Julie United States 34 Comments

If you are planning your Zion National Park itinerary, this is a great place to start.

Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. This relatively small park is packed with some of the most thrilling hikes in the United States. From the awe-inspiring hike up Angels Landing to the bucket list-worthy Zion Narrows to the family friendly Riverside Walk, there is something here for everyone.

In this post, get all of the information you need to plan your Zion National Park itinerary. This includes the top hikes, the best viewpoints, how to get around, where to stay, and where to eat.

Let’s get started!

With high crowd levels, trail closures, and high levels of cyanobacteria in the Virgin River, Zion can be a challenging park to visit right now. If you are planning a visit to Zion, make sure you read our post 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Zion to avoid any unfortunate surprises.

Zion National Park: A Quick Geography Lesson

There are two sections to Zion National Park: the “main section” of the park, which is located along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and Kolob Canyons.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is the main road that runs through Zion National Park. It starts at the Visitor Center and ends at the Temple of Sinawava. It is along this road that you have access to the most popular hikes, such as Angels Landing, the Narrows, and Observation Point.

For most of the year, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles and the Zion Shuttle carries visitors up and down this road. The shuttle is included with your entrance fee into the park.

Kolob Canyons is a smaller section of the park that sits to the north of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This area has a few hiking trails and its own visitor center.

There are other hiking trails that start outside of the park, or near the boundary of the park, and end along the Scenic Drive. The Zion Narrows and the West Rim Trail are several examples. These are point-to-point hikes that require some advance planning (more on these later in this post).

Best Things to do in Zion National Park

Go Hiking

Without a doubt, hiking is the #1 thing to do in Zion National Park.

For many people, the main reason to plan a trip to Zion is to hike Angels Landing and/or the Narrows.

Important Note: Numerous trails are closed in Zion National Park. Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, and Weeping Rock have a long-term closure due to a rockfall. Visit the national park website for updates. 

Here are 10 great hikes to do in Zion National Park:

1. Weeping Rock: This short but strenuous hike ends at Weeping Rock, a large overhang of rock that is dripping with water.

2. Emerald Pool Trail: This short, popular trail connects two pools of water, Lower Emerald Pool and Upper Emerald Pool. This hike is 1.5 to 3 miles, depending on how far you hike and where you start.

3. Canyon Overlook Trail: For one of the best views in Zion, put this short, fun trail on your list. It is only 1-mile round trip and starts near the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel.

4. Watchman Trail: This short trail starts near the Visitor Center and offers nice views over the southern part of Zion National Park.

5. Riverside Walk: This paved path is a beautiful walk that is perfect for all ages and ability levels. It is 2.2 miles round trip and ends at the Virgin River.

Riverside Walk Zion

Riverside Walk

6. Hidden Canyon: This trail is currently closed due to a rockfall but it is one of the most thrilling hikes in Zion. Sections of this hike are similar to Angels Landing, with vertigo-inducing trails that come with chains to help you keep your balance. This trail does not climb as high or have the panoramic views like Angels Landing, but Hidden Canyon also gets fewer visitors, which makes for pleasant, less crowded experience. It is 3 miles round trip and can be combined with Observation Point.

Zion Itinerary

Hidden Canyon

7. Angels Landing: This is the most popular hike in Zion National Park. The final climb involves scaling a narrow ridge high above the valley floor. With chain-assisted rock scrambling sections and stunning views, this really is a thrilling hike.

Best Hikes in Zion

Angels Landing Trail

8. Observation Point: For jaw-dropping views over Zion National Park, it’s hard to beat Observation Point. There are two ways to hike to Observation Point. Currently, you can get here on the East Mesa Trail, a 7 mile hike that starts outside of the park. The main trailhead is currently closed due to a rockfall.

9. The Narrows: Hike in the Virgin River through one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the USA. You can start at the Riverside Walk, hike upriver for several miles, and turn around when you are ready (this is the bottom-up version of the hike). But the ultimate experience is to hike the entire Narrows from the top-down, a journey that is 16 miles long and can be done as an epic day hike or two-day backpacking trip.

