The Ultimate Guide To Zion National Park

The Ultimate Guide To Zion National Park

Utah
The Ultimate Guide To Zion National Park

Zion National Park , home to dramatic mountain landscape & thrilling hikes!

Zion National Park, along with its several geological features, is a paradise for hikers as it’s home to some of the most challenging & breathtaking hikes in the US!

Located in southwest Utah, Zion National Park’s dramatic landscape is defined by towering and deep Zion Canyon, several mountain peaks, natural arches, waterfalls, wildlife, and the flowing Virgin River and its tributaries! The park got its name from the Mormon explorers who called the area “Zion,” a Hebrew word for sanctuary.

Several geological factors sculpted the dramatic landscape at Zion National Park, including sedimentation that sunk the Zion basin several thousand feet, the geological upheaval that uplifted the valley, volcanic eruptions in the area, and erosion that still continues to shape Zion National Park.

Though Zion National Park is relatively small in size compared to other Nationa Parks in the US, the dramatic scenery and the unique and challenging hiking options make it a popular destination in the US. Some of the hikes in Zion are really challenging and are not advised for people with the fear of height or with kids, but there are quite a few family-friendly hikes and easily accessible viewing platforms too.

Zion National Park is popularly known for its thrilling hikes, but there’re several family-friendly hikes and activities for all age groups!

Here is my ultimate guide to Zion National Park, featuring must-see places, attractions map, suggested itinerary, hiking trails, campgrounds, hotels, and restaurants in Zion National Park.

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Planning Your Trip To Zion National Park

Planning Your Trip To Zion National Park

Zion National Park is open year-round, summer being the peak season. Fall being my favorite as you can avoid the crowd and still access most of the hiking trails!

Best Time To Visit Zion National Park: Zion National Park is open year-round, summer being the peak season for sightseeing, hiking, and camping in the Park, but it tends to get very busy. You can beat the crowd by visiting Zion outside the summer months. However, every season has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Spring: Pleasant temperatures and less crowded, but some of the popular hiking trails remain inaccessible, including the trails in higher elevations may remain icy and require winter hiking gear, and due to the increased water level in the Virgin River, the Narrows trail remains closed in Spring.
  • Summer: Undoubtedly, summer is the best time to visit Zion National Park with warm temperatures and access to all hiking trails. However, summer is the peak season, and the park and hiking trails get quite busy. 
  • Fall: Less crowded, beautiful fall colors, but it starts to get cold in the Park. However, you can still access all hiking trails in the Park, and with a little preparation, you could avoid the summer heat and the crowd in the Park. Fall is my favorite time of the year to visit Zion National Park!  
  • Winter: Less crowded, no need to use the park shuttle as you can drive to all trailheads and vista points. However, some trails in the higher elevations remain closed due to icy conditions, with others accessible with proper winter hiking gear. Hiking the Narrows through the Virgin River’s cold water requires a little care and preparation.

Zion National Park Operating Hours & Seasons: The Park is open all year-round and 24 hours a day. However, the Park’s two visitor centers and other facilities, including the park store, Wilderness Desk, Zion Human History Museum, and the Nature Center, are only open during the daytime, and timings may vary slightly during the winter months.

Transportation & Parking Inside Zion National Park: Parking is limited within Zion National Park, but there’s additional parking available in the nearby town of Springdale. Zion National Park offers seasonal shuttle services carrying people from Springdale to the Park’s entrance. There’s also a mandatory park shuttle in Summer & Fall, running along the Zion Scenic Drive taking visitors to all trailheads and vista points. When the park shuttles are in operation, no private vehicles are allowed inside the Park. The Zion Shuttle system is an essential part of your trip, so I have discussed the shuttle system, the routes, and the timings in detail in the section Zion Park Shuttle System.

Time Required At Zion National Park: Zion National Park is small in size, and with an efficient park shuttle system, a few easily accessible overlooks, and short hiking trails, you can see a lot of the park in just one day. However, I recommend spending at least a couple of days leisurely visiting every overlook and hiking some of the most popular hiking trails in the park.

