Zion National Park has a wide range of hiking opportunities ranging from short family-friendly hikes to longer strenuous day hikes and 2 to 3-day backpacking trips. If you are a first-time visitor and want to see the best of Zion in a few days, try to squeeze in all of the "best short-and-easy hikes" below. Fit hikers who are prepared for more strenuous adventures should look into two of Zion's most famous hikes: Angels Landing and the Zion Narrows. Beyond that, there are still many, many more opportunities to explore! Click on each hike in the lists below to view more detailed information.
|Hiking symbols used for descriptions:|
||ZION CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Zion!
||FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
||BACKPACKING: a route enjoyable as a multi-day hike.
||TECHNICAL: canyoneering or scrambling route requiring technical gear and climbing and/or rappelling experience. Not suitable for casual hikers.
- Emerald Pools Trail
A nice family-friendly collection of trails located across from the Zion Lodge that wander through three levels of pools, complete with small streams and small waterfalls. The hike up to the Upper Emerald Pool is a bit strenuous, but very short and it is worth the effort!
- Weeping Rock
Located at the Weeping Rock Trailhead, this is a very, very short walk up to the popular seeping wall of the park. Near the trailhead, steps provide access to the refreshing stream below.
- Riverside Walk (Gateway to the Narrows)
Starting at the Temple of Sinawava (the last stop on the Zion shuttle), this is a pleasant two-mile (round-trip) hike along a nice level paved trail that meanders along the Virgin River heading up towards the famous Zion Narrows. Many trees, ferns, and weeping walls add to the ambience. In many spots along the trail, there is easy access to the water, so this is a favorite among children of all ages.
- Canyon Overlook Trail
If you have a vehicle, drive east on Route 9 to go through the famous Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and enjoy the ride through the wonderous slickrock of the Upper East Canyon. This short trail starts at a small parking lot near the east entrance of the tunnel and leads to a fabulous view of the main canyon. Early in the day is best as the limited parking typically fills up by mid-day.
- Northgate Peaks Trail
For something a bit more remote that takes you out of the popular main canyon, try the Northgate Peaks Trail in the Kolob Terrace section. At 4 miles total, this hike is a bit longer than the other hikes on this "easy" list, but the trail is mostly level will reward you with some great views. And it's also a great excuse to drive up the Kolob Terrace Road and see some great scenery that most people miss.
- Angels Landing
Starting at the Grotto Trailhead, this is one of the defacto classic hikes in Zion and one of the most stunning viewpoints you will ever experience, but it's not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights. Chains help ease the fears of intrepid hikers, but do not push yourself beyond your comfort level.
- Zion Narrows Day Hike
Another defacto classic hike of Zion, the popular Narrows day hike begins where the Riverside Walk ends and involves constant hiking in the flowing water of the Virgin River. Every turn in the river gives way to amazing views of the beautifully sculpted slot canyon walls.
- Observation Point
Starting at the Weeping Rock Trailhead, the hike to Observation Point is a strenuous hike along a paved trail that zigzags its way up over 2000 feet to reach Observation Point, a wonderous viewpoint on the rim that overlooks Angels Landing and the main canyon. Along the way, you are treated to views of the slickrock wonderland of Echo Canyon.
- Hidden Canyon
A bit off of the radar, the hike to Hidden Canyon is a spur trail off of the main trail to Observation Point. A few exposed sections of trail that have been chiseled out of the sandstone walls are not for the faint of heart. The trail officially ends at the mouth of Hidden Canyon, but you may hike up as far as you please, evaluating a few rock-scrambling obstacles as you go.
- Middle Fork of Taylor Creek
If you have a vehicle and can drive up I-15 to the less popular Kolob Section of the park, the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek (Taylor Creek Trail) is a good 5-mile walk up through one of the Kolob Finger Canyons to the stunning Double-Arch Alcove. After your hike, be sure to drive to the end of the Kolob Canyons Road to catch a great sunset!
- Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway "Bottom-Up" Hike)
A long strenuous day hike up one of the most popular canyons in Zion, the "bottom-up" hike doesn't require any rappels or swims, but it is a strenuous backcountry hike through beautiful cascades to the beautiful lower Subway. (A backcountry permit is required for any hike through the Subway.)
- West Rim Trail
A hike from Lava Point (the highest point in the park) down to the main canyon in two days is a perfect adventure with many spectacular viewpoints down into the Great West Canyon and Zion's main canyon. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
- Zion Narrows Top-Down Route
Another perfect two-day backpacking trip that starts in the upper plateau and makes its way into the deep and beautiful Virgin River Narrows. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
- La Verkin Creek Trail (from Lee Pass)
Located in the less popular Kolob Section of the park, this is a two or three day backpacking hike depending on how much you want to explore. Take the La Verkin Creek Trail from Lee Pass to see the Kolob Arch, Willis Creek, and Beartrap Canyon. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number.)
- The Chinle Trail/Upper Coalpits Wash
Admittedly not the most exciting route and not a good choice for the hot summer months, the southern desert section of Zion offers sublime scenery and a great escape from the more crowded sections of the park. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number.)
- The Trans-Zion Trek
A route made popular by the outfitters in Springdale, the "Trans-Zion Trek" is a multi-day backpacking hike that connects several of Zion's trails into one long route from one corner of the park to the other. Total mileage: roughly 50 miles.
- The Barracks (East Fork of the Virgin River)
The East Fork (Upper Parunuweap Canyon) is a large and remote canyon system with amazing scenery for those looking for a strenuous backpacking trip. Good navigation and rock-scrambling skills are necessary on this route and drybags are recommended in the river. Note: The majority of this hike is in BLM land just east of the NPS boundary.
Canyoneering is an activity that involves hiking and skills like rappelling, rope work, rock-climbing, route finding, and swimming in cold water to allow you to see many more remote and secluded canyons than you could by simply hiking. These routes are not suitable for hikers who have no technical canyoneering experience.
- Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway "Top-Down" Route)
A long strenuous day hike through an extremely beautiful section of canyon, involving several short rappels and a handful of swims to some of the most famous sandstone formations in the southwest. (A backcountry permit is required for any hike through the Subway and a carspot or car shuttle may be required.)
- Orderville Canyon
A tributary of the more famous Zion Narrows, the hike through Orderville is a long strenuous day hike that includes two short rappels, many downclimbs, and a few possible swims. (A backcountry permit is required for any technical canyoneering hike. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
- Keyhole Canyon
Located in the Upper East Canyon, this is a short-but-sweet technical canyon that involves three rappels and a mandatory swim through a dark hallway. Wetsuits recommended. (A backcountry permit is required for any technical canyoneering hike.)
- Pine Creek (Middle Pine Creek)
One of the most popular technical canyoneering routes in Zion featuring rappels through many beautiful subterranian sections, many pools of cold water, and a 100' free rappel out of the canyon. (A backcountry permit is required for any technical canyoneering hike. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
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