If you choose to hike the Narrows from the top-down, you will need to apply for a permit. If you choose to do this over two days, you will also need to apply for a campsite. Visit our Guide to the Narrows for full details on how to do this. 

Zion Hike

The Narrows

10. West Rim Trail: The West Rim Trail is a long-distance hike through Zion National Park. With amazing views, very few hikers on the trail, and a chance to walk the length of Zion National Park, this hike rewards your efforts. The West Rim Trail can be hiked as a long day hike or as a two-day backpacking trip.

You do not need a permit to hike the West Rim Trail. But it is a point-to-point hike, so you will need to arrange a shuttle service in advance. Get the details on how to do this here. 

For more information on the hiking trails in Zion, read our post 10 Great Hikes in Zion: Which Ones Will Be Your Favorite?

Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway

This winding scenic drive connects the Visitor Center to the east entrance of the park. Along the switchbacks between Canyon Junction and the tunnel you have great views of Zion National Park.

Zion Road

Between the tunnel and the east entrance the landscape is beautiful, with striated sandstone rocks, like those of Checkerboard Mesa. Keep your eye out for Bighorn Sheep.

Zion Mount Carmel Highway

Note: There is $15 fee for oversized vehicles to drive through the tunnel. An oversized vehicle is any vehicle that is 11 feet 4 inches or higher and 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider. If your vehicle is taller than 13 feet 1 inch you cannot pass through the tunnel.

Watch the Sunset from the Canyon Junction Bridge

This is the place to capture the iconic photo of the Virgin River and Watchman peak. Expect big crowds at sunset.

Zion Human History Museum

If you want to learn about the American Indians and the pioneers who lived on this land, then the Zion Human History Museum is worth a visit. It is one of the first stops on the Zion Shuttle.

Planning a visit to the US national parks? Visit our Guide to the National Parks to learn more about the parks, with important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

Best Viewpoints in Zion National Park

If you want a spectacular view of Zion National Park, here are our top 5 viewpoints:

  • Observation Point
  • Angels Landing
  • Canyon Overlook
  • Canyon Junction Bridge
  • West Rim Trail

Canyon Overlook

The view from Canyon Overlook Trail

 West Rim Trail Zion

View from the West Rim Trail

How to Get Around Zion National Park

For most of the year (mid-March through November), the Zion Shuttle is in operation. During this time, private vehicles are not permitted to drive on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

Park at the Visitor Center or take the Springdale Shuttle to the main entrance. You can hop on the shuttle at the Visitor Center and ride it to the Temple of Sinawava. If you are heading into the park to go hiking, make sure you know the correct shuttle stop for your hike.

Starting mid-morning, lines to board the Zion Shuttle can be very long. We are talking an hour wait or longer. To have the best experience, plan on being on one of the first two shuttles of the day. During peak season and holiday weekends, plan to get in line 30 minutes before the first shuttle. I know that’s early, but if you are planning to hike Angels Landing, you will have a much better experience going early, since you can hike the chain section without two-way traffic. It’s worth the early start!  

If you get to Zion and find that lines to board the shuttle are ridiculously long, there is still plenty to do in Zion without riding the shuttle. Read our article 11 Things to Do in Zion if You Don’t Want to Ride the Shuttle for more information.

You are permitted to drive from the Visitor Center to the east entrance all year.

When the shuttle is not in operation (December, January, and February) you are permitted drive along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Just be aware that parking is limited so it still helps to get an early start.

There is a second shuttle system, the Springdale Shuttle, that connects the hotels in Springdale with the main entrance of Zion.

Walters Wiggles

Walters Wiggles (on the hike to Angels Landing)

How Many Days Do You Need in Zion?

Ideally, you need at least two to three days to visit Zion National Park. This gives you enough time to hike the longer, more popular trails, such as Angels Landing and the Narrows, and you can also add in a few of the shorter, easier trails, such as the Riverside Walk and Canyon Overlook.

When deciding how much time you should spend in Zion, pick out the hikes you want to do. For each big hike (a hike 5 miles or longer), add one day to your itinerary.

