Skip to Content

Best Hikes in Zion National Park: Guide for Families, Adventurers, and Everyone In Between

A man sits to take in the view from one of the best trails in Zion National Park
Unsplash/Mick Haupt

Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in America, and for good reason! With its towering red rocks, lush green valleys, and rushing waterfalls, Zion has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a hike in Zion that’s perfect for you. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best hikes in Zion National Park for families, adventurers, beginners, and everyone in between!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, view my privacy policy.

Land Acknowledgment: This post promotes travel to native lands for the following nations: Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) and Pueblos. We honor all Indigenous caretakers of these lands and waters, the elders who lived here before, the Indigenous today, and the generations to come.
A backpacker takes in the view on one of the best hikes in Zion National Park
Unsplash/Presley Roozenburg

Best Hikes in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of the best places to go hiking in the United States. There are trails of all difficulty levels, meaning that there is something for everyone.

Our list of the best hikes in Zion National Park is split up into a few categories: best Zion hikes for families and beginners, best trails in Zion for epic views, the most adventurous hikes in Zion, and the least-crowded Zion trails.

All distances are round-trip unless otherwise noted.

Best Easy Hikes in Zion for Families and Beginners

Two women hike on the Riverside Walk, one of the best trails in Zion National Park
Unsplash/Frances Gunn

One of the best things about Zion National Park is that it’s a great place for families. There are plenty of short, easy hikes that are perfect for little ones, as well as longer hikes if you’re looking for a bigger challenge. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly hikes in Zion.

Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk, Zion Canyon

This is the perfect hike for families with small children or beginner hikers. The paved Riverside Walk follows along the Virgin River and is an easy, flat trail. It’s a great way to get your feet wet (literally!) and see some of Zion’s best scenery without having to venture too far from the shuttle stop.

This is a great hike for anyone curious about the Narrows, but not brave enough to get their feet wet. Canyon walls tower above you with hanging gardens and some weeping walls. The fall colors along this trail are astounding!

Wildlife, such as deer and squirrels, frequent the trail. Remember not to feed or approach them.

The first portion of the trail is also accessible for any hikers with mobility issues.

Distance: 2.2 mi / 3.5 km

Elevation: 57 ft / 17 m

Difficulty: Easy

Zion Shuttle Stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

Weeping Rock Trail

Water cascades down from a rock above in the emerald pools, one of the best hikes in Zion
Unsplash/James Lee

Weeping Rock is another great option for families or beginner hikers. The trail is short and steep with a few small hills to climb. Along the way, you’ll see some of Zion’s iconic red rocks and get up close and personal with a dripping spring!

Because this trail is so short, it can be really crowded. The trail ends at an alcove with a rock overhang that water drips from. There are also beautiful views of The Great White Throne, one of the most famous formations in Zion.

Distance: 0.4 mi / 0.6 km

Elevation: 98 ft / 30 m

Difficulty: Easy

Zion Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Status: Currently closed due to rockfall. Check the official website for updates.

Emerald Pools

Water cascades down from a rock above in the emerald pools, one of the best hikes in Zion
Unsplash/Dulcey Lima

The Emerald Pools Trails are some of the best trails in Zion National Park for families.

There are three different trails that lead to the Emerald Pools, and they range from easy to moderate. The easy trail is a short hike with some elevation gain to the Lower Emerald Pools, while the moderate trails are a bit longer and take you to the Middle and Upper Emerald Pools.

An orange rocky trail, one of the best trails in Zion National Park, leads to the pinnacle
Unsplash/Hunter James

Swimming is not permitted in any of the pools.

If you go when there’s limited water, you may find this hike disappointing. The views are nice, but don’t hike it for the falls as they are rarely flowing strong. These trails are also particularly warm making them some of the best hikes in Zion to do in the morning when it’s cooler. It’s also less crowded this way.

Lower Emerald Pool Trail
Emerald Pools, Lower Falls - Zion

Distance: 1.2 mi / 1.9 km

Elevation: 69 ft / 21 m

Difficulty: Easy

Zion Shuttle Stop: #5 Zion Lodge

Estimated Time: 1 hour

With a little assistance, this trail is wheelchair and stroller friendly.

Middle Emerald Pools Trail
Middle Emerald Pools

Distance: 2.2 mi / 3.5 km

Elevation: 150 ft / 46 m

Difficulty: Moderate

Zion Shuttle Stop: #5 Zion Lodge

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

Upper Emerald Pool Trail
Thoroughly soaked, at the Emerald Pools

Distance: 1.0 mi / 1.6 km

Elevation: 200 ft / 61 m

Difficulty: Moderate

Zion Shuttle Stop: #6 The Grotto

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Note: You can hike via the Kayenta Trail or Emerald Pools Trail to make this a loop.

