Zion holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans, making the southern Utah gem the third most traveled national park in the U.S. Over 4.5 million visitors toured Zion in 2017. People from around the world flock to see sandstone cliffs rise thousands of feet into the air, and you should not be an exception. If you have a long weekend coming up, consider some of our favorite adventures you'll find in Zion National Park.
Let's get the popular stuff out of the way while getting used to the area. If you don't mind getting your feet wet (and maybe a little cold), grab your favorite water-loving footwear and jump on that earliest of buses out to the Temple of Sinawava. The Narrows is a unique adventure you will never forget, and this is a great way to start the trip.
If you want to stay dry or its just too cold that day, head over to the world-famous Angels Landing. Being one of the more exposed trails in the park, it's a great place to soak up some sun on a chilly spring or autumn day. Just like the Narrows, this trail can be crowded, but that's because they are both are amazing and worth doing regardless of how popular they have become.
You can make reservations at only one campground in Zion. The Watchmen Campground has a wide selection of RV sites with hookups along with tent-only sites, and it is right in the thick of the action, so it's a great place to grab a night within the park.
The Subway is another iconic sight that many people have grown to love through the work of landscape photographers over the last several decades. The unusual tunnel effect and the cascading water come together to create an other-worldly piece of scenery. You won't need any special gear or expertise to do the lower section of the trail, unlike the upper subway. You will need a permit, though, so make sure you plan ahead.
If you didn't end up getting permits, consider doing some of these great trails that are much shorter and easier to access. The Emerald Pools, Clear Creek and the Watchmen Trail are all about 2 to 3 miles long and perfect for families of all ages.
One helpful tip: While reserved sites can fill quickly at South Campground, you may find some luck with a first-come, first-served site if you arrive early enough in the day. Look for people packing up between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. to give yourself the best chance.
Time to head over to the lesser known trails in the northern portion of the park known as Kolob Canyon. Here you'll enjoy lighter crowds and the chance to soak in the landscape with limited distractions. If you are looking for a nice long trek to end the vacation, check out the namesake arch, which is also the world's second largest arch, along the Kolob Arch Trail. If your legs have had it by this point you can check out Taylor Creek with its historic cabins and double arch finale. The 5-mile round trip hike along Taylor Creek is much shorter than Kolob's 14-mile journey, so you have two great choices in terms of distance, features, and landscape.