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16 EPIC HIKES in ZION NATIONAL PARK (+ Helpful Tips & Photos)

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best hikes zion national park
Best Hikes in Zion National Park

Zion National Park Hikes

I have spent more time hiking in Zion than I can count so it brings me great joy to finally be writing about the best hikes in Zion National Park. Where to begin!

In 2015 I was part of a small film crew that shot a film on Zion National Park – it was my job to find all of the most beautiful places in the park. As a result of that, I’ve hiked nearly every trail in Zion and have some pretty epic photos of each spot.

I’ll be including all the popular Zion hikes inside of the main canyon AND some incredible hikes you’ve never heard of that have a tiny fraction of the crowds and are just as amazing.

Let’s dive in!

WATCH: Visually Stunning 4 minute journey through Zion National Park

Things to Know Before You Hike in Zion National Park

Entrance Fees: $30 per vehicle OR if you plan to visit more National Parks within the next 12 months I suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass (which can be found at the entrance gates to most national parks). This pass gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.

Sunscreen: Use it. Lots of it. Especially this one which I never leave the house without because it plays nice with our dear friend, earth 🙂

Gas: There are a plethora of fuel options in Springdale right outside of the main canyon so fueling up in Zion is not as much of a concern.

Cell Service is spotty in the park but there is some sporadically outside of Zion canyon.

The Best Guide Book: James Kaiser is the proverbial bees knees in this department. I love all of his National Park guides and his Zion Guide Book is no exception.

The Best Map: I like this map best for Zion National Park.

Water: Drink it. Lots of it. Don’t forget it in the car.

The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park is during the fall to see all of the cottonwood trees turn a vibrant yellow. If you can’t make it during Autumn, try Spring as a second best time. Summer is extremely hot in Zion and in Winter is surprisingly cold.

Food options are abound in the Zion area with several major cities surrounding the park like Springfield and Cedar City. As far as options inside the park go, visitors are limited to the Red Rock Grill restaurant & seasonal Castle Dome Cafe near Zion Lodge.

Getting to Zion National Park

las vegas to zion
Las Vegas to Zion Map

There are many ways to get to Zion National Park. One of the most popular is flying into Las Vegas and making the 2.5 hour drive to the park. The second closest major city is Salt Lake City at 4.5 hours away.

Which Zion National Park Hikes Are CLOSED Due to the Rock Fall

On August 24, 2019, a major rock fall occurred in Zion National Park closing some of the most popular trails. What happened is a massive piece of sandstone broke off the face of Cable Mountain causing a significant rock slide.

This rock slide shut off the access to the last portion of the Weeping Rock trail including access to Observation Point.

As a result, the free Zion National Park Shuttle no longer stops at the Weeping Rock station and many of those hikes are closed.

Hikes in Zion National Park Currently CLOSED:

  • Weeping Rock Trail (CLOSED)
  • Observation Point via Weeping Rock (CLOSED)
  • Observation Point via East Rim Trail (CLOSED)
  • Hidden Canyon Trail (CLOSED)
  • Hidden Canyon via East Rim Trail (CLOSED)

Best Hikes Zion National Park

narrows zion national park
Me hiking the narrows | Best Hikes Zion National Park

1. The Narrows Hike

  • Distance: 16 miles (but most only hike the first few miles which are incredible)
  • Elevation: Minimal
  • Time: Depends (typically a 2-4 hours)
  • Difficulty: Easy (depending on how far you go)

The Narrows is one of the absolute coolest hikes in Zion National Park and the entire national park system for that matter.

Hiking the Narrows

Hikers hike, walk, and wade through a narrow canyon of massive red rock canyon walls where the Virgin River has been at work for millions of years.

The total hike is 16 miles long but most folks only do the first few which are incredible. You’ll need some good water shoes for this hike and a hiking pole is recommended although most folks go without (water shoes can be rented in Springdale at a number of places).

The deepest the water gets is about 3-4ft but most of the hike is in ankle deep water.

