Zion-National-Park-Guide

The Ultimate Zion National Park Guide

Zion National Park is a wonderland of giant rock cliffs, incredible hikes and fascinating wildlife. The 4.5 million visitors who make the journey to Utah's high desert are rewarded with some of the most iconic sights in the entire national park system. Before you plan your trip, take a look at our Ultimate Zion National Park Guide. Find the best hikes, restaurants, hotels and campsites. We also have a huge selection of maps to download so you will know where the shuttle goes and where to hike! Click on the links in the table of contents to automatically scroll down to the relevant section! 

Table of Contents

Zion National Park Photo Spots Sunset/Sunset
Zion National Park Food Shops & Grocery Stores 
Zion National Park Restroom Locations
Zion National Park Ranger Station
Permits for Zion National Park
Zion National Park Directions for GPS & Google Maps
Zion National Park Wildlife
How Many Days to Spend in Zion National Park
RV Camping Zion National Park
Campgrounds in Zion National Park
Zion National Park Time Zone


Zion National Park Best Trails to Hike

Zion National Park has 3 of the most famous hikes in the national park system; Angels Landing, The Subway and The Narrows. Download maps for these iconic hikes as well as a couple more that are suitable for the whole family!
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Angels Landing Trail

Angels Landing Trail is one of the icons of the National Parks Service. Take the Zion Canyon Line shuttle to The Grotto stop, go over the bridge across The Virgin River and take a right up the West Rim Trail. After about 1300ft of elevation gain, you'll reach the chained section, with safety chains to hold on to while you climb the last 200ft. Not for the faint of heart, but the views from the top are breathtaking! As of April 1 2022, you need a permit for this trail.
Difficulty 
HARD
Length
4.4mi
Elevation Gain
1600ft
Time 
3hrs
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Zion Narrows Riverside Walk

Zion Narrows Riverside Walk is a family-friendly trail that follows the course of the Virgin River. Take the Zion Canyon Line shuttle bus to the final stop - The Sinawava Temple. The trail continues along the river past where the road ends. The paved trail continues for about a mile, and it is at this point that most hikers turn back. More adventurous types can continue down a set of steps into the river itself and continue through the steep walled canyon. If you intend to hike in the river, please obey signage! 
HARD
Easy
Length
2mi
Elevation Gain
200ft
Time 
45mins
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Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

If you are looking for the most bang for your buck in Zion National Park, the Zion Canyon Overlook Trail may just be it. It is a little over 1/2 mile from the Zion Canyon Overlook car park to the viewpoint. While the trail is short, many regard it as moderately challenging but should be within the ability of most families. 
Difficulty 
Moderate
Length
1.0mi
Elevation Gain
180ft
Time 
30mins
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Pa'rus Trail

Like the Zion Narrows Riverside Walk, the Pa'rus trail follows the banks of the Virgin River. This makes the hike relatively flat, and the smooth paving makes it one of the few trails to be accessible to wheelchair users. Take the Zion Canyon Line shuttle to the Canyon Junction stop if you want to walk the trail in one direction back to the visitor center, or start at the visitor center and take the shuttle back! You'll be rewarded with spectacular views of some of Zion Canyon's most famous sights. 
Difficulty
EASY
Length
3.4mi
Elevation Gain
150ft
Time 
1hr
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The Subway

If you have ever been on Instagram, there's a good chance you have seen pictures from this spectacular trail. Named after the subway tunnels that the carved rock faces resemble, the subway is a 7 mile out-and-back trail that follows the course of a river that has cut through the orange rocks of Zion, leaving waterfalls, blue pools and exquisite rock formations along the way. This is a challenging hike that takes over 4 hours to complete. You will need a permit and a good idea of the weather in the area, as flash floods are common. 
Difficulty 
HARD
Length
4.4mi
Elevation Gain
1300ft
Time 
4hrs
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Zion Narrows

