Hiking the trails of Zion National Park is one of the best ways to see the park. Each trail offers a unique perspective of the park. These are a few of our favorite Zion National Park hiking trails from our Grand Circle tour. I hope you enjoy hiking in this wonderful park.
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It is advisable to refill your water bottles with cold purified spring water by taps either at the Lodge and the Visitor’s Center before embarking on any hike. Having a quality trekking stick can help on the steeper section of the trail. You really should have walking or hiking shoes as most trails are unpaved, with loose sand & dirt. Downloadable park brochure with trail information.
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Zion National Park Hiking Trails: A Tapestry of Natural Marvels and Adventure
I think it is important to remember when hiking trails in Zion National Park you are following in the footsteps of the ancient native peoples, and the pioneers that first ventured into these massive canyons. Gaze up, see the cream, pink, and red canyon walls complemented by the brilliant blue sky above. Zion is a good place to see the wilderness, with lots of wildlife to view if you rise early. I do, however, feel that this wilderness is fragile and if the crowds continue, it will not last. Zion park personnel do a good job. By using propane shuttle buses to take the vast number of guests into the park in the summer. However, the sheer number of people visiting is overwhelming the systems put in place. If I visit again, I would probably stay early in spring or late fall.
Pa’rus Trail: A Tranquil Riverside Stroll in Zion National Park
It’s the only hiking trail in Zion National Park that allows dogs (on leash). The paved Pa’rus Trail is ideal for strollers, bicycles, or wheelchairs. The paved trail follows the Virgin River, starting at the Visitor Center to Canyon Junction.
Pa’rus comes from a Paiute word meaning “bubbling, tumbling water.” It impressed me with the biodiversity in the park, particularly on this trail. If you only have a brief stay in the park, this would be an ideal trail for seeing the canyon. This hiking trail is often overlooked and is a great way to end to the day.
Emerald Pools Trail: A Journey to Serene Oases and Cascading Waterfalls
The Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park is a captivating adventure that leads hikers through a verdant oasis, where lush greenery and refreshing waterfalls provide a soothing respite from the desert landscape. This popular trail offers a variety of experiences, from a leisurely stroll to a moderate hike, making it accessible and enjoyable for visitors of different fitness levels. Join us on a journey to discover the enchanting beauty of the Emerald Pools Trail and the treasures it holds within.
Shuttle Stop 5, cross the road to the trailhead. This is a good trail to hit early in the morning to avoid the crowds. We did this hike in the evening when the canyon was cooler. As you walk amidst the lush greenery and encounter the gentle spray of waterfalls, you’ll be reminded of the delicate harmony between water and rock that shapes the beauty of Zion.
The hike to the lower pool is easy. The main trail connects all three pools. If you decide to continue, you can follow the trail to get to the middle pool and the upper pool. This is an easy starter hike for all age groups. We were so grateful to see a rattlesnake in the rocks. One of the most memorable moments of this hike.
Grotto Trail: A Hidden Gem Amidst Zion’s Majesty
This short hiking trail connects the Grotto (Stop #6) to Zion Lodge (Stop #5). Both stops have restrooms, a water fountain, and picnic areas. Walking this trail in the evening or early morning offers a great opportunity to see wildlife. We saw wild turkeys, mule deer, and elk on our morning walk. This is a good way to avoid the crowds on the shuttle at any time of the day. . Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll by the river’s edge or a moment of tranquility under the shade of cottonwood trees, the Grotto Trail offers a refreshing and rejuvenating experience.
The Grotto Stop #6 Angels Landing is the most iconic day hike. This is a heavily trafficked trailed especially during the summer months. The Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park is renowned for its jaw-dropping vistas, exhilarating heights, and heart-pounding adventure. This iconic trail beckons daring hikers to ascend to the very summit of Angels Landing, a lofty rock formation that offers panoramic views of Zion Canyon below. As we embarked on this thrilling journey, we discovered the challenges, rewards, and breathtaking beauty that define the Angels Landing Trail.
Angels Landing Trail: A Thrilling Ascent to Heavenly Heights
Bring LOTS of water. From the Grotto, the trail crosses a small bridge. The first two miles of the Angels Landing hike follows the paved portion of the West Rim Trail. The trail steadily climbs before entering Refrigerator Canyon. This is a beautiful canyon with brilliant green moss and ferns hanging on the wall. The only shaded portion of the trail is in Refrigerator Canyon.
Next are twenty-one tight switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles. They name the wiggles for Zion National Park’s first superintendent, Walter Ruesch, who constructed the switchbacks in 1926. Watch for the endangered California Condors as you walk the trail. Scouts Lookout is the landing at the top of the wiggles.
Scout Lookout, which has breathtaking panoramic views of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River below. Restrooms are available here, but no drinking water. The West Rim trail diverts here. The last half mile to the top of the Landing can be daunting for some. Many people stop at Scout’s Lookout, not wanting to go farther. From Scouts Landing, you are gazing at the Hogsback. I could not do the chains, but Barry did (that’s why I have not photographs, I hate heights).