Angels Landing Zion National park
Angels Landing Hike | Zion National Park

2. Angels Landing Hike

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation: 1500 feet
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking Angels Landing

Angel’s Landing is the most popular, well-known hike in Zion National Park leading to one of the most iconic views in all the National Park system. The Angel’s Landing trail is a steep 5 miles with about 1,500ft of elevation gain.

This hike is not for acraphobics or the faint of heart as one section of the trail involves holding onto a chain bolted onto a cliff side with sheer drop offs.

zion national park more than just parks
Canyon Overlook Trail | Best Hikes Zion National Park

3. Canyon Overlook Hike

  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Elevation: Minimal
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hiking Canyon Overlook

Canyon Overlook is one of the most spectacular and relatively easy to access overlooks in all of Zion National Park. Located on the Zion Mt. Carmel (East) side of the park, the Canyon Overlook Trail is a popular one.

The trail itself is about a mile round trip with little elevation gain. Hikers will be rewarded with sweeping views of Zion National Park.

timber creek trail zion national park hikes
Sunset from Timber Creek Overlook Trail | Best Hikes Zion

4. Timber Creek Overlook Trail

  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Elevation: 100 feet
  • Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hiking Timber Creek Overlook Trail

The Timber Creek Overlook Trail is perhaps the most overlooked (pun intended) trail in all of Zion National Park. The sweeping panoramic views of Kolob Canyon are absolutely breathtaking and with a tiny fraction of the visitors of most of the other hikes in the park.

Located in the Kolob Canyon section of the park (separate entrance from Springdale located off I-15 to the north) Timber Creek Overlook Trail is located at the end of the East Kolob Canyon Road.

kolob canyon zion national park
Kolob Canyon in the Snow

The hike itself is easy and offers incredible views of Kolob Canyon at 1 mile round trip with just 100 feet of elevation gain.

Interested in visiting all the Utah Mighty 5 National Parks? Read our Utah National Parks article!

observation point trail zion national park best hikes
Best Hikes Zion National Park (courtesy NPS)

5. Observation Point (via East Mesa Trail)

  • Distance: 7 miles (or 9 without using the treacherous road)
  • Elevation: 700 feet
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Status: One route open

Hiking to Observation Point

Observation Point is one of the best hikes in all of Zion National Park offering what some argue are the most epic views in the entire park. The best views are available from the top of the hike and look down the main Zion Canyon revealing a true “land before time” landscape.

There are three trail options for getting to Observation Point itself, only one of which is currently open to hikers due to a major rock fall.

  • (OPEN) Observation Point via East Mesa Trail
  • (CLOSED) Observation Point via East Rim Trail
  • (CLOSED) Observation Point via Weeping Rock Trail

Currently the only way to access the trail to Observation Point is through the Eastern side of Zion through Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort (privately owned) and BLM land.

I HIGHLY recommend parking at Zion Ranch (only $5) and taking the shuttle to the trailhead rather than driving your own vehicle. The road is extremely treacherous, even for tricked out 4WD jeeps.

The trail is actually lovely with gentle elevation gain over several miles. There is also plenty of shade on this trail (surprisingly) but be sure to pack enough water, especially in Summer months when heat exhaustion is all too common.

At the end you’ll reach Observation Point with relatively minimal effort, one of the best views in Zion National Park.

This is currently the only way to get to Observation Point due to a major rock fall in the the park.

kolob canyon, best hikes zion national park
La Verkin Creek Trail | Best Hikes in Zion National Park

6. La Verkin Creek Trail

  • Distance: 14 miles
  • Elevation: 1000 feet
  • Time: 8-10 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Hiking La Verkin Creek

If you’re looking for an uncrowded hike in Zion National Park, La Verkin Creek Trail is a great choice. This hike sees far fewer hikers each year than most trails in Zion National Park entering into the primitive Zion Wilderness area.

The highlight of the La Verkin Creek Trail is Kolob Arch (one of the world’s largest natural arches) which can be viewed up close off a spur trail about 7 miles into the hike.