One of the most famous and most Googled trails in Zion National Park, The Narrows takes intrepid adventurers 4.4 miles up the canyon carved by the Virgin River. The journey will take you between towering orange rock walls, over 100 ton boulders and through the clear blue water of the river (make sure to wear shoes you don't mind getting wet!). While a family friendly trail, flash floods can make this trail dangerous - please check the local weather forecast and obey signage! Do not enter the trail if it is closed.  
Difficulty
Moderate
Length
8.8mi
Elevation Gain
700ft
Time
4hrs

Zion National Park map downloads

Click on the name of the map to download! Remember to always carry a paper map in the backcountry!
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  • Main Zion National Park Map

    Official NPS Park Map
  • Zion National Park Wilderness Map

    With Wilderness Campsites & Trails
  • Zion National Park Shuttle Map

    Stops and Trailheads
  • Zion National Park Hiking Guide

    Map of Trails in the Park
  • Zion National Park USGS Topo Maps

    Download Northern Park or Southern Park
  • Zion National Park Area Map

    Including Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon
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Zion National Park Shuttle Map

The Zion National Park Shuttle is the only way to get around Zion Canyon (without cycling or walking) for much of the year. The shuttle runs daily March-November, on weekends Feb-Mar and daily during the holidays in Dec. Please refer to the shuttle information page on the Zion National Park website. You can download the 2022/23 shuttle information brochure by clicking on the button, below.
  • There are two shuttle lines - The Zion Canyon Line and the Springdale Line. 
  • The Springdale line travels for 3 miles from the visitor center into the town of Springdale and stops at various hotels and motels.
  • The Zion Canyon Line travels through Zion Valley on the Scenic Drive from the visitor center to The Temple of Sinawava. There are 9 stops and it takes around 45mins to get to the end of the line. 
  • The Shuttle is free and runs every 10-15mins. 
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Zion National Park Gift Shop

Zion National Park has 3 gift stores operated by the Zion National Park Forever Project within the national park. Click on the links to get their locations in your maps app! National Parks Partnership is also one of the best Zion National Park online store that you will find! Click on the button to see our Zion National Park products!
  • Zion National Park Visitor Center (location)
  • Zion National Park Human History Museum (location)
  • Kolob Canyons Visitor Center (location)

Restaurants in Zion National Park

There aren't too many options if you want a sit-down meal within Zion National Park. You can choose between the Red Rock Grill (breakfast, lunch and dinner - year round) or Castle Dome Café (food hall style - seasonal) Just outside of the park there is a wealth of eateries. So if you are looking for food in Zion National Park, check out a few of the options, below!
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Zion Canyon Brew Pub

At just 100ft away from the River Entrance Station, this great little venue couldn't be better located. Offering local beers, burgers and incredible views. You will pay $15-20 for a burger and $7 for a beer. Click here for the navigation link or click the button, below, for the website. 
Cuisine
American
Price
$$
Dine In
Yes
Distance 
0.1mi
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Kings Landing Bistro

If you want something a little more up-market to celebrate your visit to one of the most spectacular national parks, the King's Landing Bistro. With some of the best food and views in Springdale and 4.5-star reviews on Google and Yelp, you are sure to be impressed! A steak is around $35, Burgers are $23. Open Tues-Sat March-December. 
Cuisine
American
Price
$$$
Dine In
Yes
Distance
2mi
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Deep Creek Coffee Company

I'm sure some of you are almost physically unable to start a day without caffeine! The Deep Creek Coffee Company in Springdale, UT is one of the best places around to get a freshly brewed coffee. You can order ahead on their website or dine in and enjoy a light snack. 
Cuisine
Cafe
Price
$
Dine In
Yes
Distance 
1.4mins
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Cordwood at Zion Mountain Ranch

Cordwood offers American Western cuisine 5 minutes from the East entrance to Zion National Park. They grow much of their own food, and you are even likely to see bison wandering the ranch. Great steaks, burgers and other ranch-style dishes. 
Cuisine
American
Price
$$$
Dine In
Yes
Distance
4mi
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Subway Sandwiches

