Zion National Park
Everything you need to know about
Zion National Park
what is the must-see spot in Zion?
The Zion Canyon Overlook is absolutely breathtaking. It is located on the east side of the National Park and you may pass the trail on your way into the park.
The scenic tunnel route is BEAUTIFUL. Definitely worth driving through. There are 2 entrances to Zion. Entrance booths are located at the south entrance near Springdale (coming from the west like CA) and the east entrance along Route 9 (where the rocks and canyon looks even more beautiful)! Personally, I think this entrance is the best one. You can see the tunnel in the video here:
How to get into the scenic road: limited access
The scenic road inside Zion was closed when I went. Please note the following information is only relevant if the Zion National Park Shuttles are not in service. So, in order to get inside you’d have to line up as early as 3 am. When the park opened at 6 am, the spots were all filled within 30 minutes. And the next time any car would be allowed inside would be when spots opened up in the afternoon. Anyone else that wanted to hike inside would have to park outside of the scenic road and walk how many ever miles it took to get inside. We lined up at 4 am and were the 10th car in line. I couldn’t even see the end of the line when the Park Rangers started letting us in. We hiked the Angel’s Landing trail and it was absolutely worth it. We unexpectedly got to see the sunrise (pictured in the gallery below).
What do you need to know about hiking the narrows?
The Narrows is hands down the best hike in the entire national park. Each hike is beautiful in their own way but The Narrows is special in that there are amazing views & hiking across rivers makes it a fun adventure. The first time I hiked the Narrows was during the Winter in November. If you are planning on going during this time you ABSOLUTELY need to rent gear otherwise, you will FREEZE. It is like walking in ice water.
If you are hiking in the winter, you can rent a dry suit and hiking boots (specifically ones that covers your ankles). This is very important because you will be hiking on top of rocks the ENTIRE TIME, so it is easy to lose balance & you can twist your ankle. Regardless of the season you will need hiking boots that protect your ankles & a hiking stick to help you balance. There are plenty of places to rent gear. I recommend Zion Outfitters or Zion Adventure Company.
If you are looking to purchase these items, I highly recommend these hiking boots (for women or for men) and expandable hiking sticks. Your feet will get WET and your stick should be extended up to the height of your armpit. Honestly, I would only buy these if you are a frequent hiker or beginning this new hobby and will be using it at least once a year, then it is definitely worth the investment! The hiking sticks/poles are really affordable (only $21.99)! I actually bought the ones linked above.
- Rent your gear the day before so you can start your hike early. The Narrows trail will take about 40-50 min drive into the park.
- Start early. If you want to go far into The Narrows where you can actually see the canyon get narrow, you should start as early as possible. We started at 11am & were only able to get to “Wall Street” on a 5 hours round-trip hike that only took up 3.5 miles into The Narrows.
- Plan your destination. The Narrows is 16 miles long. Most people do not go all the way. I suggest looking at the map of the Narrows and decide at which landmark you should turnaround. It’s important that you get back before the sunsets. You do not want to get lost in the canyon.
- Rent a shuttle at least a day in advance. If you’re not a morning person, you should rent a shuttle with one of the rental companies (Zion Adventure Company charges $40/person – prices may vary depending on the season).
- Bring a watch. I highly recommend you bring a stop watch to time your way in and plan your route/destination ahead of time. There are specific times that the shuttles go in and out of the park. Also, you want to complete the hike before it gets dark.
- Be safe. While crossing the river, the current can be very strong. This is where your hiking stick will come into use. Stick it hard into the rocks to ensure you have stability.
- Avoid white water. The current is the strongest where the water is white. Avoid these areas as much as possible.
- Wear light clothing that dries quickly. The water can go above your waist when you are crossing the rivers so you will most likely get wet if you are not wearing a dry suit. The further you go in, the less sun hits inside the canyon so you may not dry up as quickly.
- Bring snacks and plenty of water. This hike normally takes all day so definitely pack those granola bars & lunchables. You can find a spot along the trail to stop, take a break & eat.
- Have fun! The Narrows is an amazing adventure. There’s nothing like it!Hone
Top 3 hikes
Summer is definitely the best time to hike the Narrows. Although, it can be VERY crowded. So that’s something to consider if you plan on going during this time (you know with COVID-19 & everything).
Level of difficulty: moderate.
We hiked with kids ages 5 & 7 this time around & they did very well! You just have to be very careful when crossing the rivers. The current can really take you away.
Distance: 16 mi.
Definitely do not need to go all the way in to see the beautiful view. I would say the end of Wall Street is a great place to stop.
Hands down the BEST VIEW of Zion National Park. Currently, they closed the chain part of this trail so you can’t go all the way to the top but the view is still amazing and we got to see the sunrise. A Park Ranger will be there to ensure no one passes the chains bc it’s a federal violation that comes with a $5k fine. Many people touching the chains = spread of COVID. I do not recommend this hike if you are afraid of hights. There will be an area of the hike where there are no barriers on either side & all you have are the chains to hold on to. Wear shoes with excellent grip for this hike.
Level of difficulty: strenuous. It’s incline the entire time with switchbacks (refer to images).
Distance: 2.5 mi.
Elevation: 5,790 ft.
Zion Canyon Overlook
Best hike for kids and older folks. There is slight incline on some areas but you’ll walk through a very cool cave! Short hike AND a nice view in the end! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Total time to hike will probably be around 1 hour depending on how much time you spend at the top.
Level of difficulty: easy.
Distance: 1 mi.