There’s no shortage of things to see and do during your visit to Zion National Park. One of the most popular is to take a hike.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker eager to try one of the park’s famous trails or are looking for a more relaxing way to explore the park on foot, keep reading. We’re bringing you the top 5 hikes in Zion National Park.
1. Angels Landing
Perhaps the most famous trail in all of Zion, the hike to Angels Landing is a bucket-list hike for adventurers around the world. But while this beautiful hike rewards brave travelers with some of the best views in the park, it isn’t for everyone and isn’t a trail that you should take on without some careful planning and preparation.
Besides being one of the most famous trails in the nation, Angels Landing holds another title; one of the most dangerous trails in the U.S. While that title mainly refers to the last half-mile of the trail, it can be dangerous before that, too.
On busy days, the trail may get crowded. Near the top, where the trail gets narrow, as well as at the trailhead, this can lead to crowds and lines, leaving hikers standing out in sometimes triple-digit temperatures. Add in the 21 tight, steep switchbacks — referred to as Walter’s Wiggles — and you’ve got a recipe for heatstroke and exhaustion if you haven’t packed plenty of water.
If you get past Walter’s Wiggles without turning back, the next portion of the trail is certain to get your heart pumping. For around a half-mile, the trail travels along a narrow spine on a ridgeline. While not for the faint of heart, there are chain link handrails to help you stay steady.
If you have your heart set on hiking Angels Landing during your trip, make sure that you’re prepared ahead of time. Get to the trailhead early to avoid the crowds and give yourself more time to complete your hike.
2. Canyon Overlook Trail
Angels Landing is far from the only option for those looking to experience some stunning views of Zion Canyon. Canyon Overlook Trail is an easy-to-moderate hike that’s just one mile in length. Starting just off of Highway 9, east of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, this trail is a great option for families, those in a hurry, or anyone not up to the more strenuous Angels Landing trail.
Canyon Overlook Trail is ideal for hikers of all ages and experience levels. You’ll climb just 100 feet in elevation on this hike. This hike provides some stunning panoramic views of the rest of the park, so don’t forget your camera!
3. Riverside Walk
Another leisurely trail that’s perfect for spending a relaxing afternoon is the Riverside Walk. This 2.2-mile round trip hike is rated “easy,” making it a great hike for visitors young and old. Unlike the Canyon Overlook Trail, which will largely leave you exposed to the hot sun, the Riverside Walk offers some much-welcomed shade on a hot summer day.
On this trail, you’ll follow the Virgin River all the way to where the famous Narrows Trail begins. The trail is paved, though the trail can be uneven for strollers or wheelchairs. This trail is particularly beautiful during the fall when the leaves on the trees along the river begin to change.
4. The Narrows
Rivaling Angels Landing in popularity, The Narrows is well-known, but not for its height. Instead, what makes this trail unique is that hikers will have to wade through the cool waters of the Virgin River for a large portion of their journey,
While this trail might not be steep, it is lengthy. The full hike is 16-miles in total one way. The trail begins at the end of the Riverside Walk, so you’ll need to stroll that first. From then, get ready to get your feet wet as you begin your walk up the Virgin River.
The Narrows can be hiked in either direction. If you’re not up for the full 16-mile trek, don’t fret — you can turn around after any amount of hiking to get back. For hikers looking to complete the full trail, you’ll want to plan ahead to camp overnight. If you’re hiking any time other than the summer, you may want to consider renting a wetsuit or waders to make the hike through the chilly water safer and more comfortable.
5. Pa’Rus Trail
For visitors looking for an easy, accessible trail, Pa’Rus Trail is a great choice. This easy hike is 3.5 miles roundtrip and allows for a few more activities than the other trails in the park. This means you can bike and even walk your pet along this mostly shaded trail.
The Pa’Rus Trail starts near the visitor center. After hopping off the shuttle there, cross the road to Watchman’s Campground, and then look for the bridge. Over that bridge is the start of the trail. You can also access the trail from Shuttle Stop #3. If you’re visiting during the winter months when the shuttle is closed, you can park in the lot at the Visitor’s Center instead.
Planning Your Next Visit to Zion National Park
Whether you’re planning to brave the heat for a summer visit or the cold in the winter, or are lucky enough to be planning a visit during the shoulder seasons, you’ll definitely want to plan some time for hiking during your time in Zion. These 5 trails offer options for experienced hikers and those brand new to the sport.