Bear with me... Sometimes you want to spend as much time as possible hiking, not waiting in restaurants. The Subway in Springdale also happens to boast some of the best views from any fast food restaurant in the country. Buy a foot long, eat half now and half before your hike! You can even save the cookie at the top of Angels Landing (just remember to pack the wrapper)!
Cuisine
Sandwiches
Price
$
Dine In
Yes
Distance 
0.3mi

Zion National Park Hotels Nearby

Your selection of hotels in Zion National Park is even more limited than the restaurant selection! Zion National Park Lodge is the ONLY hotel within the park. The only other way to spend the night in the park is in a tent or an RV. Below are a few options just outside the park. 
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Zion National Park Lodge

The Zion Lodge is the only form of accommodation you will find within Zion National Park. There are 28 cabins with 2 double or 1 queen sized beds, a fireplace, microwaves and refrigerators. There are also a number of hotel rooms and suites available. If you want to start your day without the hassle of camping or waiting in traffic at the entrance gate, this is it! Rooms book up months in advance for peak seasons, so be sure to plan ahead. One big plus is that there is no peak-rate, the rooms are the same price all year.    
Star Rating
3 Star
Price
$$$
Trip Advisor
Yes
Distance 
In Park
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Zion Park Motel Springdale

Family owed and opperated since 1972, This motel offers clean, air-conditioned rooms for an affordable price. Located in Springdale, just 5 minutes from the entrance to the park. There is a pool and rooms of various sizes. They also have incredible views of the towering red cliffs of Zion as well as probably the coolest sign in Springdale. 
Star Rating
2 Star
Price
$
Trip Advisor
4.5/5
Distance
1.3mi
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Holiday Inn Express Springdale

This Holiday Inn is a lodge-style hotel. Ammeneties include fire pits, a hot tub, pool and free breakfast. It's only a couple of minutes walk from the free shuttle that will take you into the park.   
Star Rating
Star Rating
Price
3 Star
$$
Trip Advisor
4.5/5
Distance 
1.2mi
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Bumbleberry Inn

Family owed accomodation in Springdale, right by the entrace to the park. Amenities include a hot tub, heated outdoor pool and guest laundry (great for your hiking clothes!). The Bumbleberry Inn also has a great gift shop on site, where you can pick up books and souvenirs to celebrate your visit to Zion.
Star Rating
3 Star
Price
$$
Trip Advisor
4/5
Distance
1.3mi
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Hampton Inn and Suites Springdale

This hotel in downtown Springdale has the quality you'd expect from a Hampton Inn. Ammeneties include a fitness center, heated swimming pool, hottub and an outdoor fire pit. It even has a business center and conference room if you'd like to get some work done while surrounded by the iconic cliff of Zion.    
Star Rating
3 Star
Price
$$
Trip Advisor
4.5/5
Distance 
1.2mi

Zion Mountain Ranch

If you want to be located nearer to the Eastern entrance of the park, Zion Mountain Ranch is a great option. This rustic style ranch includes great on-site food with the Cordwood restaurant. Ammenities include being able to watch a heard of Bison from your bedroom window! Being on the east side of Zion National Park, it is also closer to Bryce Canyon National Park, so could serve as a base for both.  
Star Rating
3 Star
Price
$$$
Trip Advisor
4/5
Distance
4mi
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Zion National Park Camping

If you are looking for a Zion National Park campsite, you have 3 to choose from inside the park. Watchman Campground and South Campground are located near the south entrance of the park, either side of the visitor center. Lava Point Campground is located an hour away from the canyon, in the Norther end of the park. There are also many great privately owned and publicly owned campsites within a few miles of the park entrances.  
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Watchman Campground

