-plus hikes available, one not to be missed is the Timber Creek Overlook . This one-mile trek is easy, with wonderful views along the way and especially at the end.

Kolob Canyons is about an hour from the main park gates. You'll need to head back out to Interstate 15, head north, and take exit 40. The exit is well marked with National Park signs.

The town of Springdale is located right outside the South Entrance of Zion National Park and is the most convenient place to stay. From your hotel in Springdale, you can even hop on a free shuttle bus to the park. For better hotel rates you can also stay in St. George , a little less than an hour away.

Luxury Hotels:

  • Located in Springdale, the quaint riverside Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection by Hilton offers a tranquil retreat on the edge of the Virgin River. A heated outdoor pool, hot tubs, and a riverside beach grace the property, and luxury rooms and villas come in a variety of sizes.
  • Another outstanding accommodation option is the nearby Cable Mountain Lodge , also with a full range of suites and studio options. Both of these properties are set in beautiful surroundings and feature outstanding views.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • Mid-range hotels in Springdale are slanted towards the upper end. The recently renovated Holiday Inn Express offers an outdoor pool, remodeled rooms, and beautiful common areas with huge windows and wood décor that blends in well with the setting.
  • The Majestic View Lodge is another property to consider in this category, with, as the name suggests, spectacular views, along with an outdoor pool.
  • For a more moderately priced mid-range option, La Quinta Inn & Suites St. George is a good choice, about 55 minutes from the park.

Budget Hotels:

  • Two popular budget hotels in nearby St. George, less than an hour from the gates of Zion, are the Howard Johnson Inn & Suites and the recently remodeled Chalet Motel .
  • For a detailed look at campgrounds in and near Zion, see our article on the Best Campgrounds near Zion National Park .


Places to Visit in Utah: One of the highlights of any trip to Utah is exploring Utah parks . For hikers, this is a dream destination. To get started see our list of Utah's best hiking trails . For a general overview of places you shouldn't miss in Utah, see our list of best places to visit in Utah .

If you are traveling through Southern Utah and interested in hiking, you'll definitely want to check out the best hiking trails in Bryce Canyon NP .

Farther east, you'll find all kinds of things to do in Moab , one of Utah's great outdoor destinations, including hiking and sightseeing in Arches National Park and mountain biking.


Camping in the Southwest : One of the best ways to experience the parks is through camping. Wake up each morning on location. You can find all the best places to camp in our articles on the best campgrounds near Bryce Canyon National Park , Capitol Reef National Park , and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks near Moab . A little less discovered but perhaps equally impressive, is camping around St. George .

In Nevada and California, discover the best campgrounds near Las Vegas and in Joshua Tree National Park .

instagram logo

More on Utah

Utah Travel Guide

  • Work With Us
  • Blogging Bootcamp

Two Wandering Soles

  • Van Conversion Academy
  • Campervan Shop
  • Campervan Rentals
  • Plan a Trip
  • Itineraries
  • Destinations
  • Responsible Travel
  • Family Travel
  • Budget Travel
  • Scuba Diving
  • Travel Credit Cards
  • Digital Nomad
  • Teach English Abroad
  • Blogging Resources
  • Income Reports
  • Travel Shop
  • Meet Katie & Ben
  • About Two Wandering Soles
  • Personal Stuff
  • Portfolio & Press

17 Exciting Things to Do in Zion National Park

Home » Blog » U.S.A. » 17 Exciting Things to Do in Zion National Park

Easily the most visited of Utah’s Mighty Five, Zion is known for its red rock canyons flanking the scenic Virgin River. In this ultimate guide you’ll find everything from where to stay to the best things to do in Zion National Park.

Zion National Park | Two Wandering Soles

Zion is the most visited of Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks , and one of the most popular parks in the country. There’s plenty of good reasons for its popularity.

Pine trees dot the landscape in clusters and towering red rock cliffs rise on either side of the canyon. Carving through the center is the clear Virgin River. It’s breathtaking.

Whether you’re in search of a challenging hike with epic views or you’d like a more relaxed visit seeking out waterfalls and splashing in the river (or you want both!), Zion National Park will leave you starry-eyed.

But you’re not the only one who wants to enjoy the famed beauty of this National Park. Be prepared to experience its grandeur amongst crowds, no matter what day of the week you arrive.

In the article below, we have outlined everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip, including lots of exciting things to do in Zion National Park. Plus, we’ll share our secrets for how to avoid the crowds and all the items you should definitely put on your packing list.

Zion National Park Guide

  • Park overview
  • How to get there
  • Getting around in the park

Entrance fees and tickets

  • Best time to visit
  • How many days to spend in the park

Things to do in Zion National Park

  • Where to stay
  • What to pack
  • Tips for visiting Zion

Zion National Park at a glance

Zion National Park

  • Open: Year-round (shuttle operations vary in the off season)
  • Entrance Fee: $35/vehicle, $30/motorcycle, $20/hiking & biking, or free with your America the Beautiful Pass
  • Wildlife: Mule deer, squirrels, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, coyotes, and jackrabbits.
  • Established: 1909
  • Ancestral Lands: Zion, originally named Mukuntuweap, was home to dozens of tribes and subtribes for centuries. Tribes like the Southern Paiutes, Ancestral Puebloans, and the Parowan Fremont used the area for hunting and gathering.
  • Area: 146,597 acres

How to get to Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Situated in southwestern Utah, there are many different ways to approach Zion, depending on which direction you’re coming from. While some craft an ultimate road trip from their hometowns, some opt to fly into either of the closest airports to Zion and drive from there.

The closest airports to Zion National Park are Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas (2.5 hours away), making Zion one of the best day trips from Las Vegas . 

The Salt Lake City International Airport is the second closest at  4.4 hours away. If you’re only visiting Zion, it’s best to fly into Vegas, but if you’re road tripping all of Utah’s Mighty 5, you can go with either one.

Psst! Start your trip off by first exploring all the best things to do in Las Vegas (besides gambling!). 

Driving to Zion National Park

Zion National Park

When it comes to driving to Zion National Park, there are a few different ways you can access the park:

  • Highway 9 East : If you’re on a Utah Parks road trip, you’ll likely be entering Zion through the East entrance. This route is conveniently part of the Zion Mount-Carmel Highway, one of the best things to do in Zion National Park, so you can check this off on your way to the park. You’ll follow Highway 89 south, then get onto Highway 9 in Mt. Carmel Junction. 
  • Highway 9 West : If you’re coming directly from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, you’ll get to Zion via the South entrance. From Salt Lake City, you’ll follow I-15 south to Toquerville, then link onto Highway 9 via N Toquerville Blvd that will take you all the way to the park. From Vegas, you’ll follow I-15 north to St. George, then link onto Highway 9 to Zion.
Psst! Be sure to check out this ultimate Zion to Bryce Canyon National Park itinerary if you’re headed there next! Or, you can easily add Zion to a 1-week Southwest US road trip .

Shuttles to Zion National Park

Shuttles aren’t the most popular way to get to Zion National Park, but they are available from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and many other cities in Utah. The St. George Shuttle offers rides that are comfortable and highly-rated.

With the longer routes to Zion (Las Vegas and Salt Lake City), you cannot book online. You’ll have to contact their services directly to schedule a ride. However, there is a direct shuttle to Springdale form the following cities: St. George, Hurricane, La Verkin, Virgin, Springdale, and Zion.

View and book shuttles to Zion National Park . 

Getting around in Zion National Park

There are no cars allowed in Zion National Park, but that doesn’t mean getting around is difficult by any stretch. There are a handful of different ways to get around in Zion that are seamless, adventurous, or even free!

Free shuttle service

Zion National Park free shuttle

Zion National Park implemented a free shuttle service in 2020 to reduce congestion, lessen pollution, resolve parking issues, and protect vegetation. It doesn’t require any reservation or pass to ride and it makes getting around the park super easy and convenient. 

The shuttle runs from the Zion National Park Visitor Center to the Temple of Sinawava, and makes stops along the way at various trails and viewpoints. 

Shuttles come by every 15-minutes and fill up quickly since seats are minimal. There are two buses and they complete 2-3 shuttle loops every hour.

Tip: It’s important to remember that the shuttle will not stop unless you inform the driver of where you need to be dropped off or if there are people waiting to be picked up. 

If the shuttle is full, it will not stop to pick you up. For this reason, don’t rely on the very last shuttle to get back into town. If it winds up being full, you’ll be left to walk (up to 9 miles!) back to the Visitor Center.

Note: If you’re not staying inside Zion, there is an additional shuttle that runs from Springdale to Zion Canyon Village. This is only a short walk from the Visitor Center shuttle stop heading into Zion.

Get more information about Zion’s free shuttle service here .

eBike rentals

Biking the scenic drive in Zion

Electric bike rentals have become a popular activity and transit option in Zion since the ban on vehicles. Plus you’ll have a nice breeze against the scorching hot desert temperatures. 

Zion Outfitter in Springdale is a great place to rent from because the shop is right next to the south entrance of Zion. So you can pick up your rental and immediately be biking your way down the Pa’rus Trail. It’s quick and they’re one of the highest rated rentals in town.

The shop offers three different types of bike rentals, so you can rest your legs with an eBike or go old-school with a pedal bike:

  • Pedal-assist eBike: $79/day
  • Adult bikes: $39/day before 12:00 pm, $29/day after 12:00 pm
  • Child bikes: $29/day before 12:00 pm, $19/day after 12:00 pm

Driving (off season ONLY)

When the shuttles aren’t running, Zion will open its famous Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to passenger cars. This is one of the main selling points of visiting Zion in the off-season, right along with the diminished crowds. 

If you want to self-drive through the park, it’s important to plan your visit during the days the shuttles don’t run. They update the shuttle schedules yearly, so double check the current schedule , but here is a good overview:

Shuttles run :

  • Daily from March to November
  • Weekends in February and March
  • Near the end of December for the holidays.

Wanna try out van life while visiting Zion National Park?

Vanlife in Zion National Park

It’s no secret we’re obsessed with #vanlife. If you don’t have the time (or interest!) in building your own conversion but you still want to give van life a test drive, we’ve got some ideas for you.

In fact, we have an entire guide about the  best campervan rentals in Salt Lake City . It’s loaded with useful info and helpful advice so you can have an incredible Utah campervan trip.

One company we’d recommend looking into is Escape Campervans . They have 12 different locations across North America (including Las Vegas and Salt Lake City). And they come fully loaded with all the gear you need for an epic road trip. Plus, their rates are fair and affordable.

BONUS: We’ve partnered with them to give you a 10% off discount when you use our link !

We have plenty of recommendations for campervan-friendly campsites in the where to stay section below.

  • Private vehicle: $35, valid for 7 days
  • Motorcycle: $30, valid for 7 days
  • Per person: $20, valid for 7 days

National Park Pass

If you’re planning to visit more than one of Utah’s “Mighty 5” National Parks , we’d highly encourage you to look into getting an annual park pass . At $35 per vehicle, entering Zion, along with most other national parks in the U.S., can be expensive.

For just $80 per year, you can purchase the America the Beautiful park pass. This pass grants you free access to all of the national parks. Plus it also covers your entrance to over 2,000 natural, historical, and recreational sites across the United States.

If you still need convincing, check out our article: America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass: Is it Worthwhile?

Psst! Check out some of our other favorite national parks on the west coast & Western U.S. that make great adventure and hiking destinations.

How many days do you need in Zion?

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is so massive it would take you a while to get bored in this park! We always recommend spending as much time as you can in a place, but we get it if you don’t have the time to spare on your itinerary. Here’s what 1-4 days would look like in the park:

  • 1 day : too short, but you can see a few highlights
  • 2 days : you can see some of the major attractions, but it would still be on the short end.
  • 3 days : you will have time to see all the major sights as well as get off the beaten path
  • 4 days : you might even have some time to relax!

When is the best time to visit Zion?

Zion National Park

Spring and early summer are great times to visit Zion National Park . The monsoon season between mid-July to September should be avoided because of the risk of flash floods, and walking through the Narrows will be tricky.

If you are visiting during monsoon season, the Narrows won’t be impossible to hike, but it will be important for you to check the weather forecast for Zion (and surrounding areas!). 

The day before, or day of, you intend to hike, go to the Visitor Center and check in with the rangers. They will have a weather forecast and will be able to give you sound advice.

Fall and winter could also be enjoyable times to visit depending on your interests. During the off season, there aren’t any running shuttles, allowing you to walk, bike, or drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. 

Crowds are fewer and the weather is opposite to the intense summer heat which makes hiking much more enjoyable. Just be sure to pack the correct hiking gear if the trails have ice or snow.

Psst! Did you know Zion is one of the best national parks to visit in winter ?

Zion National Park map

cool places to visit in zion

The map above displays the main entrances, campgrounds, lodging options, and locations for the best things to do in Zion National Park. 

Zion is filled with rich history, iconic hikes, and exciting adventures for all types of explorers. With so much to do inside the park, it would take you years to see it all. Here are the top recommended things to do in Zion National Park. 

1. Hike the narrows

The Narrows Zion National Park

  • Distance: 8.9 miles, out and back
  • Elevation gain: 695 feet
  • Difficulty rating: Challenging
  • View the trail notes

One of the most unique hiking experiences in the world takes you up the river and through the hundred foot walls of Zion Canyon. The hike is an experience unlike any other where you can access the heart of Zion National Park at the ‘narrowest’ (and most unique!) part of the canyon. 

The Narrows can be hiked two ways: top-bottom or bottom-up. 

If you have backpacking experience, the top-bottom route is the best way to avoid crowds and get off the beaten path, otherwise almost everyone visits the Narrows from the bottom-up.

Psst! We have a complete guide to hiking The Narrows on our sister site!

The Narrows Zion National Park

Before you set out and hike it’s crucial that you check the flow rate of the Virgin River . An ideal rate is under 70 cubic feet/second. Check the weather, and get the proper gear. 

There are many places to rent gear in Springdale including Zion Guru . You’ll want to reserve in advance in case they sell out. 

Once you’ve checked those boxes, the Narrows hike begins at the Temple of Sinawava. The best part about this trail is that you can go in as far into the canyon as you want, so it’s the perfect all-around hike for incredible views no matter your experience level. 

Tip: Be sure to bring a dry bag , since you’ll be hiking in water the majority of the way.

This article is full of practical tips you should know before hiking The Narrows .

2. Climb Angel’s Landing 

Angels Landing Zion National Park

  • Distance: 4.4 miles, out and back 
  • Elevation gain: 1,604 feet

Just after the Narrows, Angels Landing is one of the best hikes in Zion National Park , and one of the main reasons hikers flock here. If you don’t mind heights and enjoy a good adrenaline rush, this trail should be at the top of your Zion itinerary.

The intense 4.4-mile trail requires you to conquer 21 steep switchbacks known as “Walter’s Wiggles.” Then you’ll need to scale a narrow-spined rock ledge with a 1,200 foot drop on either side. 

If this is a bit too much, you can hike out to the panoramic views at Scout’s Lookout, just before the chain section, and then hike back down.

Walters Wiggles Zion National Park

At the top of Angel’s Landing, you’ll be rewarded with the most expansive views of Zion Canyon, the Virgin River, and the vast landscapes of Zion National Park.

In order to hike Angel’s Landing, you’ll need a permit. For $6, you can enter a daily or seasonal lottery. The season lottery is live only four months out of the year: January, April, July, and October. 

Scout’s Lookout Zion National Park

You can apply for a lottery permit here and also view important dates for seasonal lottery releases. The daily lottery goes live starting March 31, and is open from 12:01 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. MST. 

Alternatively, at 4:00 p.m. daily, permits are issued for hikes the following day. This is a great option if you didn’t win the seasonal lottery since it gives you an extra last minute chance to score a permit.

Read up on some more tips on Angel’s Landing before beginning your hike.

3. Rent an eBike

One of the best ways to get off the beaten path in Zion National Park is by renting an eBike. Since you cannot drive around the park and everyone is crowded at the shuttle stops, a bike will give you access to the scenic and peaceful miles between stops.

Refer to the above section on getting around in Zion for suggestions on bike rentals. 

You can bike anywhere in Zion, but there are a couple of routes that are the most ideal:

Pa’rus Trail : This is one of the most accessible trails in the park as it’s right behind the Visitor Center and completely paved. This 1.7-mile trail follows the Virgin River and gives you the option to stop into the Zion Human History Museum along the way.

Tip: Because this is a popular trail for anyone visiting Zion, you’ll want to do this trail in either the morning or evening to avoid crowds.

Pa’rus Trail Zion National Park

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive : If you’re visiting during Zion’s main tourism season, this road is only open to shuttles and bikers, so you can enjoy the views along this 32-mile scenic drive in a more immersive way.

Start on the Pa’rus Trail, then continue to the road at the Canyon Junction. 

To do the full route, ride all the way to the Temple of Sinawava, then coast back the way you came. 

If you want to skip the uphill on the way up, you can take the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava, then enjoy a downhill ride back to the Visitor Center. 

Note: If you plan to take the shuttle with your bikes, each shuttle can only take 3 bikes at a time.

Biking in Zion National Park is completely safe, even with the shuttles running. A shuttle won’t pass you unless you have one foot on the ground, and there are no cars allowed on this route, so it will be a very peaceful ride. 

4. Explore the Zion Human History Museum

Zion Human History Museum (NPS)

Although Zion was established in 1909, there were indigenous tribes that inhabited the canyon and surrounding area for centuries. You can learn about these tribes and the Euro-American colonizers at the Zion Human History for a better understanding of the park’s history.

Inside the museum there are a variety of exhibits where you can learn about the Nuwuvi/Southern Paiute people. These were the people who first named the park and have resided here from 1250 CE to present day. 

Other exhibits include history on Ancestral Puebloans, Fremont cultures, and you can even see artifacts that prove that the land in and around Zion has been inhabited since 7000 BCE.

Along with the indigenous history of the park, you will also learn about the early Mormon settlers of Zion that came to the area in the mid-1800s. 

The U.S. National Parks have an interesting, and sometimes rather dark history, so this museum is a great way to learn more and educate yourself about the history of Zion National Park. 

5. Visit the Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools Zion National Park

  • Distance: 3 miles, loop
  • Elevation gain: 620 feet
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate

Cool down in Zion along the Emerald Pools Trail. The shady 3-mile trail connects a few pools of breathtaking emerald water and features waterfalls you can walk behind. 

This is one of the ideal things to do in Zion National Park for families, or if you’ve already tackled a challenging hike and are looking for an easier trail to explore.

The oasis of Emerald Pools is located just behind the Zion Lodge. There are a few different ways to access the three pools: Upper, Middle, and Lower. 

Emerald Pools Zion National Park

The easiest is a 1.4-mile loop trail that leads to the Lower Pool. The other two trails are moderate with a 2.4-mile out and back trail to Middle and Lower Pools and a 3-mile hike to all three (stats shown above).

We recommend visiting all three pools on the classic Emerald Pools Trail since it’s still a relatively short, moderate hike involving the pools, waterfalls, shady maple trees, and stunning vistas.

It’s important to note that the waterfalls are best experienced in the springtime or after it has rained. If you’re visiting during a dry period, they may not be as flowing as some photos suggest. 

Psst! Check out this list of easy hikes in Zion National Park that can be done with kiddos in tow. 

6. Search for petroglyphs

Some of the last remnants the indigenous tribes left behind in Zion are thousands of rock carvings, known as petroglyphs . These are pictures and symbols that were chiseled into rock faces using stone chisels and hammers.

Many of these sites are not openly advertised to the public to prevent vandalism, so you’ll need to talk to one of the park rangers for permission and more guidance if you want to see other locations. Keep in mind, there are a handful of sites they do not disclose at all.

While visiting petroglyphs, it’s crucial that you follow Leave No Trace principles, be respectful, and do not touch the carvings. Different areas feature different pictures, but you’ll be able to spot human and animal-like figures, bighorn sheep, snakes, spirals, and circles.

  • Petroglyph Canyon : These are fairly secret in Zion and are protected by rangers and barriers. You only need to hike the first 0.6 miles of the trail to see two panels of rock carvings that were created over 1000 years ago. Along the trail, you’ll be able to awe at over 150 pictures that were carved by the Anasazi and Southern Paiutes. 
  • How to get there: About 50 yards east of the South entrance, you’ll look for a single flat rock called Sacrifice Rock with a small NPS sign on it. This rock is an ancient summer solstice marker, so on June 21st, another rock will cast a shadow that was said to resemble the “ open jaw of the coyote ”.

7. Float down the Virgin River

Biking the scenic drive in Zion

Important note : The Virgin River and other streams in Zion have experienced an ongoing bloom of cyanobacteria in the water, so as of January 2022, floating is not advised. You’ll want to avoid contact with water, do not submerge your head in water, and keep dogs and children away from it. Before considering a rental for your visit, keep an eye on updates here .

The best midday activity in Zion National Park is a float down the river that has carved Zion Canyon over millions of years. 

The only time you can do this is between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from May to July when the river conditions are favorable, making it a great way to cool down in the summertime heat.

It’s also important to note that this isn’t your typical, relaxing river float since it requires navigating rocks and small rapids. It’s best to be in good physical condition to do this activity. Adventure tubing isn’t for everyone, but it’s a TON of fun for those that enjoy this type of thing.

Virgin River float Zion National Park

The 2-mile river float starts right at Zion Outfitter , where you can conveniently rent a tube. You cannot reserve tubes in-advance as they’re on a first come first served basis, so keep that in mind if you’re visiting since it’s only open during peak season.

The float takes you through tall, shady cottonwood trees and steep canyon walls as you enjoy a mix of peaceful floating and rapid navigating. Be sure to bring a waterproof bag because everything will be soaked by the end. 

