Outdoor Activities And Recreation in Zion National Park
Planning an unforgettable time at Zion National Park? You’re in the right place!
Whether you’re looking for outdoor fun or restorative relaxation, this article will give you all the tips and tricks to make the most of your trip. With so much to do near Zion, you’ll be sure to have a memorable time.
Things to do Near Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a stunning natural oasis located in southwestern Utah. It spans over 229 square miles and is home to breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and world-renowned hiking trails.
Here are some of the best things to do near Zion National Park:
1. Visit Bryce Canyon National Park – another breathtaking natural wonder with unique geology and magnificent rock formations.
2. Hike The Narrows – a thrilling and challenging hike that takes you through a narrow canyon along the Virgin River.
3. Explore the nearby town of Springdale – a charming town with art galleries, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
4. Drive through Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel – a scenic drive with panoramic views of Zion National Park and its surroundings.
5. Horseback riding and canyoneering – for those looking for adventurous activities.
Don’t forget to stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Museum to learn more about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife.
Hiking Trails in Zion National Park
Zion National Park boasts of some of the most beautiful and scenic hiking trails in the world, each offering a unique view and a memorable experience. Here are some of the hiking trails to explore during your visit to Zion National Park:
Angels Landing Trail: This is a challenging 5.4-mile hike that rewards you with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. The trail features steep drops, tight switchbacks, and a final ascent using chains to reach the summit.
The Narrows: This hike takes you through a stunning slot canyon, with the Virgin River serving as your path. wading and swimming through the river is required. You’ll make it through sheer cliff walls towering above you.
Emerald Pools Trail: This is an easy 1.2-mile hike that takes you to beautiful waterfalls and pools. The trail is divided into three levels, with the Upper Emerald Pools offering fantastic views of Zion Canyon.
Observation Point Trail: This 8-mile hike leads to the highest point in Zion National Park. From the top, you’ll have a stunning panoramic view of Zion Canyon, Echo Canyon, and several other beautiful sites.
Pro tip: Always carry enough water and snacks while hiking, even on the easier trails. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes with good traction. Plan and research ahead for specific hiking trails’ difficulty levels and weather conditions.
Camping And Lodging Options
Zion National Park offers visitors a variety of camping and lodging options.
If you prefer to camp, you can choose from several campgrounds within and near the park, each of which offers stunning views and access to hiking trails and other park activities. These campgrounds include South Campground, Watchman Campground, and Lava Point Campground. If you prefer the comforts of a hotel or resort, there are several options outside of Zion National Park, including Cable Mountain Lodge, Flanigan’s Inn, and Zion Lodge. These lodges offer a range of amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and free shuttles to the park. For a more rustic experience, consider renting a cabin or vacation rental in the nearby town of Springdale or the surrounding area.
No matter what your preference or budget, there is a camping or lodging option near Zion National Park that will cater to your needs.
Exploring The Canyons
Exploring the canyons near Zion National Park offers a variety of thrilling activities and breathtaking views.
Here are some of the best things to do in the canyons near Zion National Park:
Canyoneering: This activity involves hiking, rappelling, and swimming through narrow slot canyons. It’s an adrenaline-pumping adventure that offers a unique perspective of the canyons.
Hiking: There are plenty of hiking trails near the canyons, ranging from easy walks to strenuous climbs. The views from the top are worth the effort.
Rock Climbing: The canyons offer plenty of opportunities for beginners and experienced climbers alike. The red sandstone cliffs provide a challenging and scenic backdrop.
Camping: Spend the night under the stars and enjoy the peacefulness of the canyons. There are plenty of campsites to choose from, each with its unique views and amenities.
Pro Tip: Make sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen for your adventures in the canyons. The desert climate can be harsh, and it’s essential to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.
Wildlife viewing is one of the most popular activities near Zion National Park. Here are some of the best things to do for wildlife viewing:
1. Go on a guided tour: Guided tours are a great way to get up close and personal with the wildlife in and around the park. You’ll have the chance to see animals such as bighorn sheep, mule deer, and coyotes.
2. Hiking: Hiking is another great way to explore the park and see the wildlife. Go on a hike in the early morning or late evening when the animals are most active.
3. Scenic Drives: Take a scenic drive and keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. Many animals can be seen from the comfort of your car, such as pronghorns and golden eagles.
4. Wildlife Watching Stations: Head to the park’s wildlife watching stations, such as the Kolob Canyons or the Wildcat Canyon viewing areas, for the best opportunities to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.
Remember, always keep a safe distance from the animals, and never feed or approach them. Pro tip: Bring binoculars or a camera with a good zoom to get a better view of the wildlife.
Rock Climbing And Canyoneering
Zion National Park is the perfect base for exploring the world-renowned rock climbing and canyoneering opportunities nearby.
Rock Climbing: Zion is home to sandstone cliffs that attract climbers from across the globe. The park has over 2,000 established rock climbing routes suitable for all levels of experience. A guided trip through Zion’s towering cliffs offers a unique and thrilling perspective of the park.
Canyoneering: This is an exciting way to explore Zion’s box canyons and narrow gorges, which cannot be accessed by regular hiking trails. A canyoneering adventure involves rappelling down cliffs, sliding down natural water slides, and rappelling into crystal-clear pools. The park offers options for both beginner and advanced canyoneers, with guided tours available for those who are new to the sport.
Whether you are an experienced rock climber or a beginner, or a thrill-seeker or nature lover, Zion National park has something to offer everyone.
Other Outdoor Activities
Apart from hiking, there are many other outdoor activities to enjoy near Zion National Park.
Here are some things to do:
1. Camping: There are many campgrounds near the park that offer scenic views, facilities, and activities like fishing and boating.
2. Canyoneering: This is a challenging and exciting activity that involves exploring narrow canyons, rappelling down steep walls, and navigating through water-filled gorges.
3. Mountain Biking: Zion National Park has many trails for mountain biking, offering a variety of terrains, challenges, and breathtaking views.
4. Horseback Riding: Experience the beauty of Zion and the surrounding areas on horseback. Many outfitters offer guided tours for all levels of riders.
5. Rock Climbing: With stunning sandstone cliffs, Zion National Park is a popular destination for rock climbers of all levels.
Whether you choose to hike, camp, or try other outdoor activities, Zion National Park and its surroundings offer endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.
Touring The Historic Sites
There are several historic sites to tour near Zion National Park, each offering a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural and natural history.
Some of the top things to do include:
The Grafton Ghost Town: This historic town was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1859 and was the site of several Hollywood productions, including Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
The Fort Zion Pioneer Village: This living history museum showcases how early settlers lived in the late 19th century.
The Silver Reef Museum: This museum tells the story of a silver mining boomtown that existed in the late 1800s.
The Jacob Hamblin Home: This historic home belonged to a Mormon pioneer who played a significant role in establishing peaceful relations between settlers and Native Americans.
The Parowan Gap Petroglyphs: These prehistoric rock carvings are believed to be over 1,500 years old and were created by Native American tribes.
A visit to these sites provides a deeper understanding and appreciation for the region’s unique history and natural beauty.