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Zion National Park Itinerary: How to Spend 1 to 6 Days in Zion

Julie Last updated: January 24, 2024 United States 77 Comments

Zion National Park Itinerary Travel Guide

If you are planning your Zion National Park itinerary, this is a great place to start.

Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. This relatively small park is packed with some of the most thrilling hikes in the United States. From the awe-inspiring hike up Angels Landing to the bucket list-worthy Zion Narrows to the family friendly Riverside Walk, there is something here for everyone.

In this post, get all of the information you need to plan your Zion National Park itinerary. This includes the top hikes, the best viewpoints, how to get around, where to stay, and where to eat.

Let’s get started!

With high crowd levels, trail closures, and high levels of cyanobacteria in the Virgin River, Zion can be a challenging park to visit right now. If you are planning a visit to Zion, make sure you read our post 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Zion to avoid any unfortunate surprises.

Table of Contents

Zion National Park: A Quick Geography Lesson

There are two sections to Zion National Park: the “main section” of the park, which is located along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and Kolob Canyons.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is the main road that runs through Zion National Park. It starts at the Visitor Center and ends at the Temple of Sinawava. It is along this road that you have access to the most popular hikes, such as Angels Landing, the Narrows, and Observation Point.

For most of the year, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles and the Zion Shuttle carries visitors up and down this road. The shuttle is included with your entrance fee into the park.

Kolob Canyons  is a smaller section of the park that sits to the north of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This area has a few hiking trails and its own visitor center.

There are other hiking trails that start outside of the park, or near the boundary of the park, and end along the Scenic Drive. The Zion Narrows and the West Rim Trail are several examples. These are point-to-point hikes that require some advance planning (more on these later in this post).

Best Things to do in Zion National Park

Without a doubt, hiking is the #1 thing to do in Zion National Park.

For many people, the main reason to plan a trip to Zion is to hike Angels Landing and/or the Narrows.

Important Note: Numerous trails are closed in Zion National Park. Hidden Canyon has a long term closure due to a rockfall and Observation Point cannot be accessed from the Weeping Rock trailhead, because of the same long-term closure due to a rockfall. Visit the National Park Service website for updates. 

Here are 10 great hikes to do in Zion National Park:

1. Weeping Rock: This short but strenuous hike ends at Weeping Rock, a large overhang of rock that is dripping with water.

2. Emerald Pool Trail: This short, popular trail connects two pools of water, Lower Emerald Pool and Upper Emerald Pool. This hike is 1.5 to 3 miles, depending on how far you hike and where you start.

3. Canyon Overlook Trail: For one of the best views in Zion, put this short, fun trail on your list. It is only 1-mile round trip and starts near the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel.

4. Watchman Trail: This short trail starts near the Visitor Center and offers nice views over the southern part of Zion National Park.

5. Riverside Walk: This paved path is a beautiful walk that is perfect for all ages and ability levels. It is 2.2 miles round trip and ends at the Virgin River.

Riverside Walk Zion

Riverside Walk | Zion National Park Itinerary

6. Hidden Canyon: This trail is currently closed due to a rockfall but it is one of the most thrilling hikes in Zion. Sections of this hike are similar to Angels Landing, with vertigo-inducing trails that come with chains to help you keep your balance. This trail does not climb as high or have the panoramic views like Angels Landing, but Hidden Canyon also gets fewer visitors, which makes for pleasant, less crowded experience. It is 3 miles round trip and can be combined with Observation Point.

Zion Itinerary

Hidden Canyon | Zion National Park Itinerary

7. Angels Landing: This is the most popular hike in Zion National Park. The final climb involves scaling a narrow ridge high above the valley floor. With chain-assisted rock scrambling sections and stunning views, this really is a thrilling hike. If you plan to hike to Angels Landing, you must have a permit. Learn more here.

Best Hikes in Zion

Angels Landing Trail | Zion National Park Itinerary

8. Observation Point:  For jaw-dropping views over Zion National Park, it’s hard to beat Observation Point. There are two ways to hike to Observation Point. Currently, you can get here on the East Mesa Trail, a 7 mile hike that starts outside of the park. The main trailhead is currently closed due to a rockfall.

9. The Narrows: Hike in the Virgin River through one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the USA. You can start at the Riverside Walk, hike upriver for several miles, and turn around when you are ready (this is the bottom-up version of the hike). But the ultimate experience is to hike the entire Narrows from the top-down, a journey that is 16 miles long and can be done as an epic day hike or two-day backpacking trip.

If you choose to hike the Narrows from the top-down, you will need to apply for a permit. If you choose to do this over two days, you will also need to apply for a campsite. Visit our Guide to the Narrows for full details on how to do this. 

Zion Hike

The Narrows | Zion National Park Itinerary

10. West Rim Trail: The West Rim Trail is a long-distance hike through Zion National Park. With amazing views, very few hikers on the trail, and a chance to walk the length of Zion National Park, this hike rewards your efforts. The West Rim Trail can be hiked as a long day hike or as a two-day backpacking trip.

You do not need a permit to hike the West Rim Trail. But it is a point-to-point hike, so you will need to arrange a shuttle service in advance. Get the details on how to do this here.  

Best Hikes in Zion

Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway

This winding scenic drive connects the Visitor Center to the east entrance of the park. Along the switchbacks between Canyon Junction and the tunnel you have great views of Zion National Park.

Zion Road

Between the tunnel and the east entrance the landscape is beautiful, with striated sandstone rocks, like those of Checkerboard Mesa. Keep your eye out for Bighorn Sheep.

Zion Mount Carmel Highway

Note: There is $15 fee for oversized vehicles to drive through the tunnel. An oversized vehicle is any vehicle that is 11 feet 4 inches or higher and 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider. If your vehicle is taller than 13 feet 1 inch you cannot pass through the tunnel.

Watch the Sunset from the Canyon Junction Bridge

This is the place to capture the iconic photo of the Virgin River and Watchman peak. Expect big crowds at sunset.

Zion Human History Museum

If you want to learn about the American Indians and the pioneers who lived on this land, then the Zion Human History Museum is worth a visit. It is one of the first stops on the Zion Shuttle.

US National Parks Guide

Best Viewpoints in Zion National Park

If you want a spectacular view of Zion National Park, here are our top 5 viewpoints:

  • Observation Point
  • Angels Landing
  • Canyon Overlook
  • Canyon Junction Bridge
  • West Rim Trail

Canyon Overlook Zion National Park Itinerary

The view from Canyon Overlook Trail | Zion National Park Itinerary

West Rim Trail Zion National Park Itinerary

View from the West Rim Trail | Zion National Park Itinerary

How to Get Around Zion National Park

For most of the year (mid-February through November), the Zion Shuttle is in operation. During this time, private vehicles are not permitted to drive on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

From mid-February through mid-March, the shuttle operates on the weekends and private vehicles are allowed on Zion Canyon Road on the weekdays. The shuttle operates 7 days a week beginning mid-March. For the full schedule and hours of operation, visit the NPS website.

Park at the Visitor Center or take the Springdale Shuttle to the main entrance. You can hop on the shuttle at the Visitor Center and ride it to the Temple of Sinawava. If you are heading into the park to go hiking, make sure you know the correct shuttle stop for your hike.

Starting mid-morning, lines to board the Zion Shuttle can be very long. We are talking an hour wait or longer.  To have the best experience, plan on being on one of the first two shuttles of the day. During peak season and holiday weekends, plan to get in line 30 minutes before the first shuttle. I know that’s early, but if you are planning to hike Angels Landing, you will have a much better experience going early, since you can hike the chain section without two-way traffic. It’s worth the early start!  