The last half-mile follows a narrow sandstone saddle (Hogsback) with sheer drops on either side. The bolted chain rail provides a bit of safety and support. It is an adrenaline rush holding on to the chains and try not to look down the treacherous cliff. For Barry, the sense of achievement and the memories of the extraordinary views will linger long after he completed hike. Definitely a once in a lifetime hike!
Weeping Rock Trail: A Glimpse into Nature’s Tears and Hanging Gardens
Shuttle Stop 7 is the famous Weeping Rock. The Weeping Rock Trail in Zion National Park is a short and family-friendly hike that leads to a fascinating natural wonder. The trail’s destination, the Weeping Rock alcove, showcases nature’s artistry as water gently seeps from the sandstone cliffs, creating a mesmerizing display akin to tears trickling down a rock face. This wide paved path gains steadily in elevation is easily accessible for visitors of all ages.
There is a cool resting area at the top which would be nice in on a hot day – water is dripping out of the rocks at the top. Some pretty flowers were growing out of the rock-face. The water that weeps from the wall started its journey about 12,000 years ago. It has worked its way down through the sandstone until it hits a layer it can not penetrate and therefore comes out of the wall. The view down the canyon is also not one to be missed!
NOTE: Hidden Canyon, and Observation Point (from Weeping Rock) are closed because of massive rockfall as of September 2019. No timeframe for reopening.
Temple of Sinawava Trail (Riverwalk): An Immersive Journey Along the Virgin River
This hiking trail is at the end of the Zion Canyon Road, Shuttle Stop 9– Temple of Sinawava. We enjoyed this walk tremendously in the quiet hours of the morning. You can spot mule deer, rock squirrels and chipmunks. Cottonwood trees, willows, and various wildflowers add to the charm of this peaceful riverside walk.
This hike is great for any skill level. The paved trail is wheelchair accessible. There are some steep inclines and slippery spots that require help for those in a wheelchair. As you walk along the paved trail, the Virgin River gracefully meanders beside you, reflecting the stunning sandstone cliffs. The narrow canyon walls keep the trail nicely shaded for most of the day. The path follows the Virgin River through Zion Canyon as it narrows to a slot canyon. The Temple of Sinawava Trail serves as the gateway to one of Zion’s most celebrated hikes, the Zion Narrows.
Whether you’re traveling with family, seeking a peaceful escape, or embarking on further explorations into The Narrows, the Temple of Sinawava Trail promises a tranquil and immersive encounter with the unparalleled wonders of Zion National Park.
The Narrows Trail: A Mesmerizing Journey Through Zion’s Narrow Slot Canyons
The Narrows Trail in Zion National Park is a world-renowned hiking adventure that offers a truly unique and awe-inspiring experience. This iconic trail takes hikers deep into the heart of Zion’s narrow slot canyons, where the Virgin River serves as your guide through the soaring sandstone walls.The towering cliffs above, sometimes reaching 1,000 feet, make you feel humbled by nature’s grandeur. As we embarked on this unforgettable journey, prepare to wade through the river, encounter captivating rock formations, and immerse yourself in the magical world of The Narrows.
I have to put the Narrows as my #1 favorite hike in Zion National Park. Be sure to properly prepared for the Narrows hike before entering the water. Some pockets went up to mid-thigh for me, but most of the hike was ankle to shin deep. A walking stick and a good pair of wading socks and wading boots are a big help. If you arrive early in the morning, you can take a walking stick left by others. This is an amazing hike through the river and you can decide how far you want to go once you enter the river. One of the most iconic sections of The Narrows, Wall Street, boasts soaring canyon walls that seem to touch the sky. We hiked as far as the waterfall, mostly alone, which was wonderful! It was so soothing and surreal.
Hidden Canyon Trail: A Hidden Gem of Exploration and Mystery in Zion National Park
The Hidden Canyon Trail in Zion National Park is a lesser-known but no less captivating hike that promises an adventure into a secluded world of beauty and intrigue. Take the Shuttle Stop #7 at Weeping Rock. We combined this trail with our hikes to Weeping Rock and Observation Point since they all start at the same trailhead. This hike is much more strenuous and climbs higher than Weeping Rock. It is actually higher than Angels Landing.
NOTE: Hidden Canyon, and Observation Point (from Weeping Rock) are closed because of massive rockfall as of September 2019. No timeframe for reopening. We feel it was a privilege to have done this trail before the collapse.
The first 1/4 mile or so is well-maintained, beginning with steep switchbacks. The trail hugs the canyon wall, the steel cables bolted into the rock walls to guide you along the face of the mountain. Take your time and hold on to the chains. The views are exhilarating with the large drop-offs and hairpin switchbacks. For the intrepid explorers, Hidden Canyon reveals its secret gem, the Hidden Arch. This hidden arch, carved by the forces of nature, is a fascinating reward for those willing to venture deeper into the canyon. To get to the arch requires climbing and scrambling if you plan to go further into the Hidden Canyon to see the low arch. Some spots with pleasant shade if you bring along a snack. This trail is much less traveled than Angel’s Landing.
