Zion National Park is my favorite National Park.  It’s beautiful, it’s small, it has amazing hikes and there’s a free shuttle!  All pluses in my book. 

Every time I come back I always stay longer than I did the time before.  I always have a good time!  But if you’re short on time, don’t worry I got you covered.  This is how to spend 2 days in Zion National Park. 

Zion National Park, Utah in 2 Days

*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling and coffee ☕️.  I thank you in advance.

The Best of Zion National Park in 2 Days

How to Get to Zion National Park?

Zion National Park can be found in the Southern Utah, just outside of the city of Springdale.  

If you plan on flying to get to Zion park, the easiest and cheapest option would be to fly into Las Vegas, Nevada and rent a car.  From Las Vegas it is a 3 hour drive to get to Zion NP.

Another option is to fly into Salt Lake City, Utah and drive South to Zion.  From Salt Lake City it is a 4 hour drive.  

Tips to Know Before you go to Zion National Park

  • The entry fee for Zion National Park 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.
  • Purchase a National Park Pass (you can do this at any entrance to any National Park)
  • Charge your devices
  • Summer time in Zion is hot so be prepared for hot temperatures, sometimes in the 100’s
  • Read 10 Essentials I Never Hike Without
  • Zion National Park is open all year round.  The shuttle runs less frequent in the off season (winter)
  • The elevation for Zion National Park is 4,000 feet

Where to stay in Zion

First, are you a camper or do you prefer to stay in a hotel?  I usually camp when exploring National Parks because it keeps the costs down and I’m able to adventure more often.

Don’t get me wrong, a nice hotel with a hot shower and A/C after a long day of hiking in the heat sounds phenomenal, I just can’t always roll like that.

Camping in Zion

Zion Canyon Campground

We camped at Zion Canyon Campground.  It was located right off stop 3  on the Springdale line.  It was pricey at $45 a night for campground standards but had showers, grills, WiFi in some areas.  Book a tent site down by the river, we were bummed that we didn’t. 

Watchman Campground Zion

If you want to camp inside the park, book in advance at Watchman Campground.

South Campground Zion

South Campground is located ½ mile from the South Entrance and cost $20 per site.

Hotels Near Zion National Park

If you want to stay inside the National Park but not camp then check out Zion Lodge.   It’s the only place that offers accommodations and food inside the park.

Springdale is the closest town to Zion.  It’s at most a 10 minute shuttle ride to the enterance of Zion depending on where you stay.  

springhill suites

Top Pick  ⭐️

The SpringHill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park comes with amazing views of the red rocks that towering all around.

The best part of this hotel has to be the huge pool!  There’s also a fitness center and pool table! 

Compare prices at Booking.com | Agoda.com | Hotels.com

under the eaves inn

This stay is all about location as the park entrance is walkable (within one mile).  There’s also a full grocery store directly across the street.  There are several restaurants and shops all within walking distance.  

zion & bryce glamping

Located on the Zion Ponderosa Resort property on the east side of Zion National Park.  These yurts are adorable, modern and have access to many of the resort amenities including breakfast, pools, hot tubs, billiards, ping pong and foosball.

flanigan’s inn

Flanigan’s Inn is close to the free Zion shuttle.  The beautiful grounds are relaxing and an oasis inside the hot desert, complete with trees, plants and a meditating pond. 

Walking distance to many eateries in town.  There is also a bar and restaurant on sight.

Compare prices at Booking.com | Agoda.com | Hotels.com

READ:  For a larger selection of the  The Best Places to Stay in Zion National Park

About zion national park

Zion is Utah’s first National Park and one of the smallest with a surface area of 229 square miles.  If you have a National Park pass, it gains you entry.  

It costs $80 for a yearly Park pass which pays for itself after 3 visits to any national park in the United States, including Hawaii!  If you don’t have a National Park it costs $35 per vehicle and is good up to week of entry.
 

You can’t drive all the way through the park with your vehicle but there is a free shuttle that runs frequently, every 5 minutes or so that takes you through the park.  