If you plan to hike Angels Landing, the Narrows, and Observation Point, you will need three days in Zion.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: I recommend checking the Zion National Park website for updates on trail closures to avoid any surprises. Do this when planning your Zion National Park itinerary and just before your visit.

Angels Landing Zion

Angels Landing

A Sample Day in Zion National Park

Start early!! Being on one of the first shuttles is the key to having a great hiking experience in Zion. This will help you avoid the crowds on the trail, which is very important if you plan to hike Angels Landing or the Zion Narrows.

In the spring, the first shuttle leaves the Visitor Center at 7 am. In the summer, the first shuttle is at 6 am. I recommend getting in line at least 15 minutes before the first shuttle of the day if you plan to hike Angels Landing or the Narrows. By 8 am, the line can be very long to take the shuttle into the park.

In the morning, hike one of the longer, more strenuous trails.

Midday, have a picnic lunch in the park or grab a bite to eat at the Zion Lodge or at the Visitor Center. You can also exit the park, have lunch in Springdale, and relax in your hotel for a few hours. This is what we do and it works great because we avoid the hot temperatures and high crowd levels midday. 

Mid to late-afternoon, hike a shorter, easier trail. Canyon Overlook, Emerald Pools, and the Riverside walk all fall into this category. This is also a great time to watch the sunset from Canyon Junction Bridge.

Have dinner in Springdale.

Observation Point

Observation Point

Planning Your Zion National Park Itinerary

One Day Zion National Park Itinerary

With one day in Zion National Park, getting an early start is critical for the best experience.

Take the first shuttle of the day and hike the trail of your choice. For most people, that would be Angels Landing or the Zion Narrows.

If you are fit and fast, you can hike both trails on the same day. Hike Angels Landing in the morning, take a break and recharge midday, and hike the Narrows from the bottom-up in the late afternoon.

Or, hike a longer trail in the morning, have lunch midday at the Zion Lodge or in Springdale, and then hike a short trail in the afternoon. Watch the sunset from Canyon Junction Bridge and have dinner in Springdale.

Two or More Days in Zion National Park

Here are sample daily Zion National Park itineraries. You can piece these together depending on your interests.

REMINDER: Numerous trails are closed in Zion National Park. Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, and Weeping Rock have a long-term closure due to a rockfall. Visit the national park website for updates. 

1 Day: Angels Landing + Canyon Overlook

Hike Angels Landing in the morning. You have the option to add on Emerald Pools after Angels Landing, since the trailheads are located near each other. Take a midday break. In the afternoon, drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Road and hike Canyon Overlook.

1 Day: Observation Point

Hike to Observation Point from the East Mesa Trail.

1 Day: The Narrows from the Bottom-Up

Be on the first shuttle of the day. Get off at the Temple of Sinawava and walk the Riverside Walk to the Virgin River. Hike the Narrows as far as you like, or until you reach Big Springs.

1 to 2 Days: The Narrows from the Top-Down

This is one of the most epic hiking experiences in Zion National Park. You can do this over two days, camping along the Virgin River, or you can do it as a big day hike.

1 to 2 Days: West Rim Trail

This long-distance trail starts near Kolob Canyons and ends near Angels Landing. You essentially hike from one side of Zion to the other. Like the Narrows from the top-down, this can be done as a two-day backpacking trip or as a massive day hike.

Putting This All Together: Sample Itineraries

Popular Hikes + Zion Narrows Day Hike

Day 1: Angels Landing, Emerald Pool, Canyon Overlook
Day 2: Observation Point
Day 3: Zion Narrows Bottom-Up OR Zion Narrows Top-Down Day Hike
Day 4: West Rim Trail as a Day Hike
Days 4 & 5: West Rim Trail as a backpacking trip

Popular Hikes + Zion Narrows Backpacking Trip

Day 1: Angels Landing, Emerald Pool, Canyon Overlook
Day 2: Observation Point
Days 3 & 4: Zion Narrows Top-Down Backpacking Trip
Day 5: West Rim Trail as a Day Hike
Days 5 & 6: West Rim Trail as a backpacking trip

These are long days with lots of back-to-back hikes. Consider adding an extra day for a little relaxation, to recharge your legs. You can hike a short trail, explore Springdale, or visit the Kolob Canyon section of Zion. If you plan to hike the Narrows, you will need some time in Springdale to get your gear, if you do not have your own.