The Watchman Campground is the largest in the Zion National Park with 203 sites. Of these, 190 are regular sites, 7 are suitable for wheelchairs and 6 are large site - suitable for groups of up to 40. Being so close to the visitor center (less than 1/4 mile away), the Watchman Campsite provides easy access to the shuttle services into Zion Canyon and out to Springdale. Camp in the shadow of The Watchman and start many trails from a few footsteps away from your tent. 
  • Reservation is almost essential, year round! All Zion National Park Campsites are full nearly every night. Reservations can be made 6 months in advance.
  • Sites cost $20 without electrical hookups, $30 with electrical hookups, and $50-$130 for group sites. 
  • All sites have fire rings. Drinking water and toilets are available, but no showers! 
  • RV camping is available, but some sites are tent only or even walk-in so be sure to double-check your booking!  
    
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South Campground

South Campground is located on the other side of the visitor center from The Watchman Campground. Open from March through September (weather permitting), South Campground has 117 campsites - 3 are wheelchair accessible. Unlike Watchman, none of these sites have electrical hookups. 
  • Open Mar-Sep as weather allows
  • Almost always full in peak season. Booking in advance is highly recommended
  • Sites cost $20 for smaller pitches and $50 for group sites
  • Each site has a fire ring and a picnic table
  • Flushing toilets and drinking water available
  • No Showers 
  • Waste dump for RVs available



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Lava Point Campground

Lave Point Campground is a primitive campground in the North of the park. With only 6 reservable sites, and none suitable for vehicles over 19ft, Lava Point is best suited for people explorng the more remote regions of Zion National Park. 
  • Open May-Sep (weather permitting) 
  • Primitive campsite
  • Must be reserved online before you travel (no cash)
  • Pit toilets and trashcans 
  • No drinking water
  • Only 6 sites available  
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Zion National Park Weather

If you are looking for a Zion National Park campsite, you have 3 to choose from inside the park. Watchman Campground and South Campground are located near the south entrance of the park, either side of the visitor center. Lava Point Campground is located an hour away from the canyon, in the Norther end of the park. There are also many great privately owned and publicly owned campsites within a few miles of the park entrances.  

Summer Weather in Zion National Park

Summer in Zion National Park is HOT. It's the season that sees the most visitors come to the park and many people are not prepared. With record highs of 115f and an average high of between 90f-100f from May-Sep, make sure to bring lots of water on your hike. Another great tip is to get up early! Even on the hottest days in July, the temperature doesn't usually exceed 85f until midday, so that's about 4 hours of hiking after sunrise. 
In terms of precipitation, Zion in July is usually a pretty dry place. Zion has a high desert climate with very low humidity, but it does experience thunderstorms on almost half the days in July. With an average rainfall of just 0.5in during July, you can expect the storms to be brief, but be sure to check the local weather before venturing into the The Subway or the The Narrows - these trails were carved by flash flooding and the desert landscape does not absorb much water, so the runoff enters the Virgin River from many miles around.  



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Fall Weather in Zion National Park

Fall is a spectacular season in Zion National Park. Being at high altitude in the American Southwest, the temperatures remain comfortable with low humidity into November. Average highs are 91f, 79f, 64f for Sep-Oct-Nov, respectively. Average lows don't get below freezing until December, so camping in the park is still possible without highly specialized equipment late into the season. Late October through early November is one of the best times to visit Zion National Park as the leaves start to turn while conditions for hiking are perfect. 
Most of the summer thunderstorms have passed by the time September comes around. Zion remains a dry climate with a little over 1 inch of monthly precipitation during Sep, Oct and Nov. Snow doesn't usually appear in Zion National Park until the middle of November. 

Winter in Zion National Park

Winter can be a spectacular season in Zion National Park - the white snow contrasting against the orange rocks of the canyon. Winter has the highest precipitation of any season, with half of the average yearly precipitation falling between December and March. Nighttime temperatures hover around freezing on average, but are often well below that. Daytime temperatures are typically in the 50s, which make Zion a fantastic place to hike in winter.

