Mosey to spectacular overlooks, hike to Emerald Pools, walk to Weeping Rock, and stroll on Riverside Walk. These five hikes and a little drive will give you a good idea of what Zion has for those willing to do some planning.
Drive to Zion National Park
Salt Lake City to Zion: 4 hours 23 minutes, 308 miles
Las Vegas to Zion: 2 hours 33 minutes, 160 miles
Check into Accommodations (around 2:00 pm)
Scenic Drive Hwy 9
Time this so you can see the sunset (early evening drive). Drive Hwy 9 through Zion National Park, up through the mile-long tunnel and east into the park's Checkerboard Mesa area. Pick up a map and guide as you enter the park.
Entrance Fees (good for seven days):
$30 per vehicle
$25 per motorcycle
$15 per pedestrian
Hike Canyon Overlook
(1 hour, 1 mi/1.6 km round trip)
This short moderate hike on a well-marked trail leads to an overlook offering incredible views of lower Zion Canyon. If you time it right, the sunset will light up the whole canyon. The trailhead is at the parking lot just beyond the east entrance of the tunnel. Cross the street and begin the easy 1 mile hike. This hike is great for people who want to see a beautiful overlook of Zion who don't necessarily like long hikes and it's great for kids.
Return back to your accommodations by following Hwy 9 back into Springdale.
There are many Restaurants in Springdale for a delicious dinner.
Stop at the local market, Sol Market, to get water and snacks for the day. You will want a day pack to carry things in since you will be gone for the entire day.
Catch the park shuttle near your motel/hotel in Springdale. The city shuttle will take you to the park entrance. Once in the park you will switch to the Zion Canyon shuttle. Get out at each of the shuttle stops to view and photograph the sights, and to hike.
(1 hour, 1.2 mi/1.9 km round trip to the lower pool)
Emerald Pools consists of three different pools. The hike to the lower pool is easy, moderate to the middle pool, and strenuous to the upper pool. Lower route ends at lower pool and three waterfalls and has beautiful views of Zion Canyon.
Eat the snacks you brought or stop at the cafe at Zion Lodge near the trailhead of the Emerald Pools hike.
Take the easy stroll to this alcove where drops of water fall continuously from the cliff face and ceiling. It takes about 5-10 minutes to hike. Hanging gardens decorate the alcove. This is always a favorite with visitors and is cool in the summer. The trail begins at the Weeping Rock parking area in Zion Canyon.
(1.5 hours, 2 mi/3.2 km round trip)
Follow the paved trail along the Virgin River upstream to the base of Zion Narrows. The trail winds through hanging gardens of wildflowers in spring and summer. The trail is easy with minor drop-offs. The trail begins at the end of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive- Temple of Sinawava. Add a little extra adventure and incredible scenery by walking up the Virgin River Narrows a mile or two. Bring an extra pair of shoes and a walking stick. The trail is the river and you are walking on slippery rocks as you go up the Narrows.
Eat Dinner in Springdale.
Check out of hotel
Stop at the local market to get water and snacks for the day. Pack a lunch and at least two liters of water. A small backpack is nice to carry items since you will be getting on and off the shuttle and taking short hikes. Take the Zion shuttle to The Grotto stop.
(4-5 hours, 5 mi/8 km round trip)
Angels Landing is an amazing hike for people looking for adventure. It's strenuous, has long drop-offs and narrow trails, and is not for anyone fearful of heights. The hike ends at the summit high above Zion Canyon floor. The last .5 mil follows a steep narrow ridge; chains have been added for safety. It is really wide once you get up on top and you get a beautiful bird's eye view up and down the canyon. Eat Lunch. On the way down take your time. Your legs may be tired from the ascent and you want to be sure footed. Note: You need a permit to hike Angel's Landing. Get a permit here.
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