If you get to Zion and find that lines to board the shuttle are ridiculously long, there is still plenty to do in Zion without riding the shuttle. Read our article  10 Things to Do in Zion if You Don’t Want to Ride the Shuttle  for more information.

You are permitted to drive from the Visitor Center to the east entrance all year.

When the shuttle is not in operation (December, January, and February) you are permitted drive along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Just be aware that parking is limited so it still helps to get an early start.

There is a second shuttle system, the Springdale Shuttle, that connects the hotels in Springdale with the main entrance of Zion.

Walters Wiggles Zion National Park Itinerary

Walters Wiggles (on the hike to Angels Landing)

How Many Days Do You Need in Zion?

Ideally, you need at least two to three days to visit Zion National Park. This gives you enough time to hike the longer, more popular trails, such as Angels Landing and the Narrows, and you can also add in a few of the shorter, easier trails, such as the Riverside Walk and Canyon Overlook.

When deciding how much time you should spend in Zion, pick out the hikes you want to do. For each big hike (a hike 5 miles or longer), add one day to your itinerary.

If you plan to hike Angels Landing, the Narrows, and Observation Point, you will need three days in Zion.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: I recommend checking the Zion National Park website for updates on trail closures to avoid any surprises. Do this when planning your Zion National Park itinerary and just before your visit.

Angels Landing Zion National Park Itinerary

Angels Landing | Zion National Park Itinerary

A Sample Day in Zion National Park

Start early!! Being on one of the first shuttles is the key to having a great hiking experience in Zion. This will help you avoid the crowds on the trail, which is very important if you plan to hike the Zion Narrows.

In the spring, the first shuttle leaves the Visitor Center at 7 am. In the summer, the first shuttle is at 6 am. I recommend getting in line at least 15 minutes before the first shuttle of the day if you plan to hike Angels Landing or the Narrows. By 8 am, the line can be very long to take the shuttle into the park.

In the morning, hike one of the longer, more strenuous trails.

Midday, have a picnic lunch in the park or grab a bite to eat at the Zion Lodge or at the Visitor Center. You can also exit the park, have lunch in Springdale, and relax in your hotel for a few hours. This is what we do and it works great because we avoid the hot temperatures and high crowd levels midday. 

Mid to late-afternoon, hike a shorter, easier trail. Canyon Overlook, Emerald Pools, and the Riverside walk all fall into this category. This is also a great time to watch the sunset from Canyon Junction Bridge.

Have dinner in Springdale.

Observation Point Zion National Park Itinerary

Observation Point | Zion National Park Itinerary

Planning Your Zion National Park Itinerary

One day zion national park itinerary.

With one day in Zion National Park, getting an early start is critical for the best experience.

Take the first shuttle of the day and hike the trail of your choice. For most people, that would be Angels Landing or the Zion Narrows. If you plan to hike Angels Landing, you must have a permit.

If you are fit and fast, you can hike both trails on the same day. Hike Angels Landing in the morning, take a break and recharge midday, and hike the Narrows from the bottom-up in the late afternoon.

Or, hike a longer trail in the morning, have lunch midday at the Zion Lodge or in Springdale, and then hike a short trail in the afternoon. Watch the sunset from Canyon Junction Bridge and have dinner in Springdale.

Two or More Days in Zion National Park

Here are sample daily Zion National Park itineraries. You can piece these together depending on your interests.

1 Day: Angels Landing + Canyon Overlook

Hike Angels Landing in the morning. You have the option to add on Emerald Pools after Angels Landing, since the trailheads are located near each other. Take a midday break. In the afternoon, drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Road and hike Canyon Overlook.

1 Day: Observation Point

Hike to Observation Point from the East Mesa Trail.

1 Day: The Narrows from the Bottom-Up

Be on the first shuttle of the day. Get off at the Temple of Sinawava and walk the Riverside Walk to the Virgin River. Hike the Narrows as far as you like, or until you reach Big Springs.

1 to 2 Days: The Narrows from the Top-Down

This is one of the most epic hiking experiences in Zion National Park. You can do this over two days, camping along the Virgin River, or you can do it as a big day hike.

1 to 2 Days: West Rim Trail

This long-distance trail starts near Kolob Canyons and ends near Angels Landing. You essentially hike from one side of Zion to the other. Like the Narrows from the top-down, this can be done as a two-day backpacking trip or as a massive day hike.

Putting This All Together: Sample Itineraries

Popular Hikes + Zion Narrows Day Hike

Day 1: Angels Landing, Emerald Pool, Canyon Overlook Day 2: Observation Point Day 3: Zion Narrows Bottom-Up OR Zion Narrows Top-Down Day Hike Day 4: West Rim Trail as a Day Hike Days 4 & 5: West Rim Trail as a backpacking trip

Popular Hikes + Zion Narrows Backpacking Trip

Day 1: Angels Landing, Emerald Pool, Canyon Overlook Day 2: Observation Point Days 3 & 4: Zion Narrows Top-Down Backpacking Trip Day 5: West Rim Trail as a Day Hike Days 5 & 6: West Rim Trail as a backpacking trip

These are long days with lots of back-to-back hikes. Consider adding an extra day for a little relaxation, to recharge your legs. You can hike a short trail, explore Springdale, or visit the Kolob Canyon section of Zion. If you plan to hike the Narrows, you will need some time in Springdale to get your gear, if you do not have your own.

Zion Itinerary with Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows | Zion National Park Itinerary

Road Trip Ideas

Combining Zion National Park with other nearby national parks makes an excellent road trip idea. You can either combine Zion with one or more of the other parks in Utah (Utah’s Mighty 5) or do a loop from Las Vegas where you add on the Grand Canyon.

For an overview about Utah’s Mighty 5, read our Guide to Utah’s  Mighty 5.

For ideas on how to plan a one to two week road trip through Utah, where you visit Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks, take a look at our post The Ultimate Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary.

If you have 14 days, check out our Two Week American Southwest Itinerary: Grand Canyon & Utah’s Mighty 5. On this epic road trip, you get to visit six national parks (including Zion) as well as Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and several great state parks in Utah. 

Utah Travel Guide

Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

You can visit Zion National Park all year.

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Zion. The weather is pleasant, with warm daytime temperatures and cool nights. Just be aware that you may not be able to hike the Narrows. In the spring, flow rates in the Virgin River will be high and the trail most likely will be closed (the Narrows usually reopens in May).

During the summer months, expect big crowds and very high temperatures. Zion is the most crowded from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.

Fall is a spectacular time to visit Zion. The weather will be warm during the day and cool at night. September and October are the best months to visit Zion, in my opinion. Crowds are thinning, the weather is spectacular, and in October you can see the fall colors.

If you don’t mind cold temperatures, winter is a very nice time to visit Zion. Crowds will be low and hiking trails will be empty. The Zion shuttle does not operate in the winter so you can drive through the park in your own vehicle.

Zion National Park Itinerary

View from Angels Landing | Zion National Park Itinerary

Where to Eat

King’s Landing Bistro. This is our favorite restaurant in Springdale. This restaurant has a “fine dining” feel to it with an amazing menu. 

Café Soleil. This place is quick, reasonably priced, and serves delicious sandwiches.

Oscar’s Café. The perfect spot after a long day of hiking. Oscar’s café serves great nachos and huge portions of Mexican food.

Zion Pizza and Noodle Café. This is another budget friendly place that serves pizza, pastas, and salads.

Where to Stay

Zion National Park Lodge. This is the only lodge inside of Zion National Park. Due to its excellent location, make your reservations far in advance (at least 6 months in advance).

The remainder of these properties are in Springdale.

