Carved over time by the Virgin River, Zion National Park is a remarkable 148,000-acre (59,893-hectare) stretch of white, pink, and red rock formations in southern Utah's canyon country. The state's first national park draws hikers, birders, and nature lovers with its cliffs and mesas, waterfalls and wildflowers, and varied wildlife from jackrabbits to condors.
While the Grand Canyon may be the most famous natural wonder of the American Southwest, Zion Canyon is a gem all on its own. Opt to see the highlights on a guided day trip from Las Vegas or on a multi-canyon getaway that combines a trip to Zion with visits to Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and/or the Grand Canyon. Independent travelers can also join limited free programs offered by National Park Service rangers.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There are restaurants, a lodge, and campgrounds inside the park. Additional food and lodging options are available in nearby towns.
- Many park facilities are wheelchair accessible, including two trails and certain campsites.
- Internet access is available in the Zion Lodge lobby and at various places in the town of Springdale.
How to Get to Zion National Park
The park is located on Route 9 in Springdale, Utah. By car, Zion is one hour from St George, Utah; two hours from Page, Arizona; and 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, Nevada. During summer, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles, but a free and convenient shuttle bus runs between Springdale and the park. There is a fee to enter Zion, either per person or per vehicle.
When to Get There
Zion park is open 24 hours a day, all year round, but certain areas close or have reduced hours based on the season or weather conditions. If you're looking to avoid the heat and crowds, visit in late spring or fall. Regardless of the season, be prepared for temperatures that can shift by up to 30°F in the course of a day, depending on elevation and time.
Best Zion National Park Hikes
While there are over a dozen major hiking trails in the park, a few stand out. The Zion Narrows gorge allows hikers to walk through the Virgin River between two towering rock walls. Many Narrows hikers start at the Temple of Sinawava via the Riverside Walk and then hike upstream before doubling back and finishing where they started. Another favorite is Angels Landing, an intense 5-mile (8-km) trail that rewards brave hikers with sweeping views at the summit. Emerald Pools Trail serves as a great place to hike alongside multiple waterfalls and glistening pools.