Canyon Overlook Trail

The canyon overlook trail is one of the best hikes in Zion
Unsplash/Matthias Mullie

This short, easy hike is perfect if you’re looking for incredible views without having to do a lot of climbing. It’s one of the best hikes in Zion for beginners and families because it’s a short distance with a spectacular reward.

The trail takes you to the edge of a cliff where you can see all the way down into Zion Canyon. It’s a great place to watch the sunrise or just take in the beauty of Zion National Park.

It can be icy and slippery in winter, so use caution.

Distance: 1.0 mi / 1.6 km

Elevation: 163 ft / 50 m

Difficulty: Moderate

Zion Shuttle Stop: No shuttle, requires personal transportation. Parking is extremely limited, so go early, and located near the east entrance to the Mount Caramel Tunnel.

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Pa’rus Trail

Hiking Pa'rus Trail

The Pa’rus Trail is a paved, accessible trail that runs along the Virgin River. It’s one of the best trails in Zion National Park for families or beginner hikers who are looking for an easy, scenic hike.

This is the only trail in Zion that allows pets and bicycles.

This is one of the best hikes in Zion for those with limited time. You can start from the visitor center, limiting your time on the shuttle or queueing for it.

Rather than viewing the canyon from above, this trail allows hikers to take in the towering canyon walls from below to gain a new perspective.

The trail ends at Canyon Junction, an iconic view of Zion with The Watchman and the Virgin River. Come sunset, this spot is filled with photographers.

Distance: 3.5 mi / 5.6 km

Elevation: 50 ft / 15 m

Difficulty: Easy

Zion Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center or #3 Canyon Junction

Estimated Time: 2 hours

Watchman Trail

The night sky filled with stars above The Watchman formation in Zion
Unsplash/Aaron Roth

This moderate hike takes you to one of Zion’s best viewpoints. From here, you’ll have panoramic views of Zion Valley and the surrounding mountains, Temples and Towers, lower Zion Canyon, Watchman Peak, and Springdale. Expect an entirely uphill walk to the viewpoint.

This is another great sunrise hike.

Distance: 3.3 mi / 5.3 km

Elevation: 368 ft / 112 m

Difficulty: Moderate

Zion Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center

Estimated Time: 2 hours

Best Trails in Zion for Epic Views

A woman in a blue shirt sits to take in the view on one of the best trails in Zion National Park
Unsplash/Katie Polansky

One of the best things about hiking in Zion National Park is that there are always incredible views around every corner. Whether you’re looking for towering cliffs, sweeping valley views, or rushing waterfalls, you’ll find it all in Zion. If you’re hoping to get some great photos or just want to soak in the scenery, these are the best Zion trails for you.

Observation Point via East Rim Trail

Observation Point

This hike will take you to one of the best viewpoints in all of Zion National Park. The trail starts off easy as it winds its way through a lush canyon, but it gets steeper as you get closer to the top.

The last half-mile is a strenuous climb, but it’s worth it when you reach the summit and see the breathtaking views of Zion Canyon stretched out before you. This is often listed among visitors’ favorite hikes in zion.

Currently, the East Mesa Trail is the only way to reach Observation Point. This trail is a bit shorter and has less elevation change than the traditional route.

The trail begins outside the park near the Zion Ponderosa Ranch. You can park here for $5 to shuttle to the trailhead. If you have a 4×4 high clearance vehicle, you can drive to it on your own. We highly recommend the shuttle as the road is very treacherous.

Distance: 8.0 mi / 12.9 km

Elevation: 2,148 ft / 655 m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock

Estimated Time: 6 hours

Status: Two routes are currently closed due to rockfall. Check the official website for updates. The overlook is still accessible from the East Mesa Trail. This hike is a bit shorter with less elevation gain, too.

Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail

A black and white photo of hikers climbing a series of swtichbacks
Unsplash/Zoe Schaeffer

This is one of the best trails in Zion for views, but it’s also one of the most strenuous. The trail starts off easy enough as it follows alongside the Virgin River, but it gets more difficult as you start to climb up switchbacks toward Scout Lookout. The last mile or so is very steep and can be challenging for some hikers.

This is also the trail that leads to Angels Landing. For those without a permit or who aren’t courageous enough to attempt the outrageous ascent, Scout Lookout is a great place to turn around. You’ll still get amazing views of Zion Canyon below you. You’ll even get to hike the famous Walter’s Wiggles!

