Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

According to a2zdirectory, Southwestern Utah is home to the state’s oldest park: Zion National Park. The park opened in 1919 and attracts about 3 million visitors annually. With an area of ​​600 square kilometers full of canyons, plateaus and gorges, it is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. So a must visit! You can combine Zion National Park with a car tour or a camper tour through West America. View an overview of all our tours through Western America. With The Mighty five Camper tour, Western Experience car tour, Highlights of the West Camper tour and Western Impressions car tour you will definitely admire Zion National Park!

9 attractions Zion National Park

Because Zion National Park is so well known, there is also plenty of activity. Not only can you go hiking and cycling here, but also backpacking, canyoning and rock climbing. There is even a museum! There is also the possibility to spend the night in the park; in a hotel or on one of the campsites. The most visited part of the park is Zion Canyon, a ‘gorge’ of 24 kilometers long and more than half a mile deep. This ravine has been carved out by Virgin River, and the park owes its extensive flora and fauna to this. A less popular, but just as beautiful section are the Kolob Canyons, parallel canyons in the north of the park.

1. Zion Canyon

Zion Canyon is the busiest part of the park. This ravine was carved out by Virgin River; partly because of this, the park is rich in many different animal and bird species. Past the tunnel, you’ll arrive at one of the park’s most popular hikes: Canyon Overlook Trail. This is a relatively easy walk of about one and a half kilometers where you pass several viewpoints. The first part you look out over Pine Creek Narrows, a narrow ravine; then you enter a rockier landscape. If you don’t like walking or have walking difficulties, you can also choose to join the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive shuttle bus. To avoid crowds, you are not allowed to drive this route in your own car, but you get on the bus; which is free by the way! The bus stops at eight places in the park and you can get off whenever you want. Expect a waiting time of about 15 minutes in high season.

2. The Narrows

If you are in Zion National Park, visiting The Narrows is also a must. What makes this area so special – the name says it all – are the narrow gorges through which you can walk. Extra fun: you walk through the river, there is no calibrated walking path! You can walk as far into the gorge as you like. However, if you want to go through the narrowest part (Chamberlain’s Ranch), where the river can be a bit deeper, you need a permit. Keep in mind that you will be walking through a turbulent river for most of the walk: the surface is uneven and slippery. So wear good shoes and possibly bring a walking stick!

3. Angel’s Landing

Not for the faint hearted! Angel’s Landing is a viewpoint at about 450 meters altitude. That may not seem too bad at first, but you have to undertake a long journey to get here. If you are afraid of heights, it is better to skip this tour. The last part of the hike is very steep. On some stretches you walk a few centimeters from the abyss and hold on to a chain. So don’t overestimate yourself on this walk: it is a tough walk of about nine kilometers where you have to climb a lot. But when you reach the end point after about two hours, the view is totally worth it!

4. Kolob Canyons

Kolob Canyons is an area in the northwest of the park. Although it is easy to reach, it is a lot less crowded. And that’s a shame, because it’s beautiful here too! You enter the area through the specific entrance ‘Kolob Canyons’. Then you walk here almost alone through the large brown rock formations. There are also a number of hikes in this area, including Taylor Creek Trail (which consists of several trails) and Timber Overlook Trail. But if you prefer to stay in the car, this is also no problem. Driving down Kolob Canyons Road (about nine kilometers) you can also marvel at the views from the car!

5. Emerald Pools

Kolob Canyons is an area in the northwest of the park. Although it is easy to reach, it is a lot less crowded. And that’s a shame, because it’s beautiful here too! You enter the area through the specific entrance ‘Kolob Canyons’. Then you walk here almost alone through the large brown rock formations. There are also a number of hikes in this area, including Taylor Creek Trail (which consists of several trails) and Timber Overlook Trail. But if you prefer to stay in the car, this is also no problem. Driving down Kolob Canyons Road (about nine kilometers) you can also marvel at the views from the car!

6. Temple of Sinawava

The last stop of the shuttle bus is at Temple of Sinawava. This mountain, over 1,300 meters high, is the starting point of several hikes. You can try Riverside Walk here. This is a moderately easy walk of about three and a half kilometers (round trip) along Virgin River. When you have completed this walk, you can choose to walk a bit through The Narrows, so in the river itself. As Temple of Sinawava is a very popular bus stop, it is recommended to start your day here. It is still fairly quiet here.

