Hiking Zion National Park in Utah was an absolutely amazing experience. There was so much to do and see that I was afraid I wasn’t going to get it all in. And of course I didn’t because when do you ever get to fit everything in? But I left feeling that I had seen the wonders of Zion and felt extremely satisfied with our trip. Here are a few things that can help you make the most of your next Zion trip.
Fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. Since Zion is only 2.5 hours outside of Vegas this made for an easy commute. The drive is beautiful and goes quickly. If you are so inclined, make a stop at the Valley of Fire state Park before leaving Nevada. It is a stunning drive through the park with many short hikes and opportunities to wander around seeing the red rock formations. Mouse’s tank was one of my favorite hikes there but also White domes and Fire Wave are short and fascinating hikes to consider. There are a lot of photo spots in this park and I was definitely happy we stopped here.
Stay outside of Springdale. We ended up booking an AirBnB in Hurricane Utah to save some money and try to avoid the crowds that Springdale often attracts. It was a short 20 minute drive from Hurricane to Zion and again the drive was beautiful. There were many options for places to eat and lodge. After leaving the park a few days and seeing the crowds we were very happy we decided to stay outside of Springdale.
Balance your day with a mix of easy hikes and more moderate/difficult hikes. As I am sure you have come to see I am very passionate about hiking. I get excited and ready to do everything. So when I was planning our hiking schedule I am happy that I had mixed up our days with a variety of different hikes even though I wanted to cram everything in that I could. The first day we were able to fit in Emerald pools both upper and lower hikes, Grotto Trail, Kayenta trail, Weeping Rock trail, Riverside Walk, and Canyon Overlook trail. The second day we started with Observation Point, an 8 mile strenuous hike and ended the day with a wonderful hike along the river, Pa’rus trail.
Take time to enjoy the scenery. Zion is an absolutely unforgettable place. You start off in the canyon and are surrounded by beautiful rock formations, the Virgin river, and an abundance of hiking options. Excitement can easily take over and you will want to see everything. But one of the best things on this trip was laying in the grass after hiking for several hours and enjoying the view. Or sitting at the top of Observation point eating lunch, talking with other hikers and taking time to breathe. Or wandering off a trail to find ourselves next to the river to enjoy the quiet nature scene. It is important to take time to soak it all in. Put the camera down for a few moments, take a deep breath in and enjoy.
Drive through the entire park. If you are unable to do all the hikes you were hoping to do but still want to see the beauty of Zion, take a drive. We were coming to the end of our last day and we were exhausted from hiking almost 30 miles in 2 days and almost did not drive through the park. I am so happy we did. Driving the park gives a different perspective. It was fun to pull over and look at the goats hanging out on the rocks, or stop to see different angles of the rocks. We found ourselves meandering off and seeing different parts of Zion that we wouldn’t have seen. Plus driving back you see Zion from a whole different angle. And of course its always fun to go through the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel.
Whether you are in Zion for a day or a week there is so much to see and experience. It will definitely be unlike any park you have visited. Decide what hikes and sites fit with your schedule and what you want to see while in Zion and enjoy the journey! What were your favorite hikes while in Zion? Stay wild!