7. Weeping Rock

  • Distance: .4 miles
  • Elevation: 100 feet
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Status: CLOSED

Hiking Weeping Rock

The Weeping Rock Trail is a favorite hike in Zion National Park for many offering beautiful views of the famous Weeping Rock. Weeping Rock is a small rock alcove with water dripping from an overhang.

The trail is short but steep at points but overall relatively easy for all age groups.

Due to a major rock fall this trail is closed until further notice.

Lower Emerald Pools Trail, Zion National Park Hikes
Lower Emerald Pool | Zion National Park Hikes

8. Lower Emerald Pool Trail

  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation: Minimal
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hiking Lower Emerald Pool Zion

Lower Emerald Pool Trail is one of the most recently paved trails in Zion National Park offering greatly improved accessibility for hikers. The trail was re-opened in 2017 after damage was sustained from a large rock fall.

Hiking to Lower Emerald Pool is relatively easy at 1.2 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain. The pool itself features some nice little waterfalls and beautiful canyon scenery.

hop valley trail zion national park utah things to do
Hiking the Hop Valley Trail in Zion National Park

9. Hop Valley Trail

  • Distance: 6.6 miles (point to point) or 13.2 round trip
  • Elevation: 1000 feet
  • Time: 3 hours (each way)
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult

Hiking Zion’s Hop Valley Trail

The Hop Valley Trail is one of Zion’s finest starting in the Kolob Terrace region of the park and taking hikers into the spectacular Kolob Canyon.

Along the way you’ll see beautiful valley scenery with fields and meados transform into breathtaking red rock canyons.

This hike should not be attempted without adequate preparation. The round trip hike back to the Hop Valley Trailhead is over 13 miles so make sure you have a plan for someone to pick you up if you’re doing the point to point hike!

taylor creek trail zion national park hikes
View from the Taylor Creek Trail in Winter | Zion National Park Best Hikes

10. Taylor Creek Trail

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation: 500 feet
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking Taylor Creek in Zion

Taylor Creek is a wonderful hike in the Kolob Canyon region of Zion National Park leading hikers into a narrow, beautiful canyon toward Double Arch Alcove.

There are two historic cabins located on this hike which are worth checking out. Both were built in the 1930s with fir logs – the Larson cabin and the Fife cabin.

The hike follows Taylor Creek and offers hikers plenty of shade and areas to rest. At 5 miles round trip and 500 feet elevation gain the hike is rated as moderate. Double Arch Alcove marks the end of the hike.

Plan for at least 3 hours for this hike.

lava point trail zion national park hikes
Lava Point at Sunset | Zion National Park Hikes

11. Lava Point Overlook

  • Distance: .3 miles
  • Elevation: Minimal
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hiking to Lava Point Overlook

Lava Point Overlook isn’t as much of a hike as it is a short walk from the Lava Point Parking Lot to the overlook. The hike is one of the shortest n Zion National Park and one of the most beautiful.

lava point overlook zion national park
Lava Point Overlook Trail | Best Zion National Park Hikes

Lava Point is a spectacular overlook located in the Kolob Terrace region of Zion National Park. Here you’ll find less crowds, more solace, and just as much beauty albeit of a different variety than what you’ll see in the canyons.

I highly recommend Lava Point at sunset as I believe it’s the best place in all of Zion to watch the sun fade away.

hidden canyon zion national park
Best Hikes Zion National Park

12. Hidden Canyon (via Weeping Rock Trail)

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Elevation: 850 feet
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Hiking Hidden Canyon

Hidden Canyon is a very popular hike located in the main canyon of Zion National Park. Hikers ascend nearly 1000ft up the side of the canyon wall to get into a smaller “hidden” canyon with sandy paths.

There are two ways to access Hidden Canyon, both are currently closed due to a rock fall.