Lodging Near Zion National Park: The lodging choices inside Zion National Park include staying in the Zion Lodge or camping in its three campgrounds, South Campground, Watchman Campground, and Lava Campground. Outside the park, there’re quite a few lodging options in the town of Springdale. You will find my recommendations on lodging and dining options near Zion National Park in the later section of the post.

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Getting To Zion National Park

Getting To Zion National Park

Flights To Zion National Park

The best way to get to Zion National Park is by flying into Saint George or Cedar City Airport in Utah and then driving to the park!

Airports Near Zion National Park: Zion National Park is located in southwest Utah, close to the Utah, Colorado, and Nevada state borders. The nearest international airports to Zion National Park are McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, about 170 miles from Zion National Park, and The Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Salt Lake City, Utah, located approximately 310 miles from Zion National Park.

However, a better option is flying directly into or taking a connecting flight to St. George Municipal Airport (SGU), Saint George, Utah, about 45 miles from Zion National Park, or Cedar City Regional Airport (CDC), Cedar City, Utah, located approximately 60 miles from Zion National Park. The St. George Municipal Airport and Cedar City Regional Airport are served by a couple of major airlines and have car rental facilities from where you could rent a car and drive to Zion National Park.

Train & Bus Services To Zion National Park

Train Services To Zion National Park: There’re no direct train services to Zion National Park, but you could take an Amtrak train to the closest possible Amtrack station to the park, which happens to be about 300 miles from Zion. From there, you can hire a taxi, use a ride-hailing service to get to a Car Rental company, and then drive to Zion National Park.

  • Green River Amtrak Station: Located about 295 miles from Zion National Park, Green Rivers, Utha, is the closest Amtrak station to the park. However, Green Rivers is a small town, and you may not find many services; your best option is to hire a taxi or use a ride-hailing service to get to a Car Rental company, and then renting a car and driving to Zion National Park.
  • Grand Junction Amtrak Station: Located in Colorado, about 395 miles from Zion National Park, Gand Junction Amtrak station has better services than Green River, with Car Rental companies offering pick-up services from the station. The drive to Zion National Park from Grand Junction, Colorado, is very scenic.

If you’re driving to Zion National Park from Green River or Grand Junction, I recommend visiting Arches and Canyonland National Park on your way to Zion.

Bus Services To Zion National Park: Like Amtrak train services, Greyhound also connects several US cities to many Utah cities. The nearest Greyhound bus stops being St. George, located approximately 40 miles from Zion National Park and Cedar City, located about 60 miles from Zion. From here, you could hire a cab to get to a Car Rental company and then drive to Zion National Park.

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Things To Do In Zion National Park

Zion National Park Attractions Map

Zion National Park Attractions Map

Zion National Park Sections

There’re three major sections in Zion National Park, including the main section located in the southeast part of the park around the Zion Scenic Drive, the central Lava Point section, and the Kolob Canyons section on the northwest part of Zion National Park.

Main Section / Zion Scenic Drive: The Main Section of the park spans from the Zion National Park Visitor Center, stretching all the way to the Temple of Sinawava. This is also known as the Zion Scenic Drive, the park’s main road providing access to all trailheads and vista points in the park. However, the Zion Scenic Drive is accessible only via park shuttles during Summer and Fall.

Kolob Canyons Section: Located in the northwest corner of Zion National Park, the Kolob Canyons Section is home to several overlooks offering spectacular views of towering sandstone cliffs, a few hiking trails, backcountry campsites, and its own visitor center. The Kolob Canyons section is about 40 miles from the primary Zion National Park Visitor Center, and the drive along the Kolob Canyons Road is very scenic. However, the Kolob Canyons Section is seasonal as the Kolob Canyons Road may remain closed if snowy and icy conditions exist during the winter months.