You’ll exit at Springdale Park, which is marked by signs and a large gravel pit. You can leave your tubes here, then walk to the nearest shuttle stop to head back to the outfitters or onto your next adventure in Zion National Park.

Be sure to pack closed-toed water shoes , sunscreen, a dry bag , and a lightweight travel towel !

8. Watch the sunset at the Canyon Junction Bridge

Canyon Junction Bridge Zion National Park

The most photographed location in Zion National Park is the view at the Canyon Junction Bridge since it has the best views of the Watchman Peak. Most commonly visited at sunset, you’ll enjoy the towering rock formation illuminated by the red-orange light of golden hour.

The bridge is at the junction between Zion Canyon Road and Zion Park Boulevard. It’s best accessed using the shuttle since parking is extremely limited near the bridge. It’s not uncommon to see upwards of fifty photographers posted here eager to grab a photo of this incredible view. 

If you’re looking for an uncrowded place to enjoy sunset or an alternative, the Watchman Trail or the Canyon Overlook Trail are great alternatives that still have amazing views of the Watchman and additional views of Zion Canyon and the surrounding areas.

Tip: To get some awesome shots at Zion, check out this article filled with creative tips to improve your travel photography !

9. Zion Canyon Shuttle scenic tour

Biking along Scenic Drive in Zion

The shuttle tour in Zion National Park is a great way to learn more about the significant rock formations within the park, and to learn a little bit of history at each stop. This is an incredible self-drive when the shuttles aren’t running, but if you’re visiting in the summer, the shuttle is the only way to drive down it (aside from biking).

Along the drive, the shuttle will make eight different stops along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive: Zion Human History Museum, Canyon Junction, Court of the Patriarchs, Zion Lodge, the Grotto, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, and the Temple of Sinawava.

From the Zion National Park Visitor Center, it takes about 45-minutes to get to the last stop, the Temple of Sinawava. The full route without getting off will take 1.5 hours. 

It’s likely you’ll experience bits and pieces of the tour throughout the day as you hike, but it’s always nice to rest your legs and enjoy the full tour.

If you’re boarding the shuttle near the evening, or get off at any stop along the way, do not wait until the last shuttle of the day. If it comes by and it’s full, you’ll need to walk 9-miles back to the Visitor Center. 

This shuttle gives great insight into the details of the park and is totally FREE!

10. Marvel at Checkerboard Mesa

Checkerboard Mesa (Peter Druschke)

As Highway 9 cuts into the Zion National Park boundary, you’ll be amazed at the unique details of Checkerboard Mesa. The fascinating cracked patterns on the face of sandstone hills resemble the grid of a checkerboard, hence the name. 

Criss-crosses on the rock formation are due to weathering, wind direction, and a cycle of freezing and thawing. The best spots on the monolith to see these effects are on the north side, but are just as incredible from any angle. 

Checkerboard Mesa changes more and more each year, so eventually the erosion will lead to its collapse and it will break down into massive sand dunes.

This can be easily enjoyed driving along the highway, but if you want to explore more of the area, there are a few hikes. You can take the 1.1-mile Checkerboard Arch Trail up and back down to the road. This short trail is along the main 8-mile Checkerboard Mesa Canyon Trail , so keep that in mind when you’re looking at your map.

11. Take in the views at Observation Point

Observation Point (Bob Stanton)

  • Distance: 7 miles, out and back
  • Elevation gain: 702 ft

Observation Point is another one of the most praised things to do in Zion National Park. From this stunning viewpoint, you can spot Angel’s Landing, and a ton of famous mesas and mountains within Zion Canyon.

The main route to Observation point is closed due to rockfall, but there is a different, easier way to access the viewpoint right now, known locally as “ the old man’s way ”. This route is accessed via the East Mesa Trailhead that’s on the eastern edge of the park near Zion Ponderosa Ranch.

The roads out there are a little more rugged and 4WD is recommended to get all the way to the trailhead, but you can opt to park further away and walk the rest of the way to the trailhead if you’re not comfortable with your car’s abilities. Do not attempt this road in rain because you’ll likely get stuck. 

Luckily, the trail is around 7-miles and is a casual walk compared to Observation Point’s original route of 8-miles and over 2000 feet of elevation gain. The original route is by far more scenic, but both trails end at the same gorgeous viewpoint. 

View the status of the trails here to get updates on openings.  

12. Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel scenic highway

Zion National Park

As you drive towards Zion’s east entrance, you’ll gaze in awe at this scenic highway. The scenery is the main eye candy as you drive in, but the history of the highway is just as fascinating. 

The construction of this road was considered impossible because of many geological setbacks, but after going through 146 tons of dynamite, the road was finally finished in 1930, and was considered one of the greatest road-building accomplishments in history for the time period.

With the drive’s combination of staggering beauty and advanced engineering, it’s known as one of the most scenic drives out of all the National Parks. Beginning at the classic National Park entry sign, the road takes you through mile-long rock tunnels, hairpin switchbacks, and among some of the best views of Zion.

Many people take this route to enter the park, so aim for the early morning or late evening to avoid all the traffic. In peak season, traffic can come to a stand still. But even then, being stuck on a road as scenic as this could be considered a blessing.

13. Get off the beaten path in Kolob Canyon

Kolob Canyon Zion National Park

With as popular as Zion National Park is, you wouldn’t expect there to be much solitude anywhere in the park, but the Kolob Canyons section is an exception. Northwest of all the action in Zion Canyon, you’ll find towering rock formations, quiet, scenic trails, and feel more immersed in Zion’s wilderness.

From the South entrance of Zion, it’s about a 45-minute drive to the Kolob Canyon’s section. 

Many people who visit Zion are only here for a few days, which is why this area is so overlooked, but even if you only come out here to drive the Kolob Fingers Scenic Byway and Kolob Terrace Road, you won’t regret it.

There are a variety of different pull offs and scenic lookouts to take in the stunning red finger canyons of the area. 

Additionally, there are a ton of amazing hiking trails worth exploring like the Taylor Creek Trail for historic cabins, scenic alcoves, and the weeping rock formation near the end. Spring Canyon and the Kolob Arch trails are worth exploring as well if you have extra time in this area.

14. Go on a canyoneering tour

Canyoneering in Zion National Park (GYG)

One of the best things to do in Zion National Park to get off the beaten path is to join a canyoneering tour. Canyoneering is a blend of many different hiking techniques to explore a slot canyon: hiking, scrambling, sliding, and the occasional repel depending on where you go. 

There are so many canyons and slot canyons around Zion to be explored no matter your experience level, so if you want to try something new, this is one of the best ways to experience a new hobby or adventure with expert, welcoming guides.

There are a ton of guided tours offered in Springdale that all offer beginner routes, or that will cater to your experience level: 

  • Half-day canyoneering tour : This 4-hour adventure is an ideal intro tour for beginners. After meeting with your guides, you’ll go over a safety briefing then head just outside of Zion to begin exploring. With your group and guide, you’ll work together to hike, climb, repel, and even squeeze your way through the untouched walls of Zion.
  • Full-day canyoneering tour : Whether you’re an experienced canyoneer or an eager beginner, this full day tour has 10 unique rappels that reach up to 100-feet. You’ll receive a safety briefing before you head out to explore the otherworldly red walls you won’t find anywhere else in the world. 

15. Star gazing

One of the most admirable things about the U.S. National Park Service is their commitment to maintaining the most natural experience while still making the outdoors accessible. The best way Zion has done this is by making changes over the years to reduce the amount of light pollution inside the park. 

On clear nights in Zion, you can see billions of stars, planets, constellations, meteor showers, and even the milky way! Experiencing the glittering night sky of the park is the best way to wrap up a perfect day of hiking and exploring.

You can enjoy the starry nights from anywhere in the park, but it’s recommended by the rangers to head to the Pa’rus Trail and the Zion Human History Museum. It’s not advised to be on other hiking trails in the pitch black because of steep cliff sides, exposure, and chances of a wildlife encounter along the trails. 

An underrated place for stargazing is on the Zion Mount-Carmel Highway. The road and surrounding areas are expansive, so you won’t have anything obstructing your view of the sky. It’s also excellent because of the many different pull offs. 

To have the best experience stargazing, make sure you pack a headlamp or flashlight with a red light feature. Download a stargazing app to help you identify star clusters.

16. Backpack the West Rim Trail

cool places to visit in zion

  • Distance: 14.1 miles, point-to-point
  • Elevation gain: 1,748 feet

Backpacking Zion’s Wilderness is missed by most, but it is one of the most scenic ways to enjoy the park. 

A backpacking trip is packing everything you need for camping and basic survival into a backpack and hiking along a trail for any desired number of days. It requires tedious planning, but the effort reaps a massive award.

Important note : Backpacking, while incredible, requires proper gear and advanced planning in order to be done safely. Be mindful of your capabilities and experience levels to keep yourself before heading out. Read up on these tips for backpacking for beginners . 

The 14-mile West Rim Trail is famed among the backpacking community and is best done as an overnight trip starting at Lava Point. It’s best hiked ‘top-bottom’, and requires a wilderness permit in order to camp along the trail. 

The most impressive part about this trail is experiencing the contrast of the gray-colored upper canyon vs. the brilliant oranges of the lower canyon.

The trail is lined with unique ponderosas, sagebrush, and yucca starting out, before it descends down into the main canyon. This is one of the most remote trails in Zion, so the views are unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!

17. Take on the Subway

The Subway Trail Zion National Park (Jamie Hill)

  • Distance: 9.1 miles, out and back
  • Elevation gain: 1,305 feet

There are many geological wonders in Zion National Park, but the Subway takes the cake for being the most magnificent. This hollowed out canyon resembles tunnels of a subway station and has a handful of pools that add to the beauty of this alcove.

The Subway can be explored two ways, top-bottom and bottom-up. Both routes require permits , and the top-bottom route requires technical canyoneering skills to complete safely. The bottom-up route is the perfect challenge for experienced hikers to one of the best views in Zion.

You can expect the ~9-mile trail to take an average of 5-8 hours to complete, but it varies depending on trail conditions, fitness levels, and experience level. You’ll want to pack plenty of hiking snacks , water, and filtration if necessary to comfortably hike this trail.

There are 60 permits available per day for the Subway that are released 6 months in advance, and 20 are available for walk-ups and last-minute draws. Lotteries for hikes in the U.S. are notoriously difficult and frustrating, but you won’t regret putting in the work for this spectacular trail.

Where to stay in Zion National Park

The best places to stay in Zion are either in the park itself or in the neighboring town of Springdale. No matter what your budget is, you can find a nice place to stay for your trip to Zion National Park.

Lodging inside the park

Lodging that’s actually inside Zion is extremely limited, but luckily there are a ton of amazing stays in the neighboring town of Springdale. It’s crucial that you book these in advance to get a room.

cool places to visit in zion

Zion National Park Lodge : This lodge is the only hotel that’s actually inside the park. Their free parking is a massive plus since there are severely limited spots, and there are a couple on site restaurants to escape the midday heat. It’s in a prime location and books up nearly a year in advance!

cool places to visit in zion

Cable Mountain Lodge : This stay is located right outside the South entrance in Springdale. You can’t beat their private beach, outdoor pool, hot tub, and canyon views. 

cool places to visit in zion

Driftwood Lodge : This hotel is south of downtown Springdale and is an ideal place to stay since it’s one of the stops on the town’s shuttle. Get access to the Virgin River, cool down in their outdoor pool, and have access to all the restaurants and shops in town.

Campgrounds in Zion National Park

There are a handful of campgrounds in Zion, all of which are reservable in advance. You’ll want to book these sites as soon as you know you’re going to Zion because these campsites are in a prime location and highly sought-after.

  • The Watchman Campground : This campsite is along the Virgin River at the park’s south entrance. It doesn’t have showers, but it is inside the park and is walking distance from the Visitor Center shuttle stop. Reservations open 6-months in advance and book up FAST. 
  • The South Campground : Just past the Watchman campground is the South Campground. It offers the same amenities as the other, except this is more ideal if you didn’t book in advance since the sites open 14 days in advance. These book up almost as soon as they drop, especially in high season.
  • Lava Point Campground : This Zion campground is in the remote, northern area of the park that’s perfect for exploring lesser-known trails. It’s considered primitive, so there are only pit toilets and you need to bring in necessary supplies like water to be comfortable. You must reserve online, in-advance as the limited spots fill quickly.

Campgrounds outside the park

TWS The Dyrt banner (30)

Camping inside Zion National Park is more convenient but, if you aren’t able to get a spot in the park, there are many campgrounds located around the park as well. 

If you’re traveling in a campervan or simply hoping to save money on your visit to Zion National Park by camping along the way, we have a deal for you!

The Dyrt is our favorite campsite locating app with the largest database of campgrounds (44,000+ campsites and counting!) and over 1 million user-submitted reviews. Plus, it’s super user-friendly, and has some pretty cool features, like outdoor gear contests and forums to connect and seek advice from fellow campers, that you won’t find on any other camping app.

Try their Pro Membership for FREE for 30 days and gain access to the offline version of the app, utilize their trip planning feature AND get exclusive discounts on campsites and gear!

What to pack for visiting Zion National Park

Zion National Park

  • Comfortable daypack
  • We take our insulated Hydroflask water bottles with us everywhere, but for hiking, we especially love the Grayl water purifying bottles 
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat
  • Bug spray (we prefer the natural stuff )
  • Camera (be sure you have a bag so you can put away your camera for the Angel’s landing hike!)
  • Tripod ( this is our favorite for hiking)
  • Note: If you plan to hike the Narrows, Subway, or float the Virgin River, you’ll want to bring close-toed shoes that can get wet. Keen makes great shoes for just this purpose!
  • Comfortable hiking clothes (always dress in layers!)
  • Swimwear (if you’re visiting in the summer and plan to take a dip)
  • Check out some of our favorite hiking snacks for ideas!
  • AllTrails Pro (or download Google Maps offline for the area in case you lose service)

Tips for visiting Zion National Park

Angels Landing Zion National Park 4

  • Start early to avoid crowds .This is our biggest tip to avoid the crowds. The lines for the shuttle get exponentially long after 7:30 a.m., and the hikes get crowded as well. To avoid feeling like you’re in Disney World, start early in the morning, then take a break during the busy afternoon. Head out again in the early evening for that Golden Hour glow.
  • Stock up on groceries before getting to Zion. The grocery store in Springdale, the closest town, is ridiculously overpriced for many things (though it’s good to know it’s there if needed). We saw a bag of chips priced more than $9 USD! ‘Nuff said!
  • Plan “big hikes” for the morning . Zion’s main three trails: Angel’s Landing, the Narrows, and Observation Point are the three hardest and busiest hikes in the park. It’s best to tackle these in the morning when crowds are slimmer and the weather is much cooler. This is easy to do if your trip is spread out over several days.
  • Talk to the rangers : A quick stop into the Visitor Center can give you tons of insight for your trip. If there is anyone that knows the park like the back of their hand, it’s the Zion National Park rangers!

Check out our other Utah National Park guides

  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park

Save this article on Pinterest for later!

Things to Do in Zion National Park | Two Wandering Soles

We want to hear from you!

Which is these things to do in Zion National Park is going straight to the top of your bucket list? Have you been to Zion National Park? What was your favorite part? Leave your comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

Comments (8) on “ 17 Exciting Things to Do in Zion National Park ”

Totally agree with getting that early start. We went all the way out to the Narrows walk on the first bus on one of the mornings we were there. By the time we were making our way out to another stop say around 10am onwards, buses were full to the brim with park visitors.

We made sure we had enough food with us each day, so we didn’t need to leave the park until around dusk or when we were done for the day.

Is it good idea to travel zion during mid of feb. Traveling with family, have one kid.

My wife and I just brought our bikes with us to Zion. The temperature was between 65 and 85 and the Scenic Drive was perfect for biking. We felt sorry for all the people we passed waiting in line to be packed into shuttle buses.

Very good! I’ll have to send some of my guests from http://www.risingkranchtrailrides.com over to this article!

Amazing pictures for a fantastic ride !

Why thank you!

Great guide! I recently visited Zion and agree with all your tips, especially getting there early. We got there at 6:00 a.m. and left at 2:00 p.m., and the line for the shuttle was horrifying! I wrote a little guide about Observation Point, an 8-mile round trip hike in Zion with stunning views – especially since Angel’s Landing is currently closed. Hope you will check it out!


Thanks for sharing Stephine. I just checked Zion NPS website and they are saying that Angel’s Landing should open up around mid- to late-September 2018. Hope this helps anyone planning their trip.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

A first-timer’s guide to Zion National Park

Lauren Keith

May 6, 2024 • 12 min read

cool places to visit in zion

Plan your trip to Zion National Park with this first-timer's guide © Mark Muratore / Shutterstock

Heavenly Zion National Park is the holy grail of Utah’s "Mighty 5"  and one of the most-visited national parks in the country. 

The towering red and white cliffs of Zion Canyon, one of Utah's most dramatic natural wonders, loom high over the Virgin River, and are enshrined in the park’s original name, Mukuntuweap, the Native Paiute word meaning "straight canyon." Mormon settlers who arrived here in the 19th century rechristened it Zion, an ancient Hebrew word meaning "sanctuary."

It’s impossible not to be overcome by the awesomeness of Zion, and the names of its prominent features and rock formations reflect the early Anglo view that Zion is a place on a higher plane: Angels Landing, Court of the Patriarchs , Cathedral Mountain and the Temple of Sinawava, named for the Paiute coyote spirit.

Hiking through the Virgin River in the Narrows or gaping at the canyon from the top of Angels Landing after a 1500ft ascent is indeed amazing, but for all its might and majesty, Zion National Park also holds smaller and more delicate beauties: sandstone rocks "weeping" with water, tiny grottoes, hanging gardens and mesa-top wildflower meadows.

Zion’s beauty is no secret. Nearly five million people pass through its entrances every year, making it the third most-visited national park in the United States . Summers can sometimes feel claustrophobic, and more mandatory permits have been introduced to control the crowds. But quieter corners can still be found, and much of Zion's 232 sq miles are little-visited backcountry.

If it’s your first time visiting Zion National Park, here’s a guide to what you need to know before you go.

A passage through a canyon with a curved overhang almost forming a tunnel

When should I go to Zion National Park?

Zion is one of the most-visited national parks in the United States, and about half a million people pour through the park’s entrances every month between April and October. The best times to visit Zion National Park, spring and autumn, bring balmy temperatures and relief from sweaty summers and frosty winters, but these seasons also attract crowds looking to enjoy the park at its prime.

However, if you’re set on hiking the Narrows, spring and summer can be tricky times to visit. The springtime snowmelt that feeds the Virgin River can send water levels soaring, and when the flow of water is faster than 150 cubic feet per second, the National Park Service closes the hike. The Virgin River’s flow rate in spring is unpredictable: sometimes the Narrows will close in early March and not open until late June, and other years the hike will remain open all season. The National Park Service posts current closure notices and dates from previous years on its website .

In summer, flash flooding in the Narrows and other Utah slot canyons is a genuine threat, and hikers have died from being swept away in the rushing waters. The rain doesn’t necessarily have to fall in the park – a surge of stormwater can flow down the river even when the sun is shining overhead. Heed all warnings posted by the National Park Service before you set out on a hike.

Some of Zion’s most popular hikes and activities – including Angels Landing, the Subway and the top-down route of the Narrows – require permits that are issued by lottery, so when you visit might be dependent on when you can score a permit. Far fewer people apply for wintertime permits, though these hikes, especially those in water, require extra care and equipment.

How much time should I spend at Zion National Park?

While you can zip through Zion Canyon in a day, you’d miss out on getting to the heart of this gorgeous national park. With limited time, hop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle from the Visitor Center and set off on the shorter hikes that give a taste of Zion’s unique landscape. Ride the shuttle bus to the last stop, Temple of Sinawava, and take the 2-mile round-trip Riverside Walk, a dry, paved route alongside the Virgin River. The paved trail ends where the Narrows begin, but if you’re short on time, resist the river and check out Zion’s other watery features: the delicate hanging gardens at Weeping Rock and the three Emerald Pools, where clusters of tiny, fragile plants cling to near-vertical rock walls, fed by water seeping out of the sandstone.

If you have more time, tackle Zion Canyon’s longer and more challenging hikes – Angels Landing (permit required) and the Narrows (additional gear often required) – and visit East Zion and Kolob Canyons.

A bus with two separate compartments drive on a road through a red-rock canyon

Is it easy to get to and around Zion National Park?

Yes, depending on your starting destination, it’s easy to get to Zion National Park, even without a car. The largest major airport closest to Zion is in Las Vegas , and shuttle bus companies can whisk you to the gateway town of Springdale in about three hours. (The closer Utah town of St George has a small airport with just a few direct flights.)

Getting around Zion Canyon without a car is also easy – and even required for much of the year. From March to the end of November, the National Park Service runs the free Zion Canyon Shuttle between the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and the Temple of Sinawava, the location of the trailheads for the Riverside Walk and the Narrows. Private vehicles are not allowed on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, the road through the canyon, when these shuttle buses are operating.

If you’re staying in Springdale, a separate but also free shuttle bus stops along the town’s main street, where most of the hotels are located. The Springdale Line Shuttle ends a short walk from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Limited free parking is available inside the park; arrive as early as possible. Otherwise, it costs $20 to park in Springdale.

The main part of Zion National Park has two ways in: the south entrance near Springdale and the east entrance a short drive from Hwy 89. Near the national park’s east entrance, the historic 1.1-mile Zion–Mt Carmel Tunnel was once the longest tunnel in the country. It was completed in 1930 to the specifications for cars at that time (it’s just 22ft wide), so today’s RVs and other oversized vehicles are a tight squeeze. If your vehicle is wider than 7ft 10in or taller than 11ft 4in, you must pay $15 for a tunnel permit and drive through during specified hours when rangers are present so that the tunnel can be converted to one-way traffic.

