Magnificent sandstone cliffs that rise high into the bright blue sky, snaking canyons, an array of interesting flora and fauna, rivers, waterfalls, and forest trails define Zion National Park in Utah. Situated in the southwestern region of United States, this park has its lowest elevation of 3,666 feet at Coal Pits Wash and the highest elevation of 8,726 feet at Horse Ranch Mountain. Many of you will agree that the hiking trails in Zion National Park are some of the best trails found in all of America’s beloved parks.
Make the most of your trip by hiking in Zion National Park by doing your homework on its various trails that have captured the attention of hordes of hiking enthusiasts.
Here is a list of 15 best hiking trails in Zion National Park.
Discover Our Handpicked Hiking Trails in Zion National Park
Emerald Pools Trail
Emerald Pools is known for its 3 types of hikes – from a relaxed one to moderate, to a strenuous climb. These trails of 1.2 to 2.5 miles are perfect for families and take you through different water features like petite pools, mountain streams, and waterfalls. You might as well enjoy a walk behind these waterfalls.
LivingIt Tip : The breathtaking waterfalls offer a sight to behold and are perfect for photography.
The Watchman trail introduces you to the magnificent beauty of the valley. This is one of the Zion National Park hikes that are more moderate and it covers a distance of about 2 miles, with an elevation of 456 feet. Walk past the foothills and Bridge Mountain till you reach the end point of the Watchman, a red spire that stands tall at 6545 feet.
Pack well if you wish for the Zion National Park camping experience, one of the campsites being near the watchman trail.
Kolob Arch is the second longest arch in the world, measuring 287.4 feet. The arch lies in Kolob Canyons, the northwestern region of the Zion National Park, and is less visited by people. There are two routes to the arch. The first and more popular one is from the Kolob Canyons Road parking lot at Lee Pass, and the second one at the Hop Valley trail head. Both routes involve a hike of 7 miles.
Canyon Overlook Trail
Out of all the hiking trails in Zion National Park, this one is a photographer’s favorite! It is a treasure-trove of the most beautiful sceneries in the park. This hike is a short and easy one and lasts for less than an hour.
The trail leads you through a large natural cave and ends at the edge of a cliff that presents you with a spectacular view of lower Zion Canyon and Zion’s famous landmarks like the Beehives, East Temple, West Temple, Towers of the Virgin, the Streaked Wall, and Switchbacks.
Observation Point is yet another one of the classic hiking trails in Zion National Park. This path is quite challenging, but rewards you with a breathtaking scene of the Zion Canyon. The distance involved is about 8 miles (round trip) and lasts for an average duration of 5 hours, where hikers climb an altitude of nearly 2,000 feet.
The hiking path is quite steep, making the journey to the end a strenuous one. The twisty path takes you through Weeping Rock in Zion Canyon, East Rim Trail, and ends when you are out of the canyon.
LivingIt Tip : Although challenging, this hike is one of the most satisfying one, if you are fit and keep yourself well hydrated.
Aptly named ‘The Narrows’, this trail snakes through the narrowest part of Zion Canyon. Enclosed within walls that stand a thousand feet tall, the trail takes you through the Virgin River. This means that you may have to swim. The cool water of the river makes your hiking a pleasant one, especially on a hot summer day.
Virgin River consists of two main forks, the North Fork known for The Narrows trail, and the East Fork with its rocky, trackless terrain that leads to the deep, narrow Parunaweap Canyon. The section accessible to hikers is called ‘The Barracks’. Similar to The Narrows, The Barracks is enclosed within mighty walls. Also, there are several other canyons around that you can explore while hiking through the Parunaweap Canyon.
The Trans-Zion Trek
An almost 48-mile hiking trail that lasts for about 3 to 5 days, The Trans-Zion Trek takes you from one end of Zion to the other. This trek offers breathtaking views, interesting geological features, and wildlife. However, make sure that you carry a lot of water along to traverse the dusty path. This less traveled path offers picture-perfect sceneries.