Lava Point Section: Located in the Kolob Terrace area in the center of the park, the Lava Point Section is a hidden gem in Zion National Park. Lava Point is often overlooked and overshadowed by the mainstream attractions in the park, but the views of the towering red canyons from the Lava Point Overlook are some of the best in the park! There’s also a seasonal campground with a few primitive campsites, the Lava Point Campground, located in the Lava Point Section of Zion National Park.

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Zion National Park Entrances

There’re two main entrances to Zion National Park, the South Entrance, the East Entrance. There’s also a third entrance located near the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park.

South Entrance: Located in the town of Springdale, the South Entrance is the most popular entrance of Zion National Park. It’s mandatory to use the park shuttle service in Summer and Fall, and due to limited parking inside the park, there’s additional parking and free shuttle service available in Springdale. Zion National Park Address: 1 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767.

East Entrance: The East Entrance of Zion National Park is located in Orderville and is popularly known as the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive. Passing through a spectacular landscape with several switchbacks and a tunnel, the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive is a must-do when visiting Zion National Park. East Entrance Address: East Entrance, Orderville, UT 84758.

Kolob Canyons Entrance: The Kolob Canyons entrance allows access to the Kolob Canyons section, which is part of the Zion National Park. However, the Kolob Canyons section is located outside the main Zion Park section and has its own entrance and visitor center. Kolob Canyons Visitor Center Address: 3752 E Kolob Canyon Rd, New Harmony, UT 84757.

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Zion National Park Visitor Centers

There’re two visitor centers in Zion National Park, the primary Zion National Park Visitor Center located near the South Entrance of the park, and the Kolob Canyons visitor center in the Kolob Canyons section located in the northwest corner of the park.

Zion National Park Visitor Center: Located near the south entrance in Springdale, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open year-round and offers limited parking, a staffed information booth, several maps and displays about the park, and a store that sells souvenirs. It’s a good idea to briefly stop at the visitor center to learn about the current trail conditions before starting your hike. This is also where you would need to get backcountry hiking permits if you’re planning for any overnight hikes in the park.

Kolob Canyons Visitor Center: The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, located in the northwestern corner of Zion National Park, manages access to the Kolob Canyons section of the park and offers guidance on planning hikes and touring the Kolob Canyons section. The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center also issues wilderness permits for backpacking campsites and canyoneering in the Kolob Canyons area.

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Zion National Park Shuttle System

There’re two seasonal shuttle services offered by Zion National Park, the Springdale Shuttle and the Zion Canyon Shuttle. There is limited parking inside Zion National Park, so it’s mandatory to use the park shuttle services to access the trailheads and viewing areas in the park during the peak seasons.

Springdale Shuttle: In Summer & Fall Zion National Park gets quite busy, and it’s quite challenging to find parking inside the park. However, additional paid parking lots and shuttle services are available in the nearby town of Springdale. You can park in one of the parking lots in Springdale, including Park Zion located at 50 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767, and Zion Park Economy Public Parking, located at 38 Lion Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767.

Once parked, you can hop onto the free Springdale – Zion shuttle from one of many roadside shuttle stops in the town of Springdale. The Springdale Shuttle will take you to the Zion National Park pedestrian entrance.

Zion Canyon Shuttle: The Zion Canyon Shuttle running along the Zion Scenic Drive provides access to all trailheads and vista points inside Zion Nationa Park. It’s mandatory to use the Zion Canyon Shuttle during the peak seasons, and it requires a ticket, one ticket per day per person, which can be purchased online at Recreation.gov

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Zion National Park Scenic Drives

Zion National Park Scenic Drives

There’re two spectacular scenic drives in Zion National Park, the Zion Scenic Drive & the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive!

Zion Scenic Drive

The Zion Scenic Drive is the main road stretching from the park’s visitor center to the last vista point, the Temple of Sinawava, located north of the park. The vista points and trailheads in the main Zion Section are all situated along the Zion Scenic Drive. 

However, the Zion Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles in Summer & Fall, and it’s mandatory to use the park shuttle service to access the trailheads and vista points located along the Zion Scenic Drive. There’re nine stops along the Zion Scenic Drive, and below are the details about each stop, including main attractions and trailheads.