You need a car to visit the lesser-seen areas of Zion National Park, including Kolob Canyons and Kolob Terrace Rd. These areas are not served by regular shuttle buses or other public transportation.

A vast canyon stretches out into the distance

Top things to do at Zion National Park

The 5000ft of elevation change from Zion Canyon’s floor to the park’s highest peak provides an astounding range of environments. Even the park’s two main hikes – the Narrows and Angels Landing – are polar opposites: one wades through river water that churns through a slot canyon, and the other embarks on a chain-assisted white-knuckle climb to a narrow plateau so high that a minister visiting in the early 1900s quipped that "only angels could land there." 

Angels Landing permits are required to hike the final stretch – the famous part where hikers pull themselves up by chains to reach the overlook with sheer drops and 360-degree views – but you can go as far as Scout Lookout without a permit. For our money, if you’re already putting in the work to conquer Walter’s Wiggles, a series of 21 steep switchbacks on the hike up, you might as well reward your athletic efforts with the full experience and get the Angels Landing permit.

The three Emerald Pools (Lower, Middle and Upper) and Weeping Rock offer gentler trails to oasis-like hanging gardens where plants cling to dripping seeps on the canyon walls. Note: at the time of writing, Weeping Rock was inaccessible due to rockfall. Check online for the latest information before heading out.

Zion Canyon certainly hogs the spotlight, but it’s not the only part of the national park. In East Zion, Observation Point stands 700ft above Angels Landing, but it feels like cheating to reach the viewpoint along the flat woodland path, gloriously skipping the sweaty haul up Walter’s Wiggles. Observation Point was previously accessible from Zion Canyon via the East Rim Trail, but this route has been closed since 2019 because of a landslide and has yet to reopen.

The area around Zion’s east entrance has several more trailheads, and another excellent hiking option is Cable Mountain. At the end of the hike and at the edge of the canyon, the remnants of the historic Cable Mountain Draw Works are a reminder of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people who have called this place home. The contraption was once used to lower lumber 2000ft from the East Rim mesa to the floor of Zion Canyon, reducing the timber's transport time from weeklong trips by wagon to just two minutes. Hundreds of thousands of board feet were sent into the valley, including the lumber used to build the original Zion Lodge .

You can also escape the Zion Canyon crowds by checking out the trailheads along Kolob Terrace Rd and in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. These areas aren’t connected to Zion Canyon by road, but they are on overnight backpacking trails. Kolob Canyons is actually just off Interstate 15 but doesn’t see nearly as many visitors as Zion Canyon.

Need more inspiration?  Here are the best hiking trails in Zion National Park

Hikers wade through a river in a narrow slot canyon

My favorite thing to do at Zion National Park

My hiking boots and I have spent a lot of quality time together. We’ve trekked all over the world, but I can easily say that wading through the Narrows at Zion National Park is one of my favorite hikes on the planet. The Narrows is quintessential Zion, and this wet and wild "trail" is actually the Virgin River itself. Nothing brings out the kid in me like splashing in the river, and the sense of awe is infectious as you hike through the flowing water, wondering what’s around every river bend.

Hordes of hikers visit the Narrows, but many don't walk more than a mile or two. Quieter sections await the further you go. The best part about hiking the Narrows is that you can walk for as little or as long as you'd like and still have a great time.

As an almost entirely water-based hike, the Narrows isn't your standard walk in the park. Outfitters in Springdale rent canyoneering shoes, neoprene socks, wooden walking sticks, and dry suits or bibs. You don’t necessarily have to get the gear, but what you wear in the Narrows will greatly influence your enjoyment of the hike. The Narrows is cooler than elsewhere in Zion because of the tall canyon walls, and hypothermia can be a risk in colder months. A walking stick helps you navigate the fast-moving currents on slippery rocks, and you'll want to put your phone, camera and anything else you don't want to get wet in a dry bag.

Tents and RVs camping in a national park

How much money do I need for Zion National Park?

The standard entrance pass for Zion National Park costs $35 per vehicle or $20 per person if you’re visiting on foot, and it’s valid for seven days. If you’re visiting more national parks on a road trip through Utah and beyond, it’s worth buying the America the Beautiful pass for $80. The America the Beautiful pass is valid for a year at all national parks and federal recreation land across the country for one vehicle or four per person entry fees – arguably one of the best travel deals available.

Accommodations in and around Zion National Park can be pricey. Zion Lodge costs $200 to $350 per night depending on the season and the room size, and rooms can be booked out months in advance. Tent-only campsites at Watchman Campground cost $35 a night, and sites with electrical hookups cost $45 per night. 

Tent-only campsites at Lava Point Campground off Kolob Terrace Rd are cheaper ($25 a night) but are open seasonally (usually May through September). These sites are primitive, with pit toilets and no running water. You can camp for free on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Utah, but these areas have no facilities.

What is the closest city to Zion National Park?

The town of Springdale sits at Zion National Park’s south entrance, and it’s so close that you can treat yourself to a post-hike beer at Zion Canyon Brew Pub just after leaving the park boundary. Springdale is a small town but is filled with excellent, if pricey, accommodation options, as well as lots of restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. Find cheaper accommodation options in the towns of Virgin, La Verkin and Hurricane (pronounced "hur-uh-kin") west of Zion along Hwy 9.

Where’s the best place to stay near Zion National Park?

Zion is one of Utah’s two national parks that has noncamping accommodations inside the park, at the historic Zion Lodge , opened in 1924 but rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1966. (Nearby Bryce Canyon National Park also has a lodge.) Reservations here and at Zion Canyon’s two campgrounds (Watchman Campground and South Campground, currently closed for long-term renovations) can be made up to six months in advance.

Springdale has a wealth of accommodations, though the proximity to the south entrance means higher prices. Not far from Zion’s east entrance, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is a good pick for families, with tons of on-site activities, including a climbing wall, swimming pool, mini golf and paintball. You can even glamp in a Conestoga wagon.

Zion Ponderosa is also a good base camp for travelers looking to tackle the hikes in East Zion. Its sister company East Zion Adventures runs shuttles to the trailheads for Observation Point and Cable Mountain, and it’s best to go with it because the roads are extremely rutted and parking is minimal.

Explore related stories

A person walking along a switchback trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Destination Practicalities

May 8, 2024 • 7 min read

Planning to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah? Here’s everything you need to know before you go, from what to do to when to visit.

cool places to visit in zion

May 3, 2024 • 12 min read


Apr 19, 2024 • 6 min read

cool places to visit in zion

Apr 17, 2024 • 6 min read


Apr 11, 2024 • 6 min read

cool places to visit in zion

Apr 7, 2024 • 4 min read

Couple running through Dublin's Temple Bar.

Mar 30, 2024 • 4 min read

cool places to visit in zion

Mar 30, 2024 • 5 min read

cool places to visit in zion

Feb 23, 2024 • 6 min read

  • Places To Go
  • Parks & Outdoors
  • Zion National Park


  • Weather: Chance Showers And Thunderstorms, 70F

A thousand-foot deep red rock canyon nested in dramatic surroundings. Whether you are trying to catch your breath while climbing the trail to Observation Point or watching the shadows constantly change the mood of the Court of the Patriarchs, Zion National Park is always ready to quench your appetite for outdoor wonder. Learn more about these hikes and all the other adventures you can have in Zion National Park, and be sure to check the shuttle schedule for free transportation to and throughout the park.

How to Visit Zion Winter in Zion

Discover the Zion Region

Things to do, backpacking.

Find your way out of the crowds into the park’s tranquil backcountry. Explore Zion’s backpacking camp areas, hiking trails, and preparation resources.

End your day under Zion’s internationally certified dark skies at any campgrounds within or near the park. Dispersed, developed and RV campgrounds are all available, but make your reservation early; campgrounds fill quickly during peak travel months.


Are you looking to add some adrenaline to your vacation? Explore Zion’s most popular canyoneering routes. Be sure to get the details about permits and local guide services beforehand.

Zion is famous for its remarkable hiking trails. Take an adventurous scramble up to Angels Landing or a family hike on the Emerald Pools Trails, among others. Learn more about hiking in Zion.

Horseback Riding

Trot through pine forests and red rock views during a horseback riding tour through the park. Local guides offer rides for every experience level, and are available year-round in certain park regions.

Winter Activities

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Zion National Park is a great place to enjoy sunny skies, fresh air and get a little extra Vitamin D in the winter months. Plan a winter visit to soak up the sunshine while enjoying moderate temperatures and a stunning sandstone kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and pinks. Winter visitors will find plenty to do, including hiking, photography and gazing up at the wonders of the night sky.

Showing 0 of 0

Where to stay

Hotels and lodging.

Numerous lodging options, from hotels to bed and breakfasts, are available in the park and nearby Springdale, East Zion and St. George, Utah. Visitors may also opt for overnight accommodations in or near the less-trafficked parts of Zion: Cedar City and Kanab.

Where to Stay near Zion

South Campground and Watchman Campground are the nearest to Zion’s primary entrance on scenic S.R. 9, just outside of Springdale. The Lava Point Campground is further north, about an hour outside of Zion Canyon on Kolob Terrace Road. If the park’s campgrounds are full, or you’re looking for something a little more secluded, there are several campgrounds to choose from just outside the park.

Explore Camping at Zion

More Zion Inspiration

Previous Group Next Group

cool places to visit in zion

How to Visit Zion

Looking for the best way to see Zion? Read our Zion National Park guide for expert advice on planning your visit to one of the most visited parks in Utah.

cool places to visit in zion

Things to Do in Zion National Park

No matter the season, there are many things to do in Zion for all levels of thrill-seekers and nature lovers: hiking, camping, canyoneering, scenic driving and more.

cool places to visit in zion

Zion National Park Hikes

Visiting Zion National Park? Here are the best hikes in Zion for all hikers, from family-friendly trails to multi-day backpacking trips.

cool places to visit in zion

Zion Where to Stay

Looking for places to stay near Zion National Park? Check out our guide to vacation lodging at this magnificent park and book your stay today!

Nearby Basecamps

cool places to visit in zion

Springdale, UT

As the gateway to Zion National Park and nestled along the North Fork of the Virgin River, Springdale is an ideal place to get outfitted for adventure not only in Zion, but to numerous other parks, monuments, and recreation areas of the western Colorado Plateau and desert southwest.

cool places to visit in zion

Welcome to the east side of Utah's Zion National Park. Visitors who stay on this side of the park enjoy what is often referred to as the quiet side of the park, and they also have much closer access to other destinations such as Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and even the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

cool places to visit in zion

St. George, UT

St. George is perfect for family adventures, luxury spas, extensive shopping, championship golf and nearby outdoor recreation assets.

cool places to visit in zion

Cedar City, UT

There are plenty of things to experience in Cedar City, Utah thanks to nearby ski resorts, a national forest, great national parks and a superb arts scene.

cool places to visit in zion

Kanab, Utah is classic American West, surrounded by towering Navajo sandstone cliffs and vistas of sagebrush. Kanab's self-proclaimed title, "Little Hollywood," is fitting for its many abandoned film sets.

Cycling Zion with TJ Eisenhart

Travel tips.

For the best experience, arrive early and take the Zion National Park shuttle .

Always hike respectfully and carry extra water and sun protection.

There are popular hikes at Angels Landing  ( permit required ) and The Narrows , but serious hikers may consider Hidden Canyon , Observation Point , and guided canyoneering in lesser-known canyons.

 Zion–Mt. Carmel Highway's distinctive red asphalt leads through a narrow 1.1-mile tunnel to lesser-known hikes near the East Entrance. Fee for large RVs, with limits.

Follow @zionnps on Instagram and Facebook and visit nps.gov/zion for park alerts.

Read these resources to learn how to travel thoughtfully and experience Zion National Park most fully.

  • View a downloadable map of Zion National Park

More travel tips for visiting Zion National Park

Visitors from May to October will encounter highs in Zion from 90-100+°F. Escape the heat by entering the river or stopping in the visitor center or museum. Afternoon thunderstorms occasionally drench the canyon — which can lead to flash floods in the narrowest sections of the canyon. Expect somewhat cooler temperatures (sometimes up to 30 degrees difference) early in the morning and late in the evening, as well as in early spring and late fall. Though winter days can be cold, the park is open, serene and beautiful.

See All Itineraries Previous Group Next Group

cool places to visit in zion

Butch Cassidy's West

For movie buffs, this scenic tour of the state of Utah comes alive with nostalgia for Robert Redford’s iconic film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and some of Butch Cassidy's real-life haunts.

Film Tourism, Ghost Towns, History and Heritage, Scenic Drives/Road Trips

  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Grafton Ghost Town
  • Snow Canyon State Park
  • Sundance Mountain Resort

See Itinerary

cool places to visit in zion

The Mighty 5: Ultimate Journey

Grab a national parks annual pass for best access to The Mighty 5®.

Hiking, Scenic Drives/Road Trips

  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park

Well-prepared travel is responsible travel.

Do your part by planning ahead

cool places to visit in zion

  • Skip to global NPS navigation
  • Skip to this park navigation
  • Skip to the main content
  • Skip to this park information section
  • Skip to the footer section

cool places to visit in zion

Exiting nps.gov

Alerts in effect, things to do.

Last updated: January 1, 2024

Park footer

Contact info, mailing address:.

Zion National Park 1 Zion Park Blvd. Springdale, UT 84767

435-772-3256 If you have questions, please email [email protected]. Listen to recorded information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers answer phone calls from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already speaking with someone else.

Stay Connected

Insider's Utah

12 Fantastic Things to do in Zion National Park

By: Author Insider's Utah

Posted on Last updated: December 1, 2022

Categories Zion National Park

Home » 12 Fantastic Things to do in Zion National Park

12 Fantastic Things to do in Zion National Park

Let’s talk about Zion National Park. Dramatic canyon views, the crystalline Virgin River, red stone that pops against lush greenery…have I got your attention yet? Thought so.

These are just some inspiring must-dos in Zion National Park, and I haven’t even mentioned the incredible hiking trails yet.

Before you don your hiking boots and stock up on trail bars, though, Zion is a place that deserves a little research. Take the time to plan your trip and Zion will reward you – with scenery that looks too beautiful to be real, with some incredible experiences thrown in for good measure. 

Without further ado, let’s jump into the most incredible things to do in Zion National Park. 

Looking for a comfy place to rest your feet after a long day of hiking? Look no further than Hampton Inn & Suites Springdale .

Top 5 Things to Do in Zion National Park

Marvel at zion’s famous peak on the watchman trail.

Zion National Park - Watchman Trail Hike -2

I’m not going to lie – too many people sleep on The Watchman Trail and they’re missing out. This was one of my favourite hikes in Zion . 

This short 5 km round trip hike starts next to the Visitor Centre and has a relatively doable 194 metre elevation gain that won’t stress your thighs too much. 

Don’t think that means it’s not a thriller though –  as the name suggests, the Watchman Trail leads to a viewpoint that shows off The Watchman peak in all its glory. 

Depending on how fast you hike, it’ll take about 1.5-2 hours, but there’s more to The Watchman Trail than people expect. Don’t follow everyone who turns back at the first plateau—trust me, stick it out and do the loop. 

The end portion has some of the best views of The Watchman, and it’s not strenuous at all. This hike gets full sun, so it’s best done on a cloudy day or in the morning when it benefits from sitting in the shadow of the canyon. 

Top Tip : Bring a packed lunch. Zion Lodge is the only place to grab food, so naturally, it gets very busy, and who wants to waste their holiday standing in long queues? Not me!

Cruise Along the Zion-Mt Carmel Scenic Drive

Zion National Park - Checkerboard Mesa-1

It feels a little cheaty to say that a scenic drive is one of the must-do things in Zion, but what can I say… it is! 

When I say that the Zion-Mt Carmel Scenic Drive over delivers on its promise of jaw-dropping views, I mean it seriously overdelivers. 

Who’d pass up the opportunity to go zig-zagging on switchbacks as you dip into the Canyon? Even when you plunge into the darkness of the long tunnel, there are carved windows to give you tantalising glimpses of the scenery. 

Stop and gawk at the Checkerboard Mesa with its unique criss-crossed façade, and watch the red hills for Bighorn sheep. It’s a must. 

Go Stargazing in a International Dark Sky Park

cool places to visit in zion

Stunning as Zion National Park is during the day, it’s also just as spectacular at night, thanks to the fact that it’s an International Dark Sky Park. 

The crowds empty out come nightfall, leaving you with a dark sky playground lit up by the stunning vista of the Milky Way in all its glory. 

The Pa’rus Trail is a good spot to hunker down and stare at the skies, as it’s paved, flat and easy to navigate in the dark. Bring a camera and tripod to get brag-worthy long-exposure images like I did. 

11/10 would recommend anyway. 

Top Tip : Unless you’re all whizzed up on your astronomy, download the Night Sky app to explain which stars and constellations you’re seeing. You should also check the moon – if it’s not a New Moon, try and time your trip before moonrise or after moonset for the best visibility. 

Hike the Famous Narrows Trail

The Narrows Trail

Along with Angel’s Landing (more on that later), The Narrows is Zion’s most famous hike – so you’d better pay attention. 

What makes The Narrow so special? How about the opportunity to go wading through a canyon in waist-deep water? Yep. 

The trail leads you on a passage through astounding water-carved cliffs clambering skyward on either side of you as the Virgin River swirls about your feet. 

It’s moderately strenuous and takes 7.2 km to reach Big Springs (which is amazing if you can make it that far). Overall you want to set aside about 6 hours for this trail.

Tackle the Lower Emerald Pools Trail

Zion National Park - Lower Emerald Pool Trail Hike -2

The Lower Emerald Pools Trail is the first in a series of three trails taking you to Zion’s gorgeous emerald pools. 

There is an upper and middle section to this trail, but the lower portion sports a special attraction—an expanse of weeping rock that is simply mesmerising. The rust-red stone sparkles from light, refracting from the tiny creeks that flow down its length and breadth, seeping into the pool below. 

It’s only a 1 km roundtrip on a paved trail starting from Zion Canyon Shuttle stop #5, so it’s not intense, but the rewards for this short hike are great.

It’s one of the best places to visit in Zion National Park in spring when the snow melt means the waterfall is at its fullest. 

Top Tip : Take the shuttle to one end of the park and work your way back by hiking and taking shuttles in between. Which end you start at depends on which hikes you want to do and in which order.

Brilliant Things to See & Do in Zion National Park

Hike to angel’s landing.


Angel’s Landing is Zion’s best-known trail but it’s really one for the pros… and maybe the mid-level hikers who can take a gruelling 457 metre elevation gain and can shimmy along narrow exposed areas without getting vertigo. Not me then lol. 

Despite its difficulty and those knee-knocking heights, it’s still one of the top things to do in Zion National Park. The viewpoints are some of the most stunning the canyon has to offer, making every moment of muscle-tearing effort worthwhile. 

Depending on your fitness level, you can expect to spend 3-6 hours on this 7.7 km trek.

Top Tip : Since April 2022, a permit has been necessary to do Angel’s Landing.  

Hike the Pa’rus Trail

Zion National Park - Pa'Rus Trail Sunset-3

The Pa’rus Trail is a nice n’ gentle trail that will ease you into the park’s many (many) hikes . 

Meandering alongside (and over) the Virgin River, it’s a pretty hike with minimal elevation that takes you pretty much from the main car park into the heart of Zion. Wanna try something different? Hire a bike and explore the trail on two wheels instead. 

On a summer day, dip in the water to cool off while enjoying the scenic wildflowers. You might even spot a mule deer, so keep a sharp lookout. 

It might be a low-key 1-2 hour trek, but this introductory hike is one of the fun things to do in Zion National Park that won’t leave your calves crying.

Go Canyoneering

Canyoneering Zion

Looking for things to do in Zion National Park besides hiking? Dangling by a small rope over the open air while climbing a sheer cliff face is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true. 

But even first-timers and nervous Nellies can strap on some protective gear and dangle with the best of them on this tour . 

It’s located just outside the park due to National Park restrictions, but before you know it, you’ll be a pro at rappelling and scaling cliff sides like a mountain goat. 

Book Your Canyoneering Tour Now

Admire the Court of the Patriarchs

Zion National Park

The Court of the Patriarchs – a towering grouping of sandstone cliffs named after three biblical figures – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – is one of Zion’s iconic views. 

You’ll no doubt catch glimpses of the Patriarchs as you adventure in the park, but if you really want to get a great view, hop off at the 4th stop on the Zion bus and walk along the short sandy trail to the Court of the Patriarchs viewpoint. 

It’s a short five-minute walk with a big reward. 

Saddle Up on Horseback Rides

Discover East Zion from horseback with a short hike through a slot canyon thrown in for good measure. It’s a fun throwback to America’s Old West and one of the more unique things to do in and around Zion National Park. 

Don’t know how to ride a horse? This tour will sort you out, no matter your level of expertise with equines. 

Alternatively, from March to October, you can ride alongside the Virgin River inside the park too. 

Book Your Horse Riding Trip Here

Unique Things to See & Do in Zion National Park: Hidden Gems That are Off the Beaten Track

Stop by the kolob canyons.

Kolob Canyon

Zion is glorious and, as a result, it can get crowded. For unusual beauty and fewer tourists, the 8 km Kolob Canyons Road has plenty of strategic viewpoints to show off the incredible scenery of the deep canyons. 

And yes, you can hike there too. With ten-plus trails to pick from, the Timber Creek Overlook Trail is short and sweet, and the views are wonderful. Kolob is about an hour’s drive from the park’s main gates. 

Head to Kolob Terrace

Kolob Terrace

Completely uncrowded (although I can’t understand why), hoodoos, volcanic rocks, grassy plains, and colourful mesas contribute to the scenery in this area of the Canyons. 