Holiday Inn Express. This is our go-to hotel in Springdale and highly recommend it. The staff is friendly, the rooms are clean and quiet, and it has an excellent location in Springdale. It is located on the Springdale Shuttle Route, so you can get around town without a car.

Flanigan’s Inn. This very highly rated property has a wide range of room types. Some rooms can accommodate up to six people and you also have the option to stay in your own private house. Prior guests love the location and state that they could walk to Zion National Park.

Red Rock Inn Cottages. Stay in a one or two-bedroom cottage. Some cottages have a seating area and kitchen. Free breakfast is offered daily.

Cable Mountain Lodge. This is as close as you can get to Zion National Park without staying inside of the park. Located near the Visitor Center, this highly-rated hotel offers some rooms that can accommodate up to 8 people.

Hotel Cable Mountain Lodge

Cable Mountain Lodge

Practical Information

Zion National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The entrance fee is $35 and is valid for 7 days.

Learn more about the Angels Landing permit on the National Park Service website.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Check for trail closures, road closures, and get important updates before your visit on the official National Park Service website.

If you have any questions about planning your Zion National Park itinerary, let us know in the comment section below. 

More Information About Zion National Park & Utah

ZION NATIONAL PARK:  Check out our Zion National Park Travel Guide  for important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

HIKES IN ZION: Angels Landing , the Zion Narrows , Observation Point, and the Watchman Trail are some of the top hiking trails in Zion. For the full list, read our Best Hikes in Zion guide.

NATIONAL PARKS BY SEASON:  Zion National Park appears in our Best US National Parks in January ,  Best US National Parks in October, Best US National Parks in November, and Best US National Parks in December articles. For more information about the best times to visit the national parks, check out our Best National Parks Month-by-Month Guide.

BEST OF ARCHES: While in Arches National Park, top experiences include the Devils Garden Trail and a visit to Delicate Arch . Get the full list in our Best Things to Do in Arches guide.

BRYCE CANYON: Take a look at our Bryce Canyon National Park Travel Guide for important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

AMERICAN SOUTHWEST ITINERARY: If you have 10 days, learn how to road trip through the American Southwest, visiting several national parks, state parks, and scenic spots in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.

USA TRAVEL INSPIRATION:  For more great ideas on where to go in the United States, check out our article Best USA Road Trips, which has 18 sample itineraries for your next big adventure. You can also see more travel itineraries on our Travel Itineraries page and our National Park Itineraries.

Read all of our articles about Utah in our Utah Travel Guide and the United States in our USA Travel Guide.

Visit More National Parks:

  • US NATIONAL PARKS: The Complete Guide to the US National Parks
  • US NATIONAL PARKS: The Complete List of US National Parks (+ Free Printable Checklist)
  • GRAND CANYON:   One Perfect Day in the Grand Canyon
  • CANYONLANDS:   Best Things to do in Island in the Sky: Canyonlands National Park
  • YELLOWSTONE:   Yellowstone Itinerary: How to Spend 1 to 5 Days in Yellowstone
  • BIG BEND:  15 Great Hikes to Do in Big Bend National Park
  • HAWAI’I VOLCANOES:   Top 10 Things to Do in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  • KATMAI:   8 Amazing Things to Do in Katmai National Park, Alaska

Zion Itinerary and Travel Guide

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Zion Travel Tips

Comments 77

Avatar for Scott Lundberg

Good Evening. We will be doing a roadtrip to Utah end of the month after a conference in Las Vegas. This is what our week looks like : Oct 28-Sat Drive from Las Vegas to Zion-Springdale 29 and 30 Zion Oct 31- Drive to Bryce -early am . Day in Bryce overnight Bryce Lodge Nov 1 Drive to Cap Reef – day here overnight in Torrey Nov 2 Drive to Canyonlands – day here and overnight in Moab Nov 3 -Arches overnight in Moab Nov 4 Drive to SLC – overnight home on Nov 5. I have my lodging secured with itinerary . However , having last minute panic with travels between parks . Any thoughts to put me at ease . Also, there are many blogs about when to do Delicate Arch. Sunset vs Sunrise. Everyone has an opinion. I was going to do Devils Garden first off then . Balanced Rock , Windows and Sunset at Delicate . Please advise . Scott

Avatar for Julie

Hello Scott. I think your itinerary looks excellent. You are visiting at a very nice time of year, when the weather isn’t too cold or hot and crowds are relatively low (the most recent time we were here we started a 10 day trip through Utah on Nov 4 and crowds were relatively light for these parks). As for your Arches itinerary, it’s exactly what we recommend. We’ve done Delicate Arch in the morning and late afternoon. Late afternoon is definitely better for lighting but the morning is crowd free. If you want good lighting for photos, do it late afternoon/just before sunset. If you want low crowds, go first thing, but then you will have some crowds on the Devils Garden hike. Our Delicate Arch Guide has photos both from the morning and afternoon so you know what to expect. You can also take a look at our One Day Arches Itinerary for more ideas on how to plan your time. Cheers, Julie

Thank you for your insight . I would also like your opinion for Bryce. We will be traveling from Zion to Bryce on Hwy 89 in the am . Hopefully on the road by 8 am. Staying at the Lodge. When we arrive should we do the Amphitheater -hiking the Navaho-Queen’s Garden Loop from Sunset to Sunrise . Lunch Then , take in Bryce Pt and Inspiration Pt . Then, drive the scenic drive to the end Yovimpa Pt Rainbow Pt then hit the points of interest on the way back (Natural Bridge, Fairview Pt . Or should I do scenic drive first . I thought it might be good to do hike first to stretch the legs . Consider Paria View for Sunset Dinner

Yes, I think that is a good order and very similar to how we spent our time at Bryce Canyon. We started with the hike first, when the trail was less busy, and then drove to the other viewpoints in the park. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Sarah M

Thanks for posting all of this great info! We’ve been using your website for National Parks info for about a year now, our oldest was in 4th grade last year and got the Parks Pass which started us on our NP bucket list! We are planning Zion for the first week of October, and we’ll be camping in the Watchman campground. Planning on trying the Narrows from the bottom, and the East Mesa route to Observation Point for our long hikes. Not sure how our kids will do. We’ve done a few 4-milers and they handled them well as long as the hike was interesting and we took our time! For shorter hikes, we will for sure do Canyon Overlook. Also debating the River Walk, Emerald Pools, and Watchman, but not sure yet. Any thoughts? I want to maximize our time there but not overwhelm our kids. Angel’s Landing will have to wait about a decade until our youngest is in middle school!

Hello Sarah. You will do the Riverwalk to get to the Virgin River to hike the bottom part of the Narrows. Depending on how you do Emerald Pools, it can be somewhat strenuous. However, Emerald Pools may be more interesting for your kids (but if they can do the East Mesa route they should also be able to handle Emerald Pools). We thought Watchman was just OK but its advantage is that you don’t have to ride the shuttle into the park. However, in October, crowds shouldn’t be as big as they are in the busier summer months. Have a great time in Zion! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Francois Desjardins

We are planning a trip for Zion, Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands for this summer. I would like to know what is the best app in your opinion to guide us through all hikes and avoid getting lost. I know cell coverage is poor to none depending on where we are in the park, but I think some apps work with GPS coordinates… ?