Zion Itinerary with Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows

Road Trip Ideas

Combining Zion National Park with other nearby national parks makes an excellent road trip idea. You can either combine Zion with one or more of the other parks in Utah (Utah’s Mighty 5) or do a loop from Las Vegas where you add on the Grand Canyon.

For an overview about Utah’s Mighty 5, read our Guide to Utah’s  Mighty 5.

For ideas on how to plan a one to two week road trip through Utah, where you visit Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks, take a look at our post The Ultimate Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary.

If you have 14 days, check out our Two Week American Southwest Itinerary: Grand Canyon & Utah’s Mighty 5. On this epic road trip, you get to visit six national parks (including Zion) as well as Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and several great state parks in Utah. 

Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

You can visit Zion National Park all year.

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Zion. The weather is pleasant, with warm daytime temperatures and cool nights. Just be aware that you may not be able to hike the Narrows. In the spring, flow rates in the Virgin River will be high and the trail most likely will be closed (the Narrows usually reopens in May).

During the summer months, expect big crowds and very high temperatures. Zion is the most crowded from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.

Fall is a spectacular time to visit Zion. The weather will be warm during the day and cool at night. September and October are the best months to visit Zion, in my opinion. Crowds are thinning, the weather is spectacular, and in October you can see the fall colors.

If you don’t mind cold temperatures, winter is a very nice time to visit Zion. Crowds will be low and hiking trails will be empty. The Zion shuttle does not operate in the winter so you can drive through the park in your own vehicle.

Zion National Park Itinerary

View from Angels Landing

Where to Eat

King’s Landing Bistro. This is our favorite restaurant in Springdale. This restaurant has a “fine dining” feel to it with an amazing menu. 

Café Soleil. This place is quick, reasonably priced, and serves delicious sandwiches.

Oscar’s Café. The perfect spot after a long day of hiking. Oscar’s café serves great nachos and huge portions of Mexican food.

Zion Pizza and Noodle Café. This is another budget friendly place that serves pizza, pastas, and salads.

Where to Stay

Zion National Park Lodge. This is the only lodge inside of Zion National Park. Due to its excellent location, make your reservations far in advance (at least 6 months in advance).

The remainder of these properties are in Springdale.

Holiday Inn Express. This is our go-to hotel in Springdale and highly recommend it. The staff is friendly, the rooms are clean and quiet, and it has an excellent location in Springdale. It is located on the Springdale Shuttle Route, so you can get around town without a car.

Flanigan’s Inn. This very highly rated property has a wide range of room types. Some rooms can accommodate up to six people and you also have the option to stay in your own private house. Prior guests love the location and state that they could walk to Zion National Park.

Red Rock Inn Cottages. Stay in a one or two-bedroom cottage. Some cottages have a seating area and kitchen. Free breakfast is offered daily.

Cable Mountain Lodge. This is as close as you can get to Zion National Park without staying inside of the park. Located near the Visitor Center, this highly-rated hotel offers some rooms that can accommodate up to 8 people.

Hotel Cable Mountain Lodge

Cable Mountain Lodge

Practical Information

Zion National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The entrance fee is $35 and is valid for 7 days.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Check for trail closures, road closures, and get important updates before your visit on the official national park website.


If you have any questions about planning your Zion National Park itinerary, let us know in the comment section below. 

More Information About Zion National Park:

For more information about Zion National Park, click here to read our Guide to Zion National Park. Get important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

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Comments 34

  1. My husband and I are 70 years old. We do not hike at all. Is there a way to see Zion without having to hike? Are there lookout points that we can drive, get off the car and see Zion like the Grand Canyon?