Here’re the stops along the Zion Scenic Drive, starting at the Zion Visitor Center & ending at the Temple of Sinawava!

Zion Visitor Center & Museum

Zion National Park Visitor Center Zion National Park

Zion Visitor Center & Museum ( Stop 1 & 2 )

The Zion Visitor Center is the first stop where you board the Zion Scenic Drive shuttle in Summer & Fall and the starting point of the Pa’rus Trail & Watchman Trail.

The Human History Museum, the second stop, offers excellent views of Bridge Mountain Arch, Altar of Sacrifice, and home to a museum with exhibits related to the Zion Canyon’s human history.

Canyon Junction

Canyon Junction ( Stop 3 )

Canyon Junction, located at the intersection of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Route 9, is known for its panoramic views and river access. Canyon Junction is the end of Pa’rus Trail, which starts at the Zion Visitor Center.

Trails: Pa’rus Trail, which can also be hiked from the Visitor Center.

Canyon Junction | Zion National Park

Court of the Patriarchs

Court of the Patriarchs | Zion National Park

Court of the Patriarchs ( Stop 4 )

Court of the Patriarchs, a popular stop on Zion Scenic Drive, is home to three peaks named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that appear like the three guardian angels of Zion National Park.

Trails: Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint Trail.

Zion Lodge

Zion Lodge ( Stop 5 )

This stop offers access to the Zion Lodge, where you will find a gift shop and a couple of dining options. This is also the starting point of the Emerald Pools hike, one of the most popular hikes in the park.

Trails: Emerald Pools

Emerald Pool | Zion National Park

The Grotto

The Grotto & Angels Landing | Zion National Park

The Grotto ( Stop 6 )

The Grotto is a small picnic area with restrooms, water fountains, and the starting point of quite a few hiking trails in the park. However, it’s popularly known for Angel’s Landing hike, the most popular and thrilling hikes in Zion!

Trails: Scout Lookout, Kayenta Trail, West Rim Trail, Angel’s Landing Via West Rim.

Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock ( Stop 7 )

Home to the Weeping Rock, a bowl-shaped hollow alcove carved into the canyon walls with water continually flowing from the top, creating a dramatic landscape!

Trails: Weeping Rock Trail, and Observation Point and Hidden Canyon Trail via the East Rim Trail

Weeping Rock | Zion National Park

Big Bend

Big Bend | Zion National Park

Big Bend ( Stop 8 )

There’re no hiking trails here, but it is known for the expansive valley views and river access. As the name suggests, Big Bend is a steep turn of the Virgin River and the Zion Canyon that creates dramatic scenery!

Trails: None

Temple of Sinawava

Temple of Sinawava ( Stop 9 )

The last stop on the Zion Scenic Drive, the Temple of Sinawava, is the starting point of two very popular hiking trails in Zion National Park, the Riverside Walk, and the Narrows. The Narrows is a globally acclaimed hike that includes walking, wading, and even swimming through the Virgin River.

Trails: Riverside Walk, The Narrows

Planning Your Trip To Zion National Park
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Zion - Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive

Zion Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive Zion National Park

The road stretching from Zion National Park’s east entrance, located at Orderville, UT 84758, to the park’s visitor center passes through a dramatic landscape and is a must-do when visiting Zion National Park. The 11.5 miles drive includes several switchbacks, passes through a tight tunnel, offers spectacular views of towering sandstone peaks, various rock formations, and the Checkerboard Mesa. 

Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive Viewpoints

Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel: You will pass the one-mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel when driving through the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive. The Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, carved through the soft sandstone, is an iconic landmark of Zion Canyon built to provide easy access to visitors coming from Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and other major cities east of Zion National Park.

The Great Arch: The Great Arch, also popularly known as the blind arch, is an arch formation etched onto the canyon wall but has no opening. The Great Arch is visible only via a short but moderately strenuous 1-mile roundtrip hike.