Hello Francois. As an app, we mainly use AllTrails. For a fee, you can get offline access to their maps, so this is one of your best options. I’ve also used Komoot but I like AllTrails better. Tim and I both have Garmin Fenix watches and these come with maps, so we can follow the trails right from our watch, which is very handy. You don’t absolutely need an app for the hikes in these parks, as they are very well signed and there will be plenty of people on the trails. The exception to this would be the primitive trail in the Devils Garden in Arches…this is not well signed and many people lose their way (we did our first time on this trail), but that is part of the fun of this hike. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Chad Taylor

Awesome itinerary! We went to Zion last year and back to go back. We tried canyoneering for the first time and it was a blast. We hired a local guide company and they were so helpful: https://allwaysadventure.com

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The Complete Family Guide to Zion National Park

By: Author Rob Taylor

Posted on Published: April 21, 2019  - Last updated: June 25, 2020

The Complete Family Guide to Zion National Park

Yes, you can totally get a good sense of Zion National Park in just one day, but believe me when I say that you’ll leave wanting more. Between the unique, red and yellow and white canyon walls to the waterfalls that appear out of nowhere, it’s remarkable. This is our complete family guide to Zion National Park, basically giving a high level overview and drilling down into our more detailed posts. We’ve written a ton about Zion because it’s awesome and we love it, so get all the goods.

The complete guide to Zion National Park includes best hiking with kids, where to stay, how to use the shuttle system, picnicking and accessing less popular areas of Zion. Includes everything you need for planning off-season or in summer.

For accommodations and activities around Zion National Park, check out options with Get Away Today! ( affiliate )

Complete guide to zion national park for families (and everyone else too).

The first time I planned a trip to Zion National Park as an adult I didn’t even know where to begin. I had visited as a kid and remembered everything we did… including hikes that I’d never take my four year old on. I ended up spending hours Googling hiking guides, travel blogs about Zion with kids, the National Park website itself and couldn’t find all of the information I needed in one place, so I decided then and there that following our trip I would make something super easy that was exactly what I needed. And that’s what this is: your one stop shop resource for all things family-friendly at Zion National Park.

The complete guide to Zion National Park includes best hiking with kids, where to stay, how to use the shuttle system, picnicking and accessing less popular areas of Zion. Includes everything you need for planning off-season or in summer.

When to visit Zion National Park

If you’re in Southern Utah, you should visit Zion National Park, no matter the time of year, but just know that it won’t all be accessible. The absolute best time to visit Zion is early to mid Spring or early Fall. Being such a popular National Park, Zion is very busy and trails can be exceptionally crowded in the summer. Whatever season you choose to visit, you always need to be prepared . The weather can change in a heartbeat, although the summer months are pretty consistent with hot days and random cloud bursts. A guide to Zion National Park wouldn’t be complete without data to back up a weather warning:

Zion National Park Monthly Weather Forecast weather com

Accessing Zion: the shuttle system

You probably have heard or read that you can only access Zion National Park via shuttle. That’s not completely true. Yes, Spring through Fall, the main Zion Canyon area is ONLY accessible via the provided shuttle, but in low season you can actually drive to certain areas.  Check out our complete Zion Shuttle information here ! And a big tip, if the shuttle is running, that’s a key sign that you should be taking it because the park is busy. Even if the main canyon road is open before high season, if there’s a shuttle running, take it.

Note : the shuttle from pick-up points in Springdale is free and saves you the pain of having to park INSIDE the Park. Be smart. Click the link above for more guide to Zion National Park info around shuttles.

Zion National Park Shuttle at Visitor Center parking area 1

Driving in Zion National Park – yes, you can!

It’s true, there is a road that goes through the park. It’s important to know where it goes and what to expect. Not unlike Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park or the General’s Highway in Sequoia National Park , the Mount Carmel Highway and Kolob Canyon Road are both masterpieces of engineering. The views are incredible and, thank goodness, they come with roadside pull-outs so you can safely take pictures and enjoy the view. Be sure to familiarize yourself with driving routes before you visit and think you’ll be hiking the Narrows until 7pm and hopping back in your car… That’s why we’ve made this guide to Zion National Park: to keep you from being stranded.

Entrance to Zion Mt Carmel Tunnel Zion National Park Utah 2

Where to stay at Zion, in and outside of the park

Everybody travels in their own way. Understanding where to stay at Zion is important to make exploring each day easier. Also, if you want to do day-trips from your home base at Zion, you’ll nee to be properly stationed.  If you require staying within the boundaries of the park , check out the Zion Lodge and camping options. These will have you squarely placed inside Zion National Park, but believe me when I say it’ NOT REQUIRED.

We recommend staying outside of Zion so you have better access to services AND optional day trips.  Staying outside the park is also good for your budget. If you’re on the Springdale side, there are loads of restaurants directly in town, which is nice, and you can easily drive out to Kolob Canyons in northern Zion or Snow Canyon State Park in nearby St George.  On the east side, at Mt Carmel Junction you can enjoy easy access to Zion, Kanab (OMG, the landscape!), and Bryce Canyon National Park . Lot’s of reasons to stay outside the Park boundaries.

Taylor Family in hot tub at Best Western Plus Zion National Park Utah 2

Dining and Picnicking at Zion National Park

Another reason you’ve found the perfect family guide to Zion National Park. While Zion is one of the most famous and popular National Parks, it is remarkably limited when it comes to services within the Park, particularly food. You cannot happen into Zion without a plan or you will be up a creek (or up the Virgin River) without a snack. If you have prepared for a day in the park, you’ll know that there are some great picnicking spots in Zion . If you haven’t, you need to carve out time at the Zion Lodge .

Outside of the Park, after a long and awesome day of hiking in Zion, you’ll find that Springdale has some great restaurants, catering to all dietary needs and tastes. Our dining guide has our recommendations for meals and super import info on understanding Utah beer. That’s right: have have answered all your questions about beer in Utah , because it’s complicated.

View at Zion Pizza and Noodle Co Springdale Utah 1

Activities in Zion

If you read our full post about hiking in Zion , you’ll note that there are kid-friendly hikes and then EPIC hikes. There’s no reason that you can’t do both, with or without kids, as long as you’re wise and plan your time appropriately. Our family guide to Zion National Park is all about making sure visitors of all ages can enjoy this incredible place, so be sure to check out each of our hiking recommendations:  ♦ Zion Canyon  ♦ East Side ♦ Kolob Canyons . If you don’t have time and want to ensure the best hiking experience possible, our FAVORITE hike in the park is Canyon Overlook, but really, there are so many awesome trails!

In addition to hiking, there are great opportunities for Ranger Walks, educational programs, and even a wonderful museum within Zion National Park . We try to incorporate learning into every trip we take with our kids, so be sure to set aside a little time to learn about this unique, jaw dropping area you’re visiting.

Taylor Family at Zion National Park Entrance Sign Utah 2

We visited Zion National Park  as part of a larger Southwest road trip . Zion is really fun, beautiful and interesting on its own, but we strongly encourage visiting along a more grand, all encompassing trip. Do what you gotta do to make a visit happen, and hopefully our family guide to Zion National Park is just what you need to make that happen.  If you have additional questions or suggestions, please let us know. Leave us a comment or send us a note !

And want to pin this guide to Zion National Park for your own travel planning? Go for it!!!

The complete guide to Zion National Park includes best hiking with kids, where to stay, how to use the shuttle system, picnicking and accessing less popular areas of Zion. Includes everything you need for planning off-season or in summer.

  • Plan Your Trip
  • Utah Itineraries

The Complete Zion Trip

6 Days   •   419 Miles

Discover a less crowded Zion by visiting during the shoulder season

Exploring The Zion Region Tucked into the southwest corner of Utah,  Zion National Park  is the centerpiece for a 6-day red-rock vacation that includes a little bit of everything that makes the state such a marvel to experience. Whether you’re flying into Salt Lake, Las Vegas, or nearby St. George, most visitors will enter the park through Springdale, a growing town that’s equipped to offer plenty of creature comforts in this otherwise wild region.

