Explore the Stunning Scenery of Zion National Park on These Top Hikes
Utah’s Zion National Park is a great destination for hiking. With beautiful surroundings and a true wilderness feel (even if you happen to be surrounded by tourists), it’s not hard to have an incredible time hiking, regardless of whether you’re on a leisurely stroll or taking advantage of the park’s more difficult offerings.
Zion has trails for every kind of visitor, from families with small children to thrill-seeking adventurers. You’ll find easy hikes on our list including paved trails that are wheelchair and stroller accessible, longer hikes that are a lot more strenuous, and even a couple of overnight trips. We’ve also made sure to include the trails in Zion that often make hiker’s bucket lists, such as the Zion Narrows and the Subway.
Zion Canyon is the most visited part of the park. This area offers easy, moderate and strenuous hikes, so many of our listed trails are located in this section of the park. Some of the more strenuous hikes are in the outlying areas, however. Many hikes are only accessible by the park shuttle from spring to fall, so we’ve listed the appropriate shuttle stop for each hike. Due to park conditions, trail closures often occur, so check the park website before your trip to make sure you aren’t disappointed.
While hiking the trails of Zion National Park is an unforgettable experience, the environment in the park can be quite harsh at times. Each year many people are rescued from the park, so make sure to take careful precautions and heed all warnings before heading out on your hike.
With all that in mind, here are the Zion National Park hikes we recommend.
There are a number of easy hikes in Zion National Park. Many are great for kids and some are even wheelchair accessible with a bit of assistance. All of the following hikes are a great way to experience the nature and culture of Zion National Park in less than three-and-half miles and without gaining more than 100 feet in elevation. They are also great hikes for those who want to do a bit of hiking in Zion but don’t have much time.
Pa’rus Trail is three-and-a-half-mile paved trail that winds from South Campground alongside the Virgin River to Canyon Junction. The trail is accessible by wheelchair with some assistance and by stroller. The trail has the distinction of being the only trail in the park that allows leashed pets and bicycles.
Before you start on your hike, be sure to take a stop at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to use the restroom and fill your water bottle. You can find the trailhead from the Visitor Center shuttle stop (Shuttle Stop #1). It’s just up the canyon from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and across the bridge next to South Campground. You can also access this trail from the Canyon Junction stop (Shuttle Stop #3) or a short connector trail from the Museum stop (Shuttle Stop #2). Be aware, however, that this short connector trail is not accessible by wheelchair, bikes or pets.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Virgin River Nature Trail
The Virgin River Nature Trail is another trail that’s easily accessible from the Visitor Center (Shuttle Stop #1). The trailhead is right near the restrooms and the trail is a short paved path that is both stroller and wheelchair accessible. It is perfect for elderly visitors, small children, or anyone who can’t walk very far but wants to experience the park.
The highlight of the trail is the easy access to the Virgin River where you’ll see people stopping to relax and stick their feet in the refreshing water.
Regardless of whether you are going out for the afternoon or multiple days, there are certain pieces of hiking gear you need to keep in your pack.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Lower Emerald Pool Trail
This 1.2-mile trail is accessed by the path across the road from Zion Lodge (Shuttle Stop #5). The trail is fairly easy and flat, which makes it good for families with kids. It is mostly paved, although there are some minor drop-offs and you may need help in spots if you are traveling with a stroller.
The trail leads to the Lower Emerald Pool and some waterfalls, and also provides access to the Upper Emerald Pool and Kayenta Trails. Swimming is never permitted in the Emerald Pools. You can find stations to fill your water bottles as well as restrooms near the trailhead at the Zion Lodge.