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      You can take the Zion shuttle through the canyon…it’s a pretty drive, but you will only see Zion from the canyon floor. To get to the overlooks, you will have to do some hiking. The Canyon Overlook trail is the easiest way to get a view over Zion. It’s a one mile easy-ish hike. Alternatively, you can also go to the Canyon Junction Bridge an the iconic view of the park. The Riverside Walk is also very nice…an easy stroll along the Virgin River, but again, you won’t get the expansive views like the Grand Canyon (you have to hike to Observation Point, Angels Landing, or the West Rim Trail for those). Cheers, Julie

  2. I’m going to Zion for the first time this weekend and all of this information was so helpful, thank you! I’d really like to avoid the crowds on Angel’s Landing and am potentially interested in a Sunset hike! Is this recommened or is it way too dangerous on this trail/ if I’d be desceding with the sun going down? I’m assuming I would probably have to walk back to the visitor center as well since the shuttles would have stopped running? Would this be a big deal after a moderately tiring day of hiking in the park? My party is a moderately active/fit group of adults. If a sunset hike is not recommended, what is the latest you woudl recommend starting Angel’s landing to avoid the crows? Thanks again!

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      Doing a sunset hike is a great idea, however the big issue is the shuttle. It is a 5 mile walk from the trailhead back to the visitor center. You would be doing this in the dark (not a big deal) but at the end of a long day. That’s a long walk and you will have to decide if it is worth it. I would also recommend getting down to Scout Lookout before it gets dark. Once on Scout Lookout, it is a mostly paved/graded trail to the trailhead. The hike takes 3 to 5 hours, depending on how fast you hike and the number of people on the chain section of the hike (traffic jams slow things down). If you hike fast, you could start the hike 4 hours before the final shuttle pickup at The Grotto. Hopefully this late in the day crowds will be light on Angels Landing. It’s hard to know what crowds are going to be like this year with the shuttle tickets. People can get walk up tickets between 3 and 5 pm so I don’t know if this will add more people late in the day than in previous years. Cheers, Julie

  3. I am having trouble securing shuttle tickets for the beginning of June 2021.. can we just purchase a park ticket and walk?

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      Yes, you can walk, but it can be a 6 mile walk (or even longer) to some of the trailheads. Look into renting bikes in Springdale…it will be much faster than walking and you are permitted to ride bikes along the shuttle route without a ticket. Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi!

    I have secured shuttle tickets for June 3rd at 10:00 am, but was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get earlier tickets. I am traveling with my husband and 3 kids. Best tips you may have to get the most out of our visit that day starting mid-morning? I have been reading as much as I can, but I am so overwhelmed and confused.

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      Hello April. Hikes like the Narrows and Angels Landing are going to be very crowded from 9 am to 4 pm. What you do in Zion would depend a lot on the ages of your kids. If your kids are old enough, I would plan on a late afternoon hike to Angels Landing, once crowds start to quiet down. Before then, you can hike the Emerald Pools Trail and do the Riverside Walk to the Virgin River and maybe even hike a part of the Narrows, depending on the cyanobacteria issue with the Virgin River. If you are really feeling motivated, hike the Canyon Overlook Trail early in the morning so you have enough time to get on the shuttle. Pack a picnic lunch or get food at the Zion Lodge. I hope this helps! Cheers, Julie

  5. Would you recommend splitting time from Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon all between Thursday and Sunday or would that be insane?

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      Ideally, you need one full day (minimum) for each park. That gives you a fourth day for travel time. I don’t know your starting and ending point but with 4 days you could do this (1) Grand Canyon (2) drive to Zion (3) Zion in the morning, drive to Bryce in the evening (4) Bryce Canyon.

  6. Hi Julie,

    We are a family of 3 adults visiting Zion National Park the week before Memorial Day weekend. We are staying in Springdale and plan to use the shuttle to the visitor’s center and purchasing shuttle tickets in advance for the park shuttle. From what I am reading, only stops 5 (Zion Lodge), 6 (The Grotto), 8 (Big Bend) and 9 (Temple of Sinawava) are operating. Can you please tell me what I should expect on each stop? Would I be able to take nice photos in every stop or do I have to walk a bit to see anything? We are not hikers at all, but I am open to walking a mile or two max roundtrip in order to take nice photos, but we can’t do stairs. Which stop(s) do you recommend I do an easy hike? I expect it’ll be hot, so I will need to visit first thing in the morning. The next day, we plan to go to Bryce Canyon, so we will be driving via Zion Mt Carmel Highway.