One of the most picturesque spots is Lava Point, the best place in Zion to watch the sunset. This is probably one of the most underrated spots in the “best things to do and see in Zion National Park” category. 

What to Do in Zion National Park: Practical Tips for Your Trip

How long to visit zion national park.

Zion National Park - Pa'Rus Trail Hike -3

I’ll level with you – it depends on how much you want to explore. You can fit in one long hike, the scenic drive, and a few shorter hikes in two days. If that’s all you want to do then two days is perfect for you.

If you want to experience all of the best things to see in Zion National Park, you might need as long as five days. 

Best Time to Visit Zion National Park?

Zion National Park - Court of the Patriarchs Hike -2

Summer is the most popular time because of basically-guaranteed good weather, but it’s crowded and, quite frankly, uncomfortably hot to hike sometimes. 

The shoulder months of spring and fall are wonderful as the tourists thin out and the sun doesn’t boil you quite as much. Remember though that specific trails may be closed in spring due to flooding from melting snow.  

Where Should I Stay in Zion National Park?

Best western plus zion canyon (mid range).

There are camping options at numerous campgrounds scattered inside and outside the park that support RVs and standard tents. But if you’re more of a featherbed-traveller, then there’s a host of options nearby Springdale, including the luxurious Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn & Suites . 

Check Rates and Availability

Zion Glamping (Budget)

If you’re looking for something in between a hotel and a tent, why not try your hand at a glamping experience ? It’s the best of both worlds. Situated in Hildale, expect mountain views and epic night skies.

How to Get to Zion National Park? 

If you’re flying in, the closest international airport is Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. From there, it’s just a rental car and 2.5 hours away. 

You’ll need to drive on Highway 9, the main road through Zion. If you happen to be coming from the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon , Highway 89 is the road you’ll take. 

Things to Do in Zion National Park: Map

Things to do in Zion National Park: Read Next

  • Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Zion
  • Zion’s Best Hikes
  • 2 Days in Zion Itinerary
  • How to Hike the Watchman Trail

The Discoveries Of

20 Brilliant Things to Do in Zion National Park

You’ve probably heard of the majestic Angel’s Landing and The Narrows, but Zion actually offers tonnes of other trails and landmarks you won’t want to miss. Delve into this comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Zion National Park. Zion National Park is a bucket list trip for more travellers than almost any national park anywhere. Don’t believe me? The relatively compact stretch of Southern Utah’s high desert, with its majestic slot canyons, scenic Virgin River, and famed hiking trails, draws more than 5 million people every year. Every time I’ve been to Zion, I love it a little more but my last trip to Southern Utah was a joy. Aside from landing in the ER after an attack by a bat (seriously), I packed in plenty of great hikes, shot some brilliant photos of the International Dark Sky Park and learned about the history and geology at the museum and out on the trails. And now I’m sharing that joy with you – this guide covers everything you want to see, do, and photograph in Zion National Park. Let’s adventure! 

Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

Take the mount carmel highway scenic drive or the zion canyon scenic drive.


Let me start by saying that one of the prettiest road trips in the USA is the road to Zion. In fact, both the scenic drive through the canyon and Mount Carmel Highway Scenic Drive are show-stoppers. The 40 km (25-mile) route on Highway 9 takes you through windy mountain roads and some of the most scenic areas in the park, like the canyoneering favourite Checkerboard Canyon. Don’t miss the chance to drive through the 1.1-mile tunnel, which runs East-West and even has windows etched out to allow passengers to see the scenery when driving through. Alternatively, you can ride along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, allowing access to many famous trails and Zion National Park activities.

The official Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to cars from March to November due to crowds and traffic. But you can still take the Zion-Mount Carmel Drive nearly any time of year.

Hike Along the Watchman Trail 

Julianna at Zion National Park - Watchman Trail Hike -1

It’s funny. For as close to the visitor’s centre as the Watchman Trail is, it’s nowhere near as popular as you’d think. Maybe that’s part of why I love it so much. The cool thing about this trail is just when you think you’ve seen the best of it (where many hikers mistakenly turn around), it gets even better. 

Once you hit the first plateau, continue counter-clockwise on the loop trail for even better vistas. This 5.3-km (3.3-mile) route allows you to capture a few different vantage points of the famous 1,995-metre (6,545-foot) sandstone cliff on the way back, but also gives you an excellent view of Bridge Mountain.

Getting There

The main trail is easy to find from the visitor’s centre. Just follow the signs across the paved road near the parking lot to start. After the first plateau, look for the path to my favourite viewing areas.

Trek up the Summit to Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing. It hardly needs an introduction, but if you’re familiar with the 454-metre (1488-foot) Jurassic-era rock formation, you already know it’s a force to reckon with. 

Real talk: I didn’t venture up to the summit on my last trip to Zion. I consider myself a proficient hiker, but that drop-off straight into the abyss (some of it without guardrails) was enough to keep me content snapping photos below. 

But if the 8-km (5-mile) trail with nearly 460 metres (1,500 feet) of elevation change sounds like a walk in the park, you can apply via lottery for a spot the night before your visit.

If you want to do the hike, you can apply via online lottery 2-months before your travel dates or the night before. Find more information here . Winners need to carry a copy of the permit with them, which you can download to show proof of registry.

Hike Through the Narrows

The Narrows trail

Arguably the most famous hike in the park, The Narrows are certainly one of the most unique. Intrepid travellers who brave the often icy waters to the scenic rapids at Big Springs will experience gorgeous scenery from start to finish. There are a few things you’ll want to know going in. You can face some challenging and even dangerous circumstances when walking the 16-mile path through a 2,000-foot high slot canyon. Rain and snow can cause perilous conditions like icy-cold water and flash flooding.

You can do this hike alone if you apply for a permit , but I’d recommend a guided tour for most hikers.

Stargazing in the Park

Zion National Park - Stargazing Astrophotography

There are few places as mesmerising as Zion after the sun goes down. While you can choose just about any area around the canyon and enjoy the International Dark Skies Park, I have a few favourites.

Set yourself up with a good camera or telescope a ways down the Pa’rus Trail, and you’ll have a great chance to capture the Milky Way and other celestial wonders with minimal light pollution.

Astrology apps go a long way toward making sense of what you see in the night-time skies. I like the Night Sky app, as it does a great job mapping out the constellations, making them easier to interpret. Photo Pills is also great for helping you see where the Milky Way will rise so you can set up your shot in advance. 

Walk to the Lower Emerald Pools

Zion National Park - Lower Emerald Pool Trail Hike

Not every hike in Zion requires a high level of experience or training. One of the most popular trails in the park is an easy 1.4-mile stroll and one of the most scenic ways to reach the emerald pools.

The payoff at the end is gorgeous, with gorgeous green-blue waters you can photograph (but not swim in). 

The bridge to the trail is closed right now, but you can access the pools by starting at stop #6 on the shuttle called The Grotto.

Spend a Night Camping

Zion National Park - Stargazing Astrophotography

Camping in Zion is an excellent way to wake up and score a seat for the best sunrise along the Watchman Trail or even sleep under the Milky Way. Zion is home to numerous spots where you can pitch a tent or park your RV. There are 3 official sites (South Campground is my favourite location), but you can also find well-established campsites on a walk-up or reservation basis in other areas like Chinle Trail and Kolob Canyon.

Explore Zion’s Desert Lowlands

Chinle Trail in Zion

One area of the park often overlooked by tourists is the Desert Lowlands. Several trails have unique and varying scenery, including cactus forests, succulents, and spectacular wildflowers in the spring. If you go in the cooler months, you can try the challenging Chinle Trail , a 26.1-km (16.2-mile) trek with 575 metres (1,8860 feet) of elevation change. It’s a cool part of the park because you see fascinating geology, like petrified forests and the volcanic rock at Coalpits Wash. You can also stay at one of several primitive campsites by reservation or on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Drive down Highway 9 West from Springdale until you reach Anasazi Way. Take a right and another about 150 metres (500 feet) into the Chick Trail parking lot. 

Canyon Overlook

Forest Canyon overlook by the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

Want the best view of Zion Canyon? Easy enough. Just take the short 1-mile out-and-back route up the Overlook Trail , and discover some of the most scenic views of Zion Canyon from over 600 metres (2,000 feet) above.

Take Highway 9 East through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel and look for the parking spots on your right when you exit.

Look for Wildlife

Zion wildlife

Zion is home to hundreds of animals, some of which you won’t see in many other places. Look for rare and exciting species like the Mexican Spotted Owl, Peregrine Falcons, Mountain Lions, and Desert Tortoises. This diversity in wildlife allows you to capture some excellent nature photos while visiting Zion. Remember to hike in groups whenever possible and to keep your distance from animals to protect them and yourself.

You may see wildlife any time of year, but late fall is a beautiful time as crowds begin to thin out.

Explore the Red Caves

 Red Caves Zion

Looking for an adventure you haven’t heard of in Zion? Just past Mount Carmel, you can find 2 sets of slot canyons known as the Red Caves. Both areas offer challenging hikes, but the Upper Cave is the most accessible since you won’t have to do much climbing

Your reward? Beautiful erosion patterns sweep high up the Navajo sandstone walls, giving you plenty of great photo ops.

You can get to both sections of the caves from Springdale in under an hour on Highway 9 East. 

Stand Under Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock Trail

Weeping Rock is a charming landmark where visitors can take a short hike from shuttle stop 7 to stand under the “raining” sandstone formation. It’s an easy 0.6km (.4 mile) trail, and catching some mist from the showers is especially welcome on the hottest days.

Take a Bike Ride Down Pa’rus Trail

Zion National Park - Pa'Rus Trail Sunset-7

The Pa’rus is one of the flatter trails in the park, so it’s great for beginners who want a mellow stroll through the valley while admiring the red rock formations like The Watchman from below. A long but gentle pathway is ideal for a brisk walk, jog, or better yet – a bike ride along the Virgin River. How do you get there? You can hire a traditional or e-bike just outside the park at several locations or go on a guided tour. 

Explore Kolob Canyons

Kolob Canyons

One area that many visitors overlook is Kolob Canyons. That means it’s a great way to separate from the summer crowds. 

There are numerous trails in this section of the park, but my favourite is the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. It’s a 1.7 km (1.1-mile) out-and-back hike with beautiful views of Kolob Terrace.

Take I-15 to exit 40 and explore the many hiking trails off the 8 km (5-mile) stretch of Kolob Canyon Drive. Roads into the trail close seasonally, so check for information here .

Watch the Sunset at Kolob Terrace

Kolob Terrace

Looking for a low key amazing spot to watch the sunset? This area has a few great locations along several trails, but Lava Point is my favourite. You can walk up to the viewing point from Lava Point Road in a few minutes, making it a low-effort, high-reward trek. 

Keep an eye on trail closures, as the roads close off due to extreme weather relatively often. 

Winter Sports

Zion Winter

Winter is one of the most exciting times to visit Zion, especially when there’s a snowstorm or two in the days leading up to your arrival. When the roads are open, and conditions are right, you can snowshoe on the East Rim Trail or Checkerboard Mesa for the more advanced adventurers.

No snow near the park? Don’t fret. You can ski or snowboard at Brian Head in the winter, which is only a 90-minute drive from the park.

Try Canyoneering


Looking for things to do in Zion National Park besides hiking. Check out a guided tour where you can go canyoneering in a slot canyon if you’re keen to experience some adrenaline-pumping fun. 

Don’t worry if it’s your first time out. The expert guides will set you up with a challenge for nearly any skill level so you can have a good time without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. 

Photograph the Court of the Patriarchs

Zion National Park - Court of the Patriarchs Hike

You’ll find various religious references throughout Zion, and one of the most famous collections of red rock cliffs gets its name from Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac. Dr. Frederick Vining Fischer, a methodist minister, coined the phrase, likely due to the impressive stature of the eroded sandstone towers. They’re some of the most photogenic landmarks in the park, and catching them at sunrise is a treat.

Visit Zion Human History Museum

Zion Human History Museum

Don’t look over this excellent museum, which has an impressive history collection from cultures living in the area for hundreds of years. In this small but important museum, you’ll find artefacts and photos documenting the indigenous cultures, pioneer settlers, and wilderness in the park.

Get off at shuttle stop 2 and take a short walk over.  

Take a Helicopter Ride Over Zion

Helicopter Ride Over Zion

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Zion National Park, taking a tour over the Crater Hill Volcano and West Temple offers unique perspectives of some of the most scenic mountains and valleys in the park. You’ll fly over the Virgin River and red rock canyons with an expert pilot on this 10-20 minute guided helicopter tour. 

Take in the Beauty of Zion From an Aerial View

Practical Tips for Your Zion Trip

Julianna at Zion National Park

Most visitors fly into Las Vegas or Salt Lake City and hire a car. Once you’ve made it to Zion, or at least somewhere close enough to plan your adventures over your trip, it’s time to plan how to get into the park. If you’re camping in the South Campground, heading in as early as possible is your best option to find parking. Otherwise, take the shuttle from Springdale, which runs around every 15 minutes. The Springdale Line has 9 stops near the most popular hotels. Then, you can take a Zion Line to your hiking destination. Check out the most current schedules here . 

Plan the Ultimate 2 Day Itinerary in Zion

Other Top Tips for Your Visit 

  • Many of the best trails are in direct sunlight. Bring lightweight clothes in the summer, plus sunscreen, water, and a protective hat any time of year.
  • If you want to discover another Utah national park, Bryce Canyon is only a 2-hour drive. 
  • When you look around at the cliffs, canyons, and valleys, remember they’re here because of extreme weather and erosion. Never get caught out on the trails before or during a rainstorm, as flash flooding is a serious threat.
  • There are mountain lions that actively roam around Zion. You’re more likely to see them in remote stretches, but overall, your chances are quite low of any direct encounters. 

How Long to Visit Zion National Park? 

Zion National Park

I know many people fit in some of Zion’s best attractions in 2 days. But I recommend 3-5 nights to see more of the area and leave without feeling like you missed out on anything. 

Best Time to Visit

Zion National Park - Watchman Trail Hike

Many of the millions of visitors plan their trips for the summer months, and if it’s the only time that works for you, don’t hesitate to book. But I find that the weather is unpleasantly hot, and when you combine that with the crowds on the most popular trails, I’d say it’s best to stick to shoulder season. 

Visit in the fall to enjoy the best Zion National Park attractions and activities in cooler temperatures with smaller crowds.  

Where Should I Stay in Zion National Park? 

Best western plus zion canyon (mid-range) .

Stay at the Best Western if you need a break from tent camping or would just rather have a comfy bed, outdoor pool, hot tub, and breakfast available to get you ready for your next day of exploring the national park.

Check Rates and Availability for Best Western Plus on Booking.com

SpringHill Suites by Marriott (Luxury) 

If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious, SpringHill offers king and queen suites in a contemporary setting, just minutes from the park in nearby Springdale. The service, decor, and amenities are all on point, and the complimentary breakfast is a popular way to start each morning before hiking.

Check Rates and Availability for SpringHill Suites by Marriott

Recommended Tours

Zion National Park

Things to Do in Zion: Map 

More National Park Adventures

  • Why You Need to Visit Capitol Reef National Park
  • Unmissable Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park
  • Yosemite National Park is Incredible: Here’s What to Do When You Go
  • Brilliant Things To Do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Love This? Save and Share on Pinterest

Things To Do In Zion National Park

I’m Julianna Barnaby - a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. I started The Discoveries Of to help you to discover the best of new destinations from around the world.

Discovering new places is a thrill - whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, I write to help you explore more and explore differently.

Related Posts

Taking the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive | Everything You Need to Know + Unmissable Spots

Taking the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive | Everything You Need to Know + Unmissable Spots

How to Hike the Arch Rock, Joshua Tree: Trail Guide

How to Hike the Arch Rock, Joshua Tree: Trail Guide

17 Brilliant Day Trips from Tucson: Discover the Beauty of Southern Arizona

17 Brilliant Day Trips from Tucson: Discover the Beauty of Southern Arizona

Where to Stay in Phoenix: The Best Areas + Places For Your Trip

Where to Stay in Phoenix: The Best Areas + Places For Your Trip

cool places to visit in zion

Follow me on Instagram for travel inspiration, tips, and guides.

Hero Image

Top 10 Things to Do at Zion National Park

  • Visit our facebook
  • Visit our pinterest

There’s a reason Zion National Park is the most visited park in Utah, and it’s not just because names like “Angel’s Landing” and “Weeping Rock” and “Checkerboard Mesa” make you feel as though you are stepping forth on a magical mystery tour. It’s because Zion’s attractions — from the Narrows to Northgate Peaks — are just that impressive . Four million people a year can’t be wrong, right?

Angel’s Landing

5 miles | Strenuous | Good for adrenaline-seekers, bad for people with acrophobia.

Does teetering on a razor edge of rock 1,000 feet above the valley floor sound fun to you? No? Then don’t teeter. Clutch tightly with both hands to the chain that has been thoughtfully bolted into the trail. The expansive views of Zion Canyon from Angel’s Landing are worth the trip, provided you do not have a debilitating fear of heights.

Yes, the final stretch up to Angel’s Landing, called the Hogsback, is a rocky ridge with sheer drops on either side that feels terribly dangerous. But when you make it up (clinging for dear life to the chain handrail), you’ll be rewarded by the stunning views at Angel’s Landing plus bragging rights when you get home.

The Narrows Riverside Walk

2 miles | Easy | Suitable for everyone, from newborns to grandmas to that one kid who “hates” hiking.

This your chance to go to The Narrows without actually hiking The Narrows. Start at the Temple of Sinawava, where you’ll notice the walls of the canyon starting to close in on either side of the Virgin River. Meander down the sidewalk, splash in the river, or just stop and let your jaw drop in wonder. At the end of the walk, you’ll notice people starting to head up the river; these are the serious people who are “hiking the Narrows.” If you prefer to keep your feet dry, turn around, and enjoy it all again on the way back.

9.5 miles | Technical | Requires a permit; don’t attempt this hike unless you know what you’re doing.

This is the classic semi-technical hike of The Narrows, requiring ropes, bouldering, a knowledge of canyoneering and a shuttle waiting for you at the bottom. If you can come up with that stuff (and aren’t afraid of getting your feet wet or enclosed spaces) you’ll be rewarded with waterfalls, pools, a tunnel of red rock (the “subway”) and dinosaur tracks.

This hike starts at the Wildcat Trailhead on Kolob Reservoir Road 15 miles above the town of Virgin. When you reach Left Fork Canyon and Russell Creek, you’ll scramble down into the slot canyon, where the real fun begins. You’ll be hiking through the river, down waterfalls and over boulders. It’s a steep climb out at the Left Fork Trailhead, where you best have a car waiting for you. If not, you’ll have a really long walk home.

Canyon Overlook Trail

1 mile | Easy | A must-do for your Instagram feed.

Looking for the perfect, expansive shot of the valley floor? Don’t miss Canyon Overlook Trail, which leads to a lookout that has been delighting photographers for decades. Hang on to your kids, as there are some cliff edges here, but otherwise every hiker can (and should) do this trail. You’ll find the trailhead at the east entrance of the Mount Carmel Tunnel.

Weeping Rock

0.4 miles | Easy | Toddlers can hike this trail, so you can, too.

This popular site is a major stop on the shuttle that runs through Zion Canyon, making it very accessible. An easy trail (not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs but doable for most everyone else) leads to an unusual sandstone cliff covered in tiny rivulets of water. The tears of this rocky wall feed ferns and mosses, while the Great White Throne towers overhead.

The Zion Narrows to Imlay Temple and Big Spring

8.6 miles | Moderate | Check the weather and pack the right gear.

True story: in 1963 my dad, uncle and grandfather were caught in a flash flood while hiking The Narrows and escaped death by clinging to a hardy tree overnight and eating canned peaches and raw bacon. We now take family pilgrimages to The Narrows to thank said tree (and then argue about which tree it is). I was thus raised with a decent appreciation for the dangers inherent in hiking slot canyons in general and this one in particular. And who doesn’t love a little danger?  The Narrows is stunning, with sheer red rock walls towering over you as you hike up the

Virgin River. Around every bend is a new surprise: a hardy tree, or maybe a waterfall. If you make it all the way to Big Spring, you may be rewarded with a gorgeous pool. All of this being dependent on weather and river levels, of course, which is what makes it so exciting.

This isn’t a trail. It’s a river, but as long as you don’t mind being knee-deep in water and walking on rocks, it isn’t a difficult hike. The difficulty depends on the time of year and the water levels, which should be checked before you head out. You’ll need a walking stick and the right footwear. The best time to hike The Narrows is the late spring and summer.

Lower Emerald Pool

1.4 miles | Easy | Take the whole family!

Across the street from Zion Lodge you’ll find this paved trail, which makes it possible for strollers and wheelchairs to navigate up to this little oasis. Here, water from the Middle Emerald Pool above drips down the sandstone and into the Lower Emerald Pool, nourishing lush hanging gardens and occasionally turning into an actual waterfall during spring runoff. When you feel like you’re about to crinkle up and turn to sandstone yourself in the heat of a Zion summer, consider a rest at Lower Emerald Pool.

Checkerboard Mesa

0 miles of hiking | Drive by and check it out.

Zion has plenty of must-see attractions for armchair geologists, and this is one of the most famous. This sandstone butte is covered in crosshatches — horizontal cross-bedding formed over eons by layers of windblown sand and vertical cracks caused by stress and erosion on the stone surface. If you’re thinking you should try playing checkers on the side of this mountain and take some sweet pics, I’m thinking you’re right.

