Visiting Zion National Park and popular hikes

Visiting Zion National Park

Visiting Zion National Park and popular hikes

It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit Zion National Park, it still is a spectacular place to visit year round and worth seeing during each season. Since the park is relatively easy to get to from Las Vegas, it has become a very popular destination for a national parks. Or if your time is very limited, it can be done as a long day trip from Las Vegas. If you have more than one day, it really is worthwhile to spend as much time in the park and stay close by so you can see more of the stunning landscape or hike some to some of the popular landmarks within the park.




Entrance of Zion National Park Visiting Zion National Park

Entering the park

With limited parking access throughout the park, shuttle buses are the only vehicles allowed unless you are passing through to the east entrance of the park, camping or staying at the Zion lodge. The shuttles run on a regular basis and are pretty efficient stopping at all the major vista points and attractions within the park. Once you find parking before the entrance, just follow the signs to the ticket area and visitors center on the way to the shuttle pick up spot.



Hiking Zion National Park Visiting Zion National Park

Hikes at Zion National Park

Spending time outdoors and visiting the popular monuments are a wonderful way to experience the park, if you have time then taking a nice hike on any of the trails within the park. There are many scenic hikes that you can do in the park depending on what you want to see, timeframes and length of hikes. The most popular hikes within the park including: the hike to the Emerald falls, the relatively short hike to the whispering falls and the more challenging Angels Camp. For early birds, an early morning hike to the scenic observation point overlooking the entire valley is worth getting up early and enjoying this wonderful and relatively easy hike with spectacular views of the main parts of the canyon. For a more comprehensive list of hikes available in the park, check out the Zion National Park hiking website here for more details and information.


Here are some highlights of my favorite trails in Zion National Park


Emerald pools at Zion National Park Visiting Zion National Park


Hike to the Emerald Pools

This in one of Zion’s signature hikes with breathtaking scenery, forests walks, going through behind shallow caves with waterfalls spilling out in front and climbing to wonderful panoramas of the canyon area. The round trip is about 3 miles in length but you can choose to just go in one direction and have the shuttle pick you back up at the designated bus stop. There is a series of lower, middle and upper pools that you can hike up to depending on your abilities but overall this is a moderate medium hike to do in the park.


Hikiing up to the Emerald pools trail at Zion National park








Weeping rock trail at Zion National park Arizona

Weeping rock trail

A relatively easy hike to do, the Weeping rock trail is less than ten minutes to the seeping rocks and is considered family friendly. At the destination, you climb up to a shallow area at the base of the sandstone canyon walls where water weeps down the rocks into small waterfalls dripping across the shallow caves from hanging gardens above the canyon. Although it is relatively short, it is also steep with stairs at the end on asphalt pavement.


Wildflowers at the Weeping Rock Trail


wildflowers and Weeping rock trail at Zion National park Arizona






Scenic observation overlook Visiting Zion National Park


Canyon overlook trail

The best time to be at the observation point  from the Canyon overlook trail is for sunrise. This is a moderate hike about 1 mile roundtrip from the parking area. A mostly dirt and rock trail, it climbs up a canyon area through shallow caves and rocky terrain until you get to the clearing at the overlook area. On a clear sunrise, you will get an extraordinary scenic view of the entire canyon below you.

Tip: for a sunrise hike, make sure you bring a flashlight for the hike since the trail does go over rocky and unstable mountain terrain that is hard to see very early in the morning time frame.


Open ledges and trail to the overlook area Zion National Park


Scenic trail uphill to the overlook viewpoint


Open ledges and trail to the overlook area Zion National Park



Riverside walk to the Narrows

Called the gateway to the Narrows, the riverside walk is mostly flat and on asphalt roads. As you walk along the Virgin river, you’ll get wonderful views along the curving canyon walls which eventually start to narrow at the last point. This is where the trail head ends and you can basically continue by walking through the Virgin river into the famous Narrows of Zion National park. You can hike deep into the Narrows as far as you like or walk between 2 – 3 hours before you head into the area known as Wall Street. The entire length of the canyon goes up to 16 miles.

Tip: You will get wet either wading or swimming in certain spots walking through the Narrows on the Virgin River depending on conditions. The best times to take photographs with good lighting conditions in the Narrows would be from 10-3pm.


Riverside walk to the Narrows Zion National Park


Entering the Narrows at Zion National Park


The Narrows entrance Zion National park Utah



Kayenta Trail

This uphill trail skirts the canyon walls fronting the Virgin River and connects to the Emerald pools up on top. Mostly uphill on dirt/gravel paths, the scenic views are outstanding while you are heading up the canyon towards the pools. From the Emerald pools you can choose to hike back down the Kayenta trail or head the opposite direction down to Yellowstone lodge. Total round trip is approximately 3.1 miles depending on which direction you take roundtrip or headed to the lodge and bus stop.

Tip – later afternoon time frame is perfect to capture photographs of the canyon with valley views below and beautiful light that is hitting different areas of the canyon for you to create wonderful photos


Hikiing up the Kayenta Trail at Zion National park


Climb up the Kayenta trail to Emerald pools



Hikiing up the Kayenta Trail at Zion National park



Pa’rus Trail

Skirting the canyon floor around the Virgin River, the Pa’rus trail is an easy hike on flat paved pathways which is also used for biking. You travel mostly through open meadows when scenic views of the Zion canyon with many of the monuments in view. The trail is about 3.4 miles in length from the main visitors center to the stone bridge scenic overlook.

