Named after the Paiute word for "bubbling water," the Pa'rus Trail is one of the newer and most accessible trails in Zion National Park. It is the only trail in Zion that is open to bicycles and pets, and it is also one of the few wheelchair-accessible trails in the park. Starting at the South Campground just north of the Visitor Center, this wide, paved trail skirts the Virgin River in the flat and open lower section of Zion Canyon and ends at the Canyon Junction. Along the way, the scenery is quite pleasant, including several bridges that cross above the river, various wildflowers, and mule deer can often be spotted.
To find the Pa'rus Trail trailhead at the Visitor Center, walk north and cross the bridge across the Virgin River, then cross the road to the South Campground.
|Rating:||Easy leisurely stroll; wheelchair accessible. Bikes and pets allowed.|
|Access:||Zion Visitor Center/South Campground, Zion Museum, and Canyon Junction (the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stops for the Zion Canyon Shuttle in Zion's main canyon)|
|Time Required:||1-2 hours|
|Length:||1.7 miles one way|
|Elevation Change:||mostly level on a paved trail|
|Seasons:||Year-round. Spring and fall are most pleasant; summer can be very hot.|
The flat paved trail heads north along the west bank of the Virgin River, and soon enough, it escapes the campground boundary and you will be in more isolated territory. Several spots give access to the river below, but please obey any "do not hike here" signs. Roughly a mile from the start of the trail is a dirt spur trail (not wheelchair accessible) that leads to the Zion Human History Museum. Further north, the scenery gets more interesting as trail zig-zags over the river several times.
Wildflowers can be found everywhere along the path and mule deer can often be spotted lounging or grazing in the area. One landmark of note is an old diversion dam that was used to shut water to the town of Springdale. (An NPS sign explains the history and purpose.) Near its northern end, the trail actually goes under Route 9 to end at the Canyon Junction shuttle stop. The Canyon Junction bridge is an extremely popular spot for photographers to catch the sunset, but please be careful of traffic and do not stand in the middle of the road.
While the scenery isn't as dramatic as that of Zion's other hikes, the Pa'rus Trail can be quite enjoyable in the right conditions, either during the cooler months or as a leisurely stroll during sunrise or sunset. (The worst time to do this hike is mid-afternoon on a hot summer day.) If you are riding the shuttle back to the Visitor Center in the late afternoon just before sunset, consider getting off at the Canyon Junction and walking this trail back instead. For bikers, riding the Pa'rus Trail is the preferred route over riding the road to Canyon Junction.