Checkerboard Mesa isn’t on the shuttle route, so you’ll have to drive over to this hunk of rock if you want to see it. It’s located just inside the East Entrance to the park.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

0 miles of hiking | 6.5 miles of driving in the winter or shuttle-riding in the summer | See it all from the comfort of a seated position.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive provides the chance to see the towering majesty of Zion National Park from your automobile. This road along the valley floor runs from the visitor center all the way to the Temple of Sinawava, and past many of Zion’s most famous features, including the Great White Throne, the Grotto, and Angel’s Landing. Due to the number of visitors in the park these days, you can only drive your car through this area during the winter; the rest of the year, you’ll have to take one of the park’s shuttle buses.

Under the Radar Hikes:

Turns out, Zion does exist beyond the shuttle route. Probably you should see some of it.

2.3 miles | Moderately strenuous | Here’s your chance to escape the crowds.

Here’s a hike that will get you away from everybody else, and give you a view of hoodoos, interesting pothole formations, and maybe even a few tadpoles. This “trail” is a drainage, one of a pair commonly called the Root Canals. Rain and snowmelt cascade down the rock walls here, filling the pothole formations and forming fun little pools. Many Pools is off the shuttle route (BYOC — bring your own car), on the east side of the park, along UT-9.

Northgate Peaks

4.2 miles | Moderate | See a quieter part of the park and get a new view of Zion.

To see these peaks, start at the Wildcat Canyon trailhead near the town of Virgin. After about a mile, you’ll see a sign for the turnoff for Northgate Peaks. At the end of the trail you have to scramble up a small hill of lava rock: your reward is a vast southern view of Zion National Park, with twin peaks in front of you.

Places to Stay Near Zion

You'll need some time to check out all the sights above. Make sure to stay at one of our favorite places near Zion for an unforgettable vacation.

  • Zion Ponderosa
  • Zion Mountain Ranch
  • Cable Mountain Lodge
  • Cliffrose Lodge

View more lodging options here .

Views like this delivered to your inbox



  • Destinations

13 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park (Useful Maps+Practical Tips)

This site uses affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Scenic Drive in Zion is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Zion National Park. Following are the 13 best stops and viewpoints on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park you can’t miss!

Are you planning on visiting Zion National Park? Make sure to check out Complete Guide to Zion National Park – 13 Tips for First Visit before you go.

Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. If you like challenging trails, then check out: 13 Great Hikes in Zion National Park You Need to Explore . If you are a beginner hikers then take a look at 7 Easy Hikes in Zion National Park with Stunning Views .

Learn More About Zion National Park: 

One Day in Zion National Park (Itinerary+Maps+Tips)

6 Towns And Cities Near Zion National Park (with Best Places to Stay and Eat)

Here Are Some Helpful Road Trip Ideas: 

Zion to Bryce Canyon in 3 Days (Itinerary Ideas+Useful Tips)

Epic 7-Day Road Trip Through Utah  National Parks

  • 1. Map with Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion
  • 2. What Is the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park
  • 3. Where Should You Start the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park
  • 4. When Is the Best Time to Do Zion Scenic Drive
  • 5. How to Get to Zion National Park
  • 6. What See on the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park
  • 7. Where to Stay in Zion National Park
  • 8. 13 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park
  • 8.1. Zion National Park Visitor Center
  • 8.2. Zion Human History Museum
  • 8.3. Canyon Junction Bridge Viewpoint
  • 8.4. Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint
  • 8.5. Zion Lodge (Lunch Time!)
  • 8.6. Emerald Pools Hike
  • 8.7. The Grotto Stop
  • 8.8. Weeping Rock Hike
  • 8.9. Big Bend Viewpoint
  • 8.10. Temple of Sinawava Trailhead to Riverside Walk and Zion Narrows
  • 8.11. Riverside Walk Trail
  • 8.12. Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
  • 8.13. Canyon Overlook Trail
  • 9. Intrepid Scout's Tips for Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion

Map with Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Map of Scenic Drive in Zion National Park. Image Credit: National Park Service

To Print or Download the Map of 13 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park 

Click: HERE

What Is the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Zion National Park Scenic Drive runs through Zion Canyon along the  Floor of Valley Road .

The Scenic Drive through Zion Canyon is approximately 8 miles long one-way .

GOOD TO KNOW: It takes about 20-30 minutes to do the drive without any stops. If you plan on stopping along the way , then it would take you about 6-8 hours .

Scenic Drive in Zion

Where Should You Start the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

GOOD TO KNOW: The starting point can be confusing. So, here are some directions:

  • Start the Zion National Park Scenic Drive at the Zion National Park Visitor Center  (MAP STOP # 1) located along Zion-Mount Carmel HWY 9.
  • Follow Zion-Mount Carmel HWY 9 until you reach Zion Human History Museum (MAP STOP # 2).
  • Continue driving until you reach Zion National Park South Entrance .
  • When you get to Canyon Junction Bridge Viewpoint (MAP STOP # 3), continue straight ahead. You are now driving along the Floor of Valley Road and continuing your Zion National Park Scenic Drive!

Scenic Drive in Zion

When Is the Best Time to Do Zion Scenic Drive

Hands down, the best time to start your Scenic Drive in Zion National Park is as early in the morning as possible.

Zion National Park is a very busy place! About 4.5 million people visited Zion National Park in 2019. With this being the case, expect plenty of company everywhere in the park.

cool places to visit in zion

GOOD TO KNOW: The Zion National Park Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles from March through November .

If you are visiting Zion National Park between March through November, then you will have to use the shuttle . By the same token, the  shuttle is free . Your park entrance ticket covers the cost of the shuttle.

Zion National Park Shuttle is super easy to use and very convenient .

INTREPID’S TIP: My recommendation is to park in the town of Springdale and then hop on the shuttle. 9 shuttle stops in Springdale pick up visitors. Once on the shuttle, you can follow all the best stops on Zion Scenic Drive recommended in this post.

If you are visiting starting in December through February , then you can use your vehicle and drive inside the park. Snow seldom reaches the canyon floor.

How to Get to Zion National Park

  • By Plane: The closest International Airports to Zion National Park that you can fly in are located in Las Vegas (LAS), Nevada, and  Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah .

There are smaller Regional Airports in St. George (SGU), Utah, and Cedar City (CDC), Utah.

  • By Car: If you fly into any of the airports around Zion National Park, you will have to rent a car and then drive.

Driving from Las Vegas, Nevada – 160 miles, 2 h 30 min

Driving from Salt Lake City, Utah – 308 miles, 4 h 30 min

Driving from Cedar City, Utah – 58 miles, 1 h 5 min

Driving from St. George, Utah – 41 miles, 1 h

Many tours are available. If you are visiting Las Vegas, Nevada. then look into Zion National Park Day Tour From Las Vegas . Also, you might look into this small-group tour from Las Vegas, which visits both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in one day.

Scenic Drive in Zion

Entrance to Zion National Park 

What See on the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

On the Scenic Drive in Zion National Park, you will see stunning views and interesting geological features.

I recommend that you check out the map at the top of this post. It lists 11 points of interest. I know that it is a lot! So, if you are short on time, at the end of this post, I listed my absolute three must-do stopping points .

Scenic Drive in Zion

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Where to Stay in Zion National Park

Are you searching for places to stay at Zion National Park or near Zion?

Here are my recommendations on where to stay at Zion National Park or near Zion with prices for every budget including lodges, campgrounds, and hotels !

Check them out!

13 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Zion national park visitor center.

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 1 Zion National Park Visitor Center. Image Source: NPS 

Hands down, Zion National Park Visitor Center needs to be your first stop along Scenic Drive in Zion !

The center is located in the town of Springdale, Utah, just outside the South Entrance to the park. And, it is a perfect starting point for your Scenic Drive in Zion National Park.

You do not need to use the shuttle to get to the Visitor Center. There is plenty of parking all around. However, keep in mind that shuttle stop # 1 is just outside the center and it is super easy to use. Simply hop on and hop off at all the stopping points.

The Visitor Center is filled with displays and information about the park . The displays are both inside the building as well as outside.

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Zion National Park Visitor Center 

Visitor Center in Zion National Park

There are many Ranger-led programs offered at the Visitor Center.

GOOD TO KNOW: The daily schedule of Ranger-led programs is posted just outside the entrance. These programs range from presentations about Zion’s history and folklore to talks about geology, flora, and fauna. Zion National Park Visitor Center is open daily (except for December 25th).

INTREPID’S TIP: Make sure to check out the Bookstore ! It has a ton of books about Zion National Park, maps, and cute souvenirs.

Zion Human History Museum

Zion Human History Museum

Stop # 2 Zion Human History Museum. Image Credit: NPS 

Zion Human History Museum is your second stop along Zion Scenic Drive. It is located 1.5 miles north of the park’s South Entrance on the main park road.

Zion Human History Museum’s permanent exhibits display the rich human history of Zion National Park. They showcase American Indian culture, historic pioneer settlement, and Zion’s growth as a national park.

Zion Human History Museum

Zion Human History Museum 

In addition, Zion Human History Museum illustrates the effects of water in Zion . Both creator and destroyer, water is why people have traveled through and settled in Zion. Water creates the scenery and sanctuary that makes Zion famous.

Make sure to watch a 22-minute video that provides an excellent overview of Zion National Park.

INTREPID’S TIP: If you go around and to the back of Zion Human History Museum, you will be rewarded with the most stunning view of the Towers of the Virgin , the large collection of peaks. They include the West Temple, the Sundial, the Altar of Sacrifice, and the Meridian Tower. Some visitors claim they can see the shrouded figure of the Virgin Mary on the face of the central peak. The Towers are best viewed early in the morning.

Towers of the Virgin in Zion

Towers of the Virgin 

Canyon Junction Bridge Viewpoint

Canyon Junction Bridge in Zion

Stop # 3 Canyon Junction Bridge. Image Credit: NPS 

Canyon Junction Bridge is the third stop along Scenic Drive in Zion National Park.

Have your camera ready! The spot right at Canyon Junction Bridge is the one of best locations in Zion National Park to see and photograph Watchman Mountain with the Virgin River flowing below. Hands down, it is the most  iconic view of Zion National Park .

Canyon Junction Bridge Viewpoint in

Canyon Junction Bridge Viewpoint 

GOOD TO KNOW: Canyon Junction Bridge is a very popular spot at sunset . So, if your time allows, make another stop at this location around sunset time.

Watchman Mountain in Zion National Park 

Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 4 Court of the Patriarchs. Image Credit: NPS 

Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint is stop number four along Scenic Drive in Zion. It is one of the most inspiring landmarks on the Scenic Drive in Zion.

GOOD TO KNOW: Right at shuttle stop number four, there is a path that goes up to the viewpoint. It is no more than a 5-minute hike, but it will give you more elevation and a better view of the Court of Patriarchs!

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint 

Zion Lodge (Lunch Time!)

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 5 Zion Lodge. Image Credit: NPS 

Zion Lodge is stop number five along Zion Scenic Drive. It is a perfect place to grab some lunch or get a few snacks for the road. Or, just to have some ice cream and chill for a bit.

There are a couple of dining options, namely Red Rock Grill and Castle Dome Cafe . In addition, there is a large patio area where you can hang out or have a picnic.

Zion Lodge

Zion Lodge 

GOOD TO KNOW: Zion Lodge is one of my favorite places to stay while I am visiting Zion National Park. If you are looking for places to stay in Zion National Park, or near the park, then make sure to check out my post: Where to Stay at Zion National Park .

Emerald Pools Hike

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 5A on the map – Lower Emerald Pools. Image Credit: NPS 

Emerald Pools Trail is a short and easy hike located just across the Zion Lodge. It is stop number 5A on Zion Scenic Drive.

Just cross the main road and then a hikers bridge, and off you are on an amazing little hike where you are going to see waterfalls and beautiful pools.

What is cool about this trail is that takes you right under an alcove with the waterfalls cascading over the edge.

Emerald Pools Trail in Zion

Emerald Pools Trail 

Emerald Pools Trail in Zion

The Grotto Stop

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 6 on the Map – The Grotto. Image Credit: NPS 

The Grotto is stop number six along Zion Scenic Drive.

The Grotto Trail is just a short and easy hike that will take you to a lovely picnic area .

In case you are planning to do some hiking, I need to mention that the Grotto is the starting point for a hike to the famous Angels Landing .

Intrepid’s Tip:

READ: Angels Landing Hike (Maps and Photos!) – Step-By-Step Guide to America’s Scariest Hike

The Grotto in Zion

The Grotto 

Weeping Rock Hike

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 7 on the map – Weeping Rock Trail. Image Credit: NPS / Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park 

Weeping Rock Trail is one of my favorites! No matter what time of the year I visit, I always make sure to include Weeping Rock Trail in my itinerary.

First of all, It is a short and easy hike. It is no more than 0.5 miles round trip.

Second, you will love it because this trail will take you along “weeping walls” with water dripping down, small rushing streams (depending on the season), and lush hanging gardens.

Eventually, the trail will take you into a large bowl-shaped alcove with water flowing over its recess.

Weeping Rock Trail in Zion

Weeping Rock Trail 

Weeping Rock Trail in Zion

Big Bend Viewpoint

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 8 on the map – Big Bend Viewpoint. Image Credit: NPS 

Big Bend Viewpoint is stop number eight along the Scenic Drive. Here, the Virgin River takes a sharp turn and wraps around the Organ  creating a breathtaking view.

From the northern part of the bend, you can see the top of the Great White Throne as it peeks out over the saddle between the Organ and Angel’s Landing .

Big Bend Viewpoint also offers dramatic views of Observation Point , Cable Mountain , and several other formations .

INTREPID’S TIP: In my opinion, the view of the Great White Throne from Big Bend Viewpoint is the most stunning at sunset!

Scenic Drive in Zion

Big Bend Viewpoint 

Temple of Sinawava Trailhead to Riverside Walk and Zion Narrows

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 9 on the map – Temple of Sinawava. Image Credit: NPS 

Temple of Sinawava is stop number 9 along Scenic Drive in Zion National Park.

Two of my favorite trails start here – the Riverside Walk Trail and the Zion Narrows Trail . And, right from the start, the views are breathtaking!

Scenic Drive in Zion

Temple of Sinawava 

Scenic Drive in Zion

Riverside Walk Trail

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 9A on the map – Riverside Walk Trail. Image Credit: NPS 

The Riverside Walk Trail is an easy, paved trail with little elevation change. It is about 1.1 miles one way and the views along the way are simply off the charts!

The Riverside Walk Trail ends at the famous Zion Narrows Trail where you are hiking the Virgin River upstream . The river is your trail!

Zion Narrows

The Riverside Walk Trail 

Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows Trail 

Intrepid’s Tip: 

READ: Zion Narrows (Maps and Photos) – Step-By-Step Guide

GOOD TO KNOW: After you are done with the Riverside Walk Trail  and getting a glimpse at the famous Zion Narrows , retrace your steps to the Temple of Sinawava .

Next, either jump in your vehicle or hop on the shuttle and get back to Canyon Junction , which was stop number three .

Now, you are going to experience driving through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.

Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 10 on the map – Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. Image Credit: NPS 

Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel is the number 10 point of interest on the map that you should not miss. It is an engineering marvel !

Construction of the 1.1-mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel began in the late 1920s and was completed in 1930.

At the time that the tunnel was dedicated, on July 4, 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its type in the United States .

Scenic Drive in Zion

 Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel 

A Quick Read: 

The purpose of building the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) was to create direct access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon from Zion National Park.

The tunnel climbs 289 feet from the west to east end at a 3.3 percent grade, sits approximately 800 feet above the Zion Canyon floor, and is 20 feet inside the sandstone monolith in which it is housed.

The fact that workers began at each end of the mile-long project, drilling and blasting through solid rock and darkness, and somehow ended up less than a foot off from meeting perfectly in the middle, is an amazing example of cooperation!

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

GOOD TO KNOW: What you need to know is that vehicles wider than 7 feet 10 inches or higher than 11 feet 4 inches must have a tunnel permit .

The tunnel permit costs $15 in addition to the park entrance fee. Traffic through the narrow tunnel is regulated by park rangers.

Canyon Overlook Trail

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Stop # 11 on the map – Canyon Overlook. Image Credit: NPS 

Canyon Overlook is stop number 11 and, hands down, it is one of the best views of Zion Canyon!

GOOD TO KNOW: What you need to know is that there is no shuttle service available in this area, so you will need to use your vehicle.

The parking area is located on the south side of the road, and the trailhead is across the street, on the north side of the road. The hike from the trailhead to the Canyon Overlook is about 1 mile one-way. It is a moderate hike however it is worth it and you should not miss it.

Needless to say, you will be rewarded with some incredible views of the Zion Canyon with the switchbacks below the west end of the Mount Carmel Tunnel , West Temple , the Towers of the Virgins , the Streaked Wall , and the Beehives .

Zion Canyon 

To Print or Download the List of 13 Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park 

Scenic Drive in Zion

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion

That is quite a list, right? What if you only have time to stop at a couple of locations? No problem! Here are my absolute 3 must-see stops:

  • Emerald Pools – Best Short and Easy Hike in Zion National Park to See Waterfalls and Pools
  • Weeping Rock  – A Beautiful Place on Zion Scenic Drive to See Hanging Gardens
  • Canyon Overlook   – One of the Best Views of the Zion Canyon

Above all, be safe!  Always use the designated turnouts to pull over and take photos. Do not stop in the middle of the road. If you finish your loop drive late in the evening and end up driving in the darkness, be very cautious driving. Drive slow and be on the lookout for animals crossing the road or jumping on the road.

A trip to Zion is perfectly paired with a side trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument, or Canyonlands, Capitol Reef National Parks. Check out my post: Zion to Bryce Canyon: 3-Day Adventure (with Maps and Photos)

More Helpful Posts About Zion National Park:

8 best photography locations in zion national park (+useful photo tips).

Complete Guide to Zion National Park – 13 Tips for First Visit

13 Great Hikes in Zion National Park You Need to Explore

7 Easy Hikes in Zion National Park with Stunning Views

How to Hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park 

How to Hike Observation Point Trail to Zion’s Best View

The Ultimate Guide to Hiking The Narrows for Beginners 

6 Enchanting Towns And Cities Near Zion National Park (with Best Places to Stay and Eat)

You Might Also Like: 

Read All the Posts About Utah in: 

Utah Travel Guide

Read All the Posts About the United States in: 

United States Travel Guide

Did You Find Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion Useful?

Why not save it to your pinterest board.

Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning your trip to Zion National Park?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process with your trip to Zion National Park!

  • alert('URL copied to clipboard.')).catch(err => console.error('Unable to copy to clipboard.', err))">

Share via Email

One Day in Zion

One Day in Zion National Park (4 Things You Can't Miss)

Best Photography Locations in Zion

8 Tips for Hiking The Narrows: How to Do It Step-By-Step

Utah National Parks: 7-Day Adventure Itinerary

Utah National Parks: 7-Day Adventure Itinerary Through Spectacular Landscapes

Tips for First Visit to Zion

11 Tips for First Visit to Zion National Park for Unforgettable Adventure

Towns and Cities Near Zion

6 Towns And Cities Near Zion (Best Places to Stay and Eat)


2 thoughts on “ 13 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park (Useful Maps+Practical Tips) ”

' data-src=

Thank you for this information After all my research, your info is a one stop shop, and all I need for Bruce and Zion! Appreciate it

' data-src=

Thank you! I am so glad you found it useful! Good luck with your travels.

Leave an answer Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The company processes your data to facilitate the publication and management of comments. You can exercise your rights of access, rectification, deletion and objection, among others, according to our Privacy policy .

10 Absolute Best Things To See in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is Utah’s oldest national park (established in 1919). It occupies 229 square miles of protected land in southwestern Utah. Richly populated with sandstone formations, gorgeous canyons and meandering streams of the Virgin River, there are so many beautiful things to see in Zion National Park.

You have three popular areas to explore in the park: Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Kolob Canyons.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive runs through Zion Canyon along the valley floor and is studded with picturesque viewpoints and trailheads.

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway is a part of Highway 9 within Zion National Park that connects East and South Entrances. It passes through the historic Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. There are interesting stops and fantastic views along the way.

Kolob Canyons are tucked in the secluded northwest corner of the park. Far from the bustle of the main canyon, it offers a totally tranquil escape. The area is dotted with stunning canyons and  imposing red rocks.

A trip to Zion National Park introduces you to an endless array of magnificent views and incomparable scenery that will surely leave you awestruck. Check out these amazing things to see in Zion National Park for an unforgettable trip.

Disclaimer : This post may contain affiliate links. We earn a small income at no extra cost to you if you book through these links.

A Quick Glance Through

Park layout.

  • Checkerboard Mesa
  • Canyon Overlook: Breathtaking Views
  • Canyon Junction Bridge: Jaw-dropping Sights
  • Human History Museum
  • Court of The Patriarchs
  • Lower Emerald Pool
  • Riverside Walk
  • The Narrows
  • Scout Lookout: Dramatic Views of Zion Canyon
  • Timber Creek Overlook

Where To Stay

How to get there, best things to see in zion national park, 1. checkerboard mesa.

Located on the eastern side of Zion National Park, Checkerboard Mesa is a cone-shaped mountain with a distinct checkerboard pattern etched on it.

This is one of the first natural landmarks you will see after entering the park from the East Entrance.

The mesa is made up of layers of wind-blown sand which were compressed and hardened due to various natural conditions. It rises 900 feet above the road.

You can enjoy spectacular views of the mesa from the Checkerboard Mesa Viewpoint. Besides that, there are several pull outs along the way giving fantastic opportunities to view it.

This interesting geological formation is definitely worth checking out during your Zion trip.

2. Canyon Overlook: Breathtaking Views

Canyon Overlook is an easy 1-mile round trip hike with 163 feet of elevation gain.

The trailhead is right before entering the Mount Carmel tunnel if you are coming from the East Entrance. Those coming from Springdale/South Entrance will drive through the tunnel to get to the trailhead.

