Zion National Park Things to Do

  • Checkerboard Mesa
    Checkerboard Mesa
    by travelgourmet
  • A well earned drink at 6508 feet
    A well earned drink at 6508 feet
    by RedBaggy
  • Heading upriver in drysuits
    Heading upriver in drysuits
    by Lukeoline

Most Recent Things to Do in Zion National Park

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    Northgate Point

    by blueskyjohn Written Jul 13, 2014
    View from the point
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    Located at the end of the Northgate Peaks Trail, this is a beautiful panoramic view of Zion Canyon from the west. Beyond the Northgate Peaks you can see North and South Guardian Peaks as well as part of the west rim.

    You will note the point is substantially different type of rock. It is volcanic as opposed to the surrounding sandstone mountains and canyons. It is sharp and rocky so be careful walking out to the end. This is a great place to eat lunch on you in and out hike.

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    Kolob Terrace Road

    by blueskyjohn Written Jun 29, 2014
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    This is a beautiful drive into the high country of Zion National Park. Often over looked, this road is accessed from the small town of Virgin, off Route 9. The road ascends into the high country with great views of the high grass and Tabernacle Dome. It is also the access to Lava Point and the West Rim trail as well as the Northgate Trail.

    While the drive down Route 9 in Zion is the most beautiful, Kolob Terrace offers a diverse option and is something completely different. It is also a good way to get away from the crowds and some cooler temperatures as you ascend to 7000 feet.

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    Route 9 Buffalo

    by blueskyjohn Written Jun 29, 2014
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    When entering or exiting Zion National Park through the east side on route 9, take notice of the Buffalo on the south side of route 9 just outside the park boundary. This is not a wild herd so they are there on a daily basis. If you are fortunate, the Buffalo will be right along the fence line.

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    Hidden Canyon-go on and grab the chains

    by Lukeoline Written May 4, 2014

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    rent some Yaktrax
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    Mid-March-a few inches of snow on the ground, but melting during the day. Even though our waiter at the lodge suggested getting Yaktrax (rubber shoe attachments with metal spikes on the bottom), we didn’t think climbing to Hidden Canyon would be possible. However, when we got to the trailhead that also leads to Weeping Rock, I asked around, and others were coming back from hiking to Hidden Canyon. They said its not bad. We thought we’d take our kids (ages 8 & 11) as far as we felt safe; we could always turn around. Short of it is, spikes made this amazing hike possible-even along the section where you must hold onto the chains. Others were doing the same hike with no spikes, but we wouldn’t have. This is a mile-long hike to an amazing canyon. Once there, you can hike a half mile back to an arch. Try to enjoy the breathtaking views as you climb, even though its difficult while concentrating on the chains. Zion Adventure Company, located just outside the park, rents the strap on spikes for ($7/day).

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    The Narrows-in March-can be done with kids!

    by Lukeoline Written May 4, 2014

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    Heading upriver in drysuits
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    Family hike-kids aged 8 & 11
    In March; with dry suits
    If the water level allows, doing this trip is a must!
    Zion Adventure Company (located just outside the park) can tell you the river flow trend and advise you on what to expect. We wanted to take our kids (ages 8 & 11), but were concerned about water depth. They told us what to expect and were very knowledgable. Because it was March, we rented dry suits and all that goes along with it-fleece pants, gloves, neoprene socks, booties, boots, poles. My biggest concern was still being cold, but nothing got cold. Even my feet in 40 degree water for 3 hours were not cold. Half the hike was along the banks and half was in the water. Most of the time the water was knee depth or lower (thigh for 8yr old daughter). It rarely got to our waist, and when it did, it was fun. Of course, all that varies with the flow rate. My son sought out the deeper water, so he could puff air into his drysuit and float in the water. While our daughter was more cautious going upriver, she too, was trying to float on the way back. The current was very mild. The views were spectacular. But more than that, was the experience of hiking in a river. Its a 2 hour hike to the Wall Street section and less than that on the way back.

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    Zion Canyon Visitor Center

    by blueskyjohn Written Mar 20, 2013

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    Zion has one of the better visitor centers in the National Park system. Very informative displays and a very large book store. One down side is the number of Rangers working the back country desk. Only one that was answering questions. There were two at the information desk but only knew general front country information. This may change after April 1st.

    The visitor center is open at 8am and closes at 5pm.

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    Riverside Walk

    by blueskyjohn Written Mar 19, 2013

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    The Riverside Walk starts from the parking area of Temple of Sinawava. There is a restroom facility and it is the final stop on the shuttle. The walk is completely paved all the way to the Virgin River Narrows access. The trail is little over 1 mile long one way. It is a nice easy walk along the river. The sound of the river running by is very relaxing. It could be a bit crowded. Don't expect much privacy or peace and quite with the groups, tours and children. Still a nice walk.

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    See the beauty of each turn of the road

    by travelgourmet Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    Checkerboard Mesa

    Zion National Park has many wonders around every turn of the road. You don't have to walk the trails or hike the climbs to see the beauty of Nature that is Zion. Driving the road from the Zion-Mt. Carmel hwy down to the Visitors Center and you will look for turnouts to stop and gaze at the amazing formations of cliffs, mesas, and mountains.

    One of the most fascinating features appears on Rock Candy Mountain, known today as the Checkerboard Mesa. It looks as if nature has built a mountain of blocks. Actually, the rock is called slick rock, a mixture of white and varied tints of brown or orange, that over time, lots of time like millions of years, shows the effects caused by erosion. In this case, the crisscross pattern like a checker board. It is truly a geological wonder.

