Hiking in Zion National Park

Hiking in Zion Zion National Park offers a wide-ranging of hiking opportunities, with something suitable for every age and experience level. Hiking is also enjoyable during every month of the year. Take in the spectacular views on easy trails along the river; follow tight switchbacks up the cliff faces or challenge technical slot canyons. Many of the lower trails are wheel chair accessible. The park's shuttle system makes stops at many trailheads.

The Narrows

The most popular hike in Zion Park goes into the Narrows of the Virgin River. The first mile is easy; it is paved and passes hanging gardens and scenic streamlets. Casual hikers can continue beyond the pavement, hiking right up the river, going as far as they feel comfortable. Serious hikers can tackle the entire 16 miles of the canyon, beneath walls that are 2,000 feet high and only 30 feet apart in some spots. A permit is required to hike the entire Narrows. You do not need a permit to casually hike into the bottom. This video clip highlights the Narrows hike (Flash video, 5941K).

Orderville Gulch is an attractive alternative to doing the entire Narrows. It is a tributary that is more narrow, more exciting and perhaps more beautiful. It is also easier to get permits. Orderville is a technical slot canyon and the hike covers about 11 miles. This video clip shows the hike and provides an introduction to the sport of canyoneering.

Kolob Canyons

In the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park, the trailhead for the 14-mile round-trip hike to enormous Kolob Arch is accessible off I-15, 18 miles south of Cedar City. Other trails are also available.

Hiking in Winter

Zion includes a large area of low-elevation desert where it is enjoyable to hike during winter. The Chinle Trail in the Coalpits and Huber Wash area offers outstanding hiking opportunities even during the coldest months of the year. Trails along the Virgin River and to locations in the bottom of Zion Canyon can also be hiked during winter. Trails that ascend the canyon rims and probe the high country will be hazardous during winter because of snow and ice.

Zion National Park Trails

Trails Miles/km
(Round Trip)
Avg. Time Difficulty Description
Weeping Rock .5 mi/ .8 km 0.5 hours Easy Alcove with springs and gardens
Canyon Overlook 1 mi/1.6 km 1 hour Easy Panoramic view of the canyons
Emerald Pools 1.2 mi/1.9 km 1 hour Easy Waterfalls
Riverside Walk 2 mi/3.2 km 1.5 hours Easy Gardens/Virgin River/Narrows
The Narrows Up to 16 miles Variable Easy-Strenuous This is Zion's classic hike
Watchman 2 mi/3.2 km 2 hours Moderate View of Canyon/Springdale
Angels Landing 5 mi/8.6 km 4 hours Strenuous Summit of Zion Canyon
Hidden Canyon 2 mi/3.2 km 2 hours Moderate View of Canyon/Springdale
Pa'rus Trail 3.5 mi/5.6 km 1.5 hours Easy Zion Canyon Junction
Observation Point 8 mi/12 km 5 hours Strenuous View of Canyon
Lower West Rim 10 mi/17.2 km 6 hours Strenuous View of Canyon
Taylor Creek (Kolob Canyon) 5.4 mi/8.6 km 4 hours Moderate Double Arch Alcove
Kolob Arch (Kolob Canyon) 14.4 mi/23 km 9 hours Strenuous Arch/Creeks
Timber Creek (Kolob Canyon) 1 mi/1.6 km 30 mins. Easy Overlook
East Rim 23.2 mi/37.4 km 14 hours Strenuous Backcountry, Echo Canyon, Observation Point
West Rim 28 mi/45 km 24 hours Strenuous Horse Plateau, Lava Point

Canyoneering

Zion is famous for its technical canyoneering opportunities. These treks are beyond the scope of this website. Here is a taste - a description and video clip of the Misery Canyon canyoneering adventure hike.

General Tips

  1. Always carry a topographical map on long or technical hikes
  2. Pets are NOT allowed along any trails.
  3. Bring plenty of water. Water is only available at the visitor's center.
  4. Trail guides may be available. Check at the visitor's center.
  5. Permits are required for back country or overnight hiking, as well as for the Narrows and its tributaries, the Left Fork of North Creek (the Subway) and Kolob Creek. **When picking up permit, have vehicle description and license plate number ready.
  6. The Subway is limited to 50 people per day.
  7. Maximum group size is 12, including all leaders or guides.
  8. Stay out of drainage areas during thunderstorms.
  9. Fires are permitted in designated areas, but not in the backcountry. Collecting wood is prohibited.
Back to top Print this page E-mail this page