The trail ends at a vantage point offering you outstanding views of lower Zion Canyon and the switchbacks below.

At most places, the trail is fenced with protective railing. But there are spots with long drop-offs. So, be extremely cautious when hiking.

The parking space is very limited at this trail and it can fill up quickly. To secure a parking spot, consider hiking this trail early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

3. Canyon Junction Bridge: Jaw-dropping Sights

Canyon Junction Bridge is a famous spot in Zion National Park to view and photograph the iconic Watchman peak.

Situated at 6,545 feet (1,995 m), the Watchman is one of the most recognizable mountain summits in the park.

This bridge is also a great spot to experience a glorious Zion sunset. The beautiful Watchman Mountain is bathed in a warm golden hue when the rays of the setting sun hit it.

This place can easily get crowded during sunset hours. So, arrive early if you want to get a nice spot.

To reach here from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, you can take the park shuttle and get off at shuttle stop 3.

4. Human History Museum

The Human History Museum is the 2nd stop for the Zion Canyon shuttle. It is a good place to learn about the rich history of Zion National Park.

A wide array of exhibits is on display to showcase the human habitation history of the region and the distinct culture of its early occupants. For a quick overview of the park, you can watch a short video that is run every half hour.

Besides this, enjoy the gorgeous mountain vistas from the back of the museum. You can see great views of the Towers of the Virgin and a few other prominent peaks.

5. Court of The Patriarchs

Situated on the western side of Zion Canyon, the Court of the Patriarchs is a range of sandstone mountain peaks. The patriarchs are named after the biblical figures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

A short trail from shuttle stop 4 leads you to a lookout point offering impressive views of the mountain formations.

Two other mountain peaks, known as Mount Moroni and The Sentinel, are also visible from this viewpoint.

6. Lower Emerald Pool: One of The Amazing Things To See in Zion National Park

The Lower Emerald Pool is one of the easiest hikes in Zion National Park that leads you to beautiful waterfalls and their charming pools.

It is accessible by a 1.2-mile roundtrip trail via a paved pathway. The trailhead is located just across the road from Zion Lodge, stop 5 on the Zion Canyon Shuttle.

Spend some time soaking in the stunning vistas of the surroundings. If you have the energy to hike more, you can continue on the Middle and Upper Emerald Pool trails.

7. Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk is a beautiful 2.2-mile out and back trail that starts at the Temple of Sinawava (shuttle stop 9) and ends at the Narrows entry point.

Most of the trail is paved and runs parallel to the Virgin River. It is considered one of the most accessible trails in Zion National Park.

Along the way, you can admire scenic river views complemented by massive canyon walls. The lush hanging gardens and dazzling pools add to the charm of this picturesque trail.

If you get lucky, you can spot some wildlife too. Wild turkeys and mule deer are some of the commonly sighted animals in this area.

8. The Narrows Via Riverside Walk

The Narrows is a magnificent gorge created by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The hike starts exactly where you finish the Riverside Walk. Here, you can hike the Zion Narrows from the bottom up.

The furthest spot you can reach is Big Spring which is about 10 miles round trip.

On this hike, you will walk through the narrowest sections of Zion Canyon in the Virgin River. It is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding hikes in Zion National Park.

Another way to hike the Zion Narrows is from top-down from Chamberlain’s Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava covering 16 miles. This is a strenuous hike and requires a wilderness permit.

9. Scout Lookout: Dramatic Views of Zion Canyon

Scout Lookout is a picturesque viewpoint on the way to Angels Landing. The trail to Scout Lookout starts at The Grotto (shuttle stop 6) and is a 4-mile hike round trip with steep switchbacks.

If you are looking for a challenging hike with enchanting views, you must include it in your Zion itinerary. Plus, permit is not required to hike up to this vantage point. 

After getting to the top, you are rewarded with breathtaking sights of Zion Canyon and the famous Angels Landing.

To continue hiking to Angels Landing, you will need a permit. Learn more about permit requirement on the NPS website.

Also Read: 10 Facts About Zion National Park That Will Surprise You .

10. Timber Creek Overlook

Timber Creek Overlook is found in Kolob Canyon, a less-known section of Zion National Park. It is a fun 1-mile out and back trail with just 100 feet of elevation gain.

The hike brings you to an incredible viewpoint affording sprawling views of Timber Creek, Kolob Terrace, and the Pine Valley Mountains. On a clear day, you may see Mount Trumbull, faraway in northwestern Arizona.

If you plan to visit the Kolob Canyons area, Timber Creek Overlook definitely deserves a spot in your bucket list.

Kolob Canyon sits in the northwest corner of the park and is roughly 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. The trailhead to Timber Creek Overlook is located at the end of Kolob Canyons Road.

There are two options for in-park accommodation. You can either book a campsite or a room in the historic Zion Lodge .

Best Campgrounds

Watchman Campground . South Campground .

Both campgrounds are located near the South Entrance. Watchman Campground is open year-round whereas South Campground is open typically from March through October.

You can check campsite availability on recreation.gov .

If you don’t find lodging inside the park, you can stay in the nearby town of Springdale. It is located just outside of the park’s South Entrance and offers a good range of hotels.

Best Hotels in Springdale

Luxury : SpringHill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park .

Mid-range : Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn and Suites .

Budget : Zion Canyon Lodge at Zion National Park .

The park has three entrances: South Entrance, East Entrance and Kolob Canyon Entrance. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is located near the South Entrance along Highway 9.

If you are coming from Las Vegas, you will enter the park from the South Entrance. If driving from Bryce Canyon National Park, you will enter through the East Entrance.

The two nearest major airports to the park are in Las Vegas (approx. 3 hours drive) and Salt Lake City (approx. 4.5 hours drive).

There is a regional airport in St. George but with limited flight options. So, the best option is to fly to Las Vegas and rent a car from there.

Kolob Canyon Entrance is the least popular and is located on Interstate 15.

Further Reading

For more USA travel inspiration, you may like to read some of these posts.

Top 10 National Parks in The United States .

Southern California’s 3 Best National Parks .

11 Excellent Things To See in Death Valley .

10 Unmissable Attractions in Joshua Tree National Park .

12 Must-Visit Places in California .

14 Interesting Facts About Death Valley National Park .

12 Attractions in Yellowstone National Park You Must See .

10 of The Best Attractions in The Grand Canyon .

12 Interesting Facts About Grand Teton National Park .

Over To You Now…

We hope you found this list of the 10 best things to see in Zion National Park helpful. What are your favorite views and viewpoints in the park? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest .

Related Posts

12 Interesting Facts About Grand Teton National Park

12 Interesting Facts About Grand Teton National Park

10 of The Best Attractions in The Grand Canyon

10 of The Best Attractions in The Grand Canyon

Top 10 National Parks in The USA For Nature Lovers

Top 10 National Parks in The USA For Nature Lovers

About the author.

' src=

A passionate traveler, nature and wildlife enthusiast, Rashmi loves to explore places filled with natural beauty. She believes there is nothing more fulfilling than wandering in nature. She is here to show you beautiful places around the world, from the most popular to the most offbeat spots.

' src=

Hello Rashmi, I am planning a trip to Zion Nat’l Park and also Bryce Canyon this Sept (2022). Because of the extensive area, I know that I need to do a lot of research ahead of time to plan what I will and won’t visit. I loved your website and I have taken copious notes that I’m sure will help me tremendously on my upcoming trip. Thank you so much for the time that you put into yr website by passing on your knowledge and experience to others. I am indebted to you and thank you for doing so much of my homework for me in advance. DP in California

' src=

Thanks for stopping by. I am glad to know that you found this article so helpful. Have a great trip!

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

cool places to visit in zion


Influencer Tips

United States

national parks

cool places to visit in zion

National Parks

13 EPIC Things to Do in Zion National Park Besides Hiking

Nov 28, 2023

cool places to visit in zion

Your Influencer Coach & Fellow Content Creator

I'm a travel creator and influencer coach based out of Arizona. This blog is where I share the best itineraries for US & beyond, 63 US National Parks , and influencer tips . Read More About Me ⟶

Popular Posts

How Much to Charge for a Sponsored Instagram Post

How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2024

Utah National Parks Ranked Best to Worst

Amazing Things To Do in Scottsdale, AZ

Free Class: How to Get Paid as a Travel Influencer

cool places to visit in zion

Hiking is often the first activity most people consider when visiting a national park in the US , and Zion is no different.

But wouldn’t it be great to explore this magnificent Utah park without hiking?

If you agree, you’ve come to the right place.

There are plenty of things to do in Zion National Park for non-hikers.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded excursion in the skies or a thrilling adventure gliding over sand dunes, this ultimate Zion National Park guide has got you covered.

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

get paid to travel the world

FREE CLASS: Get PAID to Travel!

Sign up for my free class and learn how I land paid brand deals that pay me to travel as a content creator and influencer!

Best Things To Do In Zion National Park Besides Hiking

1. scenic drive on the zion mount carmel highway.

view of orange rock formations over Zion Canyon Drive

If you don’t feel like hiking, then perhaps a drive through Zion National Park is right up your alley.

And it doesn’t get any better than the Zion Mount Carmel Highway.

It’s arguably the best scenic drive through the national park, traversing 10 miles from east Zion to the southern entrance.

Along the way, you’ll drive through stunning views of red mountainous scenery, grazing wildlife, and the 1.1-mile Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel that connects this national park to Bryce Canyon . 

Note: Private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive when the park shuttle is operational (more on that later). This is to reduce traffic congestion within the park.

2. Go Bike Riding

view of sunny day with clouds over Pa rus Trail in Zion National Park utah

Biking is a fantastic way to experience the best of Zion.

Being the only hiking path that allows bicycles, the paved Pa’rus Trail is the top choice for biking through Zion National Park. 

Rent a bike in Springdale and ride through mesmerizing scenery from the South Campground all the way to the Temple of Sinawava.

You can also bike on all of the park’s roadways, so feel free to take on the Zion Mount Carmel Highway for more spectacular viewpoints.

Note: Biking on other trails besides Pa’rus is strictly prohibited. The park also requires you to always wear a helmet and stay clear of the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel for safety reasons. 

3. Take a UTV Riding Tour

utv driving through the desert

Riding UTVs is an excellent way to see Zion’s most remote areas.

This UTV riding tour takes you through the rugged terrains of East Zion to captivating slot canyons.

You’ll enjoy a thrilling four-wheel-drive experience followed by a magical walk through deep slot canyons. 

4. Go Off-Roading on a Jeep Tour

sunny day over zion national park bridge road

If you’re up for a more adventurous off-roading experience, look no further than this guided Jeep tour to the majestic Red Canyon. 

This excursion is one of the most ideal things to do in Zion National Park if you’re not keen on hiking.

The tour takes you through awe-inspiring views as you ride through rough terrains and walk along the towering red walls of the Peek-a-Boo Canyon. 

5. Take a Helicopter Tour

view from above of watchman zion at sunset

Another fabulous way to see the stunning red scenery of Zion National Park is from a bird’s eye perspective.

Take a scenic helicopter tour around Zion and view the park’s famous attractions without having to walk and battle long queues and crowded views.

On this 55-mile helicopter tour, you’ll soar over marvelous sites such as Kolob Canyon, the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Area, as well as the Smith Mesa.

6. Go Horseback Riding 

horses eating grass on a sunny day in the desert

Horseback riding is an excellent way to see the best of Zion without having to hike.

There are plenty of tour providers in the area, so booking this excursion shouldn’t be an issue. This one-hour horseback tour sees you traversing through the majestic White Mountain.

You’ll get the best of both worlds, catching panoramic views of the park while riding to an isolated slot canyon, where you can stop and take in the towering red walls.

If you’re a novice rider, don’t be discouraged, as this tour is perfectly suitable for beginners.

7. Ride the Shuttle

zion shuttle driving through a canyon

Like other Utah national parks , Zion has a shuttle service that offers you an easy way to travel through the park, so you won’t have to worry about parking space.

The shuttle service operates daily from March to November, as well as during the holiday season until the end of December.

You can catch the park’s shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

From here, the shuttle stops eight more times at attractions such as the Zion Human History Museum and Weeping Rock.

Tip: The shuttle comes every 10 to 15 minutes, based on a schedule that varies according to the season and time of day. Check out the shuttle schedule to make sure you don’t miss it.

8. Attend a Ranger Program

view of orange Zion National Park entrance sign in utah

You’ll find plenty of ranger-led Zion National Park activities.

These programs are designed to give you insight into the history, geology, and biodiversity of the national park and its surroundings.

At the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, you can attend patio talks on various topics three times a day: at 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3 pm.

Junior ranger programs geared towards families and children are also available at the visitor center and the Zion Human History Museum.

Read Next: Yellowstone NP vs Utah NP

9. Go Stargazing

stars over zion national park

Stargazing is one of the most sought-after Zion activities that don’t involve hiking; you need only to lie down for this one.

On clear nights, the starry skies above Zion National Park are a sight to behold.

You can join a ranger-led astrology program or opt for a guided one-hour stargazing experience .

This star-studded excursion is one of the best things to do in Zion at night.

Your experience is complete with a telescope, a warm blanket, and a delicious cup of hot chocolate as you gaze at the starry Milky Way under Utah’s non-polluted skies.

10. Catch the Sunset

sunset over the watchman with white flowers in the foreground in zion national park utah

Sunsets in Zion National Park are simply extraordinary.

Picture this: rugged red rock cliff flooded with vibrant orange, pink, and purple hues.

There are lots of sunset spots in the park, many of which are accessible via a short walk.

But if you don’t want to hike at all, opt for a sunset Jeep tour .

Alternatively, other popular spots among visitors and rangers are the Zion Canyon Overlook, the Canyon Junction Bridge, and the Zion Museum (which is likely to be less crowded).

11. Take a Wildlife Spotting Adventure

mountain goats running through an orange canyon in zion national park

Wildlife spotting is something you can do year-round at Zion, but spring and fall are considered optimal viewing seasons.

Some animals, like mule deer, are often spotted during the day, while foxes and ringtail cats usually come out to play at night.

Some great places to go for wildlife spotting include the Weeping Rock, along the Zion National Park Scenic Drive, as well as on the paved Riverside Walk running along the Virgin River.   

12. Go Canyoneering

bright blue water flowing through the narrows in zion national park

Canyoneering is among the best outdoor thrills you’ll find in Zion National Park.

And with the park’s numerous slot canyons, craggy mountain peaks, and meandering river-carved gorges, it’s not hard to see why.

However, it’s important to note that canyoneering is not just rock climbing; this activity may also include a little bit of hiking, rappelling, and even swimming in some parts.

This canyoneering tour gives you an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the park’s gorgeous landscapes.

Note: Canyoneering is a very technical outdoor activity, so safety precautions should be taken at all times. Familiarize yourself with Zion’s canyoneering regulations and the required permits.

13. Try Your Hand at Sandboarding

male in brown pants sandboarding over an orange sand dune

Last, but certainly not least, you can enjoy sandboarding in Zion National Park. This non-hiking experience is for avid thrill seekers and adventurers.

If that’s you, consider this sandboarding adventure down the sandy slopes near the park’s entrance.

The tour allows you to enjoy surfing the dunes while standing up or sitting down (this depends on your comfort level).

You’ll complete this tour with a UTV ride to the Peekaboo Slot Canyon.

Where to Stay in Zion National Park

Okay, so you’re all clued up on some of the best things to do in Zion National Park besides hiking.

Now, let’s look at where you can lay your head after a long, adventure-filled day in Zion.

Holiday Inn Express Springdale — $$$

outdoor pool at holiday inn express springdale zion national park

Enjoy stunning views of red rock cliffs, an expansive outdoor pool, fire pits, a fitness center, and large rooms at Springdale’s Holiday Inn Express .

This star-rated hotel boasts sophisticated amenities, similar to those in big cities, and elegantly styled rooms showcasing regional culture. 

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham — $$

swimming pool with mountain view at la quinta zion park

Want a luxurious stay without having to pay appalling prices? Then La Quinta Inn & Suites may be the perfect place for you to stay.

This three-star hotel features spacious rooms, an on-site convenience store, laundry facilities, and a resort-style pool with mesmerizing mountain views.

Zion Park Motel — $

cozy room at zion park motel

If you’re not looking to break your budget, consider staying at the Zion Park Motel . This highly-rated lodge is quite rustic but offers all the mod cons you’ll need for a comfy stay.

You’ll get access to a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, BBQ facilities, and access to the Zion shuttle.

Wrapping Up What to Do at Zion National Park Without Hiking

Although it’s often associated with day hiking, Zion National Park offers many outdoor activities that do not require trekking.

From off-roading to picturesque sunset views to soaring in a helicopter over the red cliffs to surfing down dunes, Zion is an excellent choice for non-hikers.

So whether you’re looking for quick excursions, you can do in a day or adventures that require a 2-day Zion itinerary , these activities that don’t involve hiking are certainly must-dos.

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new posts by email.

cool places to visit in zion

save your seat!

© Dani Rodriguez LLC 2024. All rights reserved. | Legal

cool places to visit in zion

I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!

7 Amazing Things We Did With Only 48 Hours In Zion National Park

We had just 48 hours to explore Zion National Park. Even with unexpected closures and big crowds, we saw and did some truly amazing activities.

  • We had just 48 hours to explore Zion National Park. Despite not getting permits for Angels Landing (and facing some closed hikes), it didn't stop us from enjoying Zion National Park fully.
  • When visiting Zion National Park, we opted for underappreciated trails like Sand Bench Trail, which provided solitude away from the crowds.
  • My family and I loved driving the Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway, which was a perfect way to explore the vastness and unique beauty of Zion National Park.

Zion National Park is the crown jewel of Utah's Mighty 5 national parks. With over four million visitors in 2023 , Zion National Park was not only the most visited national park in Utah, it was the third-most-visited national park in the country. Living just four hours away, we took a quick two-night trip to see what all the fuss was about.

With only 48 hours and a laundry list of things to see, the clock was ticking to enjoy as much of this massive park as possible. To add to the chaos, we didn't get a permit to hike Angels Landing, the most dangerous hike in America , and the Narrows, Zion National Park's most famous slot canyon and one of the many dangerous hikes in Zion besides Angels Landing , was also closed due to high waters. The bridge to Emerald Pools was closed as well, and the pools required a major detour to reach, which made it out of reach within our time limits.

The big three were unavailable, time was short, and the park was crowded. Despite the challenges, Zion provided an amazing experience. Here are just a few of the amazing things we did in Zion National Park in just 48 hours.

Hiking details have been provided for all the trails we explored during our 48 hours in Zion National Park. However, time estimates have not been included. One of the many things we learned during our time in Zion is that everything will take longer than expected. Between the crowds, the shuttle rides, and the detours for photo ops, leave plenty of extra time for every hike.

7 Underrated Alternatives To Zion National Park

7 hike the sand bench trail, exploring a hidden gem trail led to incredible views and a break from the intense crowds.

There are over 100 trails in Zion National Park, but with only two days, it's important to be selective about which trails to explore. This is why it might come as a surprise that we opted to explore the Sand Bench Trail, one of the lower-rated hikes in Zion National Park with a 4.2 out of 5 on Alltrails. People seem to be thrown off by the horse droppings since the trail is also the main horseback riding path in the canyon, but it is a beautiful trail.

As a scenic moderate trail with river access, we spent about three hours exploring and hiking through the Court of the Patriarchs area. Yes, we moved aside for horses and yes, we got some sand in our boots (the whole trail is sand), but we didn't have hordes of other hikers to compete with, a rare feat in Zion National Park. After being sandwiched between sweaty hikers on the Zion Shuttle, no amount of horse manure could dissuade us from the beauty of enjoying Zion Canyon all on our own.

The biggest takeaway from this stop? Don't discount a hike just because others don't rave about it. It may be the perfect escape.

Three Hardest Hikes At Zion (That Aren't Angel's Landing)

6 hike the narrows riverside walk, a classic zion national park hike, the narrows riverside walk offered easy, scenic views and river access.

The Narrows Riverside Walk is one of the best beginner-friendly easy hikes in Zion National Park , and with so many parts of the park closed, we were eager to explore at least one of its trademark attractions. Despite being a crowded area, there was plenty of space to spread out, including river access and wide trails for photo ops.

The canyon walls were at their most dramatic here, with deep shades of orange and red shooting vertically. The combination of the bubbling river, moving very quickly due to the spring runoff, and the harsh red rock made for an awe-inspiring easy hike.

There are also bathrooms and water refill stations at this stop, making it the perfect place to simply wander far longer than the 45 minutes Alltrails says is needed to complete the trail (which is exactly what we did).

The Narrows are currently closed due to high waters. Travelers can only follow the Riverside Walk for a mile before access is restricted for safety reasons.

5 Drive The Full Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway

A scenic drive offered some autonomy and unique wandering opportunities in a busy park.

Before coming to Zion National Park, I knew it was big. It wasn't until we arrived that we realized just how big the park was. The entire first day was spent in the canyon exploring along and around the Sand Bench Trail, but the second day we took our car into the park for some self-paced exploration.

Private cars are not allowed on the Zion Scenic Drive that the shuttles use, but vehicles can explore the Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway, and it's a must. The drive starts with the historic Mt. Carmel tunnel. Completed in 1930, the 1.1-mile tunnel is a feat of engineering and a beautiful experience in and of itself. On the other side, drivers can explore the highway at their own pace until they reach the east entrance of the park.

Multiple turnouts with trails make it easy to find some solitude on this less-explored side of the park. Covered in slickrock, sand, and sagebrush, this side of the park has a far more barren feel than the canyon itself.

After a day in the shuttles, time and independence to enjoy the desert landscape independently was a breath of fresh air, and the unusual formations we found by following these unofficial paths were well worth the rock scrambles and sandy trails.

