Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

  • Published 2022/05/12

The Zion National Park in Utah is a top destination if you want to embark on a memorable outdoor adventure.

This nature preserve is filled with breathtaking views and exciting outdoor adventures.

Zion National Park is every nature lover’s taste of paradise, with sights ranging from burnt umber-colored canyons to soaring red cliffs to fun hiking trails.

This stunning park is home to some of the most incredible scenery in the country and plenty of opportunities for hiking, sightseeing, and more.

Whether you’re short on time or have several days to explore, there are many amazing things to do in Zion National Park.

Here are 20 of the best things to do in Zion National Park:

Drive Down the Scenic Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway

Spectacu;ar view of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway on a sunny day

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Driving to Zion National Park will be more fun when you take the scenic Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.

The majority of the park’s attractions are along the road, which makes this drive an important one as it introduces you to the entire Zion National Park.

Scenic Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway

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This road takes you through some of the most iconic sceneries in the park, including The magnificent Zion Canyon, which features in-and-out road tunnels, attractive curves that run along the canyon floor, towering cliff walls, and breathtaking views of Angels Landing.

The end of the road is also the beginning of one of Zion National Park’s famous features, the Narrows.

Bird's eye view of the curvy roads in Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway

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If you don’t want to miss anything, you can take the park’s shuttle bus instead.

The shuttle bus will stop at all the major attractions along the way and is an excellent option if you want to sit back, relax, and take in the views.

Hike, Drive, or Bike through the Scenic Zion Canyon

Picturesque view of Zion Canyon

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The Zion Canyon is the main attraction and the most dramatic section of Zion National Park.

Accessible through the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, this 15-mile road will take you through the best views that Zion National Park has to offer.

People hiking through the Virgin river in Zion Canyon

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You’ll be able to see towering red cliffs, the Virgin River, and several other incredible rock formations.

The road is one-way and ends at the Temple of Sinawava, where you can start hiking the Riverside Walk to access the Narrows.

Or, if you’re feeling up for a challenge, you can continue to hike Angels Landing.

A hiker enjoying the amazing views from Zion Canyon

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If you don’t want to do the drive, you can also bike or take the shuttle through the Zion Canyon.

Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds that can potentially ruin your experience.

Take a Hike through the Narrows

Narrows in Zion National Park

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The Narrows is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park, and for a good reason.

While many people go there for hikes, it’s not mainly a trail.

It’s a steep canyon, and the majority of the walk entails wading through the Virgin River while taking in the incredible views of the soaring cliffs around you.

Slot canyon in Zion National Park

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The Narrows features ten miles of hiking through some of the most stunning slot canyon scenery that is as narrow as 20 feet in some places.

You can either go the full ten miles or for a shorter distance.

If you go further than ten miles, you will need a permit.

Nevertheless, you will have an equally memorable experience no matter what distance you choose.

A hiker with a stick admiring the beauty of the narrows in Zion National Park

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Stop and Admire the Temple of Sinawava

Temple of Sinawava in Zion National Park

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Located along the Virgin River, the Temple of Sinawava is another popular attraction in Zion National Park.

The Temple of Sinawava features a paved trail following the upstream Virgin River as the park’s hallmark.

Waterfall in Temple of Sinawava

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The Temple of Sinawava features ever-narrowing canyons of Sandstone that lead to the Narrows.

The trail enjoys gorgeous frames of hanging gardens, waterfalls, and other natural features that make it a highlight of Zion National Park.

It’s an easy hike that takes you along the scenic view of the park along the Virgin River.

Altar of Temple of Sinawava

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Have a Cozy Stay at the Zion National Park Lodge

The Zion National Park Lodge is the perfect place to stay if you want to be close to the park’s action.

The lodge is right in the heart of Zion Canyon and features a variety of accommodations, from standard rooms to suites.

There is also a restaurant on-site, a gift shop, and an outdoor swimming pool.

You can also go hiking at the nearby Emerald Pools or take a scenic drive through the park.

Admire Zion National Park Atop Angels Landing

Hiking trail leading to Angels Landing

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For amazing views of the park, climb Angels Landing and marvel at the magnificent works of nature that surround you.

Angels Landing is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Breath-taking view from Angels Landing

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This hike is not for everyone; it consists of 2.7 miles of strenuous uphill hiking.