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    Riverside Walk

    by goodfish Updated Jan 13, 2012

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    Easy, paved 1 mile route along-and-above the Virgin River. Very pretty forested trail with flowers in season but can be crowded. This is also the access for day-trippers into the Narrows from the south.

    This is one of two paved trails in the park and is handicapped-accessible (brochure reads "with some assistance") You must take the shuttle to access the trailhead (shuttle stop - Temple of Sinawa) or hike it.

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    Emerald Pools

    by goodfish Updated Jan 13, 2012

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    Up to the pools

    The trails to the Lower, Middle and Upper Emerald pools are some of the most popular in the park and all 3 combine in a loop. These are fun hikes but the trails can be also be pretty crowded.

    The trail to the Lower Emerald Pool is the easiest - paved and handicapped accessible "with some assistance". The trail passes behind a waterfall from the Middle Emerald Pool above it. (.6 miles one way).

    The Middle Emerald Pool trail is a moderate, 1-mile (one way) climb with some long dropoffs.

    The Upper Emerald Pool is a .3 mile climb from the middle pool.

    Shuttle Access - Zion Lodge

    You can also combine the above with the Grotto (easy) and Kayenta (moderate) Trails to make a nice 3-mile loop hike.

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    Hike the Narrows

    by goodfish Written Jan 13, 2012

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    This is a not-to-be-missed experience hiking in the Virgin River to a slot canyon only 20-30 feet wide but up to 2000 feet deep. There are 3 ways to to this but I'll focus on just the short-hike option:

    Enter the river at the end of Riverside Walk (see that tip) and wade upriver. It's a couple of hours to a breathtaking narrowing of the canyon and 4 hours to the (mandatory) turnaround at Big Springs. You'll be walking with the current on the return trip so coming back doesn't take as long. Water depth will vary - you might have to swim a couple of spots during a wet season.

    NEVER attempt this without checking into the visitor center for weather conditions as even if it's dry in the park, a storm upstream can create flash flooding. And for pete's sake don't try this barefoot either (as I saw some clueless tourists try to do). The river is rocky, slippery, chilly and has a stiff current: good place to turn an ankle.

    A ranger sent us to Zion Adventure Company in Springdale for the right stuff. For a reasonable price, they will rent you sturdy boots, thermal socks (to keep your feet warm) walking sticks, and waterproof pouches for supplies. They will also give you a map and a run-down on how to anticipate a flash flood before it happens. Being comfortable can make or break the experience, trust me, and our own boots stayed dry for the next day's hiking. Gotta love it.

    Dayhikers, get into the river early to enjoy some solitude. If you do run into others, it's a good time to trade photo-opportunities but then give each other some distance. The Narrows are best enjoyed quietly and without a crowd. Wear clothing that dries quickly, pack water, snacks, first-aid kit, etc. and please, please leave no trace.

    Honestly, this is one of the best hikes in the park: can't recommend it enough!!!!!

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    Hike the famous Subway hike

    by go2see Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Subway Amazing
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    The hike is beautiful but make sure you are prepared. The hike will probable be a minimum of 8 1/2 hours, you will get wet because there are parts you need to swim and wade through water, and you need to feel comfortable with lowering yourself down with rapelling ropes. Vigourous hike but worth doing atleast once.

    Don't forget if you want to do this hike you need to get (I guess it is called) a permit to hike it and you will need to try to get this about 3-6 months in advance. Also when you get there register with the rangers before you start. this is no joke

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    The Court of the Patriarchs

    by GuthrieColin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Court of the Patriarchs

    The Court of the Patriarchs is the name given to three side by side peaks. They were named in 1916 by Methodist minister Frederick Fisher after the three patriarchs of the Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is a shuttle stop and short trail for visitors to stop and look up at these peaks. It is a short switchback trail uphill that takes less than 15 minutes.
    The cliffs are made of very old rock formations as are many of the structures in the park. The upper layers of the peaks are of a white color and almost make the peaks look snow capped. We were told that it was a very popular hike during sunset because the views were excellent. I was not entirely impressed with their speculation.

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    The Narrows

    by GuthrieColin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Not My Picture But I Did See that Waterfall.

    The Narrows are like no other place I have ever been. The canyons in this area of the park are, as one would expect, extremely narrow. At times you can look up and due to the shape of the canyon, only see a sliver of sky above you.
    Hiking up this canyon is very strenuous. You will have to wade your way across the river and basically will only find yourself out of the water at a few wide spots. You will have to bring some shoes you do not mind destroying or get some that are water ready. Shoes can be rented but I would not want to put my feet in a pair of shoes that had been worn by several other people walking up and down this canyon. Be sure also to be aware of the dangers of flash floods while hiking the narrows. A flash flood here would easily take your life.
    A pass must be acquired to hike down the narrows but you will need to catch a taxi or another shuttle bus to get dropped off at the top. You can also start hiking from the end of the Riverside Walk, a 2 mile (3.2 km) hike with minimal elevation changes from the shuttle stop. Your hike from either location can be as long or as short as you want. To fully explore this canyon would take a lifetime. To appreciate its beauty takes only a few minutes.

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    Zion Museum

    by GuthrieColin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Zion Museum

    When you arrive in Zion National Park a good first thing to do would be a stop by the Zion Museum. There is a short movie that is played I believe every 15 minutes. It gives you a good idea of what to see in the park and it's free. It also talks a little bit about the geology in the area and history.
    The Musurm is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.

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Zion National Park Things to Do

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