Distance: 3.6 mi / 5.8 km

Elevation: 1,115 ft / 338.6 m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: #6 The Grotto

Estimated Time: 2 hours

Most Adventurous Hikes in Zion

A man hikes through the Virgin River through the Narrows, one of the best trails in Zion National Park
Unsplash/Alex Azabache

Zion National Park is full of adventure, and these hikes are some of the best. If you’re looking for a challenge, try one of these Zion trails.

The Subway

Subway Zion

This strenuous hike takes you into a slot canyon called The Subway. The trail is long and difficult, with several river crossings and some scrambling required. But the unique rock formations and rushing water make it all worth it. Be sure to bring plenty of water and be prepared for a long day on the trail.

Distance: 9.1 mi / 14.6 km

Elevation: 1,305 ft / 397.8 m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: None. Personal transportation is required.

Estimated Time: 6-10 hours

Status: Permits are required. Learn more on the official website.

The Narrows

A woman holds a hiking pole in the Virgin River as part of the Narrows, one of the best trails in Zion National Park
Unsplash/Kate Musial

This is one of Zion’s most popular hikes, and for good reason! The Narrows is a slot canyon hike that takes you right into the Virgin River. It can be done as an out-and-back hike or as a longer through-hike if you’re up for an overnight challenge.

Be sure to bring plenty of water and some good hiking shoes, as the trail can be slippery.

Check out our guide to hiking Zion’s Narrows in the winter!

Distance: up to 9.4 mi / 15.1 km

Elevation: 334 ft / 102 m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava

Estimated Time: up to 8 hours

Status: Permits may be required depending on your route. Learn more on the official website. You should also review the park’s cyanobacteria warning.

Angels Landing

A steep trail leads to the top of a rock outcropping. Angels Landing is one of the best hikes in Zion
Unsplash/Sapan Patel

If you’re looking for an adventure, look no further than Angels Landing! This popular Zion hike is not for the faint of heart – it’s steep, it’s narrow, and there are drop-offs on both sides.

But, the views from the top are worth it, and there’s nothing quite like standing on top of Angels Landing and looking out over Zion Canyon.

Be prepared for some steep climbing – there are several sections where you’ll need to use chains to pull yourself up.

For more information, review our guide to conquering Angels Landing.

Distance: 5.4 mi / 8.7 km

Elevation: 1,488 ft / 453 m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: #6 The Grotto

Estimated Time: 4 hours

Status: Permits are required. Learn more on the official website.

Least Crowded Zion Trails

Try these if you enjoy taking in the view on your own.

Hidden Canyon via East Rim Trail

Hidden Canyon

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Hidden Canyon is a great option. The trail follows a long cliff face that leads to the mouth of a narrow canyon. This trail has long drop-offs and is not suitable for anyone with a fear of heights.

Distance: 2.5 mi / 4.0 km

Elevation: 850 ft / 259 m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock

Estimated Time: 2.5 hours

Status: Currently closed due to rockfall. Check the official website for updates.

Taylor Creek

Archangel Falls

The Taylor Creek Trail begins near the backcountry of Zion National Park and leads hikers deep into a narrow box canyon through the Kanarraville Fold to the Double Arch Alcove, where erosion has carved natural openings in the Navajo sandstone. As the trail approaches the canyon’s mouth, it enters the Zion Wilderness and crosses Taylor Creek.

Winter conditions may be extremely hazardous, with ice flows posing a significant risk of injury or death during spring water crossings.

Distance: 5.0 miles / 8.0 km

Elevation: 450 feet / 137 m

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Zion Shuttle Stop: None; personal transportation required. The Taylor Creek Trailhead is located on the Kolob Canyons Road

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours

Timber Creek Overlook Trail

IMG_6748 Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park

This short and easy Zion hike offers spectacular views of the less-visited Kolob Canyons. You’ll also see Kolob Terrace and the Pine Valley Mountains. If you’re lucky, to the south you may see Mount Trumbull, 100 miles away at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Hike this trail in the spring for a gorgeous wildflower display. Prepare for mud if conditions are wet.

Distance: 1.0 miles / 1.6 km

Elevation: 100 feet / 30 m

Difficulty: Easy

Zion Shuttle Stop: None; personal transportation required. Trailhead begins at Kolob Canyons Viewpoint parking lot at the end of the Kolob Canyons Road

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

How to Get To and Around Zion National Park

A Zion Shuttle heads up the Zion Canyon Road
Unsplash/Joe Borek

The nearest airport to Zion National Park is St. George Municipal Airport (SGU) which has direct flights from many western US cities including Denver and Los Angeles. The nearest major airport is McCarran International in Las Vegas.

By car, Zion National Park is one and a half hours east of Las Vegas, four hours from Salt Lake City, five hours from Phoenix, and six hours from Denver.

