Zion hikes

Angels’ Landing Trail
Strenuous 4 – 5 miles hike with 1488ft ascent starts from the Grotto picnic area. First 10′ are fairly flat, but then you reach an almost vertical wall (left.) Unless
(3)Scout Lookout (left.) If the past 2 miles/50′ was ‘refreshing’ enough, well, the views are great from here too. Before you press on, look at the stone spine ahead (left.) That’s the
(2) you start early, next 20′ mean zigzagging in full sun until you find a brief respite in Refrigerator Canyon(left.) Walter’s Wiggles, a short set of even steeper switchbacks, leads to … (4) last, steepest 0.5 miles. In places, chains help people 8 to 60+ reach the views at Angels’ Landing (photo,) but I’ve also seen a group in the mid-20s giving up, crawling back on all 4!


The Narrows: for several years the only way to ‘do’ this wet, but the wonderful hike was to walk downstream from Chamberlain’s Ranch. This 10-hours or overnight hike requires reservations and $5 permit. It is possible again to hike upstream for a couple of hours from the end of the Riverside Walk without a permit, returning the same day. Moderate, but most of the time you wade in the cold river. Views along the ever narrowing canyon are well worth it.

Easier Hikes

Emerald Pools Trails: the Lower EP Trail’s easy, paved 1.2-mile loop leads to and under a weather-dependant waterfall(s) dropping into an appropriately coloured pool (photo.) Middle EP Trail adds a moderate 150ft ascent to the top edge of the waterfall and then returns via a 1 mile long higher route. Upper EP Trail is a 0.3 mile (200ft up) sandy hike to another pool. When the falls are at their best after a rain, the Middle EP Trail can get slippery.

Coming soon:
The Subway
and more

Hiking in Zion NP is rewarding. The best time is generally either Spring or Fall when the weather is mild and the danger of thunderstorms and flash floods is relatively low:

Winter Spring Summer Fall
Temperature, °F max 55 75 100 80
Temperature, °F min 30 40 65 50
Snowfall, inches/month 20 0-14 0-5
Thunderstorms/month 5 15 3

Each of the 3 types of hikes has different considerations:1. Hiking within the main canyon carved by Virgin River out of colourful sandstones from the age of dinosaurs includes pleasant strolls to Emerald Pools, The Grotto and the Riverside Walk. These do not require much forethought.
Several hikes ascend steeply up the canyon walls and require considering the season and time of day: the West Rim Trail leading to Scout Lookout, Angels’ Landing and the backcountry ascends the western wall, so the best time is either very early in the morning, or later in the afternoon. East Rim Trail and its extensions to Hidden Canyon, Observation Point and the backcountry provides enough shade during the climb until noon.

2. Hiking the Zion Narrows means wading in the river most of the time. During the frequent, potentially deadly flash floods the river fills up the bottom of its steep canyon. As the water is always cold, the best time for this hike is either June or September, when the danger of flash floods is relatively low (see table above.) Hiking the whole 16 miles downstream requires a backcountry permit ($5.) A good, free day-hike is wading upstream to the confluence with Orderville Canyon, some 2 hours upstream from the Temple of Sinewava shuttle stop.
Note: check with the park rangers for flood danger first, then try to get a walking stick under the stairs at the end of the Riverside Walk, and return it there.

3. Backcountry hikes to other spectacular slot canyons including the Subway, overnight trips or those requiring technical gear (ropes etc. – several slot canyons!) require permits usually limited in numbers. The Kolob Arch Trail in the western section, leading in 7 miles to one of the 2 longest arches, is much more fun if done as a 2-day trek.

Lodging Options

Only one lodge and 3 camping options exist within the Zion National Park. Fortunately, the pleasant Springdale at the main entrance to Zion Canyon offers a good selection of lodging and restaurants. Our travel guide provides reviews with room and exterior photos for the following:

Within the Zion Canyon:
Zion Lodge (screen capture of its index listing from our guide:)
Watchman Campground (reservations)
South Campground
Backcountry camping – permit required

Springdale, 3-4 stars:
Desert Pearl Inn
BW Zion Park Inn, Bumbleberry Inn, Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens, Novel House, Zion Canyon B&B;

Springdale, budget:
El Rio Lodge, Pioneer Lodge, Zion Canyon Campground and Motel