Canyon Overlook Trail: One of the few and the most popular hiking trails on the east side of Zion National Park, the Canyon Overlook Trail, is an easy 1-mile roundtrip hike offering some of the best views of the Zion Canyon. The Canyon Overlook presents a breathtaking scenery comprising of the distant views of the several switchbacks along Route 9, the East Temple, the West Temple, and the Towers of the Virgins.

Checkerboard Mesa: The Checkerboard Mesa, located close to Zion National Park’s east entrance, is a very famous rock formation along the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive. The mesa’s unique checkerboard patterns are formed due to erosion aided by extreme weather conditions in the area.

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Hiking In Zion National Park

Hiking In Zion National Park

Zion is a popular hiking destination in the US, known for its two breathtaking hikes, Angel’s Landing and the Narrows! 

Most attractions and overlooks in Zion National Park are accessible only via hikes. Though Zion National Park is popularly known for its most challenging and highly strenuous hiking trails, Angel’s Landing and the Narrows, Zion is also home to several other easy and family-friendly hikes. 

I have organized all the hiking trails in Zion National Park by their difficulty levels – Easy, Moderately Strenuous & Highly Strenuous. You will also find my recommendations on hiking trails based on the time you’re planning to spend in the park in my suggested itinerary for Zion National Park.

Pa’rus Trail: The Pa’rus Trail is a paved, flat, and family-friendly hike along the Virgin River stretching from the South Campground to Canyon Junction.

  • Trailhead: Zion Visitor Center / Canyon Junction
  • Distance: 3.5 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 2 Hours

Lower Emerald Pool Trail: There’re several variations of the Emerald Pool Trail, the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pool hike. The Lower is the easiest of all, with a paved trail that leads to the Emerald Pool and waterfalls. The Middle and Upper Emerald Pool Hikes also branches of the Lower Emerald Pool Trail.

  • Trailhead: Zion Lodge
  • Distance: 1.2 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 1 Hour

Weeping Rock Trail: The Weeping Rock Trail is a short hike but involves a steep climb and a few steps leading to a beautiful hollow alcove with a stream of water flowing from the top, creating a gorgeous handing garden.

  • Trailhead: Weeping Rock
  • Distance: 0.4 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 30 Minutes

Riverside Walk: The Riverside Walk is a paved and flat hike along the Virgin River, surrounded by towering canyon walls and hanging gardens. The Riverside Walk is a family-friendly hike and passes through a portion of the popular Narrows trail, and so it’s a great way to get a feel of the Narrows trail if you’re not planning to hike the Narrows. 

  • Trailhead: Temple of Sinawava
  • Distance: 2.2 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 1.5 Hours

Watchman Trail: The Watchman Trail is a moderately strenuous hike with rewarding views of the Temples and Towers, Zion Canyon, Watchman Peak, and the Zion Visitor Center area from the overlook at the end of the trail.

  • Trailhead: Zion Visitor Center
  • Distance: 3.3 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 2 Hours

Sandbench Trail: The Sandbench Trail is a less-trafficked tail in Zion that leads to a highland atop a landslide area offering some sweeping views of the Canyon and surrounding mountains.

  • Trailhead: Zion Lodge
  • Distance: 7.6 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 5 – 6 Hours

Middle Emerald Pools Trail: The Middle Emerald Pools Trail is an unpaved trail at a higher elevation from the Lower Emerald Pools Trail. The Middle Emerald Pools viewpoint offers views of gorgeous waterfalls and Emerald pools tucked in the red canyon.

  • Trailhead: Zion Lodge
  • Distance: 2.2 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 1.5 – 2 Hours

Upper Emerald Pools Trail: This is a hike through a rugged area that involves steep climbs leading to the Upper Emerald Pool.

  • Trailhead: The Grotto
  • Distance: 1 Mile Roundtrip
  • Time: 1 – 1.5 Hours

Kayenta Trail: This is another way to access the Emerald Pools from the Grotto. The trail is unpaved and leads to the beautiful waterfalls and glistening pools.