The shuttle through Zion is also free and easy.  I love the ease and jumping on and off a free shuttle, it makes traveling and exploring much more enjoyable. 

Lookout of Zion National Park on Angels Landing Hike

Day 1: Basic Tour & Angel’s Landing Hike

Explore Zion by hopping on the shuttle, taking in the views and get off at stop 8 Big Bend.  Stop 8, Big Bend has no hiking trails, so it often gets over looked but it’s a great place to hop off and get some photos. You can soak in the shear size of these massive sandstone cliffs before getting back on the shuttle going the south toward the entrance.  

Next, stop 7 Weeping Rock.  About a half a mile in you’ll come to a large rock that has water seeping from the middle of the rock. This happens when water soaking through the ground seeps through the layers of sandstone until it hits one layer that it can’t penetrate, thus exiting where it can creating the illusion of Weeping rock.

This is also where Observation Point Trail begins which gives you views over looking Angels Landing.  It’s a strenuous hike that takes up to 6 hours to complete.  

Having only 2 days in Zion means you have to decide between hiking Angels landing or Observation Point because they’re both difficult, takes time and you’ll be exhausted after completing one in the summer heat.  

Outlook over Zion on the Angels Landing Hike
Unfortunately Observation Point Trail was closed when I was here last due to a land slide.  On the bright side, this made the decision on which one to hike very easy.
 

If Observation Point Trail is closed or you chose to hike Angel’s Landing, your next stop will be  #6.  The infamous Angel’s Landing hike is a personal favorite.


This is a strenuous, thrill seeking hike. It’s a 5.4 mile round trip hike and the last half mile of the hike is set on a narrow ridge with chains bolted into the mountain to assist your climb up and down as you traverse the ridge with steep drop offs on either side.

The chain section comes after a grueling 1.8 miles up the mountain through a series of switchbacks.

Trust me the hike is worth it, the panoramic views and adrenalin running through your veins will make you feel on top of a mountain, literally.

Check out the views, and they’re must better in person!
 
Make sure you fill up on snacks and water before you tackle this challenging hike. There’s a water fill station at most of the shuttle stops, this one included so fill your water bottles before making the climb.


Hiking Angels Landing early morning or later in the afternoon aids you in avoiding crowds, which is especially important as your climbing up the mountain with the help of chains.

This past visit we started our hike around 2:45 pm and there was virtually no one on the mountain with us! It was AMAZING!

Canyon overlook Trail in Zion National Park

Day 2: Canyon Overlook Trail & The Narrows 

In the morning jump in the car drive the scenic road to the east entrance.  There’ll be plenty of places to pull to the side of the road and take pictures and crawl up on the sandstone.

Once you hit the east entrance and turn around to go back through the park but not before stopping to do Canyon OverLook Trail . This trail is located directly before you go through the long tunnel.

Parking is limited so anticipate trying to find a parking spot before the tunnel or you’ll have to go back through the tunnel before you can turn around.
 
This is an easy 1 mile hike along sandstone and sand that ends with great views of Zion Canyon.
If you plan on spending a few nights in Bryce Canyon or will be in the area longer than 2 days, this is a great hike to do as you exit the park and you could fill your morning on another hike.  

In the afternoon, take the shuttle get off at Temple of Sinawava stop 9. You’re about to hike the Narrows!  The Temple of Sinawava or “river walk” is beautifully paved.  The path will end when the only way to continue forward is to get wet in the Virgin River which is where the Narrows hike begins.

When most people think of Zion, the Narrows hike comes to mind.  This hike takes you along the Virgin River bed where you’ll be scurrying over rocks and tree trunks. You’ll be wading through the river most of the hike up to waist deep in some areas. 

Hiking the Narrows in Zion

The Narrows is Zion’s most popular hike so be prepared for massive crowds.  The farther you venture down the canyon the less people there will be.

Have you been to Zion National Park?  Let me know your favorite part of this National Park in the comments!

XX Jess

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