This trail features a few very narrow and exposed sections with steep drop-offs, but then it’s all worth it—the views from the top are incredible.

If you’re feeling fearless, you can even walk out to the cliff’s edge for an even more incredible view.

A young woman walking on the nature trail towards Angels Landing

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But be extra careful—one misstep could mean a long fall.

You can see the entire Zion Canyon from the top of Angels Landing on a clear day.

So, bring your camera to capture this once-in-a-while experience!

Visit the Kolob Canyons

A bit of greenery amidst the red cliffs in Kolob Canyons

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The Kolob Canyons are a lesser-known part of Zion National Park, but they’re just as beautiful as the rest.

This magnificent canyon features a parallel red-rock box viewable from hikes, bikes, or a 5-mile scenic drive.

The area is well-known for its red cliffs and canyons and challenging hiking trails.

Hikers resting on the curves of the red cliffs on their way in Kolob Canyons

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You can also find several shorter, more accessible trails perfect for a family hike.

Keep your eyes peeled as you might spot some local wildlife, including mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, and bighorn sheep.

Sign board of Kolob Canyons

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For amazing views of the Kolob Canyons, hike to the top of Taylor Creek for a better vantage point.

Explore the Subway

Stunning view of The Subway in Zion National Park

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Many people flock to the Subway, another popular attraction at Zion National Park.

The Subway is a small, uniquely-shaped slot canyon as narrow as 20 feet in some places.

This slot canyon features a strenuous yet rewarding hike through gorges and pools of water.

A fallen tree in The Subway

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If you’re planning to explore the Subway, wear proper footwear and bring plenty of water, as this hike can be challenging.

Due to its popularity and challenging trails, you need a permit to hike the Subway.

You can apply for a permit up to six months in advance and no more than one day before your hike.

Entry way to the The Subway in Zion National Park

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Only a few permits are available, so if you’re planning on hiking The Subway, make sure to apply for a permit as soon as possible.

You’ll wade through the Virgin River and take in the incredible views of the soaring cliffs.

Admire the Magnificent Works of Nature at the Observation Point

A young couple enjoying the view from Observation Point

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Besides Angels Landing, the Observation Point is one of the best places to take in the views of Zion National Park.

This trail takes you to the top of a cliff to see all of Zion Canyon spread out before you.

Located at the end of the East Rim Trail, this point provides hikers with a breathtaking panorama of the entire Zion Canyon.

Top view of Zion National Park from Observation Point

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The Observation Point is a great place to watch the sunrise or sunset, as the colors of the sky change and reflect off of the canyon walls.

Due to its popularity, it can get crowded quickly during mid-day.

If you want to experience the Observation Point without the crowds, make sure to hike early in the morning.

Check Out Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock in Zion National Park

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One of the notable sites along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is Weeping Rock.

This spot is a large rock formation with a small waterfall running down its side.

Weeping Rock gets its name from the water forever flowing down the cliff face, creating a small waterfall.

People standing under the weeping rock

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Located just a short hike from the shuttle stop, this rock is easily accessible for everyone.

This beautiful spot is also a great place to experience the unique plants and animals in Zion National Park.

You can also walk behind the waterfall and enjoy the cool water spray on a hot day.

Low angle view of Weeping Rock

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Stroll along the Riverside Walk

A young woman mesmerizied by the waters flowing in Riverside Walk

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The Riverside Walk is one of Zion National Park’s most popular trails.

This trail is perfect if you’re short on time as it only takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Beautiful fenced pathway leading to Riverside Walk

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This easy trail follows the Virgin River and is a great place to see some local wildlife.

Keep your eyes peeled for birds, squirrels, and lizards as you stroll along this beautiful area.

The Riverside Walk is also a great place to cool off on a hot day, as trees shade the trail, refreshing the river.

People strolling in Riverside Walk

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Explore the Lower Emerald Pools

Waterfall at Lower Emerald Pools

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The Emerald Pools are pretty similar to Weeping Rock in a lot of ways—the Lower Emerald Pools feature a weeping wall and pools at the base.

Emerald pools in Zion National Park

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The site is accessible via a half-mile round-trip paved trail, making it a great option even for those with mobility issues.

The trail also features several elevated walkways that provide stunning views of the area.

Take an Off-Road Jeep Tour

One of the best ways to view the beauty of Zion National Park is by taking an off-road jeep tour.