  • Trailhead: The Grotto
  • Distance: 2 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 1.5 – 2 Hours

Canyon Overlook Trail: One of the few hiking trails on the east side of Zion National Park, the Canyon Overlook Trail, is an easy 1-mile roundtrip hike offering some of the best views of the Zion Canyon. The Canyon Overlook presents a breathtaking scenery comprising of the distant views of the several switchbacks along Route 9, the East Temple, the West Temple, and the Towers of the Virgins.

  • Trailhead: Canyon Overlook Trailhead located on the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive
  • Distance: 1 Mile Roundtrip
  • Time: 1 – 1.5 Hours

Angels Landing Trail: The most popular as well as the most challenging hike in Zion National Park involves steep climbs and hiking through a narrow ridge of a canyon to get to the summit. There’re guard rails along the exposed sections of the trail, but still, it’s not recommended for kids and people with a fear of height.

  • Trailhead: The Grotto
  • Distance: 5.4 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 4 – 5 Hours

The Narrows Trail: The Narrows is a globally acclaimed and one of the most unique hikes in the US that traverses through the bed of the Virgin River through a narrow slot canyon. The Narrows hike involves walking, wading, and even swimming through the Virgin River. The Narrows hike should be avoided in bad weather conditions as flash floods are common and dangerous in slot canyons.

  • Trailhead: Temple of Sinawava
  • Distance: 9.4 Miles Roundtrip / Customizable
  • Time: 8 Hours

Observation Point Trail: The hike to Observation Point is a strenuous uphill but rewarding hike that offers one of the most iconic views of Zion National Park, including the Echo Canyon and the White Cliffs.

  • Trailhead: Weeping Rock
  • Distance: 8 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 6 – 7 Hours

Hidden Canyon Trail: This is a strenuous uphill hike and involves hiking through a few exposed sections with the help of chains. However, the views along the trail, including a natural arch formation, mossy walls, several streams, are quite fulfilling.

  • Trailhead: Weeping Rock
  • Distance: 2.5 Miles Roundtrip
  • Time: 2.5 – 3 Hours
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Zion National Park Suggested Itineraries, Hotels & Restaurants

Zion National Park Suggested Itineraries, Hotels & Restaurants

Zion National Park Trip Itinerary

Zion National Park is relatively small in size, and with frequent shuttles during the peak seasons and well-planned scenic drives, Zion’s main attractions are quite easily accessible. However, most of the features and overlooks are accessible only via hikes, so hiking in Zion is inevitable. 

There’re several hiking trails in Zion National Park, the most famous being the Angels Landing and the Narrows. However, these two hikes are not recommended for families with kids. That said, Zion National Park is also home to many family-friendly and easy hiking trails letting you explore some of the pristine areas and overlooks with breathtaking views!

I have organized my Zion National Park trip itinerary and my recommendations based on the number of days you plan to spend in the park.

1 Day Zion National Park Trip Itinerary: If you’re visiting Zion National Park just for a day, your best option is to stick to the Zion Scenic Drive and hiking some of the easy trails to see most of the park.

  • Use the shuttle (During the peak seasons) / Drive the Zion Scenic Drive.
  • Stop and hike the short & easy trails, including Court of the Patriarchs, Lower Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, and Riverside Walk.

2 Day Zion National Park Trip Itinerary: If you have two days in the park, I would recommend leisurely visiting all vista points along the Zion Scenic Drive on day one and hiking one of the popular hiking trails on day two.