The Zion region exists at the intersection of many different ecosystems, each with their own treasures to uncover. From the red sands of the Mojave desert to the west, to the high alpine forests to the north, to the narrow slot canyons to the south, no matter where you turn, the classic red rock vacation you may have in mind will end up being more diverse than you’d ever expect. 

Because of this region’s close proximity to I-15, you’re never too far away from a city or town full of knowledgeable locals happy to help you get the most out of your vacation. This itinerary is full of suggestions that aren’t quite on the radar of the average visitor, but nonetheless offer memorable moments that rival a scramble up Angel’s Landing. For certain experiences we recommend taking advantage of guides that can help you explore like a local and find views rarely found in brochures or Instagram feeds, as well as make as little an impact on the fragile ecosystem as possible. This is a region that rewards taking the path less traveled, sure to leave you feeling like that one overlook was made just for you.

Prepare for your trip with these  how-to visit Zion tips . 

  • Start:  From Salt Lake City drive roughly five hours south west to Springdale
  • End:  From Kanab head back to Salt Lake City or extend your trip by visiting the Bryce Canyon region
  • Hours of Driving:  21+ hours, including travel between the region and Salt Lake City

family trip to zion national park

Zion Canyon From A Different Point Of View

  • Watchman Trail
  • West Rim Trail To Cabin Spring

Though Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country, their decision to restrict car traffic within Zion Canyon has kept it a picturesque place to explore. Shuttles run throughout the day through the Zion Canyon Drive, giving visitors front-door access to all the “must-see” spots. The park entrance and first shuttle stop are within walking distance from anywhere in Springdale, so leave your car where it is and stretch your legs before the main event. First-time visitors will inevitably want to check out the Emerald Pools or the vertigo-inducing Angel’s Landing trails, but we suggest you stay flexible, hopping off the shuttle wherever others choose to stay on to find a trail or experience that offers a degree of solitude. You really can’t go wrong, no matter where you decide to roam.

Where to Stay Spend the night in Springdale before a second day of exploring Zion.

Tips for Prepared Travelers -  Soil Sleuth: Protecting Utah's Living Landscapes

family trip to zion national park

Exploring the Perimeter of Zion

  • Grafton Ghost Town
  • Wire Mesa Loop Bike Trail

Day two is all about going against the flow. From mountain bike trails on the perimeter of the park, to literal ghost towns, there’s plenty to experience in the Zion region that still feels wild and unexplored. You’ll immediately notice the change of pace as you drive south against the flow of traffic heading into the park. 

Those already familiar with Utah know that Moab is a mecca for singletrack riding, but the area south of Zion National Park is also home to some seriously epic lines. Whether you’re bringing your own bike or renting from one of the local outfitters, there are trails suited for any experience level. 

After your two-wheeled adventures, return to Springdale for your last night in the shadow of the canyon walls. The sunsets in Springdale are worth lingering on a patio with a cold drink in hand as the night climbs its way up the eastern face of the nearby cliffs.

Where to Stay Make up for a day spent outside of the national park’s borders by reserving a camping spot within Zion, either at the Watchman or South campgrounds.

Tips for Prepared Travelers -  Hiking Southern Utah with Younger Children: Tips for Family-Friendly Adventure

family trip to zion national park

St. George and Snow Canyon State Park

  • Snow Canyon Climbing Guide
  • Tuacahn Amphitheatre

It’s time to hit the road to nearby St. George , a city experiencing remarkable growth. Before you hit the town, you’ll detour to Snow Canyon State Park , a natural wonder that exists at the intersection of three different geologic zones — the Mojave desert, Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau. Due to the confluence of forces shaping this land, you’ll marvel at the diverse landscape before you.

Rock climbers of all skill levels have learned to call these canyons home, with bolted routes scattered about, and cyclists that prefer tarmac to singletrack will find plenty to enjoy on the park’s scenic drive.

In St. George, summer visitors will have the opportunity to take in a show at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre. This stage is nestled within a red rock canyon, offering concertgoers a once-in-a-lifetime open air show under the clear desert sky. (Read: Exploring the Arts in St. George )

Where to Stay Spend the night in luxury digs at one of St. George’s resorts, or camping in the nearby Red Cliffs Recreation area.

family trip to zion national park

Red Cliffs Recreation Area and Cedar City

  • Sand Hollow State Park
  • Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

After a relaxing night of culture, it’s time to get dirty! Depending on your tolerance for thrill-seeking, your morning can be spent riding ATVs and OHVs up and down the red dunes of Sand Hollow State Park , or float across Quail Creek Reservoir on rented stand-up paddle boards. 

No matter your choice of morning activity, save plenty of time to explore the Red Cliffs Recreation area for the remainder of the day. Again, you have a choice between the red-rock rimmed Upland area, and the fragile desert ecosystem of the Lowland zone. Visitors interested in ecotourism can carefully explore the Lowland area with a guide to learn about the sensitive species and microbiomes that hold this transition zone together. Those with kids in tow are welcome to comfortably explore the City Creek area (or the red rock playground of Pioneer Park) just north of St. George.

Where to Stay After a day spent ripping around Sand Hollow State Park, reserve a room in Cedar City for some well-deserved pampering (Read: 24 Hours in Cedar City ).

Tips for Prepared Travelers -  Things to know about Off-Road Vehicle Use

family trip to zion national park

Brian Head To Dixie National Forest

  • Brian Head in Summer
  • Dixie National Forest
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument

Now for something completely unexpected: a lush, green high alpine forest in the middle of red rock country. Dixie National Forest never fails to surprise travelers driving through the Zion region. One moment you’re looking out at mesas and buttes straight out of classic westerns, then you turn a corner to find yourself in an entirely different world. Because this area doesn’t fit with the “classic” national park vacation many visitors have in mind, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. That makes it a perfect place to explore for anyone who loves actually “getting away” during a vacation. The centerpiece of the day’s activities is Cedar Breaks National Monument , another hidden gem that is often overlooked. Geologically similar to Bryce Canyon National Park , this natural amphitheater is a few million years older and slightly more weathered than its national park doppelganger. That said, it still scratches that itch to sample Utah’s iconic hoodoo spires in a more laid back, remote location — though at 10,000 feet above sea level can require taking your time to acclimate.

Where to Stay Camping under the crystal clear Milky Way in Cedar Breaks National Monument .

family trip to zion national park

Slot Canyon Adventures Near Kanab

  • Wire Pass Slot Canyon
  • Lake Powell (Glen Canyon)

Spend the final day of your journey heading south for the border — with Arizona, that is — in search of slot canyons to explore. These canyons on the Utah-Arizona border range in difficulty from leisurely strolls to technical multi-day expeditions. No matter your comfort level with the claustrophobic walls of Utah’s slot canyons, they are always more enjoyable with the aid of a local guide. After enjoying breakfast in Kanab , join up with a tour operator to get the most out of the nearby slot canyons such as the family-friendly Peekaboo Canyon or a multi-day trek through Buckskin Gulch , the longest navigated slot canyon in the state.

Tips for Prepared Travelers - Expert Tips for Your Next Canyoneering Adventure

Extend Your Stay Once you’ve reemerged into the desert sun, you can return to St. George for your flight home, or call in sick for a few more days and extend your vacation nearby at  Lake Powell .

Explore More

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A Van Lifer’s Guide to Responsible Travel in Southern Utah

Written By Kristen Bor

5 minute read

When Utah’s dirt roads are calling you, it’s time to plan your van life road trip. Here’s what you need to know to travel safely, protect Utah’s rural communities, and help preserve sensitive desert landscapes.