These tours take you on backcountry roads that are inaccessible to regular vehicles.

You’ll get to see some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the park that you would otherwise never be able to experience.

A knowledgeable guide will go with you, sharing interesting information about every place you visit.

Jeep tours typically last about four hours and depart from the Visitor Center in Springdale.

Stop and See the Checkerboard Mesa

Far view of Checkerboard Mesa

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The Checkerboard Mesa is one of the most photographed sites in Zion National Park.

This mesa got its name from the unique patterns on its surface, which erosion carved naturally over the years.

You can see the Checkerboard Mesa from several viewpoints along the Zion Mt. Carmel Highway.

Closer view of Checkerboard Mesa

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Take a Picture at the Zion Human History Museum

Entrance to Zion Human History Museum


The Zion Human History Museum is a great place to learn about the park’s history and culture.

The museum features exhibits on the area’s geology, plants, animals, and the humans who have lived here in the past centuries.

After exploring the museum, make sure to walk through the adjacent Pioneer Village.

Natural exhibits at Zion Human History Museum

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Ride the Zion Mountain Bike Trail

The Zion Mountain Bike Trail is a great way to see the park if you’re short on time.

This trail takes you on a 15-mile loop through some of the most scenic parts of the park.

You can start and end the trail at any four ranger stations, making it easy to tailor the ride to your fitness level.

Order Wood-Fired Pizzas at Red Rock Grill Restaurant

In Springdale, Utah, Red Rock Grill Restaurant offers a variety of classic American cuisine with a unique twist.

It is the perfect dining destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty of the Southwest.

Red Rock Grill is an ideal spot for an unforgettable meal with its signature rustic and cozy atmosphere, sweeping views of towering red rocks, and lush greenery.

The diverse menu includes something for every taste bud.

From burgers and sandwiches to wood-fired pizzas and specialty entrees, every item is made from fresh ingredients and prepared with care by experienced chefs.

Guests can also choose from an extensive list of craft beers or select wines that pair perfectly with their dishes.

Surround Yourself in Nature at The Watchman

Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah, is among the most well-known and visited national parks in the United States.

Home to majestic red cliffs and various wildlife, Zion is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Still, one figure stands guard over Zion: the Watchman.

The name honored the Paiute Tribal leader who served as an early guide through this stunning wilderness area.

It is a sandstone spire just above the Zion Canyon entrance.

The formation has been a part of Zion’s landscape since long before explorers discovered it.

The Watchman proudly stands sentinel over the park and is an iconic symbol of nature’s beauty and human resilience.

Explore around and Ride the Zion Shuttle

Among the greatest ways to take advantage of Zion’s offer is through the Zion Shuttle service.

Zion Shuttle provides an easy and convenient way for visitors to get around the park without worrying about traffic or parking.

It makes multiple stops throughout Zion National Park, allowing you to disembark anywhere.

The shuttle offers morning and afternoon departures from Springdale or South Campground regularly throughout the day and evening hours.

As you travel throughout the park, look forward to comfortable seating with unobstructed views of the majestic cliffs surrounding you.

Socialize at Castle Dome Cafe

Castle Dome Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning sights of this majestic landmark.

Situated at the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive entrance, visitors can soak up panoramic views of pink and white Navajo sandstone formations through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The signature cuisine on offer celebrates regional flavors with creative modern twists.

Various options are available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as well as freshly brewed coffee and homemade pastries.

For those looking for an elevated experience, opt for the prix fixe menu, which features seasonal dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

Admire the Views at South Campground

You can see some of the country’s greatest and most spectacular views in Zion National Park.

One such place is South Campground, a desert paradise just minutes from Zion Canyon.

South Campground offers visitors an unrivaled camping experience, with breathtaking views and plenty of activities to entertain everyone.

It features numerous developed campsites with picnic tables and fire rings provided for each one.

In addition, there are several amenities, such as potable water spigots and restroom facilities with flushing toilets and showers available onsite.

The campground also offers access to trails leading into Zion Canyon and scenic drives to nearby attractions.

Final Thoughts

Zion National Park is a prime destination if you want to be one with nature and experience the glory and excitement of the great outdoors.

Everything about Zion National Park will take your breath away, from majestic canyons to awesome mesas.

Add Zion National Park to your itinerary if you’re planning your next outdoor trip.

You definitely won’t regret it!

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