JOE’S GUIDE TO ZION NATIONAL PARKCitrusMilo.com
HIKING IN ZION NATIONAL PARK:

Zion National Park fun hikingZion National Park has a wide range of hiking opportunities from short family-friendly strolls to longer strenuous day hikes in diverse terrain from arid desert sections to breathtakingly majestic viewpoints to lush forests and claustrophobic slot canyons. And while Zion is fairly small compared to other national parks, there are several options for 2 to 3-day backpacking trips. All hikes showcase the beautiful slickrock sandstone formations of the region.

No fees or permits are required for any single-day hike along any of Zion's trails, but wilderness permits are required for:

Permit fees are $15 for 1-2 people, $20 for 3-7 people, or $25 for 8-12 people. More information can be found on the NPS's Zion Wilderness Permits page and the annual Zion Wilderness Guide (PDF).

Zion's Greatest Hits:

Zion National Park area mapThere are many geographical sections to Zion National Park, but most of the action happens in the main canyon, commonly referred to as "Zion Canyon," which is home to the Visitor Center, the Zion Lodge, the shuttle system, and some of Zion's most popular trails and landmarks. Must-do hikes include the family-friendly Emerald Pools Trail, Weeping Rock, and the Riverside Walk. More adventurous hikers will look to hike up to Angels Landing, Observation Point, and through the famous Zion Narrows. And in the Upper East Canyon just past the Zion Tunnel is the short but stunning Canyon Overlook Trail.

Beyond Zion Canyon are hikes in the more remote sections of Zion, including the famous "Subway" canyoneering hike, the Taylor Creek Trail to the Double-Arch Alcove, the Northgate Peaks Trail, and the La Verkin Creek Trail to the Kolob Arch. The West Rim Trail, East Rim Trail, La Verkin Creek Trail, and the Zion Narrows also make for great backpacking adventures.

Specific hikes are discussed on the following Recommended Hikes page and many more obscure options can be found on the Even More Hikes page.

Hiking Conditions:

During peak tourist season in the summer months, Zion Canyon is hot and dry with temperatures often exceeding 100°F. Be prepared with plenty of water and protection from the sun to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration, Zion National Park fun hiking especially on clear sunny days. Spring and autumn have milder temperatures (highs in the 70s and 80s, lows in the 40s and 50s) and during winter, highs are often in the 50s with temps dipping just below freezing at night. (Temperatures in the higher elevations of Zion can be 10 to 20 degrees cooler.) Although southwest Utah is mostly arid, storm systems can result in significant precipitation and temperature drops.

Most of Zion Canyon's historical trails were blasted out of the sandstone walls to make a route that climbs out of the main canyon, so be prepared to hike on trails of hard cement and pavement, some with a steep uphill incline. These trails tend to be hard on the feet and knees, but most of the constructed trails also go over natural slabs of sandstone and through sections of soft sand and dirt. If you plan on hiking the Zion Narrows or other slot canyons, be prepared to get your feet wet and hike in a streambed littered with large rocks.

Equipment for Leisurely Hikes:
More Equipment for Strenuous or Remote Hikes:
*Cell Phone Warning:

Do not rely on cell-phone coverage when hiking in Zion National Park. While you can get reception in the town of Springdale and at the Zion Lodge, you are unlikely to get service on many of Zion's trails, in any canyons, or most locations deep in the backcountry. You can get reception from many highpoints in Zion, including Angels Landing, Observation Point, several peaks in the Upper East Canyon, the Left Fork Trailhead, and the Hop Valley Trailhead. hiking the Zion Narrows If you need to make an emergency call, try to get to a highpoint (if possible) and you might just be able to get through.

Hiking Ethics in Zion:

When hiking along Zion's popular "frontcountry" trails like the Emerald Pools Trail, Riverside Walk, Angels Landing, etc., please obey all posted "do not hike here" signs and use designated restrooms. Due to the vast amount of visitors, it is quite easy for human activity to have a devastating effect on Zion's fragile desert and riparian areas. In contrast, exploring the less-visited backcountry gives much more opportunity for random off-trail exploration, but you must still be conscious of treading as lightly as possible. Stick to solid sandstone or the watercourse of a drainage as much as possible and try to avoid trampling vegetation and cryptobiotic soil. And of course, please practice the "leave no trace" ethic wherever you hike!

Guiding Services, Equipment Rental, etc:

While commercial canyon guiding is not permitted within Zion National Park beyond short hikes up the Narrows, several outfitters in the town of Springdale, including the Zion Adventure Company and Zion Guru, offer services including equipment rental, canyoneering day trips and training in interesting canyons just outside the national park boundary, and shuttle service to various remote trailheads.

Continue to Recommended Hikes!

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