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A Visitor's Guide to Zion's Kolob Canyons

Written By Matcha

In the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park, you’ll find a scenic wonderland with an adventure for everyone. Learn more about this unforgettable attraction and plan a visit.

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Best Hikes in St. George During Winter

While Utah's Greater Zion offers a few hundred trails, we’ve highlighted seven of the best hikes in the state's southwestern corner, from deep canyons to high peaks.

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How to Have the Perfect Weekend on the Water at Quail Creek State Park

4 minute read

Just 15 miles north of St. George and even closer to the town of Hurricane, Quail Creek State Park offers warm water and mild weather year round. There’s plenty to do out on the water, and the gorgeous setting is sure to impress.

family trip to zion national park

How To Stay Safe in the Outdoors

Written By Ryan Salm

Know how to stay safe and informed during your Utah trip and who is helping when you get into trouble.

family trip to zion national park

Ice and rock, snow and splendor: Winter in Southern Utah

Written By Jeremy Pugh

10 minute read

For an extraordinary adventure, plan winter hikes in Utah’s Zion National Park. Winter rewards hikers with stunning sights of stalactites and snow covered mountains.

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Max Out Your Multi-Pass

Written By Paula Colman

With so many ski and snowboard resorts easily accessible in and around Utah, using the state as your gateway can maximize the value of any multi-pass. Here's some tips on how to make your ski vacation more flexible, fun and affordable than ever before!

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Movies Filmed in Utah: Plotting a Cinematic Drive-Through

Written By Andrea David

Follow a Germany-based film enthusiast on an extended road trip to discover the rich history of Utah cinematography.

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Off the Eaten Path: Dining Between the Mighty Five

6 minute read

Whether you’re visiting a single Utah national park or all five, take time to explore and enjoy the local food on the spectacular routes between the parks.

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Painted Pony Restaurant

Located in Ancestor Square in the heart of St. George, Utah, the Painted Pony, affectionately known as “The Pony,” gets rave reviews by all, as evidenced by its 4.5-star Trip Advisor rating.

family trip to zion national park

Supporting Women Entrepreneurs While Traveling in Utah

Written By Whitney Childers

Women entrepreneurs in Utah have been particularly successful at honing their expertise. Find out about women-owned businesses you can support while adventuring in Utah.

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The Art of Supporting Utah Artists

Written By Lindy Callahan

Here’s a look at six local artists whose work draws upon Utah’s diverse environments as inspiration.

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Together They Climb

Written By Shanti Hodges

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Utah’s most unlikely adventure family shows America that you don’t have to fit into the outdoors stereotypes to find your place on the trail.

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Top 10 Family-Friendly Hikes in Utah National Parks

With so many destinations, and so many trails, it can be difficult to decide where to begin in Utah's Mighty 5® national parks. Here are 10 family-friendly hikes, two per national park, you cannot miss.

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Utah Liquor Laws Visitor Guide — Yes, You Can!

3 minute read

In preparation for your trip to Utah, here’s what you need to know about Utah's liquor laws, especially how and where to buy a drink in the city or in the rural parts of the state.

family trip to zion national park

Where to Eat and Drink in St. George

Written By Elainna Ciaramella

As you explore St. George and Greater Zion seeking excellent food, coffee and drinks, you’ll want to add these top restaurants to your list.

family trip to zion national park

Winter in Southern Utah Like a Local

Written By Andrew Dash Gillman

Southern Utah comes alive in winter with unexpected experiences for those who are well-prepared and solitude for those who want to expand their view.

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Yurt Camping in Utah: How To Have a Wintertime Yurt Excursion

Whether you’re glamping or choosing a simpler option, yurt camping in Utah during the wintertime is a fun, unique experience you won’t want to miss out on.

Well-prepared travel is responsible travel.

Do your part by planning ahead

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Wheatless Wanderlust

How to Plan a Perfect Zion National Park Itinerary (2 Days)

Zion National Park is full of amazing landscapes, from towering canyon walls featuring a blend of red rocks and white stone to the blue-green hues of the Virgin River, and is one of our favorite National Parks in the United States.

If you’re an avid hiker like us, Zion is basically paradise.

Several of the best day hikes in the United States are in Zion – namely Angels Landing and the Virgin Narrows – and there are a handful of other hikes that are somewhat hidden gems, though it’s hard to call anything in Zion “hidden” considering it’s one of the most popular parks in the country.

We spent four days in Zion National Park on our latest trip (Matt has been multiple times before), and we wrote this complete Zion National Park itinerary to help you plan the perfect trip to Zion.

Along the way, you’ll tackle one of the big hikes in the park, explore the Zion Canyon, and do a couple of gorgeous scenic drives. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to have more time, we have some suggestions on how to spend it.

Ready to plan an amazing trip to Zion National Park? Off we go!

2023 Update : If you want to hike the Angels Landing trail in 2023, you will need to secure a permit beforehand. After hiking it in 2021, we were hoping this might happen because there were SO MANY people on the narrow, exposed trail that it felt somewhat dangerous. More information on how to secure permits can be found here (and in a dedicated section below).

family trip to zion national park

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.

How Many Days in Zion National Park?

I’m sitting here at our campsite in Zion writing this, and Alysha and I just talked about how long we would recommend spending in Zion. 

We think 2 days in Zion National Park is a perfect baseline . With 2 days, you’ll be able to plan a Zion National Park itinerary that fits in one of the longer hikes in Zion (like Angels Landing), the scenic drive between the East Entrance and Zion – Mt. Carmel tunnel, and some of the shorter hikes in the canyon.

However, there’s plenty to do and see in the area to fill 3 days in Zion National Park. Here are some ideas, and how much time you should add if you want to add them to your itinerary. 

  • Another Long Hike (+1 day): Want to do another long hike, like the famous Narrows or Observation Point (which puts you above Angels Landing)? Add another day – both of those hikes will take you the majority of a day to complete. 
  • Kolob Canyons (+1 day): Did you know there’s a whole other equally beautiful part of the park that a tiny fraction of visitors to Zion experience? It’s called Kolob Canyons, and it’s roughly 45 minutes northwest of the canyon. There’s a five mile scenic drive, a couple of good hiking trails (we wanted to do the Taylor Creek trail, but it was snowing when we were up there so we passed), and plenty of spectacular views to go around.

Below the detailed itinerary we’ve written, you’ll find some suggestions for what to add with an extra day, and what to do with just one day in Zion.

family trip to zion national park

Getting Around Zion National Park

Getting around Zion is a little more complicated than other national parks because access to Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is restricted from spring all the way through fall, which means you can only get into the upper canyon by using the Zion Canyon Shuttle. 

There is a separate shuttle line that connects the town of Springdale to the visitor center, which connects with the aforementioned Zion Canyon Shuttle. 

Below, we’ll cover both shuttle routes.

The Zion Canyon Shuttle

family trip to zion national park

The Zion Canyon Shuttle is actually super efficient in terms of getting people from the visitor center at the South Entrance to the canyon itself.

Between March and November, private vehicles are prohibited from driving along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to prevent congestion, which means the shuttle is required if you want to enter the most interesting part of the park. 

The shuttle picks up from the visitor center, which has a lot of parking but gets full early in the day, even in spring (so get an early start). There are nine shuttle stops through the canyon, and taking it to the end of the line takes about 15 minutes, give or take a couple of minutes. 

It’s a relatively seamless experience, especially if you’re staying inside the park, but expect long lines in the summer. We recommend getting as early a start as possible for that reason – peak time for the shuttle is around 9-10am. 

In the summer, the first shuttle of the day is at 6am. The rest of the year, it’s at 7am.

