Hiking Zion National Park is always a standout moment of my summer. Not only are the Zion hikes amazing but Zion National Park is my favorite park in the United States.
Zion National Park is one of the smallest and one of the most visited parks in the country, nearly 4.4 million people visited Zion last year alone! Get ready for an action packed visit hiking the best hikes in Zion.
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Zion National Park is located in the Southwest corner of Utah near the city of Springdale.
Zion is conveniently located mid way between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. From Las Vegas to Zion it takes 3 hours by car and 4 hours by car if coming from Salt Lake City.
If you’re not on an epic Utah road trip already, the cheapest option to get to Zion is to fly into Las Vegas and rent a car and drive North to Zion. Make sure to stop at the Valley of Fire State Park along the way.
Zion is also within an hours drive of Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM), making it a great hub to explore other stunning parks in Utah.
READ NEXT: How to Spend 2 Days in Zion National Park
Know Before you go to Zion National Park
- Zion National Park entry fee is $35 per vehicle and is valid up to 7 days and unlimited shuttle use. *In repsonse to COVID reservations are now required in advance to ride the shuttle.
- Never Hike without these essentials.
- Zion National Park is open all year round. The shuttle runs less frequent in the off season (winter)
- Zion National Park elevation is 4,000 feet
- Find out where to stay in Zion National Park
Zion National Parks Hikes
Easy Hikes in Zion
Canyon Overlook Trail
The Canyon Overlook Trail Zion is an easy 1 mile trail that can be found in the Eastern side of the park. The trail is a mix of sandstone and sand with drop offs here and there so make sure you’re always paying attention.
The end of the trail offers a different viewpoint of the canyon compared to the rest of the Zion hiking trails.
The trailhead can be found on the left hand side directly after the tunnel if you’re leaving through the park through the East entrance. Parking is limited but there is room to park on the opposite side of the road.
Since this is easy and one of the best short hikes in Zion for the whole family it gets crowded. I’d try to get here as early as possible.
This hike is a great to do the morning that you leave the park. It’s fast and on the way to Bryce Canyon which is only an hour away.
Emerald Pools Trail
The Emerald Pools Zion trail takes you to 3 different sets of natural waterfall pools. This hike can be easy to strenuous depending on how far you hike.
The easy Emerald Pools trail takes you to the lower pool, the moderate trail to the middle pool, and strenuous trail leads to the upper pool.
The Emerald Pools trail to the lower pool is easily marked. Unfortunately when I was here last, the middle and upper pools were closed due to a landslide.
This hike is 1.2 miles round trip and is a nice hike for the whole family. It is also one of the best kid friendly hikes in Zion National Park.
Stop 5 on the free Zion shuttle.
Temple of Sinawava
If you’re up for a stroll that has views for days, the Temple of Sinawava takes the cake. This Zion riverwalk is well paved path snakes you along the Virgin River and gives magnificant views of the sandstone canyon.
As you continue on the path the canyon walls are framed with hanging gardens and sporadic waterfalls.
This is the perfect riverside walk to enjoy anytime of the day as its mostly shaded. The Temple of Sinawava is 2 miles round trip. You access the Narrows via this riverside walk.
Stop 9 of the Zion shuttle.
Moderate Zion National Park Trails
The Narrows hike is one of my favorite hikes of all time. Come to think of it, its a lot of peoples favorite because its one of the best hikes in Zion National Park.
Theres just something exhilarating about romping through a river bed on your own free will as an adult that brings pure joy to your life.
This Zion Narrows hike can be up to 16.4 miles depending on how far down the Virgin river you trek. This is the most popular Zion hikes so be prepared for large crowds for the first couple miles of the hike. Obviously the farther you hike, the less crowded it gets.
The Narrows Zion traces the riverbed the whole time. The trail takes you over rocks, roots, and tree trunks and occasionally through the river. Sometimes the water gets up to waist deep.
It is recommend that you hike in a pair of sturdy river hiking boots and with a hiking pole. There are a few places in Springdale that you can rent river hiking boots, neoprene socks and walking sticks for around $20 a day.
It is also possible to rent this equipment at the entrance of the park before you jump on the free shuttle that takes you through Zion.
The canyon walls are up to 2,000 feet high so it can be chilly in the shade. Bring a rain jacket!
It is also very important to check the weather before embarking on the Narrows hike. Flash floods and landslides are common so be sure to check Zion National Parks website before you hit the trails.
This is one of the must do hikes in Zion, you won’t be disappointed.
Stop number 9 on the Zion shuttle.
Advanced Zion Hikes
If you’re looking for a Zion National Park hike that will give you thrills then look no further. Angels Landing hike is a strenuous 5.4 mile hike that takes you up to a landing almost 1,500 feet above the ground.
The first couple miles take you up a series of switchbacks. The first set start early on in the hike as it takes you up the side of a mountain. Views get grander with the climb. The path is wide and easy to walk on.
You’ll come to the last switchbacks that are known as Walters Wiggles. These will look steeper, shorter, and taller. Once you’ve conquered these, you’ll be at the last half mile of the Angels Landing hike which require the use of chains. 😬
This is the BEST part of the Angels Landing trail in my opinion.
Chains are bolted into the mountain to aid the climber as they ascend/descend the narrow ridge. There are certain points where there are 1,000 foot drop offs on either side.
Once on Angel’s Landing you’ll see 360 degree panoramic views of Zion Canyon. Exhilerating and breathtaking all at the same time. You’ll have to descend on the same chain you came up so catch your breath before you start your climb down.
The Angels Landing Zion hike is very popular and gets crowded. Hike early morning or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
This year I started the hike at 2:45 pm and had the mountain to ourselves which was so beneficial especially when it came to the part of the hike where you used the chains.
Don’t forget to lather on the sunscreen, you’ll need it.
Stop 6 on the Zion shuttle.
Observation point trail is Zion’s longest and most classic hike. This 8 mile hike is strenuous climbs 2,000 feet in elevation and is 700 feet higher than the top of Angel’s Landing.
At the top of the hike you’ll have dramatic views of Zion Canyon and you can see people at the summit of Angel’s Landing.
Unfortunately Observation Point Zion was also closed on my recent visit which was the main reason we came back to Zion this summer. Another reminder to also check the NPS website for trail closures before you start any Zion hike.
Located at stop 7.