Observation Point Trail: A Breathtaking Vantage Point Above Zion’s Grandeur
This is one of our favorite hikes in Zion because it is less crowded than Angel’s Landing. Take the Shuttle Stop #7 at Weeping Rock. It’s 8 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 2200 feet. The hike begins at Weeping Rock and follows the East Rim Trail. For a mile, the trail navigates several switchbacks before reaching the junction to Hidden Canyon.
The next few miles, the trail passes through Echo Canyon. Carved out of the cliff face, the trail hugs the canyon wall and has a sheer drop-off of 20 feet. However, the trail is wide, so it doesn’t have the white knuckle chains of the landing, so it’s easier to take in the views. Echo Canyon is a narrow slot canyon with cooler temperatures. The canyon walls are other worldly with its shapes and contours. Once you exit the canyon, you have spectacular views of the Great White Throne.
The Observation Point trail branches west from the East Rim trail. The trail gains elevation before it levels out on the mesa. The trail follows the canyon rim for a mile where you can see the East Rim, Hidden Canyon, the Great White Throne, Cable Mountain, Deertrap Mountain, the West Rim, Angels Landing and the Pipe Organ. Observation Point is 500 ft higher than Angel’s Landing.
From the east boundary of the park, you can access Observation Point via East Mesa trailhead. Hiking East Mesa Trail eliminates the long and grueling hike from the bottom of the canyon up to Observation Point.
NOTE: As of September 2019, Hidden Canyon, and Observation Point (from Weeping Rock) are closed because of rockfall.
Observation Point via East Mesa Trail: A Scenic and Less-Traveled Path to Panoramic Heights
Access to Observation Point via the East Mesa Trail on Rte. 9 outside the park boundary. The hike is 6-miles round trip. Turn left on North Fork Road. Drive 5.3-miles and turn left into Zion Ponderosa Resort. Stay right on the main road. Twin knolls road brings you to a T intersection. Turn right-Beaver Rd. Caution: Road conditions may be undesirable. Small parking lot and a fenced entrance follow the signs to Observation Point-3-miles.
This rewarding hike takes adventurers on a scenic journey through the East Mesa, providing unique perspectives of the surrounding landscapes before culminating in the majestic panorama at Observation Point. As we traverse the East Mesa, we encountered stands of ponderosa pines and vibrant wildflowers, adding to the picturesque surroundings. The Observation Point via East Mesa Trail is a hidden gem that grants hikers a chance to experience the grandeur of Zion National Park from a different perspective. Even on our 2nd trail hike to see Observation Point it was not less impressive than our first trip an unforgettable adventure.
The West Rim Trail: A Scenic Odyssey Across Zion’s Rugged Backcountry
The West Rim Trail begins at Lava Point, accessed via a scenic drive through Zion’s Kolob Terrace Road. Take a private shuttle to Lava Point. Starting here, you will be at the highest point and basically walking downhill toward the Grotto. The first few miles are easy hiking, and the meadow in Potato Hollow is beautiful. There are a couple of sections of steep climbing. This multi-day hike takes adventurers on a journey of discovery through diverse landscapes, from deep canyons to high plateaus. This can also be a 6-8 hour day hike or you can choose to overnight at one of the campsites. If you plan to stop overnight, you must get a permit. Beautiful views throughout this hike. Expect full sun exposure during most of this hike.
As you venture along the trail, the diverse landscapes, wildlife encounters, and scenic overlooks will leave you in awe of the untamed beauty of the park. One of the highlights of the West Rim Trail is witnessing Angels Landing from a different perspective. Towards the end of the West Rim Trail, we descended through The Grotto, arriving back into Zion Canyon.
Canyon Overlook Trail: A Short and Scenic Gem with Captivating Vistas
On the east side of the park, the trail starts just east of the tunnel on the Mt. Carmel Highway. This trail does not require a shuttle pass. The trails are quite popular, so parking can be an issue. We got an extremely early start on our last day in the park. The trail is relatively flat with little elevation gain, with a few rocky areas. There are steep drop offs, so caution for those with smaller kids. The trail takes about 20 minutes to reach the overlook. Along the way, are stunning views and beautiful rock formations.
We were rewarded at the end of the trail with a spectacular view of the canyon. If you do not feel physically up to a long hike, this trail is not too challenging or as scary as Angel’s Landing. It is a superb choice if you have only a short time in Zion National Park.
I highly recommend these memorable day hikes in Zion National Park. The best advice I can give you is to plan your visit in advance. This way, you see everything you want to see and will not be disappointed. Use the shuttles whenever you can. Remember, during peak hours you cannot access the major park areas except on the shuttle, so work this into your itinerary plan.
Have you been hiking in Zion? Which hike was your favorite? Share your comments with us below.