  • Day 1 – Zion Scenic Drive leisurely explore all vista points, including Court of the Patriarchs, Lower Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, and Riverside Walk.
  • Day 2 – The Narrows / Angels Landing (Not recommended for families with kids) Or Watchman Trail/Middle/Upper Emerald Pools Trail (family-friendly hikes)

3 Day Zion National Park Trip Itinerary: Same as the 2-day itinerary, plus the Lava Point Overlook & Kolob Canyons.

  • Day 1 – Zion Scenic Drive leisurely explore all vista points, including Court of the Patriarchs, Lower Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, and Riverside Walk.
  • Day 2 – The Narrows / Angels Landing (Not recommended for families with kids) Or Watchman Trail/Middle/Upper Emerald Pools Trail (family-friendly hikes)
  • Day 3 – Drive the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive, stopping at all vista points and hike the famous Canyon Overlook Trail.

4 Day Zion National Park Trip Itinerary: Same as the 3-day itinerary, plus the Lava Point Overlook & Kolob Canyons.

  • Day 1 – Zion Scenic Drive leisurely explore all vista points, including Court of the Patriarchs, Lower Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, and Riverside Walk.
  • Day 2 – The Narrows / Angels Landing (Not recommended for families with kids) Or Watchman Trail/Middle/Upper Emerald Pools Trail (family-friendly hikes)
  • Day 3 – Drive the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive, stopping at all vista points and hike the famous Canyon Overlook Trail.
  • Day 4 – Drive to Lava Point Overlook and Kolob Canyons section of the park to enjoy some of the park’s pristine areas.

It’s mandatory to use the park shuttle to access the Zion Scenic Drive during the peak seasons, but you can drive the Zion – Mt. Carmel Scenic Drive & Kolob Canyons section yourself.

Lodging & Dining Near Zion National Park

Lodging inside Zion National Park is limited to its only lodge, Zion Lodge, and its three campgrounds. Zion Lodge is undoubtedly the best place to stay when visiting Zion National Park, but you need to plan and make your reservations way in advance. You will also find a few decent dining & lodging options in the nearby town of Springdale. 

Lodging Options In Zion National Park

Campgrounds In Zion National Park: There’re three campgrounds in Zion National Park, two seasonal and one open all year-round. The Watchman and the South campgrounds are located close to the park’s south entrance, and the Lava Point Campground is remotely located in the Lava Point section of the park.

  • Watchman Campground: The Watchman Campground is open year-round, with 203 campsites with access to the Zion Visitor Center and Shuttle Stop via a short hike, and can be reserved online.
  • South Campground: The South Campground in Zion is seasonal and has 117 campsites that can be reserved online at recreation.gov.
  • Lava Point Campground: Seasonal campground with 6 primitive campsites, located in the Lava Point Section of the park. Reservations are not allowed for these campsites and are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Zion Lodge: Located within the park, the Zion Lodge offers rooms, guest suites, and cabins. The amazing views, combined with several dining options and excellent service, make the Zion Lodge my favorite place to stay in Zion National Park. However, it’s quite challenging to get a room as it is often sold out, so I highly recommend planning ahead and making your reservations way early.

Hotels Near Zion National Park: There’re several other hotels and bread and breakfasts in the town of Springdale, including Cable Mountain Lodge located just next to the visitor center, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Springdale, and Holiday Inn Express Springdale.

Dining Options In Zion National Park

Dining Inside Zion National Park: There’re a couple of great dining options inside Zion National Park, including a cafe and a restaurant located in the Zion Lodge.

  • Red Rock Grill: Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in an elegant setting and great views through its large windows, the Red Rock Grill is a great place to dine inside the park that’s open year-round.
  • Castle Dome Cafe: Serving beverages and snacks in a casual setting with patio seating, the seasonal Castle Dome Cafe is a great place to grab a quick bite inside the park.

Dining Options Near Zion National Park: There’re are several chain restaurants and locally-owned eateries in the town of Springdale, including Zion Pizza & Noodle Company, Bit & Spur Restaurant & Saloon offering great Mexican & Southwestern food, MeMe’s Cafe serving sandwiches and savories, and Thai Sapa serving Thai, Vietnamese & Japanese fare.

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The Narrows | Zion National Park Travel GuideI hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Zion National Park, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Zion National Park. You can find other Utah attractions in my Utah Travel Guide.

Happy feeding your soul!
Shreyashi

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