The best way to see Zion is by using the free shuttle system. The shuttles run from early spring through late fall and provide access to all of the popular trails and viewpoints. Learn more about the Zion Shuttle system.

If you’re visiting during the winter or want to explore some of the less-trafficked areas of the park, you’ll need to use your own personal vehicle. Please be aware that conditions can be hazardous in winter and always check road closures before heading out.

Where to Stay

From the balcony of a motel in Springdale, UT looking north to the southernmost end of Zion NP

There are several accommodation options near Zion National Park.

The town of Springdale is one mile from the park’s south entrance and offers camping, hotels, cabins, bed & breakfasts, glamping sites, and more. Most lodging in Springdale has easy access to shuttles.

In Springdale, I’ve personally stayed in the La Quinta and the Zion Canyon Lodge. I recommend both very highly. The rooms were spotless, customer service was very friendly, both were pet friendly, fabulous restaurants were within walking distance, and the Springdale Shuttle was easy to locate.

The town of Hurricane is one from the park. There you’ll find hotels, bed & breakfasts, and camping sites. Shuttles to Zion National Park or Springdale are not available from here, however.

No matter where you choose to stay near Zion National Park one thing is certain: you won’t run out of things to do.

If you’d like to stay within the park boundaries, check out the Zion Lodge or read my guide to Camping in Zion.

What to Pack

A reusable nalgene bottle with mountains on it
Unsplash/Alan Carillo

Zion National Park has no major stores or gas stations within its boundaries. So, even one day in Zion requires some preparation.

Make sure to pack plenty of water and food when hiking the canyons, especially during the summer months. You’ll also want to bring a hat for sun protection, sunglasses, layered clothing, and a first aid kit.

Reception can be spotty in the park, so I also recommend carrying a map with you.

If you’ll be hiking near water, such as in the Narrows, I recommend bringing a dry bag and waterproof hiking boots.

In order to save money, I would recommend purchasing a national parks pass. These cost $80 and are valid for a full calendar year at all public lands in the United States. After you visit 3 national parks, it’ll have paid for itself.

There are a lot of books out there to help you plan your trip to Zion. I recommend the Fodor’s Guide to Utah, this Gone Beyond Guide that includes Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde national parks, and the Lonely Planet Guide to Zion and Bryce Canyon. I’d also recommend purchasing this waterproof, tearproof map bundle of the Utah national parks.

When to Go

An entrance sign welcomes visitors to Zion National Park
Unsplash/Danika Perkinson

Visiting Zion National Park is possible any time of year, but if you want to avoid the crowds and experience some of the most beautiful trails without waiting for parking spots or standing in line at shuttles, consider visiting during off-peak times.

Zion’s growing popularity means that there is hardly a season without crowds. Still, late fall, winter, and early spring seem to be the time when you’ll find fewer people.

Zion is one of the best parks in America to see wildflowers, especially during springtime when they’re most vibrant. With snowmelt, prepare for potentially slippery or icy conditions.

If you visit in the summer, expect crowds and extreme temperatures. Flash flooding can also occur at any time, particularly in the summer.

A paved red road traverses a orange canyon covered in snow
Unsplash/Daniel Olah

Winter is a great choice when planning to do the best hikes in Zion because the park is less busy and temperatures will be much more comfortable.

Be advised that many trails are closed during the winter months due to rockfall and other dangers posed by snow accumulation in Zion’s high country. The park maintains a list of trail closures online for you to view.

If you visit in the winter, you can also drive on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Be aware, however, that parking is extremely limited. You should still start your day early.

Personally, I visited Zion in February, May, September, and November. November was easily my favorite time of year to visit. It wasn’t too crowded and temperatures were mild.

Things to Know Before You Go

The sun casts an orange glow through a canyon on one of the best hikes in Zion
Unsplash/Jamie Hagan

Start your hike early to avoid the heat and the crowds. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Cell reception is very limited in the park. Download any maps you’ll require prior to entering Zion. Do not rely on cell phones for emergency calls.

Pets are not allowed on any trails with the exception of the Pa’rus Trail.

Pin Our Favorite Hikes in Zion National Park

These are just a few of the best hikes in Zion National Park. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike or a challenging adventure, there’s something for everyone in Zion. So get out there and explore!

Zion hikes have something for everyone. Test your endurance and enjoy an amazing view. These are the best hikes in Zion National Park.
Zion hikes have something for everyone. Test your endurance and enjoy an amazing view. These are the best hikes in Zion National Park.
Zion hikes have something for everyone. Test your endurance and enjoy an amazing view. These are the best hikes in Zion National Park.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.