7. Weeping Rock

If you visit Zion National Park in the spring, Weeping Rock is a tip. This ‘weeping rock’, which hangs half over the path, is then completely covered with moss and plants. The waterfall is created because water seeps out through the sandstone. You get there by a walk of less than a kilometer, which takes about half an hour. Several hikes start from here, including the popular Hidden Canyon Trail; but you can also walk to Observation Point. Keep in mind that the path to Weeping Rock can sometimes be closed due to falling rocks.

8. Zion Human History Museum

Near the entrance to the south of the park is Zion Natural History Museum. A nice stop if you want to learn more about the history of the park itself. You will find archaeological finds and a plant exhibition here. You can also view things from pioneers and settlers here. There is also a movie of about half an hour that shows a perfect overview of the entire park. The museum is open every day, but opening times may vary.

9. View from Canyon Overlook

From Canyon Overlook you have the best view of Zion Canyon. This point is easily reached via the eponymous trail of about one and a half kilometers. During the walk you look out at Pine Creek Narrows, among other things. During the second part of the walk you will encounter a more rocky landscape. It is not a difficult walk, but a busy one! There is a chance that sometimes you may even have to wait for other people because it can be so busy. But it’s totally worth the view!

Zion National Park hotels

For the ultimate experience, you can choose to sleep in Zion Lodge. This hotel is located approximately in the middle of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. If you sleep here, you can use your own vehicle on the road and you do not have to wait for the shuttle bus. Please note: this hotel is incredibly popular. Booking in time is recommended! Fortunately, there are also plenty of options just outside the park. In the town of Springdale, right next to the park, there are plenty of hotels.

Zion National Park camping

There are three campgrounds in Zion National Park: South Campground, Watchman Campground, and Lava Point Campground. South Campground and Watchman Campground are relatively close to the entrance. You can only make reservations for Watchman Campground (up to five months in advance). The campsites are almost always full; so it’s important to get there early! In the summer, also take the heat into account: there is hardly any shade on the camping pitches. Lava Point Campground is located towards the Kolobs and is a primitive camping spot. For example, you cannot get water there. You can also choose to spend the night in the wilderness, but you need a permit for this.

Zion National Park hikes

Although several walks have already been mentioned above, there are two more popular and beautiful walks in the park. If you are looking for an easy hike, Pa’rus Trail is a good recommendation. It departs near the Visitor Center. It’s a two hour trip down Virgin River. The path is more than five kilometers long and is paved. You can also cycle this route. But if you want more of a challenge, you can explore Hidden Canyon Trail. This is a tough hike due to the extreme height difference. In some parts it is very narrow: you walk next to the abyss. The official walk is about four kilometers, but if you choose to go into the canyon, you will end up with a good five kilometers. You have to climb over some boulders. One advantage: it is a lot cooler in the canyon!

Frequently Asked Questions about Zion National Park

What to do at Zion National Park?

Zion National Park is huge, so there’s plenty to do! You can go hiking, but also cycling, backpacking and rock climbing. If you don’t like action, you can also take the shuttle bus or visit the museum.

Where to Park in Zion National Park?

Parking in Zion National Park is very limited. So get there early! After 9:00 most places are taken. You can also park in Springdale and take the shuttle bus to the park from here. This costs $20 per day.

Can you visit Zion National Park by car?

Yes, it is possible to visit Zion National Park by car. However, keep in mind that this only applies to parts of the park. The popular section, Zion Canyon, can only be visited by shuttle bus. You can visit the Kolob Canyons with your own car.

Where to stay in Zion National Park?

You can spend the night in Zion Lodge or at one of the camping spots. These are popular spots! It is therefore advisable to book in time or to stay in one of the nearby towns.

Must-do in Zion National Park?

An absolute must-do in Zion National Park is a walk through The Narrows: you take a walk through the river bed, while enjoying the canyon at the same time. If you’re not afraid of heights, it’s worth climbing Angel’s Landing.

Zion National Park, Utah

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