Ten Reasons Why You Should Visit Zion National Park
10. The Emerald Pools Trail
This is an easy hike anyone can enjoy in Zion Canyon. There are multiple pools to visit and a few different paths connect to reach them all. The lower pool requires a short walk on pavement. The upper pool takes a little more effort on more difficult terrain, but it still isn’t bad.
9. The Shuttle System
Throughout most of the year the only way to enter Zion Canyon is aboard on of Zion’s free shuttles or on foot. There are several trailheads within the scenic canyon, so it’s a great idea to hop on board the shuttle. I liked the ride a lot, because there is a recording on the way into the canyon which points and describes some of Zion’s famous rock features. It’s also nice not to worry about parking.
8. Weeping Rock
Take the very short and very easy path to Weeping Rock. It leads you to an alcove that seeps water inside of it and waters hanging gardens. If enough water is flowing there will be a very light waterfall dropping off the outer edge of the alcove.
7. Riverside Camping
There are some great campsites located with the Watchman Campground just inside the park’s southern boundary. There are a handful of sites that back onto the Virgin River in the B Loop of the campground. They are highly coveted sites, but if you reserve early enough, you can land one. I had one for Labor Day weekend several years ago and it was awesome.
6. The Scenic Drive
Zion is a simply stunning National Park. Like most National Parks, the roads within the park are winding, curved, and hilly. While you have to ride the aforementioned shuttle through Zion Canyon, you can still see a lot of magnificent mesas and other rock formations from your car. Driving through the Zion-Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel is also a treat (but vehicle restrictions do apply).
5. The Riverside Walk
This is another short and easy “trail.” It’s more of a walk on pavement. It begins at the last shuttle stop and takes you to the beginning of The Narrows. I would recommend taking this trail to the end to check the conditions of the Virgin River in The Narrows before hiking a long ways into The Narrows.
4. The Virgin River
Not only do you walk through the river on the famed Zion Narrows hike, but it is a sight to treasure throughout Zion Canyon. It truly provides an oasis in a desert environment. Lush plant life springs up seemingly out of nowhere whenever the river is near.
3. The Court of the Patriarchs
This is set of three towering cliffs within Zion Canyon. There is a viewpoint accessible from the fourth stop on the shuttle route. The peaks are individually named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
2. Angel’s Landing
This isn’t just a Zion Classic, this is one of the most famous hikes in the entire National Park System. It’s about 5-miles roundtrip to the summit with an elevation gain of roughly 1,500 feet. This is not for people who are the slightest bit afraid of heights (like me). This is the one hike that defeated me. Even if you can’t make it to the top, passing long drops to the bottom of the canyon, you can rest easy at Scout Landing and still enjoy some pretty great views.
1. The Zion Narrows
Speaking of Zion Classics, they don’t get any better than this one. Timing is important. The Virgin River is your “trail” on this one, so you want to make sure the water isn’t too high, too fast, or too cold. You can rent a special wet suit, but if the water is too high or fast you should still stay out of there. The route is 16-miles one-way in its entirety, but you can hike for as long as you want and turn back. The narrow wall street section is only a mile or two from the start of the hike. I hiked the relatively short distance to Orderville Canyon and absolutely loved it!