There are a wide variety of hiking options available to you at Zion National Park. Something for everyone. There are easy .4 mile hikes, paved hikes, and 14 mile backcountry hikes. I have written tips on several trail on this page, in the sports section.
There are several places to gain access to the river along the Riverwalk Trail in the Temple of Sinawava. You can take some good photos here. Please use the authorized access points and not the ones closed for revegetation.
As you walk farther along the river you get to a narrower canyon. Here the canyon is constantly getting deeper, not wider. This is because the river cannot carve out a wider path through the tough Navajo Sandstone. As you approach the Narrows, the cliff walls are only about 20 feet apart. Eventually, the river will carve down through the snadstone to the softer mudstone below and the canyon will begin to widen.
The walk along the lake leads you through two types of canyons determined by the type of rock the river is cutting thorugh. As you begin your walk along the river heading upstream, you see a wide canyon where the river bends and curves. The walls of the canyon continue to erode and widen. Here the soft mudstones and siltstones called the Kayenta Layer are rapidly eroded away, undercutting the tougher, harder Navajo Sandstone above. This rock then splits off and flows downstream ever widening the canyon.
The Temple of Sinawava is a wide canyon at the end of the shuttle route. There is drinking water here if you are running low and bathrooms. Most of the places in Zion National Park were named by the early Mormon settlers or other religious leaders, for people from the bible. The Temple of Sinawava pays tribute to the Southern Paiute who were here before any of them. Sinawava is a the Creator in Southern Paiute beliefs. He is represented by a kind of part man part coyote creature. This is a another good place to see the Great White Throne, and to take a hike along the river.
The Great White Throne is one of the largest standing monoliths of Navaho Sandstone in the world. It stand about 2500 feet over the North Fork Virgin River. If you cathch a photo at the right time the sunlight emphasizes the white of the rock. I was there at the wrong time of day; but the sight was beautiful anyway. The Great White Throne is popular with rock-climbers.
I think the small outcropping pf rock near the top is Angel's Landing and not the whole mountain (Photo 1 shows the mountain and Photo 2 is a closeup of the outcropping). It does look like a place only an angel or a bird could land but I understand there is a trail up to it. I did not take it because I neither had the time nor the energy for the 5.4 mile strenuous hike. Pretty though.
The next stop along the shuttle route is Big Bend. At this spot you will see three interesting formations, Angel's Landing, The Organ, and The Great White Throne. The views here are spectacular and there are some interpretive signs to explain what you are seeing.
Small amounts of water, too small to form a waterfall, seep through the soft rock here causing the rock to appear to weep. The water causes the face of the rock to be constantly wet providing a unique habitat for a variety of plantlife. The water then forms a small creek which joins other creeks to form a stream then finally a river. The trail leads under an outcropping of the "Weeping Rock" so be prepared to get a little wet.
The next stop on the shuttle route after Zion Lodge and the Emerald Pools Trailhead is a picnic area called "The Grotto". After that is Weeping Rock. The trail to the rock has a number of signs along the way explaining about this unique environment. The large amount of water seeping down the side of the rock causes a variety of plantlife to cling to the vertical rock (Photo 1). One of the plants that grows in abundance here is the Maidenhair Fern (Photo 2). This abundance of water also comes together to form a stream. Tall trees like Cottonwood and Velvet Ash grow along the stream (Photo 3).
The Lower Emerald Pools are fed by the Lower Emerald Pools Falls. This falls was formed when the softer rock below the harder rock on the ledge wore away causing a 100 foot drop. Rainstorms or melting snow can increase the flow of the water from a trickle to a roaring cascade.
The Emerald Pools got their name from the Aquatic Green Algae growing in them. They have water in them year round and provide an ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife and plants. The Canyon Tree Frog is often seen here.
The first stop along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive after the junction with the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is the Court of the Patriarchs. The peaks stand high over Birch Creek and were named by Frederick Vining Fisher, a Methodist Minister in 1906. He named them for three of the most important people in the Old Testament. The mountains are (in order left to right) Abraham Peak (6890 feet), Isaac Peak (6825 feet), and Jacob Peak (6831 feet). You can hike a trail to get a closer look at the peaks or take a short, paved trail to an overlook.
The first stop for the shuttle after leaving the Visitors Center is the Zion Human History Museum. This museum has several rotating displays that depict the history of human habitation in the canyons. It was quite interesting, and worth a stop.
This is a nice place along the road to stop and take a look at all there is to see. Located on the north side of Angel's Landing there are good views of the 1000ft+ cliffs of that feature. There could be climbers on the cliffs, take a look for them.
In the saddle between Angel's Landing and the Organ is a picture book frame of the Great White Throne. This is a huge white navaho sandstone monolith that dominates the upper main canyon.
There are also trails that lead down to the river. This is apparently a good place to fish for brown trout, a non-native species they'd be glad to get rid of.