Hiking in Zion National Park
Utah’s oldest and most popular National Park is Zion, a scenic wilderness that is highlighted by its red-tinted sandstone cliffs and large range of spectacular views. The park is also one of the most visited sites in the nation, placing number five among all National Parks after hosting more than 4.3 million visitors in 2016. Zion is a popular location for a wide variety of outdoor activities, including backpacking, camping, climbing, bicycling, canyoneering and river trips, but is most well-known for its phenomenal hiking trails and associated sightseeing.
With plenty of hikes to choose from, it can be difficult to determine exactly which ones should be among the top priorities. Because of this, we have identified four hikes that you won’t want to miss out on the next time you stay with us and explore Zion National Park in the St. George area!
The Canyon Overlook trail is a favorite for many tourists thanks to its stunning vantage point of Zion Canyon. In fact, some of the very best photographs of the canyon valley have been taken from this hike. The trail is also popular because of its design - it is only about a mile long and is relatively flat, gaining only about 100 feet in elevation over its course. The hike begins near the east entrance of the park and takes you through ferns, trees and a large natural cave as you make your way to the breathtaking overlook of the canyon. This hike is considered to be moderate and takes about an hour to complete round-trip.
Angels Landing is perhaps the most renowned (and rewarding!) hike in all of Zion. The trail consists of steep switchbacks and sheer dropoffs, but pays back your courageous efforts with one of the most remarkable views you will ever experience. Chains are placed in portions of the trail to help you navigate, as well as to provide some reassurance while you make the journey up. The hike is definitely doable for anybody in typical physical condition, but those with young children or a fear of heights might consider sitting this one out. Most people will spend around 4 hours on the trail, which is about 5 miles round trip. This hike is considered to be strenuous, but is one that you will definitely not regret!
This family-friendly trail is the easiest of the three Emerald Pool hikes, which also include the Middle and Upper trails. The trail is wide and paved, making it a great option for those with young children, baby strollers and wheelchairs. Those completing the journey will see some magnificent sites along the way, including Lady Mountain, The Great White Throne and Red Arch Mountain. At the conclusion of the trail, hikers will find glistening pools and waterfalls. This hike is about a mile round-trip and is considered to be easy. If you’re feeling energetic and adventurous, be sure to check out the Middle and Upper trails as well!
The Narrows is another classic hike of Zion that you will definitely want to work into your schedule. It is one of the best slot canyons in the world, making it the most popular trail in the park. The trail is essentially the Virgin River, which means that you’ll get wet! This makes the Narrows a perfect option on a hot summer day. The majority of the hike is only ankle-deep, but some parts require you to wade or swim. Most hikers spend about 2-3 hours on the bottom-up trail, which is the best way to hike the Narrows if you are a first-timer. The two additional routes are top-down, and require a full day or an overnight stay to complete. Hikers should be aware that early spring will bring more water to the river because of snow melt. The difficulty of the Narrows ranges from easy to strenuous, depending on which route you take and how long you spend on the trail.