hiking in Zion National ParkZion National Park has a wide range of hiking opportunities beckoning for exploration, 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 as many of the hikes below, starting with the entries in the short-and-easy hikes list. While the popular Angels Landing and Zion Narrows are the most glamorized hikes that are usually overtaken by large crowds, there are still many other opportunities for quiet exploration. Bring the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map with you to find your way through the different sections of Zion National Park.

IMPORTANT: You are responsible for your own safety. It is up to you to determine if a trail or route is appropriate for you and plan for your hike accordingly.

Best Short-and-Easy Hikes:

Rating: easy family stroll. a Zion classicfamily-friendlyEmerald Pools Trail

The Emerald Pools Trail is a classic little hike in the heart of Zion Canyon. Starting at the Zion Lodge, this collection of trails crosses the Virgin River and heads back into a large sandstone amphitheater, leading hikers to a lush oasis in the middle of the desert. There are three officially designated areas: the lower, middle, and upper emerald pools, with the most famous waterfalls in the park flowing over the impressive cliffs from the middle to lower pools. As this hike is fairly easy and is located just across from the Zion Lodge, this is a very popular spot to visit, especially during the summer months.
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Rating: very easy quick family stroll. a Zion classicfamily-friendlyWeeping Rock

Weeping Rock is a famous landmark of Zion National Park and is an easily accessible tourist attraction. Weeping Rock is a large bowl-shaped alcove where the lower layer of sandstone has eroded away; water that has been slowly descending within the sandstone formations reaches an impermeable layer of rock and is forced out the side causing the "weeping." The weeping walls form a beautifully lush hanging garden with a little flowing stream below. A short 10-minute stroll takes you under the beautiful alcove with wonderful water sprinkling from above.
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Rating: easy family stroll (wheelchair accessible). a Zion classicfamily-friendlyRiverside Walk

The Riverside Walk is a wonderful little hike on a fairly level paved trail that affords great views of the Virgin River and wonderfully lush hanging gardens and trees surrounded by tall weeping walls. This hike is very family friendly: young children and the elderly alike can do this trail, and the trail is also wheelchair accessible. This mostly level hike is roughly two-miles long (round trip) and may take one to two hours to complete (or more if you want to take your time and soak in the views).
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Rating: easy to moderately strenuous day hike. family-friendlyThe Watchman Trail

Starting in between the Visitor Center and the South Campground, the Watchman Trail is a short trail (roughly 3 miles round-trip) that heads up to a viewpoint on top of the first layer of cliffs roughly 300 feet above the canyon floor. While the trail doesn't actually take you to the top of the Watchman mountain, you can still get a good view of the famous and photogenic peak to the south as well as a good bird's eye view of the whole Visitor Center complex below. This trail is completely exposed to the sun, so during the hot summer months, this hike is best done on a cloudy day or in the morning when this side of the main canyon is still in the shade.
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Rating: easy leisurely stroll. family-friendlyPa'rus Trail

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. This trail is great for a leisurely stroll at sunrise or sunset and you are likely to see wildlife both big and small, from butterflies and birds to mule deer.
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Rating: easy short hike with some exposure. a Zion classicfamily-friendlyCanyon 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 wondrous slickrock of the Upper East Canyon. The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the few official trails in the upper East Canyon; starting just east of the tunnel, it is a nice short-but-sweet hike that ends at a great viewpoint looking into the main canyon. If this is your first trip to Zion, this one is a must-do hike! Caution: while this hike is not very strenuous, there are a few exposed spots where a fall could be dangerous.
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Rating: short easy family hike. family-friendlyNorthgate 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 remote scenery that most people miss. The view at the end of the trail is more "subtle" than views from the West Rim Trail or the main canyon, but it gives you a fascinating peek into the Great West Canyon.
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Rating: quick easy stroll. family-friendlyTimber Creek Overlook Trail

If you're looking to escape the crowds of the main canyon and see something different, the Kolob Canyons Road is a wonderfully scenic drive that gives wonderful views into several of the Kolob "finger canyons." The road ends high up on a ridge at a great viewpoint known as the "Kolob Canyons Viewpoint." The Timber Creek Overlook Trail is a short stroll that heads south from the main parking lot to offer more pleasant views from the top of the ridgeline. Sunset is a wonderful time to do this hike.
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More Strenuous Day Hikes:

Rating: fairly strenuous and exposed day hike. a Zion classicAngels Landing

PERMIT REQUIRED. If you are looking for the most stunning hike in Zion National Park along a steep and exposed route that involves holding onto chains for protection, then you may have heard of the legendary Angels Landing Trail. Angels Landing is a unique fin-like mountain formation that juts out proudly in the center of Zion Canyon. Back in the 1920s, an ingenious trail was constructed that follows the narrow spine to the viewpoint roughly 1500 feet above the canyon floor, but it is not recommended for anybody who has a fear of heights or has trouble with balance. This hike could be compared to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park; while Angels Landing is a much shorter hike, it is still a strenuous and arguably more intimidating route with non-stop fantastic views.
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Rating: moderately strenuous/strenuous river hiking. a Zion classicZion Narrows Day Hike

For tourists or casual hikers who want to see the best of the Zion Narrows, this is the route to do. Starting at the Temple of Sinawava, you can hike up the Riverside Walk trail and then continue hiking right up the river to see some of the best "narrows" sections of the North Fork of the Virgin River. Hike up as far as you want to go and then turn around and retrace your steps. A side hike up Orderville Canyon is also a good detour to see even more amazing slot canyon scenery.
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WEST RIM TRAIL (Bottom-Up Day Hike)
Rating: fairly strenuous to very strenuous day hike.West Rim Trail

The West Rim Trail is one of the classic backcountry trails in Zion: a 15-mile long trail along the upper west plateau that connects Lava Point (the highest point in Zion) with the Grotto Trailhead in Zion's popular main canyon. Most visitors to Zion are familiar with the lower section of the trail that leads to the famous Angels Landing hike, but those willing to hike further up the trail will be treated to more outstanding views as the clever trail makes its way through the wondrous sandstone formations all the way to the upper plateau.
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EAST MESA TRAIL (to Observation Point)
Rating: moderate day hike.East Mesa Trail

While most people visit the Observation Point viewpoint by hiking up from the Weeping Rock trailhead in the main canyon, the East Mesa Trail is a leisurely alternative hiking route that starts on the upper east plateau. Following an old jeep trail through mostly level terrain to join up with the Observation Point Trail proper, the hardest part of this hike is actually the approach drive to find the initial East Mesa Trailhead. This trailhead also provides easy access to the Mystery Canyon technical canyoneering route.
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Rating: fairly strenuous longer day hike. a Zion classicEast Rim Trail

Lower section currently closed due to rockfall. While the big rockfall landslide of 2019 has closed the lower section of the East Rim Trail to Weeping Rock, you can still start at the East Entrance Trailhead and make a good day of hiking the East Rim Trail. Some interesting destinations include the head of Jolley Gulch (a fairly easy hiking goal) to the more strenuous and distant viewpoints on Cable and Deertrap Mountains. The trail can still be taken down into Echo Canyon, but you cannot hike all the way down into the main canyon at this point.
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TAYLOR CREEK TRAIL (Middle Fork of Taylor Creek)
Rating: fairly easy day hike. a Zion classicfamily-friendlyTaylor Creek Trail (Middle Fork of Taylor Creek)

The Taylor Creek Trail is one of the few official and popular trails in the Kolob Canyons section: a pleasant 5-mile (roundtrip) hike up one of the enchanting "finger" canyons. The hike is fairly easy, but the trail is rough in spots and a little bit of stream-crossing is involved. Along the way are two historic old cabins from the early 1900's. Eventually the canyon walls get get narrower until the route officially ends at one of the more famous Zion landmarks: the Double Arch Alcove.
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Rating: strenuous day hike. a Zion classicBottom-Up Subway Hike

PERMIT REQUIRED. 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 like the "top-down" route, but it is a strenuous backcountry hike through beautiful cascades and stepped waterfalls to get to the classic lower Subway formation. Note: a wilderness permit is required for this hike and due to its epic popularity, a lottery system has been put in place. If you are lucky enough to get a permit, do this hike!
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Continue to:
Backpacking Routes 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.

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