No Hiking Needed: Take In The Views On The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway Drive

4 enjoy the checkerboard mesa, canyons aren't the only thing being carved in zion, and the checkerboard mesa was an unexpected attraction.

Zion Canyon is not the only unique natural formation in Zion National Park. The unusual Checkerboard Mesa, tucked right at the eastern edge of Zion, is well worth pulling over for. While I knew the Checkerboard Mesa was a part of Zion National Park, it wasn't until we drove up to it by accident that I realized just how odd it is.

Mesas are surprisingly common throughout southern Utah, so much so that this local Utahn didn't feel the need to detour for this landmark. When we did come across it, I was shocked at just how unique the formation was. The checkerboard isn't just a speckling of color changes, the board formation is carved into the mesa itself.

Echoing the dramatic geological processes that occurred here, the Checkerboard Mesa was one of many unexpected surprises we enjoyed in our 48 hours in Zion National Park.

3 Hike The Canyon Overlook

Every visit to zion national park requires getting a canyon view, and this quick hike delivered.

Zion Canyon is the attraction in Zion National Park, so it was a must to enjoy an overlook view of this iconic formation. With only two days, choosing the shorter Canyon Overlook Trail instead of one of the longer elevated hikes like the Scout Lookout Trail or West Rim Trail gave us a chance to enjoy the scenery without losing half of one of our days in the park.

The Canyon Overlook Trail, one of the best alternative hikes to Angels Landing , is rated easy, but hikers should still take care, as the hike follows the canyon edge and has several points where water is dripping down the rock across the trail. The water and sandstone make for a muddy, slippery combination.

Paired with the heavy traffic along the hike, this trail took over an hour to complete (including time to enjoy the view), a far cry from the 25 minutes recommended on Alltrails. The view at the end? Worth every minute. Even with the canyon winds blowing off hats and sunglasses, the ability to stand over the canyon was a once-in-a-lifetime feeling.

2 Hike The Slickrock Along The Mt. Carmel Highway

Rock scrambles and desolate trails make it easy to explore in solitude along the highway.

There was only one major hiking trail on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway portion of Zion National Park, the Canyon Overlook Trail, but there were countless small trails along minor turnouts. We opted to stop and explore at several of them, but it was the walls of slickrock that proved the most exciting for our little family.

Not far past the Checkerboard Mesa overlook, several turnouts along the rock are ideal for wandering. The paths to the slickrock are clearly marked to prevent damage to the delicate desert ecosystem, but once on the rock, there is plenty of flexibility.

Climbing along the steep rock, we found black lava rock, odd wind-blown rocks, and the occasional desert bloom. The best part? There was only one other trio there, also enjoying the rocky formations. After being sandwiched on a shuttle, the space and fresh air made this a highlight during our short Zion trip.

The two provided trails are just a couple of examples of designated trails that can be used to explore the slickrock area of Zion. Many of the turnouts have trails, but not all are clearly labeled by name. Our route, for instance, was exceptionally scenic but did not have any markings to denote what "trail" we might be on.

1 Explore The First Stretch Of The Pa'rus Trail

The area around the visitor's center may be crowded, but it's also full of river-side scenery and canyon views.

Truthfully, I can't say for certain how far we made it down the Pa'rus Trail, but what we did provided just one more incredible view of Zion National Park. The Pa'rus Trail is one of the top-rated trails in Zion National Park , and one of the easiest trails to access, starting right at the Visitor's Center (meaning no shuttle ride this time).

The full trail runs 1.6 miles, making for a 3.2-mile round trip. Despite the distance, the trail itself is fairly easy, staying fairly flat as the hike runs parallel to the river. As an added bonus for hikers, the Pa'rus Trail is the only dog-friendly hike in Zion National Park, so everyone can stretch their legs along the way.

Since this trail does not require a shuttle or a car ride to access, it was the ideal point of exploration for our short timeframe.

As an out-and-back trail, the Pa'rus Trail is easy to shorten to meet time constraints. The parking lot has free two-hour parking spots available, leaving just enough time for a spontaneous walk down this easy hike.

North America Chevron

United States Chevron

Utah Chevron

Zion National Park Chevron

Where to Stay in and Around Zion National Park

By Emily Pennington

Best Places to Stay in Zion National Park 2024 Hotels Airbnbs  Glamping Sites

Revered for their striking vermillion cliffs, sandstone hoodoos, and scrubby pinyon pines, Utah’s national parks are always worth a trip. The “Mighty Five” (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion) are completely spellbinding, and none more so than Zion.

As the most-visited national park in the state (and the third most-visited in the US), Zion National Park is often full of curious travelers, and as such, finding the perfect place to hang your hat after a long day of exploring can be a tough challenge. Luckily, we’ve done some of the leg work for you and created a list of our favorite places to stay for easy access to the park. From luxurious five-star hotels to adorable tiny homes to chic glamping sites with stargazing windows, here are 22 standout places to stay in Zion National Park and its surrounding towns.

Seeking even more red rock inspiration? Check out our ode to five incredible Utah state parks without the crowds.

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

cool places to visit in zion

Tranquil Adobe Retreat

Bed and bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities: Heated floors, desert vistas, full kitchen, Sonos speakers Best for: A secluded couples escape

Creamy, warm tones fill this one-bedroom, one-bathroom stunner in tiny Kanab, Utah. The location is perfect for those hoping to visit both Zion and Bryce Canyon in a single trip, and the property’s private 2.4-acre expanse means that you’ll feel a million miles away from city stressors. Dine alfresco and watch the sun set over towering red rock cathedrals from your private patio, or go for a post-hike rinse inside the bespoke flagstone shower. With a full kitchen and private hiking trails on-site, it’ll be hard to leave this romantic, meditative haven.

Image may contain Resort Building Hotel Furniture Chair and Outdoors

Desert Pearl Inn Arrow

Bed and bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities: Awesome pool views, private terraces, great location Best for: Staying close to the park and fab restaurants

At Desert Pearl Inn, guests are just a stone’s throw away from Zion’s South Entrance and walking distance from loads of delectable Springdale restaurants, like Camp Outpost Co. , which is right next door. But it’s not just the inn’s great location that we love; inside even the simplest rooms, guests will find loads of creature comforts, like premium Beautyrest mattresses, kitchenettes, bidets, seating areas, and private balconies that boast phenomenal views of crimson Navajo sandstone. Plus, there’s even a pool for those scorching summer days.

Bed and bath Varies by accommodation Top amenities Jetted tubs epic pool scene golf course Best for Elegant spa and golf...

The Inn at Entrada

Bed and bath: Varies by accommodation Top amenities: Jetted tubs, epic pool scene, golf course Best for: Elegant spa and golf getaways

If you’re a fan of sprawling golf-and-spa-style hotels, this is the stay for you. Situated a bit farther from the park in St. George—one hour brings you to Springdale and its South Entrance—The Inn at Entrada is Southwestern resort life at its best: large apartment suites, a fabulous pool, hot tubs, tennis courts, and a recently renovated golf course. An on-site restaurant, The Grille at Entrada , serves up hearty proteins like bourbon glazed salmon and braised short rib, and those much-needed post-hike spa services are just a phone call away.

Bed and bath Varies  Top amenities Firepits pourover coffee morning yoga classes Best for Hip couples who are...

AutoCamp Zion

Bed and bath: Varies (most are 1 bedroom, 1 bath) Top amenities: Firepits, pour-over coffee, morning yoga classes Best for: Hip couples who are glamping-curious

When they aren’t cranking up the free live music, the folks at AutoCamp are hosting winter story time, manning the on-site general store, or setting up complimentary morning yoga classes. These special activities embody the spirit of the site’s ethos, which centers around a communal lounge and kitchen, though most of its “rooms” are decked-out chrome Airstreams straight outta The Jetsons . Inside these 31-foot mini-houses, you’ll find plush mattresses with high thread-count linens, walk-in rain showers, and fully functional kitchenettes.

What It's Like Flying in Etihad Airways' New Lie-Flat Business Class Cabin

Shannon McMahon

18 Places to Visit in the Netherlands That Aren't Amsterdam

Chris Schalkx

How to Get Cheap Last-Minute Flights, According to the Experts

Mark Ellwood

11 Best Hotels in Tuscany, From the Coast to the Outskirts of Florence

Alex Erdekian

cool places to visit in zion

The Zion Cabin

Bed and bath:  3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths Top amenities:  Al fresco porch dining, spacious common areas  Best for: Large groups looking for a soulful cabin

Restoring the Zion Cabin was a labor of love that took its owners, a mother and son team, two years to complete–and it shows. This hilltop hideout is full of eye-catching original artwork, plush reading nooks, a fully-stocked eat-in kitchen, and a massive wrap-around deck, creating an elevated, modern approach to a “cabin in the woods getaway.” Plus, there’s space for your entire crew to spread out comfortably, with two king beds, two queens, and a dedicated workspace for computer time when you’re not traipsing around Zion’s less-visited eastern side, a quick 10-minute drive away.

cool places to visit in zion

Mother Eve Tiny House

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath  Top amenities:  Hot tub with a view, ultra-cozy living room  Best for: Couples looking to get off the grid in style

It’s tough to picture a bevy of thoughtful (and adorably-styled) amenities in such a petite space, but Mother Eve Tiny House manages to deliver the top perks of a hip hotel room, all set in a secluded desert environment. Plop down on the moss green sofa and make a cup of Earl Grey with the kitchen’s kettle, kick back in loungers on the private patio beneath a wooden shade structure, or enjoy a hot shower in the robin’s egg blue bathroom. Any way you slice it, you’re sure to find some cozy, post-park R&R before retiring to the lofted queen bed.

Aman Amangiri  setting

Amangiri Arrow

Bed and bath:  Varies by suite Top amenities:  Private plunge pools, dramatic views, world-class spa Best for: Ultra-luxe accommodations surrounded by pristine desertscapes

Nestled between Lake Powell, Vermillion Cliffs, and Grand Staircase Escalante, Amangiri promises five-star amenities amidst the best of Utah’s scenic red rock country. An hour and a half from the park’s east entrance, this secluded hotel is specially designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape, with cream-colored stone floors, natural timbers, and concrete walls. Each suite features a private plunge pool, fireplace, and breathtaking desert views, while a few boast a private sky terrace for nighttime stargazing. Their nearby Camp Sarika offers unparalleled glamping options.

Under Canvas Zion

Under Canvas Zion

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:   Wood-burning stoves, complimentary s’mores, locally-sourced on-site restaurant Best for: The camping-curious who prefer not to rough it

Another stunner from the folks at Under Canvas is this glamping resort unlike any other. With comfy king-size beds, private decks, wood-burning fireplaces, and private bathrooms with showers, flush toilets, and organic bath products, the Zion location is unique because of its jaw-dropping views of nearby umber-colored cliffs. Enjoy on-site dining, made from locally curated ingredients, and complimentary camp activities like yoga, sing-alongs, and roasting s’mores over an open fire pit.

Bed and bathnbspVaries  Top amenitiesnbspA massive soaking tub access to secluded hiking trails Best for Exploring...

Lazalu, Zion Retreat

Bed and bath:  Varies (most have 1 bedroom, 1 bath) Top amenities:  A massive soaking tub, access to secluded hiking trails Best for: Exploring remote zones of Zion

Unlike many national parks, where travelers have vast tracts of land to explore, at Zion, most visitors confine themselves to the 15-mile long main canyon. Lazalu, a secluded adobe-style retreat in the park’s oft forgotten Kolob Terrace region, aims to change that. Situated steps away from the park’s western edge, this entire property overlooks the striking rust-tinted sandstone of Cave Valley. With vintage furnishings, wood-burning fireplaces, oversized soaking tubs, and quirky design details (like a cross-shaped glass window and hexagonal skylights), Lazalu perfectly blends comfort and solitude in a picturesque, off-the-grid package.

Bed and bath Varies by accommodation Top amenities Pickleball courts swimming pool views for days Best for Fun stays in...

East Zion Resort

Bed and bath: Varies by accommodation Top amenities: Pickleball courts, swimming pool, views for days Best for: Fun stays in unconventional digs

For those who can’t decide if they want to stay in a treehouse or a yurt, East Zion Resort’s got both, plus tiny homes, glamping tents, and mirrored houses. Since this spot is located atop a sandstone bluff overlooking crumbling red rock formations on the less-touristy eastern side of Zion, you’ll have easy access to uncrowded attractions like the towering Checkerboard Mesa and the East Rim Trail, both of which are right off of Highway 9. The resort’s amenities are simple (think swimming pools, communal hot tubs, and many, many pickleball courts), but get the job done. Larger groups and families can check out The Lodge and its adjacent Farmhouse Suite, which sleep up to 36 and six respectively, perfect for special events or for unwinding with the whole gang after exploring the park.

cool places to visit in zion

Luxury Airbnb in Hurricane

Bed and bath:  2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom Top amenities:  Private yoga studio, built-in outdoor hot tub Best for: Luxuriating in a Zen-inspired space post-hike

Comfortable, clean minimalism is what this luxe home has in spades, and at only 20 miles from the park’s entrance, it’s a phenomenal spot to unwind after a day spent hiking . Enjoy a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a burbling hot tub, cozy wood-burning fireplace, and a private deck for outdoor cocktails. With so many amenities, the private laundry room and indoor gym (yoga mats are included) just feel like a bonus.

Image may contain Housing Building Outdoors Nature House Banister and Handrail

Zion Ecocabin A-Frame

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  Panoramic views, outdoor grill, private hot tub Best for: Couples who want a truly awe-inspiring retreat in Utah

If you can’t decide between glamping or renting a cabin, this listing is for you. Set high in the rust-colored red hills surrounding Zion National Park, this tiny, adorable A-frame is close enough to town to grab snacks and groceries, yet far enough away to marvel at inky black night skies. Watch the sunrise from the bedroom’s floor-to-ceiling windows, treat your post-hike hunger at the outdoor patio’s grill, and relax in the property’s private hot tub. A short walk leads to your own bathroom with a flush toilet and honeycomb-tiled shower.

LaFave Luxury Rentals at Zion

LaFave Luxury Rentals

Bed and bath:  Varies by accommodation Top amenities:  Full kitchen, airy living room with a flatscreen TV Best for: Travelers seeking contemporary design or outdoor swimming pools

LaFave is home to an array of luxurious villas, private homes, and one-bedroom suites designed with clean lines, modern furnishings, and the occasional red brick nod to its natural surroundings in the heart of Springdale, Utah. No matter which accommodation you choose, you’re sure to be greeted by a full kitchen filled with stainless steel appliances and a pod-style coffee machine, posh white linens, local photography, and amazing views of Zion Canyon. A community pool is also set to open later this year.

Zion Wildflower Resort

Zion Wildflower Resort

Bed and bath: Varies by accommodation  Top amenities:  Loveseat swings, complimentary Wi-Fi, and communal fire pits Best for: Comfortable camping–without hauling in all your gear

Wake up to the scent of wild sage in a spacious, single-pole canvas tent at the Zion Wildflower Resort. Each of the glamping sites is on a handcrafted wooden deck, surrounded by striking views of the area’s rust-orange tablelands. Each tent comes fully outfitted with charging ports, complimentary Wi-Fi, a private deck with rocking chairs, heated blankets, and fairy lights. A short path leads travelers to a luxury bathhouse, complimentary bicycle rentals, and a communal fire pit for roasting s’mores. The property also offers chic cabins and bungalows for those seeking four walls.

Cliffrose Springdale Zion

Cliffrose Springdale

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath (suites available) Top amenities:   Jaw-dropping veranda views, EV charging, year-round spa Best for: Hilton Honors members who want to stay as close to the park as possible

Hilton’s Curio Collection aims to create a more boutique hotel experience from the trusted brand, peppered with unique wall art and local flair. Just half a mile from Zion’s main visitor center, the Cliffrose has simple, modern furnishings paired with more upscale amenities like private decks with views into the park, large soaking tubs, and colorful carpets. The hotel also features a restaurant, swimming pool, and year-round spa.

cool places to visit in zion

Astoa Etxea

Bed and bath:  3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths Top amenities: A roomy, open-plan common area, full kitchen, and dedicated kids' room Best for: Luxury, secluded from the park’s crowds

Muted turquoise tones, rust-colored loungers, and Southwest-inspired rugs will make you feel right at home in this stunning three-bedroom house featuring sky-high windows with views for miles into Utah’s rust-tinted mesas. This home is just steps away from Zion’s less traveled Kolob Canyon area and about 45 minutes from Springdale and the main canyon. With a wood wrap-around deck perfect for stargazing , a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and modern Danish furnishings, you’ll need nothing more during your stay.

cool places to visit in zion

Zion Hummingbird Villa

Bed and bath:  4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths Top amenities:  On-site washer and dryer, huge lawn with views into Zion Best for: Big groups looking to cook and hang out with easy access to the park’s main canyon

Views, views, views. Tucked against Zion’s Virgin River, this 4,000-square-foot home is full of incredible glimpses into Utah’s most famed national park. With a full eat-in kitchen, four modern bedrooms, a jetted bathtub, and a verdant grassy yard, complete with flowering trees, a BBQ grill, and accent sofas, you might never want to leave.

Image may contain Flooring Wood Hardwood Floor Indoors Living Room Room Furniture Housing Building and Rug

Bed and bath:  4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms Top amenities:  The massive outdoor space, complete with an al fresco dining nook and cozy swing Best for: Traveling groups who don’t mind staying away from the hustle and bustle of Springdale

With cigar-hued leather sofas, rustic wood bed frames, and Wild West accent art, there’s a lot to love at The Ross. The well-appointed kitchen with a French press and pour-over coffee maker, open floor plan, outdoor patio with swinging lounges, and ample dining space combine to make this four-bedroom house that’s just a half hour from the park one of the best spots to snooze before a day of canyon adventures.

Image may contain Furniture and Bed

The Loft at Zion

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  The views are fabulous, but the washer and dryer are pretty sweet too Best for: The car-less couple who’d love to walk or bike into the park

Set above a boutique coffee shop (the floors are insulated from the noise), this newly constructed loft feels like a hip Manhattan apartment with windows that happens to gaze out onto the crumbling red rock formations that make Utah so famous. Snuggle up and watch the sunset on the emerald green velvet couch, whip up some grub with the stainless steel appliances, and enjoy the fact that this apartment is only a three-minute walk to Zion's main entrance.

Open Sky Zion

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath  Top amenities:  Soaking tubs with sky views, outdoor showers, floor-to-ceiling windows Best for: A romantic, cuddley escape

If night sky gazing (or watching the sunrise in bed) is your thing, you’ll flip for Open Sky’s ceiling windows, which make it possible to brush up on your astronomy from the comfort of your covers. Though all three of their glamping tents feature plush bedding, private decks, and epic views, we love the Star Seeker for its oversized clawfoot copper bathtub, private telescope viewing platform, swing lounger, and enclosed outdoor rain shower.

Zion Lodge Zion National Park

Bed and bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath (cabins available) Top amenities:  Gas fireplaces, private porches with stunning park views Best for: History buffs keen on sleeping inside the park

As the only in-park lodging that’s not a campground, the Zion Lodge has a lot of hype to live up to, but luckily, its 40 private cabins and Southwest-inspired hotel suites lend the perfect amount of charm to visitors who want to bed down close to the action. Think wood beam rafters, gas-powered fireplaces, colorful local fabrics, private porches, and bathtubs for post-hike soaking. (Just don’t expect a fast Wi-Fi signal.) Sprawl out on the property’s enormous lawn for a picnic lunch or check out the casual Red Rock Grill, open year-round.

Zion Mountain Ranch

Zion Mountain Ranch

Bed and bath:  Varies by accommodation Top amenities:  Private fireplaces, jetted bathtubs, and a scrumptious on-site restaurant Best for: Romantic cabin getaway, no cooking required

Though each of Zion Mountain Ranch’s luxurious cabins and updated lodge-style homes are truly unique and full of rustic, Wild West decor, we fell in love with The Rim Cabin , which is the most secluded of their smaller homes and perfect for couples. The 1,000-square-foot bungalow is set at the edge of Meadow Creek Canyon and boasts a large deck with panoramic views. Vintage-inspired fixtures and a separate soaking tub and shower combine to give the bathroom a luxe, antique flair, while the wood-burning fireplace and adjacent farm-to-table restaurant, Cordwood, will transport you back to Utah’s cowboy days.

Goldener Hirsch, Auberge Resorts Collection

cool places to visit in zion

Is Zion Worth Visiting? [Reasons to Visit & Things to Do 2024]

Are you planning a visit to Utah and are wondering, is Zion worth visiting or should I just skip it?

With its breathtaking canyons, towering red rock formations, and pristine wilderness, Zion National Park has become one of the most popular parks in the United States.

But because of how popular it is, the park can also be very crowded, and some people might even think that it’s overrated.

I visited Zion recently and loved getting to explore this unique park, and have quite a few thoughts on whether or not it’s worth it for travelers.

In this post, I’m going to cover the top reasons why you should visit this park, things to do, and more. Let’s dive in.

Is Zion Worth Visiting?

Zion National Park has earned a strong reputation for being one of the most popular parks in the NPS system.

But just because it’s popular doesn’t always mean that it’s worth it, so asking this question is a must before visiting somewhere.

In my opinion, Zion is absolutely worth visiting , and it should be a place that’s added to every traveler’s bucket list!

The park’s geological features, including the towering red cliffs of Zion Canyon and the mesmerizing slot canyons like the Narrows, are awe-inspiring.

Both hikers and non-hikers will love a visit here since there’s a huge variety of trails to choose from, as well as dozens of overlooks.

It’s the perfect place to experience the desert of Utah, with ease of access for visitors of all ages.

With so many different activities, from wading through the Narrows to scaling Angels Landing and wandering through Springdale, Zion is a stunning destination.

