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A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park

12.05.18

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A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
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  • The view from the end of Canyon View Trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Clear Creek Canyon.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • The chains are REALLY usefull in some spots. Hidden Canyon Trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Emerald Pools Trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Many Pools Hike is a freestyle slickrock trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Pine Creek Waterfall.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Strange symbols on the rocks at Petroglyph Canyon.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Climber on a wall adjacent to Angels Landing.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • The path out to Angels Landing.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • The Narrows.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Long downhill on the Trans-Zion Trek.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Beautiful view from the bottom of the Subway section looking back up the trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • A full subway tunnel effect. This is as far as you can go without gear.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • The Subway.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Views from Observation Point are breathtaking.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Expansive views of Zion from Cable Mountain.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • West Rim Trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • A western buttress of the Towers of the Virgin. Chinle Trail.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • Wide view of Kolob Arch.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
  • The beautiful double arch up Taylor Creek.- A Complete Guide to Hiking in Zion National Park
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Pro Contributor

We have seen a massive rise in attendance numbers in Zion National Park over the last few years. The most popular hikes have become inundated with people, even during the traditional off-season. Our goal with this list is to help people learn about the many overlooked hikes, routes and trails that can alleviate some of the pressure on the iconic ones as well as give repeat visitors a chance to try something new. There is something for everyone at this gorgeous park with hikes for all skill levels and abilities, so don't let the crowds get in the way of your desert dreams, and see if you can find one that is right for you!

  • Pa'rus Trail: This paved and very easy pathway takes you from the South Campground to Canyon Junction and is less than 2 miles each way. It is a great walk to do with small children, but it still gives you some nice sights to behold.
  • Riverside Walk: Another paved trail that takes you along with Virgin River from the Temple of Sinawava near the start of the Narrows. With only 1 mile each way and almost no elevation change, both this and the Pa'rus Trail are ADA accessible.
  • Watchman Trail: Starting off east of the Watchman Campground, this 2-mile round-trip trek gives you great views of the iconic rock structure near the entrance of the park as well as views of the town of Springdale and Oak Creek Canyon.
  • Weeping Rock Trail: An extremely short trail that takes you to a wall of sandstone that has water trickling down and through its cracks. At only a half mile round trip, it's another great option for those who can not handle long hikes.
  • Hidden Canyon: You can start out on this 2-mile round-trip hike at the Weeping Rock Trailhead, but it may not be a good choice if you are afraid of heights. The steep drop-offs can be nerve-racking for some, just like many hikes in this park.
  • Pine Creek Waterfall: A beautiful and easy-to-access waterfall awaits those who know where to look. This trail is under a mile round trip, but it does require a small amount of rock scrambling.
  • Petroglyph Canyon: Another hard-to-find and almost unknown location, this short hike takes you to an amazing set of Fremont petroglyphs. Start your hike about 2.5 miles east of the Mount Caramel Junction and make your way to the historical site in the canyon.
  • Emerald Pools: A series of three beautiful pools fed by water trapped by the canyons above with succulents growing out of the sandstone walls. To see all three pools you will complete a 3-mile family-friendly hike that is paved along the lower portion.
  • Many Pool Hike: The route-finding slickrock trek is great for people trying to get away from crowds on official trails. Enjoy the rock hopping and solitude as you make your way to the pools, which are usually filled in the spring time.
  • Canyon View Trail (Canyon Overlook): An incredible view of lower Zion Canyon and Pine Creek Canyon sits at the end of this short but rocky trail. This 1-mile round-trip trail begins just east of the long tunnel on the Mount Caramel Highway. It is very popular, so make sure to get there early!
  • Clear Creek Hike: Starting from the Canyon View Trailhead, this hike is great because you can easily come in and out of the canyon at several places and have a lot of options on length. Walk through a sandy wash with beautiful, wide slot canyons hugging your route.
  • The Narrows (bottom up from the Temple of Sinawava): 1,000-foot cliffs soar above as you make your way in knee deep water up the Virgin River with a walking stick. A unique and surreal experience that could only happen in the desert of Utah. The day hike version starts at the Temple of Sinawava, is an out-and-back at your own discretion and does not require a permit.
  • The Narrows (top to bottom from Chamberlain's Ranch): This multi-day hike down the Narrows is a 16-mile trek of epic proportions. Twelve campsites exist at the halfway point, and permits are required.
  • Angels Landing: The most recognizable hike in the park and a huge draw for people from across the U.S. and the globe. Use chains attached to the sandstone to hold yourself to the walls as you make your final approach to the landing before you get the view of a lifetime. The 5-mile round-trip hike is not very long, but it does have some steep elevation gains.
  • The Subway: Probably the most unusual natural feature in a park chock full of them. The Lower Subway and its cylindrical tube-like rock can be reached without canyoneering gear, but it is required for going much past it.
  • Observation Point: Considered a lesser-known but longer version of Angels Landing, this 8-mile round-trip hike takes you through Echo Canyon on your way to a jaw-dropping vista. This trailhead also gives you access to Cable Mountain and Deertrap Mountain Trails.
  • East Rim to Cable Mountain: The daunting 18-mile round-trip hike has not gained the notoriety of many of the other hikes in the park, and that is part of the charm. As you make your way to the incredible views, look for the remains of the cable system that hauled up timber and supplies and gave the mountain its name.
  • West Rim Trail: This massive trail can be done in several different ways and in varying lengths depending on your trailhead. Lava Point starts hikers out northwest of the park and takes them all the way to Angels Landing. There are several sites where you can overnight along the 14-mile shuttle-required route.
  • Trans-Zion Trek: As the name implies, this route is the most comprehensive way to see Zion National Park in all its glory. Experience four different climate zones along this 35-mile one-way shuttle route. Load up on your water during this four-day journey, because holes are hard to find. This is the most intense and rewarding route the park has to offer.
  • Chinle Trail: The long and sandy Chinle Trail starts just outside of the park but takes you within the boundaries of the Zion Wilderness and the national park. Look for the petrified forest about 3 miles into the 15-mile round-trip hike. There are also backcountry sites available.
  • Timber Creek Trail: A short hike in the Kolob Canyon prefecture of Zion National Park gives you stunning views of  the face of the Kolob Canyon cliffsides. With less people than the normal section of the park, the trails here can be a nice change for people already familiar with Zion proper.
  • Taylor Creek Trail: This 5-mile round-trip hike takes you along desert varnished sandstone and historic cabins not to far from the entrance of the Kolob Canyon prefecture. Light rains make for great small waterfalls, but stay away during heavy rains because of potential flash floods.
  • Kolob Arch Trail: The namesake hike of the Kolob Canyon prefecture of Zion National Park, this long but flat and non-technical trail takes you to the massive, soaring Kolob Arch. Several trailheads access this area from different ends of the wilderness area, but the most common route will take 14 miles of total walking to reach and return.
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