Tip – you can break up your hike halfway by visiting the Zion Human History Museum or take a shuttle back directly to the campground or park main entrance.


Virgin River walk at Zion National Park


Scenic bridges over the Virgin river and the Pa’rus trail


Hikiing up to Pa'rus trail at Zion National park


Tips and suggestions for planning your trip

Zion National Park is a very popular park due to its proximity to other national parks and landmarks close by, therefore you should plan and book all your accommodations, car rental and other tour activities in advance to your visit. The best airport with more airlines closest to the park would be Las Vegas International airport. It would be easy to also rent your car directly from the airport rental car centers which is just outside of the main airport.

Hotel Accommodations

During peak season around Zion, hotels fill up quickly and any availability gets more expensive with any open rooms. To save on costs book months to a year in advance or plan on visiting the park during the shoulder season to avoid paying higher prices. Here are some sites you can check out below to secure a room reservation in the immediate area outside of Zion.

Trip Advisor reviews and prices here of Zion hotels Zion Area hotels and inns



Car Rental Information

Priceline name your price car rental

Travelocity car rentals


Flying close to Zion National Park

Las Vegas International Airport is the most convenient airport in the area with the most available flights. Here are some of the sites I recommend for you to secure your flights to the park or within a relatively short drive to the park. for flight rates, check their website here for prices and availability

Travelocity for flights to Las Vegas and best prices

Priceline check flight routes and prices here



Visiting Zion National Park and popular hikes


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20 Responses to Visiting Zion National Park and popular hikes

  1. Rhonda Albom February 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

    U gave been told I was at Zion when I was a little girl, but I don’t remember anything as spectacular as your photos. Next time I am in Utah, I want to do the five parks, Zion included.

  2. Lauren October 23, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

    Zion National Park is really high on my list to visit. It looks so so beautiful. Your photos are incredible! Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  3. Suzanne Fluhr October 23, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    Your post and photos brought back wonderful memories of our visit to Zion National Park. I don’t remember the name of the trail, but the hike we did was mostly up hill (except for coming back down). I do remember being a little disturbed by the warning sign about mountain lions at the entrance to the trail since someone had been killed by one in California the prior week.

  4. Arzo Travels October 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    Beautiful pictures. Have only been to the Grand Canyon once but would love to visit Zion as well – also great to know that it can be visited throughout the year.

  5. Anne Klien ( MeAnne) October 23, 2016 at 4:12 am #

    Wow there’s lots of walking trails, are they easy hikes. Those stunning views are so inviting. I will definitely add this to my list.

  6. Leah October 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    All around gorgeous! I’d love to see the Emerald Pools, but all of Zion National Park looks perfect.

  7. Toni Broome October 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    I’d like to stay out near the national park. I imagine the opportunity for sunrise and sunset photography would be fabulous.

  8. Kerri October 22, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    I’ve just had some friends return from here and they absolutely loved it. Not hikers, they still thought it was manageable for them, and they got up really early to get to the Narrows to avoid the crowds. This seems to line up too with your words about being able to hike, but then also catch a shuttle bus – such a great idea for those who might be put off by having to do it the whole way. Photos are just magnificent, I love the views down over the canyons the best I think.

  9. Marlene Marques October 22, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    Beautiful park! The trails here must be incredible. Congratulation for the photos!

  10. Monika October 22, 2016 at 1:50 am #

    Beautiful photos!
    Are the hikes difficult?

    • Noel October 22, 2016 at 6:29 am #

      No many of these are easy to moderate

  11. mark wyld October 21, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Wow i would love to do some of these walks especially the one through the narrows. i could imagine taking some great pictures down in the canyon. I have always wanted to visit the national parks of Utah, colorado, new Mexico area. The scenery stands out from when i was a kid who watched western movies

  12. Doreen Pendgracs October 20, 2016 at 3:31 am #

    Thanks for reigniting my memories of Zion National Park, Noel. I haven’t seen there since the late 70’s, but my memories were brought back to life by your wonderful images. Thx for the post.

  13. George October 20, 2016 at 12:14 am #

    Planning our trip to the USA next year and will definitely be stopping at Zion NP. When would you is the best time to visit the South West? We have plenty of time but would prefer visit outside of the peak season. Beautiful photographs and just about all the info we need to start planning. Thanks

    • Noel October 20, 2016 at 7:21 am #

      spring time and late fall are typically my preferred times before the summer crush to visit the South West, have a fantastic time!

  14. Irene S. Levine October 19, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    Besides the sheer beauty, also striking was that there were no other people photobombing your pictures. What a place of peace and solitude!

  15. Jennifer October 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    We have never been to Zion – it looks stunning! Your photos are extraordinary!

  16. Michele Peterson October 17, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    Zion National Park is a beauty! The sky is especially stunning in your photos – it takes a fair bit of prowess to get the lighting right on shots like these so kudos to you for a great job!


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I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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