    Thank you.

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      At the Temple of Sinawava (#9) you can walk the Riverside Walk. It is a very nice, easy, paved walking path along the Virgin River. You can hike the whole 2.2 miles round trip or turn around when you are ready. At Big Bend, there is a flat hiking trail that runs along the river and if I remember correctly, you can walk this trail to shuttle stop 7, but unfortunately the shuttle is not running to this stop. So, instead, get off at stop 8, don’t hike, but look up. The giant cliffs on the opposite side of the river is where the Angels Landing hike is located (high above the valley floor). There is not a whole lot to see at the Grotto. But this is the starting point for the Angels Landing hike and Emerald Pools. You can walk the Grotto trail from here to the Lodge (stop 5) which is a mile long. At the lodge, if the restaurant is open, you can get something to eat. I don’t think that there is much to photograph here.

      For an easy hike, I recommend the Riverside Walk (stop 9), Lower Emerald Pool from stop 5, or the Grotto Trail to connect stops 5 and 6. Cheers, Julie

  7. With so many trail closures right now, how much time do you recommend I spend in Zion? I’m planning my visit for April.

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      In April you won’t be able to hike the Narrows, Weeping Rock, and Hidden Canyon. You can get to Observation Point but you have to start outside of the park. I would say 2 days max. Angels Landing takes half of a day. You could also hike to Canyon Overlook the same day. If you like the idea of a long distance hike you could do the West Rim Trail. Or hike Observation Point. But you could spend one day in Zion, do Angels Landing and Canyon Overlook, and return in the future to hike the other trails. Cheers, Julie

  8. Hi my partner and I are planning a road trip from CA to Zion in April this year. Can you recommend a 3 day itinerary? We aren’t avid hikers but are young and can definitely manage easy/moderate and dont mind a challenge if prepared. Thank you in advance for any suggetions or tips.

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  9. I am a frequent visitor to your website and now I am planning a visit to Zion and Bryce for later this year. I will be visiting the park with my two kids who are 8 and 10 years old. Do you think they could handle Angels Landing? If not, is there another hike you would recommend?

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      Due to how dangerous the hike to Angels Landing is, we don’t recommend that kids under 12 hike this trail. The Narrows is a very cool hike and it’s great for kids, since you simply walk in the river and turn around when you have seen enough. I also recommend the Canyon Overlook Trail. You will get a great view of Zion and it’s not a hard or long hike. Have fun in Zion! Cheers, Julie

  10. I find it extremely helpful to know that September and October are the best months to visit Zion National Par since the weather is spectacular and there isn’t much of a crowd. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to visit the place since last year. Hopefully, when the pandemic ends, we can finally visit the park with our friends. Thanks.

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  11. My husband and I are planning to visit this summer. We are not avid hikers but are able to hike easy to moderate trails. (We are 65 years old) . Anyways, we are thinking of being there 2-3 days. Can you suggest an itinerary/

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      Hello Rita. I’d be happy to suggest an itinerary. Since it is summer, it will be very hot midday, so I recommend taking a midday break to escape the heat. On day one hike the Emerald Pools Trail in the morning. Have lunch in Springdale. In the afternoon, do the Canyon Overlook Trail and drive the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway through the east section of the park. It’s a pretty drive and hopefully you will see bighorn sheep. You could watch the sunset from Canyon Junction Bridge.

      On day 2, take the Zion shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava and hike the Riverside Trail. It’s an easy trail along the Virgin River and very pretty. You have the option to hike part of the Narrows. You can hike up the Virgin River for several miles. It is a gorgeous walk. I recommend getting on one of the first shuttles of the day because this is extremely popular. If you like the idea of hiking the Narrows, you can rent a walking stick from one of the shops in Springdale. It will help you keep your balance and it’s better to use than hiking poles. Pick this up midday on day 1 and return it after your hike.

