Home to magnificent canyons, challenging trails, and a rushing river, Zion National Park is one of our favorite spots to visit. There are a ton of things to see and do in the park, and it can get overwhelming trying to decide what your itinerary looks like for the day; don’t worry though, we’ve worked with Travel and Leisure to create a list of 6 must see spots in the park! Remember, before you head off on your adventure, stop by the Visitor Center to fill up your water bottle and get up to date park information.
Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park.
1. Canyon Overlook Trail:
Starting off with the shortest trail in the park, Canyon Overlook Trail is an easy, 1-mile round trip hike with some pretty spectacular views of the Pine Creek slot canyon below. This hike is lovely year round and is a popular spot to photograph, so expect some crowds and limited parking. We suggest getting there early in the morning or late in the afternoon to secure a spot.
Emerald Pools waterfall in Zion National Park.
2. Emerald Pools:
The customizable Emerald Pools trail leads to multiple pools and waterfalls, along with views of Lady Mountain, the Great White Throne, and Red Arch Mountain. To the lower pools, it’s an easy 1.2-mile round trip, but the hike gets more strenuous when heading to the middle and upper pools. Those trail distances round trip are 2 miles for the middle, and 2 miles to the upper pools. The time of year and precipitation levels will affect the amount of water in the pools and the waterfalls, so do some research, or ask ahead of time to gauge the water levels.
Angels Landing in Zion National Park.
3. The Grotto:
This shuttle stop marks the start of 3 main trails: the Grotto Trail, Kayenta Trail, and Angels Landing. The Grotto Trail is a relatively easy hike, roughly 1.2 miles and follows the road towards the Zion Lodge. The Kayenta Trail is considered moderate, a 2.2-mile point-to-point trail that connects to the Lower and Upper Emerald Pools Trail. The main draw to the Grotto is Angels Landing, a challenging 5.4-mile round trip hike with cliff exposure and chains. While this hike is available year round, wintery and wet conditions can be dangerous. If you plan to hike the strenuous Angels Landing trail, you’ll need a permit. Whichever hike you end up choosing, enjoy your lunch under the shade of the cottonwood trees after, or grab a bite to eat over at the Zion Lodge.
The Narrows in Zion National Park.
4. Temple of Sinwava:
Looking to hike the famous Narrows? Here’s your jumping off point! Hike along the Riverside Walk for a lovely view of the Virgin River and surrounding scenery before getting your feet wet. This walk links up with the bottom starting point of The Narrows, a hike that gets you up close and personal with the Virgin River, as at least 60% of the hike is wading in the water. Please note that checking the weather is crucial, as there is flash flood potential in this area. While there is no viewpoint, the overall hike is a fantastic way to see the canyons and experience the park. Be sure to wear close-toed shoes and bring a hiking stick, as the trail is uneven and slippery!
Big Bend in Zion National Park.
5. Big Bend:
Just as the name suggests, the Big Bend is a large curve in the Virgin River. Take in the magnificent views of the Great White Throne, Angels Landing, and Cable Mountain, bring binoculars to spot the endangered California Condor soaring among the canyon walls, or simply enjoy a moment of peace in this beautiful park.
The Subway in Zion National Park.
6. Northgate Peaks:
The Northgate Peaks Trail actually starts at the Wildcat trailhead and offers hikers views of lovely meadows, canyons, and winds through ponderosa pine forest. This trip is 4.2 miles round trip and the hiking is best late March to early November with summer being the ideal time. If you’re looking for a canyoneering adventure, we suggest checking out the famed Zion Subway, which can be accessed by the Wildcat trailhead as well. Please note a permit is required!
Zion National Park offers visitors many options when it comes to hikes, and while we’ve listed 6 of our favorite locations, there are other unique places to explore. We always talk to Park Rangers to hear their recommendations and suggest you do the same. Remember to pack out what you pack in, and leave things better than you found them on your visit by following all the rules and regulations in the park. Happy adventuring!
Home to magnificent canyons, challenging trails, and a rushing river, Zion National Park is one of our favorite spots to visit. It can get overwhelming trying to decide what your itinerary looks like for the day, but don't worry, we've created a list of 6 must see spots in the park!