Known as one of the United States‘ most beloved parks, and Utah’s first of five national parks, a visit to Zion National Park is truly a treat for all.

Between the epic hiking trails through slot canyons and pink sandstone, the incredible overlooks, and the unique plant life, you’ll be overjoyed on a visit to Zion.

Read on to learn about the best hikes in Zion National Park that you must check out on your next visit.

The Narrows

The Narrows - Zion National Park

Of course, a list of the best hikes in Zion National Park wouldn’t be complete without listing the most unique hike in the park, The Narrows.

The Virgin River has carved through the canyon walls, creating what is known as The Narrows. On this hike, you’ll be wading through knee-deep (sometimes deeper!) water, stepping over rocks, and trying to keep your balance. As tricky as it seems, it’s really not all that bad if you have the proper equipment. It’s truly a mesmerizing hike that makes its way onto many hikers’ bucket lists.

There are two ways to hike it, either bottom-up or top-down. For day hikers, it’s recommended to go bottom-up, starting at the Temple of Sinawava.

The first mile will be spent on a nice paved path along the Virgin River before it cuts into the canyons and you begin the real adventure.

Need to know

Length: 8.9 miles / 14.3 km (you can turn around at any point to shorten the hike)
Time: 4 hrs
Difficulty: Hard
Style: Return
Access:  This hike can be accessed from Stop #9 (Temple of Sinawava) on the Zion Shuttle.

Emerald Pools

The hike to Emerald Pools is a unique one in Zion National Park because it seems so out of place in the desert landscape.

The vegetation on the trail is much more green and lush than the rest of the park, and you’ll soon hike by two waterfalls that drop into the lower pools.

Further down the trail, you’ll come across the Middle Emerald Pools, which are the water sources for the waterfalls.

Upper Emerald Pools is the final stop on the trail before you make your way back towards the trailhead.

This is a great hike to embark on if you don’t have a lot of time in the park or are searching for a moderately easy route.

Emerald Pools - Zion National Park

Need to know

Length: 3 miles / 4.8 km
Time: 2 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate
Style: Circuit
Access: This hike can be accessed from Stop #5 (The Zion Lodge) on the Zion shuttle.

Zion Canyon Overlook

Zion Canyon Overlook - Zion National Park

Few of the hikes in Zion National Park are accessible via your own car, but to get to the Zion Canyon Overlook, you’ll need to drive yourself. Your drive to the trailhead will take you through the popular Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, which is 1.1 miles long.

The trail is fairly easy and provides incredible views of the Zion Canyon. For such minimal effort and outstanding views, this hike is definitely a must-do that you can take the entire family on.

Need to know

Length: 1 mile / 1.6 km
Time: 45 min
Difficulty: Moderate
Style: Return
Access: This hike can be accessed via personal transportation from the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.

The Watchman Trail

The Watchman - Zion National Park

If you prefer to avoid the crowds that tend to gather at hikes like Angels Landing and The Narrows, check out The Watchman Trail which sets out right from the visitor centre. The entire trail offers views of the surrounding red landscape.

The trail will take you uphill for a while, but remember that the higher up you go, the better the views. Once you reach the top, you’ll have the opportunity to look down into the canyon and admire the magical Watchman Peak from a distance. You won’t get onto the peak, because that would require quite a bit more distance, but you’ll get to see its beauty from the trail.

Compared to other trails in the park, this one isn’t as great, but it’s nice for a leisurely stroll if you’re short on time or have young kids.

Need to know

Length: 3.1 miles / 5 km
Time: 2 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate
Style: Return
Access: This hike can be accessed from the visitor center or stop #1 of the Zion Shuttle.

Angels Landing

Angels Landing - Zion National Park

Likely the most well-known and popular hike in the park, Angels Landing offers one of the most iconic views in Zion.

It’s also been given the nickname of ‘scariest hike in America’ because of the narrow trail that you’ll walk along to reach the top.

Shortly after leaving the trailhead, you’ll begin gaining elevation and will make your way up Walter’s Wiggles, a set of 21 steep switchbacks. Then, you’ll begin climbing up a narrow rock jutting out of the canyon with steep dropoffs on either side, before you reach the top of Angels Landing. On this part of the journey, you’ll need to hold onto a metal chain to help yourself walk up the cliffside.

The views from the top are unmatched and will leave you breathless (if the hike up hasn’t already done so). 

Need to know

Length: 4.4 miles / 7 km
Time: 3.5 hrs
Style: Return
Access: This hike can be accessed from stop #6 (The Grotto) on the Zion Shuttle.
Further Info: It’s important to note that permits are currently required to hike Angels Landing to help control the number of people climbing it each day.

Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk - Zion National Partk

The Zion Narrows Riverside Walk is a great hike to head out on if you’re looking for something easy with plenty of views.

This is the start of The Narrows and meanders along the Virgin River until the river begins to flow through the canyon walls. The trail is paved and stays pretty flat for the entire thing. It’s perfect for families and those with fewer hiking abilities.

Along the trail, admire the plants growing in the desert heat such as cactuses and ferns. You may even spot some wildlife such as mule deer or lizards.

If you’re up for it, you can add some of The Narrows onto this hike and experience one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. Or, just wade in the water for a bit and turn back to the trailhead.

Need to know

Length: 1.9 miles / 3 km
Time: 1 hr
Elevation Gain: Easy
Style: Return
Access: This hike can be accessed from stop #9 (Temple of Sinawava) on the Zion shuttle.

Pa’Rus Trail

Pa’Rus Trail - Zion National Park

This easy, paved trail is the only accessible trail in the park, perfect for those with strollers or wheelchairs. Bicycles and pets are also allowed on this trail, while they aren’t on most other hikes in Zion National Park.

You’ll follow the paved trail along the Virgin River until you get to the start of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Views throughout the hike include the tall canyon walls, wildflowers, and cacti, along with the flowing river.

It’s the perfect start or end to a visit to Zion for some final views of this incredible park.

Need to know

Length: 3.4 miles / 5.5 km
Time: 1.5 hrs
Difficulty: Easy
Style: Return
Access This hike can be accessed from the visitor center or stop #1 on the Zion shuttle.

Observation Point

Zion National Park

From one of the most popular and challenging hikes in Zion National Park, Observation Point offers incredible views. Some would say it’s hard to beat the views from Angels Landing, but Observation Point takes you above the Angels Landing ridge and allows views over the entire canyon.

The hike up to the top is long and difficult, but once you’ve reached it, you’ll be blown away.

On the way up, you’ll pass through canyons, narrow walls, and switchbacks. It’s definitely quite the Zion experience and is a must-do during your visit.

Need to know

Length: 8 miles / 12.9 km
Time: 6 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate
Style: Return
Access This hike can be accessed from stop #7 (Weeping Rock) on the Zion shuttle.

Taylor Creek Trail

This uncrowded hike is in the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park and will definitely have fewer people than the more popular areas. If you’re looking for something a bit quieter, head to the Taylor Creek Trail off of the Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive.

You’ll wander along Taylor Creek and pass two historic cabins that were once built in the 1900s. The final destination on the trail is an interesting cave-like formation called Double Arch Alcove. The alcove was formed through flash floods and the colourings are created when water drips down and turns the pink sandstone a different colour.

Need to know

Length: 4.9 miles / 7.8 km
Time: 2 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate
Style: Return
Access This hike can be accessed from the Kolob Canyon Scenic Drive from Interstate 15 in the northwestern half of the park.

Zion National Park Accommodations and Camping

When you’re visiting Zion National Park, you’re going to want a place to rest your head after a long day of exploring. Here are a few great options for accommodations and camping for your visit to Utah.

Within Zion, there are 3 campgrounds, all of which fill up quickly and can be booked here.

The Zion Lodge is the only lodging found within the park and of course offers the most amazing views, right from your room.

In Springdale, known as the Gateway to Zion, the Springhill Suites are a fantastic place to stay with an outdoor pool.

When to Visit Zion National Park

Zion is open year-round, so you’re welcome to visit any time that you would like. However, certain times are better than others.

The summer is the warmest and has the most crowds, while the winter is cold, and some hikes may not be accessible.

October is the ideal time to visit Zion (but any time during the fall will do). You’ll avoid the 100°F (and then some) temperatures, and share the park with fewer humans. Spring is also nice.


Tips for Visiting Zion National Park

Reservations and Permits: Permits are required to hike to Angels Landing and they must be purchased ahead of time.

Shuttle System: Between February and November, private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Instead, you must take the shuttle to any trailheads you’re visiting. The shuttle lines are very long and you should arrive early to have the best experience!

Parking: Parking at the visitor centre (start of the shuttle) fills up very early. If you’re travelling in groups, take as few cars as possible and arrive early.

Visit Early: Aside from visiting early for the shuttle and parking situations, it’s also going to be the best time to avoid the crowds and the heat. The park is open 24/7, so you can arrive as early as you’d like.

Have you visited Zion National Park? Got it on your bucket list? Got any questions, comments, updates or corrections? Let us know by commenting below.