2023 Updates: In 2023, you needed an advance reservation to use the shuttle (and it was a bit of a nightmare, if we’re being honest). Lucky for you, the reservation system has been removed in 2022 and all shuttles will be on a first-come, first-served basis. More information on the shuttle system here .

The Springdale Shuttle

family trip to zion national park

There’s another shuttle loop that connects the town of Springdale to the visitor center. It stops outside many of the hotels mentioned above, which make it pretty easy to get from Springdale into the park. 

Keep in mind, the shuttle actually drops you outside the park entrance, so you’ll need to bring your National Park Pass with you (or pay the $35 entrance fee) to enter the park across the pedestrian bridge. There can be a bit of a line here, so again, GET AN EARLY START. 

family trip to zion national park

Tips for Planning Your Zion National Park Itinerary

Here are a few tips that we learned on our trips to Zion that may or may not be helpful as you’re planning your visit. 

  • The Two Parts of the Park : There are two parts of Zion National Park – Zion Canyon , which is the more popular portion of the park and where most of the infrastructure is located, and Kolob Canyons , which is about 30 miles northwest of the canyon, and is far, far less visited (though well worth the detour!).  Zion Canyon is where you’ll find most of the iconic sights in Zion – Angels Landing, Observation Point, and the Narrows.  Kolob Canyons is home to a great five mile scenic drive, the Taylor Creek trail, the Timber Creek Overlook, and some great backpacking trails. 
  • Park Fees : Unless you’re on a motorcycle or bike, the cost to enter Zion National Park is $35, which gives you entry for seven consecutive days. Or, if you’re doing a broader Utah road trip and are planning on visiting more than three National Parks in the next 12 months , an America the Beautiful Pass will be worth the money (it costs $80, so it starts saving you money after three parks…we’ve visited 14 in the past 12 months).
  • Park Entrances : There are three entrances to Zion National Park. The most popular and crowded is the south entrance , which you’ll enter from the town of Springdale. There are multiple lanes, so the backup isn’t usually too bad. If you’re coming from the west – like from Vegas – this is the entrance you’ll probably use. There’s also an entrance at the east end of the park along Highway 9. From here, you’ll drive down a VERY scenic stretch of road until you reach the Zion – Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is an architectural marvel in its own right. You’ll use this entrance if you’re coming from the east – like from Bryce Canyon or the Grand Canyon. The other entrance, which is just for people wanting to visit the Kolob Canyons area, is at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. There’s no booth along the road here, you’ll need to stop at the Visitor Center to either show or buy your pass. 
  • Check the Park Website for Latest Conditions : Before you leave (or on the way), check the park website for the latest conditions in the park. For example, the Weeping Rock trailhead was closed due to a major rockfall (as was the Taylor Creek trail a few days before we arrived), which meant that Hidden Canyon and Observation Point were inaccessible while we were there. Check current conditions here before you leave.
  • Services in Springdale : Springdale is the closest town to the park… and it’s literally right outside the south entrance to the park. The area known as “ Zion Village ,” which is where the Springdale Shuttle drops you off, has a variety of services for visitors – there’s a brewpub, a coffee shop, a grocery store, an outfitter that can rent bikes and equipment for hiking the Narrows, and more. Deeper into Springdale, you’ll find numerous restaurants and cafes. We loved Deep Creek Coffee and Sol Foods Marketplace , though be prepared to pay a little extra at the latter – it’s not cheap, but has a great selection, including plenty of gluten free groceries. 

Complete 2 Day Zion National Park Itinerary: A Day-by-Day Guide

For the purposes of this itinerary, we’re going to assume you have arrived in Zion the night before, have two full days to explore the park, and are up for getting an early start. 

Have more than two days in Zion? Below, we’ve got suggestions for what to do with more time to help you plan your 3 day Zion itinerary. 

Day 1: Angels Landing & The East Side of the Park

On your first day in Zion, you’ll tackle one of the best day hikes in the United States, then head out to Kolob Canyons, the less-visited part of the park, to take in the landscapes along the scenic drive.

End your day by hiking the Watchman Trail just before sunset with a beer in your daypack to cheers to an amazing trip to Zion as the sun goes down. 

Hiking Angels Landing

family trip to zion national park

Angels Landing is a great hike. It’s also not an easy hike, so absolutely do not underestimate it – pack plenty of water, sunscreen, a sun hat, and snacks. It’s around 5 miles roundtrip, with nearly 1,500 feet of elevation gain. And it’s basically straight up the whole way. 

There are three other things to note about this hike. 

First, it’s insanely crowded . Think hundreds of people trying to navigate the chained sections of the hike all at the same time.

It’s not particularly fun, so we’d recommend as early a start as you can get. If you get on the first shuttle, at least you won’t have to deal with too many people coming down as you’re trying to go up the last section of chains. 

Second, conditions are variable , and they matter. We were there the day after it rained and the entire section with the chains was covered in a fine sand thanks to the recent rain, which was very slippery. We wouldn’t recommend doing this hike if it is actively raining, and if it rained the previous day, be very careful (especially on the last section). It will likely be windy at the top, which isn’t a huge deal. 

Last, if you’re at all queasy about heights (guilty as charged, your honor), you’re not going to like the end of this hike. Specifically, the last third of a mile, where you’re climbing a very exposed narrow ridge with chains while other people try to descend the same narrow path.

We stopped at Scout Lookout because we didn’t feel comfortable with the conditions and number of people. And we regret nothing.

Getting a Permit for the Angels Landing Trail (Updated for 2023)

As a result of the congestion on the trail, in 2023, you will need a permit to hike the Angels Landing Trail. 

There are two ways to get a permit. 

First is the seasonal lottery. This is the best way to secure your permits in advance.

You’ll hop on Recreation.gov ( here is the January lottery) and apply for a permit, selecting seven potential days and times (times are really just three possible blocks – before 9am, 9am-12pm, after 12pm). 

Note that there is a $6 non-refundable application fee, which covers the application for up to six hikers. 

Here are the relevant lottery dates that you’ll need to know. 

  • To hike between March 1 – May 31, 2023 : Lottery opens January 1, lottery closes January 20, permits issued January 25. Here is the link to the application . 
  • To hike between June 1 – August 31, 2023 : Lottery opens April 1, lottery closes April 20, permits issued April 25. Here is the link to the application (coming soon). 
  • To hike between September 1 – November 30, 2023 : Lottery opens July 1, lottery closes July 20, permits issued July 25. Here is the link to the application (coming soon). 
  • To hike between December 1, 2023 – February 28, 202 4: Lottery opens October 1, lottery closes October 20, permits issued October 25. Here is the link to the application (coming soon).

On the day that permits are released, you’ll get an email saying either that you got permits and have been charged $3 per permit, or that you didn’t get permits. 

The second way to get a ticket is the day before lottery. For this lottery, you apply between 12:01 am MST and 3pm MST the day BEFORE you want to hike . 

Then, at 4pm MST, the emails go out to those people who got permits. Note that in the day before lottery, all fees are non-refundable. 

Note that there is also a $6 non-refundable application fee for this lottery, which covers the application for up to six hikers. 

More information on the Angels Landing lottery – including a helpful explainer video – here . 

Hiking the Angels Landing Trail: What to Expect

The hike leaves from the Grotto shuttle stop , where you’ll cross a footbridge over the Virgin River and head right. The trail meanders a bit, with a few gradual ascents before you arrive at the foot of your first round of switchbacks.

These climb QUICK. Don’t be afraid to take a break and look behind you at the views out towards the canyon, which get better as you climb higher. 

family trip to zion national park

The trail levels out for about a quarter mile before it becomes switchbacks again, and you arrive at Walter’s Wiggles.

