Discover Zion National Park

Situated in the heart of southern Utah, Zion captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring red rock canyons, towering sandstone cliffs, and abundant opportunities for outdoor exploration. Established in 1919, Zion is renowned for its dramatic landscapes shaped by the Virgin River over millions of years.

This guide is your key to unlocking the wonders of Zion, offering insights into the park’s rich geological history, diverse wildlife, and iconic landmarks such as Angels Landing and The Narrows. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking thrilling trails or a nature enthusiast eager to soak in the tranquility of the wilderness, Zion has something for everyone. From the emerald pools to the soaring peaks, every corner of this enchanting park beckons adventurers to discover its hidden treasures.

Prepare to be enchanted by the unparalleled beauty and endless adventure that await you in Zion National Park!


Top 3 Facts About Zion National Park



Covering an area of 147,242 acres, Zion National Park is not only Utah’s oldest national park but also one of its largest, boasting a vast expanse of stunning landscapes to explore.


Virgin River

Flowing through the heart of Zion, the Virgin River has carved its way through the sandstone over millions of years, creating the majestic Zion Canyon, which stretches for 15 miles (24 kilometers) and reaches depths of up to 2,640 feet (800 meters).



The park’s lowest point is the Coalpits Wash at 3,666 feet (1,117 meters) above sea level. In contrast, its highest point is the Horse Ranch Mountain summit, towering at 8,726 feet (2,660 meters), offering visitors a diverse range of elevations to experience.

Camping and transportation in Zion National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Zion National Park

Getting to Zion National Park is relatively straightforward, whether traveling by car, plane, or bus. Here’s a guide:

  • By Car: Most visitors opt to drive to Zion National Park. The park is located in southwestern Utah, just off State Route 9. If you’re coming from the west, you can access the park via Interstate 15 and then take exit 16 onto State Route 9. Driving from the east, you can reach the park through State Route 9 from US Route 89.
  • By Plane: The closest major airport to Zion is McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Nevada, located approximately 170 miles (274 kilometers) southwest of the park. From there, you can rent a car and drive to Zion, which takes around two to three hours.
  • By Bus: If you prefer not to drive, you can also take a shuttle bus to Zion National Park. Several tour companies offer guided bus tours from nearby cities like Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and St. George. Additionally, the Zion Canyon Shuttle operates within the park during the peak season, providing transportation to various trailheads and points of interest.

Places to Stay Near Zion National Park

When planning your stay near Zion National Park, you’ll find a variety of accommodation options to suit every preference and budget. Here are some popular choices:

  • Zion Lodge: Located inside the park, Zion Lodge offers comfortable accommodations ranging from cabins to hotel rooms. Staying here allows you to immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty and easily access its trails and attractions.
  • Campgrounds: Zion National Park offers several campgrounds for those who prefer to sleep under the stars. Watchman Campground is the most popular, offering tent and RV sites with amenities such as flush toilets and drinking water. South Campground and Lava Point Campground are other options for a more primitive camping experience.
  • Springdale: Just outside the park’s entrance, the town of Springdale offers a range of lodging options, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Many of these accommodations provide stunning views of the surrounding red rock cliffs.
  • Glamping and RV Parks: For those seeking a more luxurious camping experience, glamping options are available near Zion, offering amenities such as comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and even hot tubs. Additionally, the area has several RV parks for travelers with recreational vehicles.
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Public Bus


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Best Time to Go to Zion National Park



Summer brings long, sunny days and warmer temperatures to Zion National Park, making it an excellent time for various outdoor activities. June through August is ideal for hiking, rock climbing, and exploring the park’s iconic slot canyons and rivers. The Zion Canyon Shuttle operates during this time, providing easy access to popular trailheads and viewpoints while reducing traffic congestion within the park. However, summer is also the busiest season in Zion, so expect large crowds and bring plenty of water and sun protection.



Winter transforms Zion National Park into a peaceful winter wonderland, with snow-capped peaks and fewer visitors. December through February sees cooler temperatures, especially at higher elevations, but lower elevations often remain mild and accessible for hiking. The park’s iconic landmarks, such as Angels Landing and The Narrows, take on a serene beauty in the winter months, and photography opportunities abound with the soft light and snow-dusted landscapes. While some trails may be closed or require special equipment due to snow and ice, winter offers a unique and tranquil experience for those exploring Zion’s quieter side.



Spring is a spectacular time to visit Zion as the park comes to life with vibrant wildflowers, flowing waterfalls, and mild temperatures. March through May sees the awakening of the park’s flora and fauna, making it an ideal time for hiking and wildlife viewing. The weather is pleasantly warm during the day, perfect for exploring the park’s trails, while cooler evenings provide a refreshing break. However, spring is also a popular time to visit, so be prepared for crowds, especially during weekends and holidays.

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Fall is a magical season in Zion as the park’s foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold hues against towering sandstone cliffs. September through November offers cooler temperatures and thinner crowds, making it an ideal time to visit for those seeking solitude and stunning autumn scenery. Hiking conditions are excellent during the fall months, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures making for enjoyable adventures along the park’s trails.

Must-See Attractions

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Zion Canyon

This majestic canyon is the centerpiece of the park, with towering sandstone cliffs rising thousands of feet above the canyon floor. Take in the awe-inspiring views from popular viewpoints like Canyon Overlook and Canyon Junction.

Angels Landing

One of Zion’s most famous hikes, Angels Landing offers a thrilling adventure and unparalleled views of Zion Canyon. This challenging trail ascends steep switchbacks and exposed ridges before reaching a narrow spine with chains for assistance.

The Narrows

Embark on an unforgettable hike through the Virgin River in the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. Wading through ankle to waist-deep water, you’ll navigate towering walls and stunning slot canyons, creating a truly immersive experience.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Zion National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, hiking trails, and facilities before your visit. Consider making reservations for camping, lodging, and activities well in advance, especially during the peak season.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Proper Gear

Wear sturdy hiking shoes with good traction for exploring Zion’s trails, as many are rocky and uneven. Additionally, bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and layers of clothing to protect yourself from the sun and changing weather conditions.

Respect Wildlife

Stay Hydrated

The desert climate of Zion National Park can be hot and dry, especially during the summer months. Bring plenty of water on hikes and outdoor activities, and consider carrying electrolyte-rich snacks to stay hydrated and energized.

Stay Informed

Use the Shuttle System

During the peak season, utilize the park’s free shuttle system to get around Zion Canyon. The shuttle reduces traffic congestion, minimizes environmental impact, and provides convenient access to popular destinations without the hassle of finding parking.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Zion National Park

The best time to visit Zion is during the spring and fall months (March to May and September to November) when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. However, each season offers unique experiences, so the best time depends on your preferences.

Yes, everyone who plans to hike Angels Landing needs a permit.

Maintain a safe distance from wildlife and never approach or feed them. If you encounter wildlife on a trail, give them space and slowly back away. It’s essential to respect their natural habitat and behavior.

Yes, Zion National Park offers both developed campgrounds and backcountry camping options. Watchman Campground and South Campground are the two developed campgrounds in the park, while backcountry camping permits are required for wilderness camping.

Swimming is allowed in certain areas of the Virgin River, such as the Zion Canyon section. However, be cautious of swift currents and cold water temperatures, especially during spring snowmelt. Swimming in other bodies of water within the park is not recommended.

Stay on designated trails, carry plenty of water, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Let someone know your hiking plans and expected return time, and be aware of the potential for rockfall, flash floods, and wildlife encounters.

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