13 Super Things To Do In Zion National Park

1. Riverside Walk

Are you heading to Utah any time soon? Be sure to stop in at Zion National Park. To help you plan your itinerary, here are 13 great things to do there!


The family-friendly Riverside Walk is a 2.2-mile return hike that is easy, shady and scenic. You’ll walk along this paved trail by the Virgin River until you reach the Narrows. If you are looking for more of a challenge you can actually hike into the Narrows that will involve wading through some water into the narrow canyon.


2. Hike The Narrows

If you are traveling with young children this may not be for you. If the river is too high it could be a problem.  Additionally, if the weather is bad you could be facing a flash flood even if the river is not too high.

The water could also be too cold for your comfort level as well. Veteran visitors confirm you could be dealing with all of these issues if you visit in March. In fact, the park could close the Narrows depending on the conditions.

If you do decide to go when the weather is warm you may still want to take wetsuits and a change of footwear. You also need to remember that this hike involves wading up the river. Despite its popularity, you will need to be fit enough to handle it.


3. Upper and Lower Emerald Pools

These trails are also very popular. The Upper Emerald Pool Trail often suffers from closures due to such natural occurrences as rock falls. The Lower Emerald Pool trail is a favorite because it is both easy to hike and short in length. Additionally, it leads to the bottom of a beautiful waterfall and Lower Emerald Pool.


4. Weeping Rock Trail


The Weeping Rock Trail is a short albeit steep half-mile return walk. It’s a paved trail that ends at a small rock alcove with popular dripping springs. It appears as if the rock itself is weeping. If you visit at the right time of the year you will also see a lush green hanging garden there.

5. Canyon Overlook Trail

Hike the Canyon Overlook Trail to the spot where you can take in extraordinary views of lower Zion Canyon and the Pine Creek Canyon. It’s a rocky one-mile return hike. While it is short this trail offers hikers the chance to see the park’s famous bighorn sheep and passes through caves as well.

6. The Court of The Patriarchs

If you like easy hikes this is the one for you. Enjoy the view at the well-known Court of the Patriarchs. The court mainly consists of a trio of huge sandstone peaks named after the biblical figures named Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac. You will also be able to get a gander of a pair of structures known as Sentinel and Mount Moroni.


7. Go biking on the Pa’rus Trail

Try to visit when the weather is nice as bad weather conditions can necessitate closing this trail. The Pa’rus Trail is three and a half miles long round trip. It is the only trail that permits biking inside the park.

Much like a previously mentioned trail, this one also follows the Virgin River. More specifically, the trail runs from the campground to the memorable Canon Junction. Be sure to make time to visit the Human History Museum on the way.


8. Take the Angel’s Landing Challenge

Before taking this hiking challenge, you must consider a number of different things. If you are going with your family you must consider the hiking ability, endurance levels, potential crowds, and each individual’s personal fear factor. (This includes yours too.)

Pretty much anyone can make it to the very top of the switchbacks. This is actually where the Angels Landing trail officially begins. The hike to the switchbacks is known as the West Rim Trail. The West Rim Trail is a bit more than 1.5 miles. The switchbacks make it even less strenuous.

Before stepping onto the Angels Landing trail you might notice a sign warning visitors that since 2007 seven climbers fell off the side of the cliff to their deaths. Some travel writers have noted that your odds of surviving are still good. After all, Not only is Zion National Park the country’s most visited park hosting over 4 million travelers every year, Angel’s Landing is the park’s most popular hiking trail.

If you’re concerned, hiking only to Scout’s Landing to enjoy the view is also an option. After all, the trail does not become steep and narrow until you pass this spot. No matter how far you intend to go though, be aware that Spring Break is not the best time to go if you want to avoid crowds of college students. The best time to take this challenge is early in the morning.

You’ll avoid any potential crowds and have better light. Be sure to hold onto the chains as you walk along the cliff’s edge. The sandy ground there can be slippery.

9. Observation Point & Hidden Canyon Trails

The Hidden Canyon and Observation Point trails are also two worthwhile trails that unfortunately can also be easily impacted by the weather. While veteran visitors recommend seeing the popular Kolob Canyon, again if you don’t hit it at the right time it too could be closed due to weather conditions. So be flexible with your plans and keep an eye on local weather reports as well.


10. Zion-Mount Carmel Scenic Drive

Another very popular activity here in Zion National Park is the Zion-Mount Carmel scenic drive. It runs in an east-west direction, passes through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel and ends at the park entrance. The tunnel itself is one mile in length and somewhat narrow depending on the size of your vehicle.

In fact, you should know that if you drive a big RV, you will have to get a special permit and an official escort in order to drive through the tunnel. The tunnel is occasionally closed for maintenance so do your homework when you plan your trip. Those who have been, suggest that if you are planning on also visiting Bryce Canyon National Park this is an even better road to take.

The scenery on the park’s eastern side is noticeably different than the opposite side because the elevation is higher. Here there are more bighorn sheep and pine trees. Additionally, the rocks and cliff faces are more of an orange color than yellow.

The views in the Zion Canyon as you drive towards the tunnel are also exceptional. It’s reportedly the best place to take in the rugged red mountains and verdant green valley. Finally, be sure to stop off at the Canyon Overlook, too. It’s a must-see!


11. Visit Zion Lodge

When you decide it’s time for a break, have lunch and a cold brew at the Zion Lodge located in the heart of the park. Here you’ll find a great, grassy area with a huge tree in the very center. Enjoy your picnic food while you study the canyon walls.

If the weather turns bad or you simply prefer to eat indoors you can do that too. There’s a cafeteria and a welcoming restaurant complete with an outside deck that overlooks the entire canyon. The outside bar even serves up an interesting IPA from Springdale. If you’ve recharged your batteries, this spot is also where both the Upper and Lower Emerald Trails begin.


12. Junior Rangers Program

If you have kids you will love the Junior Rangers program. Parents in the know claim it’s one of the best family-friendly activities offered there. It’s also a great way for children to make a real connection to the park.

Your kids can complete the activities in the car, during your lunch break and after each day of exploring comes to a close. Some parents claim you can even use this as part of the homeschooling science curriculum (although we have not confirmed that.) It certainly may help enhance your children’s literacy skills.

If you want to involve math then try comparing the height of different peaks there. The bottom line is you need to be sure to visit the Zion Canyon Visitor Center as soon as you get there so that you can pick up Junior Ranger books for your kids. Once your children have completed all the required activities be sure to see one of the rangers there so your kids can get their Junior Ranger badges. They even pledge to take care of our environment. (Who needs Greta?).


13. Attend a Ranger Talk

Attending a ranger talk is a Junior Ranger badge requirement. It’s also a great chance for everyone to learn a bit more about the local flora and fauna regardless of one’s age. Indeed, one travel blogger stated the lecture on Zion Park’s biodiversity was both interesting and informative. Even if you don’t have kids, you still might wish to learn about ecosystems and life with the park’s different areas.


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