West Rim Trail backpackingCompared to some larger national parks, Zion is relatively small and doesn't have the numerous multi-day hike options like Yosemite or Glacier National Park, but there are several two-day backpacking routes that offer wonderful scenery and solitude, including the West Rim Trail and the La Verkin Creek Trail. Also gaining epic popularity is the "Trans-Zion Trek" (also known as the "Zion Traverse"), a 47-mile hike that connects several different trails to hike from one corner of the park to the other.

It is important to note that backpacking at one of the wilderness campsites is not the same as camping at the large campgrounds. While staying at the Watchman Campground or South Campground is more of a social experience with several amenities and facilities, the backpacking campsites along Zion's remote trails are intended for smaller groups doing long hikes in Zion's wilderness.

Important Points:

Classic Backpacking Routes:

WEST RIM TRAIL (Top-Down from Lava Point)
Rating: fairly strenuous hiking/backpacking. a Zion classicbackpacking routeWest Rim Trail

Starting from Lava Point, the 18-mile hike down the West Rim Trail to the Grotto in Zion Canyon is a great adventure, either as a long day hike or as a two-day backpack. While most of the trail is level or downhill, it is still a long journey and should be considered fairly strenuous. The "top-down" hike is aesthetically pleasing as the scenery starts out fairly subdued, but each viewpoint gets better than the last until the grand finale of the trail making its dramatic descent through the White Cliffs into Zion Canyon.
Hiking Guide  Photos

Rating: strenuous river hiking/backpacking. a Zion classicbackpacking routeZion Narrows Top-Down Backpacking

Starting from Chamberlain's Ranch outside the northern corner of Zion National Park, the North Fork can be hiked top-down from the upper plateau. This is the longer and less popular way to hike the Zion Narrows, but it is quite a rewarding experience to see the more subtle beauty of the the upper North Fork as it slowly transforms into the majestic and deep slot canyon that opens into the main canyon in Zion. This route is usually done as a two-day backpacking trip and is a magical experience.
Hiking Guide  Photos

Rating: moderately strenuous hiking/backpacking. backpacking routeLa Verkin Creek Trail

The La Verkin Creek Trail is the main through trail of the Kolob Canyons section of Zion. Starting at Lee Pass along the Kolob Canyons Road, this trail runs almost 11 miles in length, looping south around the Finger Canyons, then turning east to join up with La Verkin Creek. The La Verkin Creek Trail is most used for day hikes to the famous Kolob Arch or as part of a backpacking hike along the Trans-Zion Trek. A leisurely two-day backpack offers more opportunities for exploration.
Hiking Guide  Photos

Rating: fairly strenuous dayhike or backpacking. backpacking routeChinle Trail, Zion National Park

While there are many hiking possibilities in the "desert section" of Zion National Park, the Chinle Trail is the one official trail of the area. Starting in the "Anasazi Plateau" residential development, the trail heads northwest up onto the Rockville Bench and into national park lands. The trail continues for roughly seven miles, crossing over a petrified forest and several washes of the area: Huber Wash, Scoggins Wash, and Coalpits Wash. The trail can be brutally hot during the summer and the scenery is less exhilarating than most other parts of Zion, but this trail is an opportunity to get away from the crowds.
Hiking Guide  Photos

Rating: strenuous 3 to 5-day backpacking. backpacking routeTrans-Zion Trek, Zion National Park

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. This strenuous and beautiful hike can take on average between three to five days and involves a lot of elevation gains and drops. Along the way, you will see some of Zion's most awe-inspiring scenery as well as many beautiful spots that most dayhikers never experience. NOTE: This route has gained epic popularity in recent years, so competition for permits is fierce; please have a backup plan.
Hiking Guide  Photos

Continue to:
Canyoneering Routes

Hiking symbols used for descriptions:
a Zion classic ZION CLASSIC: a must-do hike if you want to see the best of Zion!
family-friendly FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike.
backpacking route BACKPACKING: a route enjoyable as a multi-day hike.
technical canyoneering or climbing route TECHNICAL: canyoneering or scrambling route requiring technical gear and climbing and/or rappelling experience. Not suitable for casual hikers.

Please note: This web site and all images on this site are the property of Joe Braun Photography ©2024. Unauthorized public or commercial use of any of the images or text on this website without explicit permission is strictly forbidden.