LivingIt Tip : Ensure that you get all the required permits to hike along this trail.
La Verkin Creek Trail
This trail takes you to the famous Kolob Arch. It is another great part of the hiking trails in Zion National Park that amaze visitors with magnificent views of the surrounding cliffs. The trail commences at Lee Pass and continues through open finger canyons to Beartrap Canyon and Willis Canyon.
A lot of hikers prefer to camp overnight in one of the several campsites. Spring, summer, and fall are the perfect seasons to make the most of your hiking experience along the La Verkin Creek Trail.
LivingIt Tip : Before embarking on this hike, you can make online reservations to book the Zion National Park camping site.
The Subway (Bottom-Up)
The Subway is also one of the most iconic hiking trails in Zion National Park. This gorge portrays a look of a subway tunnel, and hence the name. The Subway trail does not involve any swimming. However, you will have to walk in the water. The distance to be covered during the hike is 9 miles (round trip) and takes about half a day. Permits are needed to hike in The Subway.
LivingIt Tip : If you are one of those adventure-seekers, try out the Top-Bottom hike in The Subway.
Angel’s Landing Trail
If you enjoy thrill-filled hikes, you must check out the Angel’s Landing trail. This is one of the most famous Zion National Park hikes and one of the most famous trails in the world. It is made up of a narrow rock fin and hair-raising drop-offs on both sides.
You are bound to be pleased in the end as you marvel at the breathtaking views from the lofty cliff, despite the strenuous nature of this hike. Although the trail is well-maintained and there are chains bolted into the cliff for support, this hike can get quite challenging and can be avoided by people afraid of heights.
West Rim Trail
With its beautiful canyons, seeps, springs, flowers, and trees, West Rim Trail offers an amazing sight. During this hike, you can follow the trail from Lava Point to The Grotto, or vice versa. If interested, you can head to Angel’s Landing too. We highly recommend hiking in Zion National Park along this trail, during late spring, summer, and fall. During winter, the trail is covered in snow and can last till late spring.
East Rim Trail
This trail starts at the east entrance of the park and ends at the parking lot of weeping rock. The average hiking time is about 6 hours at a distance of 10 miles (one-way, with the use of shuttle service). En route, enjoy the spectacular views of the smooth rock areas.
As you walk along the rim, enjoy the views of the Echo Canyon basin. Finally, you descend nearly 2,300 feet into the Zion Canyon. The best time to explore this trail is during late spring and fall. You will need a permit to hike along this trail.
If you want a quick hike, just look for one of the shortest hiking trails in Zion National Park called the Weeping Rock. This trail can be completed in less than an hour and it covers a distance of about half a mile. It is the most travelled one in the park.
However, it is narrow and consists of irregular pavements and steep climbs making it unsuitable for strollers and wheelchairs. Lined with different types of trees, streams, and slippery rocks with fern and moss, this trail is quite beautiful.
The Riverside Walk is a paved trail that goes from the Temple of Sinawava to Virgin River. Formerly known as ‘the Gateway to the Narrows’, this trail is about 2 miles long and last for 1 or 2 hours.
This path ends where Navajo Sandstone walls close in and water gushes into the Zion Narrows. You can wade in the shallow waters to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Zion Narrows.
Living It Tips :
- Be practical about your hiking goals in terms of time, stamina, and distance you can cover.
- Prepare your body for the hike.
- Understand the challenges involved and do not overexert.
- Plan your adventure in advance and do not forget to wear appropriate shoes, clothing, sunscreen, and keep yourself hydrated.
- Arrive early at the park and avail the shuttle services that are provided to help you get to your next trail.
To pick suitable shoes, read : Best Trekking Shoes For A Comfortable And Enjoyable Trek Experience.
The wonders of Mother Nature in Zion National Park Utah put its visitors in awe. Explore the magnificent cliffs, deep red canyons, gigantic monoliths, lush green forests, and layers of sandstone. Feel your mind refresh and your body rejuvenate as you carry along a treasure trove of memories to remember lifelong!
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