      If you want to spend a third day in Zion, you could hike the Watchman Trail or the Pa’rus Trail. Hopefully Weeping Rock will be open when you go. Hidden Canyon is a great hike but it is also currently closed for a rockfall. It’s more challenging than the others I just listed but I think it is worth considering if it reopens. Keep checking the Zion website for updates on trail conditions, shuttle tickets, and the cyanobacteria in the Virgin River.

      Cheers, Julie

  12. I will be arriving in Zion for the first time on December 1st. I am a little confused about how to get around to all the trails since the shuttles won’t be required/in service at that time anymore. For example, if I were to go to The Narrows is going in the early morning still recommended or would we be okay going early afternoon? When we drive up to go to The Narrows will there be any place to park or do we park at the visitors center and hike to all trails/destinations?

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      When the shuttle is not running, you are allowed to drive your vehicle into the park and then park at the trailheads. We did this on our visit 2 years ago. However, parking is limited at most trailheads/shuttle stops and the Temple of Sinawava (the shuttle stop/parking for Riverside Trail/Narrows) falls into this category. Your best chance of getting a parking space at the Riverside Walk trailhead (the Temple of Sinawava) is early in the morning. I’m not sure exactly what time is recommended since this really depends on the amount of visitors in the park. Earlier this year (May), people were arriving well before sunrise. The amount of visitors in the national parks is very unpredictable this year because of COVID. This fall has been much busier than normal, and in many places fall was the busier season than the summer months. What it will be like 3 weeks from now, I’m not exactly sure. I think visitation will be light, but there are a lot of people who are out traveling right now, thinking that things will lockdown over the winter.

      There is more parking around the Zion Lodge, which is located near the trailheads for Angels Landing and the Emerald Pools. You could park here and walk up the road to the Riverside Walk if you can’t find parking at the Temple of Sinawava. If you can’t find parking in the morning, you could return in the afternoon. This might be more pleasant, since temps will be warmer. If you can, stop in the visitor center the day before and talk to the park rangers for recommendations.

      Cheers, Julie

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      In Zion, you will get around by shuttle, so yes, an RV is fine. You will park in the visitor center parking lot and get on the shuttle from here. Just be aware that you will need to get shuttle tickets (this is a brand new thing starting in 2020). If you drive through the Mount Carmel Tunnel, there may be restrictions on the size of the RV, so do a little research on this before making your reservation. Cheers, Julie

  13. If I as unable to get an early shuttle into the park do you have other suggestions of how to enter the park as early as possible? Thanks!

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      You can bring or rent bikes and cycle into the park. It’s too far to walk to get to most trailheads, unfortunately. Good luck!

  14. Love your blog and look at it regularly for inspiration and dreaming! We love Zion and went back this past June to do the full bottom-up Narrows hike which was breathtaking. You may consider adding a day of canyoneering on your itinerary if kids aren’t too young… We went with Red Desert Adventures (I think there are other companies as well, I have no connection to any of these companies). The slot canyons were absolutely spectacular and it was so much fun and adventure. One of our top family adventure days ever!

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      Author

      Hello Jane. That’s a great idea! The Subway is still on our bucket list, which involves some canyoneering. And canyoneering is a new thing for us…we planned do it in Costa Rica this past April but plans got changed due to COVID. I’m glad you like our blog and happy travels!! Cheers, Julie

  15. Do you have to make a reservation ahead of time before visiting the park? If so where can we make a reservation so that we ensure we get into the park?! I know with covid some parks are doing limit capacity. We are planning on getting a National park pass ahead of time.

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      Author

      I do not think you have to make a reservation ahead of time to enter Zion. However, for the shuttle, you should make your reservation in advance (as of July 2020). Reservations, park closures, etc can change frequently, due to Covid, so I recommend re-checking the rules just before your trip. You can get full details on the shuttle reservation process, and to confirm if you need to reserve a time slot to enter the park, on the official NPS website. Cheers, Julie

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      Author

      You can stay at the Zion Lodge, inside of the park. Just outside of Zion is the town of Springdale and there are many options here. Cheers, Julie

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