A few words and phrases sum up what Zions National Park is all about: Unique, breath-taking, interesting, and at the same time, intimidating. There are very few National Parks as great as this place in the world. Why this is not one of the 7 Wonders of the World? I don’t know. It should be the 8 Wonders of the World, and this park should be in that list.
As you can tell from the picture, Zion National park consists of large and jagged mountains. It has long narrow passages between mountains in some spots. There are many areas where you can hike and sight see. The expert level of hiking opportunities range from beginner hiker to master hiker.
If you are not a master hiker, or if you have kids with you. One stop off the park shuttle you should seriously consider is the Emerald Pools Trail. You can access it from the Zion Lodge stop or The Grotto stop. The trail up the mountainside is a fairly gradual grade (not too steep), but you do have a cliff with a drop-off on some parts of the trail, so hike with caution. There are three pools, a lower level, mid-level and upper level emerald pool. Below is a picture of the mid-level pool. There are lots of trees and lots of shade in the area, so not is it only relaxing after a somewhat lengthy hike, it’s extremely beautiful too.
There are quite a few other stops off the shuttle that are worth seeing as well. Angels Landing is of these stops and it’s for more Advanced Hikers, and if you’re afraid of heights, avoid this stop, but those who have accomplished it say it’s well worth it because it has one of the most breathtaking views in all of Zions Park. The Narrows, which is the last stop, is a path by a river where you have towering mountain walls on both sides. The area only gets a few hours of direct sunlight per day due to the tall mountain walls, and because of this the temperature doesn’t get too hot.
If you do not want to take the shuttle, another option is the explore the east side of Zion Park, you can access it by car and there are many stop-offs that are photo-worthy. Some of them are at the end of the blog post.
Where to stay overnight
I recommend a visit to Zion National Park with at least 1 overnight stay if you live further than 2 hours away. You will need at least a day and half to get a decent taste of what this park has to offer. You will need a week or more to see all of it. You can go camping for your overnight stay, you can stay in a Hotel in the small town of Springdale right outside of the park, but both of these options will require advance reservations as they sell out quickly. If you don’t mind driving an extra half hour from Zion National Park, you can drive to the town of Kanab Utah and they have a few hotels that are priced under $100 per night plus plenty of dining options.
You have no excuse to NOT visit Zion National Park
If you live west of the Rocky Mountains, you really do NOT have an excuse to miss visiting Zion National Park. It is a 7 hour drive from Los Angeles, California; a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake City, Utah; and only a 3 hour drive from Las Vegas, NV.
Best time of year to visit Zion National Park
Zion National Park is in the desert, but it’s the high desert, so summer days are always over 100 degrees F (38 C), and winter nights often drop below freezing. We visited in March, and it was partly cloudy and in the mid 60s F ( upper teens C), perfect hiking weather. So, I would recommend early spring or late fall.
Don’t Rule out overcast skies in Zions Park