Zion National Parks is open in winter. Some park services are limited - the shuttle only runs during holiday periods. Driving the scenic trail in Zion Canyon in a private vehicle is only possible when the shuttle is not in operation, so it's not all bad. Many of the more remote roads in the park are shut for the season or because of excess snowfall. While their are limitations during winter, one huge benefit is far fewer visitors - 130k in January vs 570k in June. Camping is still possible in The Watchman Campground, but Lava Point and South Campground close for the season, as does the Human History Museum.    
 
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Zion-National-Park-Spring-Weather

Spring in Zion National Park

Spring in Zion National Park sees life start to return to the valley. The leaves regrow on the trees and the earliest wildflowers start to bloom. Nights can still be very cold, with lows in the 30s through March. Highs of 60-70s in March/April make this a very pleasant time to visit the park, with highs in the 80s in May still being manageable before the fierce summer heat sets in.

Park operations start to ramp up in March, when regular shuttle services resume and access to Zion Canyon in a private vehicle is prohibited. Spring break usually sees a large influx of visitors which results in Zion seeing 3x more vistors in March than February. Depending on the snow melt, the Zion River is often swolen during spring, which makes hiking The Subway and The Narrows impossible. Please check the current status before you travel and obey signage! Camping options increase when South Campground reopens in Spring. 
 

7 Things to do in Zion National Park

If you are looking for a Zion National Park campsite, you have 3 to choose from inside the park. Watchman Campground and South Campground are located near the south entrance of the park, either side of the visitor center. Lava Point Campground is located an hour away from the canyon, in the Norther end of the park. There are also many great privately owned and publicly owned campsites within a few miles of the park entrances.  

1. Take the Shuttle Along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

The first thing to do in Zion National Park is to see some of the highlights! Take the free shuttle along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and see Angels Landing, The Court of the Patriarchs, The Great White Thrown, The Virgin River and many more incredible highlight!  
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2. Watch the Sun Set on The Watchman from Canon Junction Bridge  

The Watchman is a 6500ft mountain that towers over the town of Springdale at the Western side of the park. Looking back towards the Southwest from the bridge at sunset provides a spectacular view of the Virgin River leading your eye to The Watchman. Get there early if you want a good spot!
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3. Stargazing in Zion National Park

As of 2021, Zion National Park is officially a Dark Sky Park. The high altitude, remoteness and dry desert air makes Zion a fantastic place for stargazing. The southern end of the park has very dark skies, but the car headlights from the roads can often be a distraction. Head to Kolob Canyons in the North of the park for the darkest darkness!  
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4. Hike the Pa'rus Trail

One of the easier trails in the park doesn't make it any less spectacular! This trail is great for families and park visitors who want to see the sights but may not be able to hike the 1300 vertical feet of Angels Landing. The trail starts at the first stop of the Zion Canyon Shuttle. 
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5. Explore the Mount Carmel Highway Scenic Drive

Climb out of the canyon to the higher ground in the park. You will travel between colorful rock faces and see pine trees clinging to the edge of cliffs. Make sure to go slow as you may see a few bighorn sheep if you are lucky! The Eastern end of the park is also a little less busy, but still has some of the most spectacular hikes. 
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6. Angels Landing Trail

Angels Landing Trail is one of the highlights of the National Park Service. This 1300ft climb from the canyon floor will take you up switchbacks, between red-rock cliffs and finally up the thin rock fin of Angels Landing. If you make it to the top, you will be rewarded with some of the best views of Zion Canyon. Permit required so plan ahead. 
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7. Hike the Narrows Trail

At the end of the Zion Canyon Riverside Walk you are presented with the option to either turn around, or climb down into the riverbed and continue your journey. Those who keep going will be rewarded with a truly spectacular gorge with walls that loom up to 2000ft on each side. Make sure to follow signage and don't enter when closed!    
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