Zion National Park is Utah’s very first national park, covering 229 square miles, located in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale. The parks unique location at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert gives the park stunning natural features including mountains, mesas, canyons, slot canyons, and natural arches.
This area of Utah was inhabited 8000 years ago by the Native American tribe of the semi-nomadic Anasazi people. More recently, the Mormons inhabited the area in the 18th century. Today, Zion National Park is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.
Things to do in Zion National Park
Hiking Zion National Park
Trail information and condition is available at the Visitor Center. Choose a trail depending on your requirements and what you want to see in the park. Some of the most popular trails in the park are located in Zion Canyon, offering easy, moderate and strenuous trails to explore. The Zion Canyon shuttle has stops near the most popular trails in the park.
Weeping Rock Trail
The hike to Weeping Rock is short but steep and ends with an amazing view of the Zion Valley. This trail gets very crowded during peak times. If you only have one day to visit the park then put the Weeping Rock Trail on your to-do list. The trail is just under a half-mile long and takes about 30 minutes to complete and is rated easy.
Riverside Walk Trail to the Narrows
Riverside is another popular trail that follows the virgin river and ends at the narrows. If you want to continue into the narrows you will need to wade through the river. Riverside Walk is a mostly paved trail with nice views of the canyon and Virgin river. The round trip distance is 2.2 mile. Allow at least an hour and a half for this hike.
The trailhead starts at the visitor center and is a 3-mile round-trip that features stunning views of Zion Canyon and the town of Springdale. Watchman Trail does not have much shade so its best to take this hike early in the morning or late afternoon. For visitors that are short on time, this trail is the nearest hike to the South entrance of the park. 3.5-mile round trip. The trail is rated moderate.
Angels Landing Trail
Angels Landing is Zion National Parks most popular trail. Angel’s Landing is a five-mile roundtrip hike that is not for the faint of heart. To get to Angels Landing you need to climb a series of switchbacks to Scouts Lookout, where most people turn around. From there, if you go, you have to climb the Angels Landing Spine with the use of the chains. Hang on for dear life this section is scary. Finally, you arrive at 5,790 feet high Angels Landing and enjoy the spectacular views of Zion National Park.
Rock Climbing Sandstone Cliffs
2000-foot sandstone cliffs offer some of the best big walls climbs for rock climbers, although it is recommended to have some climbing experience before attempting these giants. For those without rock climbing experience, there are roping and sport climbing areas where you can try your hand at. No permits are required for rock climbing. March to May and September to early November are the ideal climbing seasons.
Canyoneering in Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the premier canyoneering locations in the country. There are dozens of canyon trips to choose from, designed for beginners to the more experienced. Permits are required before you begin canyoneering and choose an area best suited to your experience level.
Camping at Zion National Park
Zion National Park has three campgrounds. The South and Watchman Campgrounds are located in the canyon, while the Lava Point Campground is an hour’s drive from the Zion Canyon on the Kolob Terrace Road. For a guaranteed camping spot, its advisable to make your camp reservations in advance as almost all the campsites get full during the summer.
Getting To Zion National Park
Springdale is the nearest town to the Zion National Park and where most visitors stay. Driving distance from Las Vegas is just under three-hours making it possible to visit on a day trip. From Salt Lake City, Utah the drive is 4 -5 hours depending on your route. From Flagstaff, Arizona the drive is four hours. Trams run from the park visitor center and nearby Springdale.