Zion National Park: Expert Guide to Utah’s Beloved Destination

Beyond that, summer is when most visitors flock to Zion National Park. This is not surprising, since the children are out of school, the trails at altitude are not covered in snow and it is an excellent time to leave for a week. road trip around Utah’s many natural wonders. However, summer temperatures in the main canyon typically hover around 100 degrees, and flash flooding during the monsoon months (July to September) can make hiking The Narrows, a very popular hike through the thinnest stretch of the canyon, impossible. Zion Canyon.

Winter is Zion’s quietest season, and the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for solitude or hoping to hit Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (a free shuttle is required March through November) and snap some photos of its famous escarpments vermilion while they are dusted with fresh white powder.

How to get to Zion National Park

The closest major airport to Zion National Park is Harry Reid International in Las Vegas, which will put you 267 km from its main entrance. There is also a small regional airport in St. George, Utah, with limited flights operated by Delta, American, and United, which drop you off just 47 miles from the park. Either way, most visitors will rent a car to catch up on remaining miles and allow flexibility when exploring Zion’s different areas, accommodations, and restaurants. As such, it’s common to tackle a few national parks (like Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon), or even some of Utah’s Best State Parks, into a larger road trip style getaway.

Zion National Park Free Shuttles

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The gully

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Things to do in Zion National Park

Hikes and hiking routes

Besides just seeing the canyon in person, hiking and backpack are the main draw of Sion. Famous adrenaline-pumping trails like Angels Landing now require a timed entry permit hike (which can be avoided by booking a guided day hike), but there are plenty of other scenic trails through glowing orange rock formations that any visitor can jump on at will. The Canyon Overlook Trail, on the east side of the park, is a low-mileage, highly rewarding hike with phenomenal views and photo ops along its easy one-mile stretch. If you’re looking to hit the big miles and escape the main canyon masses, an overnight or full-day jaunt along the La Verkin Creek Trail should be first on your list.

Scenic routes

Private vehicles are only permitted along the iconic Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from December to February (a Free Shuttle is necessary in other months), but there are a host of alternative scenic routes through the scrubby pinyon pines and ridged cliffs for which the area is so famous. Just east of Zion’s main canyon, day-trippers can wind Highway 9 to Mt. Carmel Junction, through striking tangerine plateaus and the unique, cross-hatched texture of the towering Checkerboard Mesa. You’ll find another postcard-worthy sight an hour north of Springdale, along the road less traveled through Kolob Canyonsknown for its epic hiking trails and glowing red rocks, with no crowds.


Since private vehicle access to Zion Canyon is prohibited from spring through fall (creating a safe, car-free scenic drive), many visitors choose to bike in the parkand a host of friendly Zion bike rental shops have sprung up nearby to meet the growing demand. Zion Cycles and Peddler of Zion rent road bikes and e-bikes in the town of Springdale, but if you’re looking for a rental in the park, the historic Zion Lodge got you covered. Remember: bikes are allowed on park roads, but not on trails, except for the Pa’rus paved trail.

Guided excursions

Not everyone wants to go out into the wild wilderness alone, and due to Zion’s huge popularity, there are dozens of guided tours and day hikes designed for adventurous travelers.

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