Below, I’ll dive into a few of the best reasons to visit the park.

Psst… Are you wanting to take a trip to Zion National Park but don’t know where to start with the planning?! I’m a travel itinerary planner and love planning action-packed trips! Fill out the form below and I’ll get in touch with you to create your customized itinerary for Utah or anywhere else you want to go!

Reasons to Visit Zion National Park

Now that you know that Zion is worth visiting, I’ll give you a few of the main reasons why I believe this to be true.

1. Amazing Hiking Trails

One of my all time favorite parts about Zion is the incredible hiking trails that are found in every corner of the park.

From the world-famous Angels Landing and Narrows hikes to shorter and easier trails like Observation Point and Lower Emerald Pool, there are endless options.

With so many options for hikers of all skill levels, the park offers such an incredible experience to really dive deep into the natural wonders of the park.

I saw people of all ages and skills on many of the trails, from toddlers to the elderly, and it was so great to see people getting outdoors and exploring.

2. Activities for Everyone

While hiking is one of the main activities within the park, Zion is also great for others who want to just explore.

For non-hikers, the park provides equally captivating experiences, such as scenic drives along Zion Canyon, with overlooks that offer stunning vistas without strenuous hikes.

Additionally, visitors can enjoy wildlife watching, photography, birding, and picnicking around the park.

3. International Dark Sky Park

If you love stargazing, then visiting Zion National Park will be one of the perfect places for you to visit.

Zion National Park is a designated International Dark Sky Park , meaning that the area has low light pollution and you can easily see the stars.

Getting to see the stars and milky way like this is spectacular, and is one of the best parts of Zion.

4. Close to Other Must-Sees

Another of the great reasons to visit Zion National Park is that it’s within a close proximity of some of the best things to do in the Southwest USA.

Just a short drive away, you can explore 4 other national parks, and even plan a Zion and Bryce Canyon road trip very easily.

Or, explore the rugged beauty of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as well as dozens of slot canyons, including Antelope Canyon.

Plan a visit to the Mighty 5 in Utah, including the stunning Arches National Park or Canyonlands.

Las Vegas is just under 3 hours away. Plus, the Grand Canyon and Sedona are just a quick drive down into Arizona.

So if you’re searching for a way to see some of the best of the Southwest, then a visit to Zion is a must!

5. Incredible Scenery

Zion’s scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The park boasts towering red rock formations, including iconic cliffs and slot canyons.

The dramatic landscape is something that people come from all over the world to see, being one of the main reasons Zion is worth visiting.

With dozens of overlooks and hiking trails, there are so many incredible opportunities to enjoy this scenery during your visit.

Even just doing the scenic drive was one of my favorite parts of Zion, and I loved our Zion Canyon shuttle ride to see the canyon road!

6. Epic Canyoneering

If you’re up for something a bit more adventurous, checking out Zion’s canyoneering is a must during your visit.

Especially for those who love to canyoneer, to begin with, a visit to Zion will surely be a treat.

Zion has some of the best canyoneering in the country, and provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you find your way around the Zion Canyon.

7. Wildlife Watching

One of my favorite parts of planning a national park trip is seeing all of the wildlife that call the parks home.

In Zion, you’ll have the chance to see a variety of wildlife including bighorn sheep, coyotes, mule deer, and more.

I saw a couple of bighorn sheep during my last visit, and it’s so fun to see these massive creatures roam the land.

8. Few Crowds in Winter Months

If you want to visit Zion but don’t want to deal with the crowds, then heading here in the winter months is the best plan!

Between the months of October and March, you’ll find far fewer travelers within the park.

This makes for a pretty incredible time being able to see the stunning Zion Canyon without all of the other people in the park.

9. Year-Round Destination

While some national parks in the United States, such as Mount Rainier, Voyageurs, or Grand Teton get lots of snow in winter, Zion is an amazing year-round destination.

The park is open year-round, and if the road does close due to snow, it doesn’t last very long.

Although the temperatures can get chilly, doing hikes in Zion in November , December, and the other winter months is totally doable.

Or just take some time to do a scenic drive around the park and if you’re lucky, enjoy it under a dusting of snow.

Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

While there are dozens of things to do in Zion National Park, I wanted to list a few of the top activities for your trip.

Climb the Iconic Angels Landing

If you’re looking for an exhilarating adventure in Zion National Park, then be sure to hike Angels Landing.

The trail spans 5.4 miles round trip and is out and back , beginning at the Grotto Trailhead, and takes you to the top of a narrow cliff.

Once you’ve reached the final 1/2 mile, you’ll climb a steep and narrow path that features chains anchored into the rock to help you climb.

At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River below.

And, you’ll have bragging rights for having defeated one of the most dangerous hikes in the country!

Wade Through The Narrows

The second well-known hike in Zion is the Narrows , which consists of wading through the Virgin River within a towering slot canyon.

You’ll hike through the water as you admire the amazing views from inside of the canyon.

Stop at places like Wall Street, Mystery Falls, and Orderville Canyon for unique viewpoints, which also make for great spots to turn around.

Stop at the Many Overlooks

If you aren’t a hiker, there are still plenty of things to do that make Zion worth visiting, including several scenic overlooks.

Some are reached by just a short, easy hike, while others can be seen by just pulling off onto the side of the road.

A short hike that provides views similar to Angels Landing is the 1-mile roundtrip hike to Zion Canyon Overlook.

Zion-Mount Carmel Highway also features roadside pullouts like Checkerboard Mesa and Canyon Junction Bridge, which you can enjoy right from the car.

Take a Scenic Drive

Even just taking a scenic drive can be a great way to get to know Zion National Park and see all of the sights.

Whether you drive on the backroads or hop on the shuttle system and enjoy the ride that way, there are plenty of options for you.

Another choice is to visit during the season where no shuttle is required (shuttle operates May-December) and drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

Go Stargazing

Zion’s remote location and limited light pollution create the perfect place to go stargazing after the sun has set for the night.

On clear nights, the dark skies showcase amazing views of the Milky Way, stars, the moon, and outer space.

Since Zion is a certified Dark Sky Park, you know that what you’ll witness after dark is phenomenal.

Try Cycling

Another way to enjoy the park is to go cycling, since you won’t have to wait for the shuttle or wait for traffic.

Cycling is allowed on almost all roads in the park, including the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, so you can cruise right past the Springale shuttle in peak season!

You’ll have some pretty spectacular views from a unique perspective that most people don’t experience on their trip.

Wander Through Springdale

If you’ve seen everything that you want to see in the park, then head over to the small town of Springdale to wander around.

In Springdale, you’ll find small shops, restaurants, lodging, and of course, even more views of the towering red rocks.

What is So Special About Zion National Park?

What sets Zion National Park apart is its awe-inspiring geological features carved over millions of years by the Virgin River.

The park showcases towering red rock formations, deep canyons like Zion Canyon, and mesmerizing slot canyons such as the Narrows.

So many people love this park because of its red rocks and amazing scenic overlooks. People also love hiking , so coming here allows them to get out on the trail.

My favorite part, and why I love Zion so much, is because of the blend of lush greenery and desert terrain.

When you put together the red and green of these two natural features, it creates a stunning and dramatic vista, that makes Zion worth visiting.

Is Zion Worth it Without Angels Landing?

Absolutely, Zion National Park is still worth visiting even without experiencing the Angels Landing trail.

While Angels Landing is a popular and iconic hike, there are numerous other stunning attractions and activities within the park that make it a worthwhile destination.

Because of how strenuous of a hike it is, it may not be ideal for some people, but there are a few other viewpoints that are similar.

Check out Zion Canyon Overlook, which is similar, but is only 1 mile long with much less elevation (and no Walter’s Wiggles!).

Is Zion Worth it Without The Narrows?

Although the Narrows are one of the most iconic parts of Zion, you definitely can check out the park without doing this hike.

Whether it’s because you don’t have time, can’t do the hike, or any other reason, there is still plenty to do without the Narrows.

Another option is to just take the short Riverside Walk, which is the paved path that leads from the Temple of Sinawava to the entrance to the Narrows.

This trail is wheelchair accessible and makes for a nice way to see some of the canyons, but without going too far and without needing special footwear to hike The Narrows .

Is Zion Worth Visiting for Non-Hikers?

While many people think of national parks, including Zion, as a place to go hiking, there is still plenty to do for non-hikers!

So yes, I would say that absolutley, Zion is worth visiting for the non-hikers too, as you can definitely fill an itinerary.

Start with stopping off at some of the best overlooks including Checkerboard Mesa, Lava Point, and Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint.

You can also do things such as go horseback riding, biking, stop into the visitor centers, and wandering through Springdale.

Tips for Planning a Visit to Zion National Park

Before planning your visit, there are a few things you should know to make sure that your visit goes smoothly. Here are my top tips.

  • Be Ready for the Shuttle: From May to December, you need to take a shuttle onto Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Be prepared for this and arrive early, as it can fill up quickly and then you’ll have to wait in line.
  • Book Any Lodging Ahead of Time: With how popular the park is, lodging fills fast in peak season. Book your accommodations well in advance.
  • Know Which Permits You Need: Certain hikes, such as Angels Landing, require a permit. Be sure you have this!
  • Check for Closures: The Narrows and other parts of the park may close from time to time due to rockfall, flash floods, or other reasons. Check the National Park Service website for closures.
  • Visit in the Off-Season: If possible for you, visit in the off-season to avoid some of the crowds. I’d recommend planning a trip between October and March!
  • Visit in the Morning or Afternoon: Avoid some of the crowds by visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon. You’ll also avoid some of the heat this way!
  • Use Sun Protection: The summer sun can be very hot in Utah, so always use sun protection such as sunscreen, a sun hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and stay cool on the trail.
  • Leave No Trace: As with any other visit to the outdoors, always practice Leave No Trace principles. Pack out your trash, leave wildlife alone, don’t take any nature home, and stay on the trails.

How Busy is Zion National Park?

Zion National Park can become very busy, especially in peak season. The park sees between 2 and 5 million visitors per year, depending on the year.

How Many Days For Zion National Park?

I would recommend having at least 3 days in Zion to make sure that you can really take advantage of the whole park. With just one day or two, you won’t be able to see as much and will need to make choices.

Is the Grand Canyon Better Than Zion?

I personally think that Zion is better than the Grand Canyon, but both parks have their differences and unique aspects.

Is Bryce Canyon Better Than Zion?

Both of these parks are unique. Bryce Canyon has hoodoos and stunning bright oranges, while Zion is a canyon and is more red. I personally prefer Bryce to Zion.

Is Yosemite or Zion Better?

These two parks are similar, but different. Both have a large canyon and valley but the hiking and views are quite different.

What Things Make Zion National Park Unique?

The bright red rocks and unique hikes are what make Zion National Park so special and different.

Why Do People Love Zion?

People love Zion for its unique hiking, views, and ease of access.

What is the Best Time to Visit Zion National Park?

Planning a Zion National Park trip in the off-season is in your best interest. Plan to go between October and March for fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, and nice weather.

Wrap-Up: Is Zion Worth Visiting?

In conclusion, the question “Is Zion worth visiting?” can be answered with a resounding “Yes” from me.

While the park is busy and can sometimes be hard to get to or plan a visit to, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty within the park.

From the awe-inspiring landscapes, majestic red rock formations, and diverse ecosystems to the challenging hikes and amazing overlooks, Zion is worth it for all nature lovers.

The post Is Zion Worth Visiting? [Reasons to Visit & Things to Do 2024] appeared first on The Hiking Helper .

Is Zion worth visiting? Here's everything you need to know and some of the best things to do during your visit.

  • Bear's Books

Featured Image

Visiting Zion National Park This Winter? Here’s What You Need to Know


By Alex Murphy

One of the best ways to beat the crowds in a national park is to go in the off season. If you want to avoid the traffic, visiting Zion National Park in the winter is a smart move. However, with the colder months comes winter weather. Visitors to national parks in the winter should also expect limited services and even the closures of certain areas.

Zion National Park officials recently announced a new shuttle schedule that kicked off this week. This includes the following updates:

  • The fall shuttle service in Zion Canyon and Springdale has ended.
  • Visitors can now drive personal vehicles on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Previously, park officials limited this drive to shuttles only.
  • Even in the off season, Zion is still very popular, so plan for limited parking. Park officials say once a lot is full, they may limit visitor access.

During the winter holidays—from Friday, December 22 to Sunday, December 31—this all gets reversed. Park officials will resume shuttle services. They will also close Zion Canyon Road to personal vehicles. Once we hit January, the winter schedule resumes. 

zion in the winter

Winter Camping in Zion

Many winter days struggle to get above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Zion, with the nights below freezing. Like the temperature, the demand for camping plummets. As a result, South Campground and Lava Point Campground close for the season. However, Watchman Campground is open year-round. Visitors can make a reservation on Recreation.gov .

Visitors should be prepared for winter camping. For those tent camping, remember these layering tips:

  • The base layer—like long johns—should be made out of moisture-wicking material so it doesn’t absorb moisture and keep you wet. 
  • A warming layer, or mid-layer, serves as insulation. Most people like wearing fleece. 
  • The waterproof layer is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a shell that shields the other layers from getting wet. 

Otherwise, an RV or car camping may be the way to go.

Zion National Park officials say visitors should expect changes to the park operations in the spring, but they won’t know until 2024 when those changes will go into place.

base layers for the cold

Views You Don’t Want to Miss: Zion National Park Shares The Best Sunset Spots
The Dos and Don’ts of Van Life and Car Camping in the Winter

Related Tags:

Featured Image

Angry Mama Bear Mauls Moving Truck in Hokkaido, Japan

Featured Image

Stunning Aurora Borealis Photos from the Swiss Alps, Prague, Chicago, and . . . Arizona?

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Register for newsletter (optional)

More Like This

moose attack

A Woman and Her Dog Are Recovering From Injuries After a Moose Attack

backpacks under $100

Best Backpacks Under $100


Ask Outdoors: How Can I Identify Signs of Heat-Related Illness?

north face, north face homesteader, north face homestead, north face camping, north face camping gear,

A Look at the North Face Colorful Camping Gear, Homestead Collection


Outdoor Gear Your Dog Will Love

tangled deer

Are Your Spooky Halloween Decorations a Nightmare for Local Animals?

Caroline Marks

Surfing World Champion Caroline Marks on Life, Competing, and Staying Inspired


Cozy Upgrades: Rugs to Make the Outdoors Feel More Like Home

More stories.

cool places to visit in zion


  1. 18 Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

    U.S. News Insider Tip: Zion Lodge offers a large grassy area in front that is a popular place for picnics and post-hike relaxation. Beer, coffee drinks and light snacks are available to purchase ...

  2. 20 Amazing Things to Do in Zion National Park (Helpful Guide)

    Lava Point Campground. 14. Scenic Tour on the Zion Shuttle. One of the best ways to soak in the park is by riding the Zion shuttle. The Zion Shuttle is a great way for visitors to visit the main (zion) canyon which holds the majority of the most popular attractions in Zion National Park.

  3. Things to Do in Zion National Park

    See ways to experience (27) 2023. 4. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. 2,674. Scenic Drives. Scenic park with diverse hiking trails and stunning canyon views, complemented by a convenient shuttle system and bike-friendly paths for exploration. See ways to experience (8) 5.

  4. 12 Most Beautiful Places in Zion National Park to Visit

    Hidden Canyon Trail is a must-see, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and tranquility that defines the places to visit in Zion National Park. Hidden Canyon Trail, a secret treasure of Zion, combines adventure with stunning scenery, making it an unforgettable experience. 6. Lower Emerald Pool.

  5. The Ultimate Guide to Zion & 9 Awe-Inspiring Things To Do in Zion

    This is the shuttle for you if you're staying at the hotels, rental , or the campgrounds around Springdale. Board this shuttle at any of these stops to get to the Zion National Park Visitor's Center: Zion Canyon Village. Cafe Soleil / Thai Sapa / Cliffrose Lodge. Flanigan's Inn / Whiptail Grill.

  6. Zion National Park Bucket List

    If you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, Zion is a rock climber hot spot with the endless cliffs and incredible views. Zion Adventure Company & Zion Mountaineering School are great places to start! Visit Cafe Soleil - Have a Latte & Legitimately the best breakfast I have ever had

  7. 12 Top Attractions & Things to Do in Zion National Park

    Before you head into the park, see our list of the top things to see and do in Zion National Park. See also: Where to Stay near Zion National Park. On This Page: 1. Explore the Sights along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. 2. Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. 3.

  8. 17 Exciting Things to Do in Zion National Park

    Zion National Park at a glance. Open: Year-round (shuttle operations vary in the off season) Entrance Fee: $35/vehicle, $30/motorcycle, $20/hiking & biking, or free with your America the Beautiful Pass. Wildlife: Mule deer, squirrels, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, coyotes, and jackrabbits. Established: 1909.

  9. A guide to Zion National Park, Utah

    The 5000ft of elevation change from Zion Canyon's floor to the park's highest peak provides an astounding range of environments. Even the park's two main hikes - the Narrows and Angels Landing - are polar opposites: one wades through river water that churns through a slot canyon, and the other embarks on a chain-assisted white-knuckle climb to a narrow plateau so high that a minister ...

  10. Zion National Park [Guide, Maps, Itineraries & More]

    With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Zion National Park is a great place to enjoy sunny skies, fresh air and get a little extra Vitamin D in the winter months. Plan a winter visit to soak up the sunshine while enjoying moderate temperatures and a stunning sandstone kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and pinks.

  11. 20 Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

    Address: Angels Landing, Utah 84737, USA. We must start with what is one of the most popular hiking trails in Zion National Park and for good reason. Angels Landing is a 3 to 6-hour, 5-mile round-trip hike that lets you teeter 1,000 feet on the edge of a giant rock, with amazing views of the canyon floor below you.

  12. Things To Do

    435-772-3256. If you have questions, please email [email protected]. Listen to recorded information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers answer phone calls from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already speaking with someone else. highlights.

  13. 35 Fun Things to Do in Zion National Park, Utah

    32 - Wander around Kolob Terrace. While it may not be as well-known or as popular as the main canyon areas of Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace is still an absolutely beautiful and awe-inspiring place to visit and one of the most underappreciated things to do in Zion National Park. Read more.

  14. 12 Fantastic Things to do in Zion National Park

    It's only a 1 km roundtrip on a paved trail starting from Zion Canyon Shuttle stop #5, so it's not intense, but the rewards for this short hike are great. It's one of the best places to visit in Zion National Park in spring when the snow melt means the waterfall is at its fullest.

  15. Places to Visit in Zion National Park

    7. Kolob Canyons. 661. Canyons. Scenic canyons located on the northwest section of Zion offer scenic overlooks onto natural arches, waterfalls, and the myriad colors of this popular National Park. See full details. See way to experience (1) 8. Zion's Main Canyon.

  16. 20 Brilliant Things to Do in Zion National Park

    Delve into the best things to do in Zion National Park - from Angel's Landing to lesser-known gems. ... Photo Pills is also great for helping you see where the Milky Way will rise so you can set up your shot in advance. Walk to the Lower Emerald Pools. Not every hike in Zion requires a high level of experience or training. One of the most ...

  17. Top 10 Things to Do in Zion National Park

    Zion Ponderosa. Zion Mountain Ranch. Cable Mountain Lodge. Cliffrose Lodge. View more lodging options here. Zion Trip Planning, Zion Activities. Check out this list of the top 10 things to do and see in Zion National Park. Follow this guide to find amazing hikes, drives and vistas in one of America's favorite parks.

  18. 13 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Zion National Park (Useful Maps

    GOOD TO KNOW: The starting point can be confusing. So, here are some directions: Start the Zion National Park Scenic Drive at the Zion National Park Visitor Center (MAP STOP # 1) located along Zion-Mount Carmel HWY 9. Follow Zion-Mount Carmel HWY 9 until you reach Zion Human History Museum (MAP STOP # 2).

  19. 10 Absolute Best Things To See in Zion National Park

    3. Canyon Junction Bridge: Jaw-dropping Sights. Canyon Junction Bridge is a famous spot in Zion National Park to view and photograph the iconic Watchman peak. Situated at 6,545 feet (1,995 m), the Watchman is one of the most recognizable mountain summits in the park.

  20. 13 EPIC Things to Do in Zion National Park Besides Hiking

    This is to reduce traffic congestion within the park. 2. Go Bike Riding. Pa'rus Trail Zion National Park Utah. Biking is a fantastic way to experience the best of Zion. Being the only hiking path that allows bicycles, the paved Pa'rus Trail is the top choice for biking through Zion National Park.

  21. 7 Amazing Things We Did With Only 48 Hours In Zion National Park

    Zion National Park is the crown jewel of Utah's Mighty 5 national parks. With over four million visitors in 2023, Zion National Park was not only the most visited national park in Utah, it was the third-most-visited national park in the country. Living just four hours away, we took a quick two-night trip to see what all the fuss was about.

  22. Best Places to Stay in Zion National Park 2024: Hotels, Airbnbs

    Bed and bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities: Awesome pool views, private terraces, great location Best for: Staying close to the park and fab restaurants At Desert Pearl Inn, guests are just a ...

  23. Is Zion Worth Visiting? [Reasons to Visit & Things to Do 2024]

    Additionally, visitors can enjoy wildlife watching, photography, birding, and picnicking around the park. 3. International Dark Sky Park. If you love stargazing, then visiting Zion National Park ...

  24. Visiting Zion National Park This Winter? Here's What You Need to Know

    Zion National Park can see snow in the wintertime. (Source: Anubhav Saxena) Winter Camping in Zion. Many winter days struggle to get above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Zion, with the nights below freezing. Like the temperature, the demand for camping plummets. As a result, South Campground and Lava Point Campground close for the season.