You could take in the changing leaves with a scenic drive this season. But there’s no better way to experience fall in Zion National Park than with a hike.
Hiking Zion is a great way to get up close and personal to the brilliant display of colors that arrive in the Canyon this time of year. Planning a visit to Zion this fall? Keep reading to learn a few hikes you might want to add to your itinerary.
1. Riverside Walk
Looking for an easy hike that’s family-friendly? Head to Riverside Walk. To get there via the Zion Canyon Shuttle, plan to hop off at the last shuttle stop, also called the Temple of Sinawava. This 2-mile round trip hike is paved and is relatively flat for the entire length, making it wheelchair and stroller friendly.
Thanks to its location deep with the Zion Canyon, this trail is framed by towering red rock cliffs. You’ll wind your way into the canyon, meeting up with the Virgin River and following it deeper into the canyon. At the end of this trail, where you’ll turn around to head back to the parking lot and shuttle stop, the trail joins up with the famous Zion Narrows hike. If you’re planning to continue on, you’ll be getting your feet wet; the trail heads into the Virgin River from here.
The Riverside Walk offers some rare shade and a chance to see wildlife and foliage all year long. But it’s particularly beautiful in the fall. The changing leaves are stunning against the backdrop of the red rock cliffs and colorful rocks that line the Virgin River.
2. Angels Landing
Angels Landing is one of Zion — and the southwest’s — most well-known and popular hikes. From the peak of Angels Landing, at an elevation of more than 5,700 feet, you’ll have a chance to take in the entirety of the Zion Canyon far below. During the fall, this view is particularly stunning.
But while this might be one of the best fall hikes to take, it isn’t for the faint of heart or the ill-prepared. This hike is over 5-miles long, with elevation changes of 1,500 feet. At the top, you’ll be perched on a ridge with steep drop-offs on either side, with only a chain-link handrail to hold onto. If you plan to check this trail off your bucket list, make sure that you plan ahead and prepare for this hike.
3. Canyon Overlook Trail
Angels Landing might not be the best choice for new hikers or families with children. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some incredible bird’s eye views of Zion Canyon. Canyon Overlook Trail is located in the upper canyon. It’s just 1-mile in length and rated easy to moderate, making it a better choice for those with less hiking experience or anyone looking for a quick hike.
Because it is located in the upper canyon, the Zion Canyon Shuttle doesn’t stop at the trailhead. There is a parking lot, but keep in mind that this trail can get busy during popular times of the year, and the lot may fill in the middle of the day. With its shorter length and incredible views, this is a great trail to hike to enjoy the sunset in the canyon as well! You’ll definitely want to pack your camera if you’re planning to hike the Canyon Overlook Trail.
4. Taylor Creek Trail
Want to avoid the crowds on popular fall weekends in Zion? Head to Kolob Canyons. This lesser-known section of the park isn’t connected to the rest of the park and sees far fewer visitors each year.
While there are plenty of trails to enjoy in Kolob Canyon, Taylor Creek Trail is one of the best this time of year. This trail is 5-miles round trip, but with far less elevation change than Angels Landing. You’ll pass through a variety of landscapes during your hike, including a narrow box canyon and a quiet walk along tree-lined Taylor Creek. This is a great chance to see the many faces of fall in the region.
One unique feature of this trail is the two historic cabins located along it. Both cabins were built by settlers who came to the area in the early 1930s.
5. Observation Point
For hikers who want a challenge similar to Angels Landing but with fewer other visitors hiking it, head to Observation Point. This rugged hike is 8-miles long and climbs more than 2,300 feet in elevation. Most hikers complete the trail in under 6 hours, though this can vary depending on your speed and experience level.
The hike is lined with trees from start to finish, making for some incredible views during the fall months when the leaves change. While you might not be hiking the famous landmark, you will enjoy some great views of Angels Landing while hiking Observation Point.
Planning a Fall Visit to Zion National Park
Not up for hiking, or looking for some other ideas for spending your next visit to Zion? There’s no shortage of other ways to experience the region, without having to lace up your hiking boots. Off-roading, a scenic drive, or even stargazing are all great activities to enjoy all year long.
There’s no denying that fall is a great time to plan a visit to Zion National Park. From the changing leaves to the cooler temperatures, if you’ve only ever visited during the summer months, you’re missing out.
Ready to start planning a fall visit to Southern Utah? Book your stay at The Dwellings today!