  • Hidden Canyon via Weeping Rock Trail (CLOSED)
  • Hidden Canyon via East Rim Trail (CLOSED)

Due to a major rock fall this trail is closed until further notice.

the subway hike zion national park
Hiking the Subway | Best Hikes Zion National Park (courtesy NPS)

13. The Subway (Left Fork, Bottom Up)

  • Distance: 9 miles
  • Elevation: 1300 feet
  • Time: 6-10 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Hiking to The Subway in Zion

Hiking the left fork of the Subway in Zion National Park is one of the most coveted, bucket list hikes in America offering spectacular, up-close viewing of one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the world.

NOTE: Hiking to the Subway always requires a permit via a lottery system. The cost is $5. The lucky few who win permits must also check in at the Wilderness Desk of the Zion National Park Visitor Center to obtain the actual permit.

The “trail” to the Subway follows the left fork of North Creek and frequently is in the creek itself meaning be prepared to get wet in this water (it’s cold).

Be sure to have waterproof shoes and/or a game plan for having wet feet.

The hike starts at the left fork trailhead in the Kolob Terrace part of the park. First up, a 400 foot descent or so meaning you’ll have a nice steep ascent on the way back “up”.

The trail eventually hits the creek bed where I highly recommend bringing something bright and visible to tie onto a tree so you’ll remember where the way out is.

From here, “simply” follow the creek up to the subway. This will involve scrambling over rocks, climbing around beautiful cascading waterfalls, and passing by ancient dinosaur tracks.

The Subway itself is quite small but with endless photo opportunities. Be respectful of the other folks there and try to stay as quiet as possible in the Subway to preserve the grandeur of this special place.

west rim trail zion national park hikes
View from the West Rim Trail | Zion National Park Hikes

14. West Rim Trail (via Lava Point)

  • Distance: 19 miles (or however long you want to go)
  • Elevation: 1500 feet
  • Time: 9-11 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Hiking the West Rim Trail

The West Rim Trail offers hikers in Zion National Park the rare opportunity of solace in a place so crowded with eager visitors. The trail is long but can be used as a shorter out & back hike for a great afternoon hike (which is what I usually do).

The scenery on the West Rim Trail is dramatically different than what you see in the photos of Zion offering visitors a unique, unexpected, and uncrowded experience.

the watchman zion national park
The Watchman Overlook from the Pa’rus Trail | Zion National Park Hikes

15. Pa’rus Trail

  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation: Minimal
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hiking the Pa’rus Trail

The Pa’rus Trail is considered to be one of the easiest and most pleasant hikes in Zion National Park offering great views for minimal effort. The trail is paved and handicap accessible following the Zion River.

At 3.5 miles long with minimal elevation the Pa’rus Trail is great for kids and families of all ages. One of the most famous views in Zion National Park of the Watchman can be achieved from this hike.

pine creek gorge slot canyon
Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon | Best Hikes Zion National Park

16. Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon

The Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon is one of the most popular technical canyoneering spots in Zion National Park. If you’re not up for technical rappelling then  no problem!

Drive toward the east entrance a bit and find another part of the Pine Creek Gorge to hike around. The creek bed is long and provides lots of great entry points for hikers.

Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon Zion National Park
Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon | Best Hikes Zion

I love this hike as a lesser-traveled and beautiful look into the east side of Zion National Park.

List of the Best Zion National Park Hikes

  1. The Narrows Hike
  2. Angels Landing Hike
  3. Canyon Overlook Hike
  4. Timber Creek Hike
  5. Observation Point Hike
  6. La Verkin Creek Hike
  7. Weeping Rock Hike
  8. Lower Emerald Pool Hike
  9. Hop Valley Hike
  10. Taylor Creek Hike
  11. Lava Point Hike
  12. Hidden Canyon Hike
  13. The Subway Hike
  14. West Rim Hike
  15. Pa’rus Trail Hike
  16. Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon Hike

Map of Zion National Park Hikes

Summary of Zion National Park Hikes

zion national park utah, pattiz brothers
Jim (left) and Will (right) in Zion National Park

That’s a wrap folks! If you enjoyed this post about the best hikes in Zion National Park please leave us a comment below!

Further Reading (Best Zion National Park Hikes)

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Will Pattiz

Co-founder of More Than Just Parks. Husband. Conservationist. Currently living in NYC.

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