10 Best Day Hikes in Zion National Park

Southern Utah has some incredible parks and outdoor places to visit but Zion National Park has long taken the cake as numero uno on any adventure seekers bucket list. The 15 mile long Zion Canyon is home to some of the most incredible hikes in the entire country: Angels Landing and the Narrows. And while those 2 trails are what everyone comes to do, there are plenty more to keep you entertained. I have highlighted the 10 best hikes in Zion below that you will not want to miss! The park also runs a free shuttle service from March to November up and down the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Private vehicles are not permitted on this road when the shuttles are running which eliminates the overcrowded parking lots typically associated with national parks. Check out the list and comment below on your favorite. Official Website.

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1. Angels Landing Trail

Not only is this one of the best hikes in Zion National Park but maybe the entire National Park System. The trail is treacherous in spots and not easy to do but it will be in your memory the rest of your life. The last 0.5 mile is what really makes this a special hike as you walk on top of the ridge to outstanding views of the surrounding canyon 500′ below. Only once you reach the summit and witness the beauty that extends before you, will you truly be able to appreciate the majesty of this park. Do not let anyone try to tell you this trail is too crowded or doesn’t live up to the hype, just experience it for yourself. The trailhead begins from the Grotto drop-off on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

  • 5.4 miles – Out and back
  • 1450′ gain
  • Strenuous

2. The Narrows (Bottom Up)

Another of the most popular hikes in Zion and the entire country, this trail travels through the Virgin River in a gorgeous slot canyon. This will be like no other hike you have ever been on as you wade through waist deep water over slippery rocks with 1000′ walls on either side. There is no formal destination so hikers have the option of turning around at any time but going beyond Big Spring is prohibitted. Be sure to prepare for the hike thoughtfully as you will get wet and the Virgin River water is cold! The trailhead is at the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop.

  • 9.4 miles – Out and back
  • 350′ gain
  • Strenuous

3. Observation Point Trail

Likely due to the distance, this trail isn’t nearly as crowded as Angels Landing but it has equally awe-inspiring views. Taking East Rim Trail up a slot in Zion Canyon, you will ascend some seriously steep switchbacks. Towards the end, the trail works its way to the edge of the canyon rim with an incredible panorama in front of you, including Angels Landing to the southwest. The trailhead starts from the Weeping Rock trailhead off Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

  • 8.0 miles – Out and back
  • 2150′ gain
  • Strenuous

4. The Subway Trail

A permit is required from the park in order to hike this trail but it is a unique experience and maybe one of the best hikes in Zion. The namesake of this trail is from the pipe-like gorge formed by the canyon walls of North Creek. It is also recommended to go with a guide as this trail is not maintained and some canyoneering skills are necessary. Similar to the Narrows hikers will be wading through waist deep water. You can hike from the bottom up or top down but either way you’re in for an adventure. The trailhead can be found at the parking area for Left Fork Trail off Kolob Terrace Road.

  • 7.9 miles – Out and back
  • 1200′ gain
  • Strenuous

5. Canyon Overlook Trail

Here is a good, quick hike with amazing views of Zion Canyon this is easy enough for the whole family to enjoy. The expanse that greets you at the overlook is one of the highlights of Zion and something that should not be passed up. Remember to bring your camera! The trailhead is at the parking lot on the east side of highway 9 (the lot is right turn only).

  • 1.0 miles – Out and back
  • 150′ gain
  • Easy

6. Hidden Canyon Trail

Don’t let the short distance fool you, this is a difficult trail with long drop offs taht will keep you watching your feet. Chains have been bolted in the cliff face to assist hikers on their way to the mouth of the canyon. The trail is accessed from East Rim Trail and can be added to your descent from Observation Point. This trailhead is also found at the Weeping Rock stop.

  • 2.4 miles – Out and back
  • 850′ gain
  • Strenuous

7. Weeping Rock Trail

Short, but steep paved trail that ends at a rock alcove with running springs. In the winter the running water freezes making for some beautiful rock formations on the wall. The trailhead is at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop in Zion Canyon.

  • 0.4 miles – Out and back
  • 100′ gain
  • Easy

8. Taylor Creek Trail 

Following the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek, this hike leads you to Double Arch Alcove. Here, erosion has carved out natural openings in the sandstone making it a really cool destination. The trail crosses the creek several times and passes 2 historic homestead cabins built in the 30s. The trailhead is close to Interstate 15, 2 miles past the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.

  • 5.0 miles – Out and back
  • 450′ gain
  • Moderate

9. Watchman Trail

There is a steady incline for the 1st mile of this trail before leveling out at the top. Once you are there, beautiful views of the Towers of the Virgin, lower Zion Canyon, and Springdale await. Maybe the best part about the trail, beside the views, is that it is right next to the Visitor Center so there is no need to wait for the shuttles to get to the trailhead.

  • 3.1 miles – Out and back
  • 500′ gain
  • Moderate

10. Emerald Pools + Kayenta Trails 

Good warmup trail before tackling Angels Landing as you can end this trail right at the Grotto. The trail is crowded all day and the pools may not be the most amazing things you see but it is still worth your time. The trailhead starts at the Zion Lodge stop; take Kayenta Trail to get to The Grotto.

  • 2.1 miles – One way
  • 400′ gain
  • Moderate

 

 

 

 

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