This part of the hike had my jaw on the floor at the architectural achievement. They are steep switchbacks carved straight into the mountain. At the top, the chained section begins. 

family trip to zion national park

First, you’ll traverse a shorter section that involves a couple of slightly sketchy climbs with limited handholds, and a chained section where you’ll need to hold onto the chain and use it to pull yourself across a slick rock face. 

There, you’ll be treated to Scout’s View, a spectacular viewpoint where you can see to the top of Angels Landing, and both directions down the canyon.

family trip to zion national park

We stopped here and had no regrets about doing the hike to this point. If you want to continue to the top, follow the chain (and the hordes of people) as they climb to the viewpoint at the top, then return the way you came. 

If that sounds like too much for you or you didn’t manage to get a permit, there are two other great hikes to consider doing here: Observation Point (which honestly has better views anyway) and the equally-famous Narrows of the Virgin River .

Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive

family trip to zion national park

After your eventful morning, head out to the less-visited section of the park to the northwest – Kolob Canyons. It’ll take about 45 minutes each way, and is well worth the journey. 

There are some great hikes here – namely the middle fork of Taylor Creek – which you may or may not be up for after Angels Landing in the morning. Plus, you’ve got another hike for sunset tonight, so we’d recommend saving Taylor Creek for next time (or adding it if you find yourself with more time). 

Drive the entirety of the five mile scenic road, and make sure to stop at basically all of the pullouts to marvel at the red rock formations.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), we were there on a random day of snow and fog, so while we missed most of the scenic views because they were shrouded in fog, we did get to see some of the red rock formations with a dusting of snow, which was a treat. 

At the end of the road, do the quick walk up to Timber Creek viewpoint. 

family trip to zion national park

The Watchman at Sunset

For sunset, head up to the Watchman, a short 3 mile hike that leaves from the main visitor center just inside the south entrance of the park. 

It’s a relatively easy hike, with a gradual ascent and a couple of switchbacks along the way. It takes you up to a mesa with a fantastic view of the towering rock formation known as the Watchman.

family trip to zion national park

There’s a loop around the top of the mesa where you can get a bunch of different views of the tower and the surrounding landscape, and we think it’s best enjoyed with a nice cold beer and some well-earned snacks.

Wait until the golden light of the setting sun brings out the red hues for the best light and photos. It’ll happen about 15 minutes before sunset on most clear nights. 

We actually did this same hike at sunrise, and it was equally gorgeous. Though the mountains at your back kind of prevent the light from drenching the Watchman until well after sunrise, which is why we’re putting it at sunset here. 

Day 2: Shorter Hikes in the Canyon + The Watchman at Sunset

On your second day in Zion, do some of the shorter hikes along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in the morning, then hop in the car and take a scenic drive through the eastern end of the park and round the day out with another sunset hike. 

You’ll be in the canyon for most of the day, which means you’ll need to have lunch.

Either pack a picnic lunch (we usually opt for a sandwich and some salty snacks like plantain chips or salt & vinegar chips) or plan on grabbing lunch at the Zion Lodge – they have a full-service restaurant and café. 

The Emerald Pools 

Start your day early and hop on an early shuttle out to the Grotto Shuttle Stop (Stop 6).

From there, cross the road to the opposite side from where you were dropped off, cross a footbridge, and head up the Kayenta Trail, a one mile mostly flat trail that connects you to the upper, middle, and lower Emerald Pools.

We think this is one of the most unique spots in Zion, and is well worth a stop on any Zion itinerary. It’s also relatively easy to get to. 

Most people that get off at this stop will be heading up to Angels Landing, which you did yesterday, so you’ll likely have most of the Kayenta Trail to yourself after the other hikers continue up to the start of that trail. 

Make sure to look back behind you every so often for great views of the Great White Throne across the canyon. 

Eventually, you’ll see signs directing you to the Emerald Pools. Start by heading up to the Upper Emerald Pool to get the climbing out of the way (it’s a short climb). 

family trip to zion national park

Along the way, you’ll pass the middle Emerald Pool , which has a nice view across the canyon. In the early morning, the reflection in the calm water of the pool is worth stopping for. 

Upper Emerald Pool is at the end of a sandy, rocky climb, and is surrounded by sheer rock cliffs that seem to be impossibly angled so that they jut out over you.

family trip to zion national park

Lower Emerald Pool is back down the way you came – you cut through a narrow passageway between two vertical rocks. Here, you’ll pass under a rocky overhang as waterfalls tumble over the side. You may get wet here, but not TOO wet. If you’re concerned about a little mist, put on a rain jacket before you walk around the lower pool. 

family trip to zion national park

From there, continue along the paved path, which takes you to Zion Lodge (stop 5). 

All-in, that hike is going to be about 2.5 miles, with 500 feet of elevation gain. If that sounds like too much for you, you can do just the lower pool starting and ending at Zion Lodge, which is a flat, paved 1.2 mile trail. 

Hidden Canyon

family trip to zion national park

For another unique hike, hop on the shuttle and head to the Weeping Rock shuttle stop (stop 7). 

This hike takes you up into a slot canyon between Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne. It’s a 3 mile hike with just under 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so it’s not the easiest hike out there.

Similar to Angels Landing, there are narrow, exposed sections and chain-assisted climbs, so it’s probably not the best hike out there for small children. 

family trip to zion national park

Along the way, you’ll get nice views of the canyon and pass under a freestanding arch, which is kind of cool. It’s a fun hike with some unique sections of climbing using chains, which is a different experience than most hikes you’ll do in Zion and beyond. 

Important Note : This hike (along with all hikes from the Weeping Rock shuttle stop) is closed indefinitely as of April 2020 due to a major rockfall. Sitting here in December 2022, it’s still closed. There is no timetable for reopening. Check current conditions here . Instead, you could skip this and hike the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek in Kolob Canyons instead, which we tried to do but somehow found ourselves in a snowstorm and ended up having to skip it. 

Picnic Lunch & Riverside Walk

family trip to zion national park

Take the shuttle out to the last stop on the line – Temple of Sinawava (stop 9).

There’s some nice picnic areas nearby that would make a great spot for lunch (you could also head to Zion Lodge, where you can either get lunch at their cafe, or make some space on the lawn or at the picnic tables to eat your pre-packed lunch). 

After lunch, do a nice and easy stroll along the Virgin River known as the Riverside Walk .

It’s a mostly flat trail that meanders along the river, and you’ll be able to admire the blue-green hue of the water as you make your way to the end of the trail, which is the beginning of the world-famous Narrows hike.

There are some gorgeous sections of trail where you’ll have the river in the foreground, with the towering red walls of the canyon in the background. 

family trip to zion national park

It’s two miles roundtrip and is mostly flat all the way through, which makes it a perfect post-lunch hike. It’s family-friendly too. 

Scenic Drive through the East End of the Park

family trip to zion national park

After your eventful morning, take a scenic drive through the eastern end of the park. From the visitor center, you’ll start by ascending a series of switchbacks (in your car, don’t worry) to reach the mouth of the Zion – Mt. Carmel Tunnel. 

Pass through the tunnel, which was built way back in the 1930’s, and continue all the way to the east entrance of the park, where you’ll find Checkerboard Mesa . The textures of the rock here, and really throughout this whole section of the park, are something else. 

family trip to zion national park

Keep an eye out for the resident bighorn sheep, who tend to hang out on the slick rocky slopes of the mountains around the road. 

Canyon Overlook for Sunset

family trip to zion national park

Continue back down towards the tunnel and park somewhere near the Canyon Overlook trailhead. You likely won’t find parking at the trailhead itself – it’s a small lot for a very popular trail – so if you see a parking spot along the road that is legal, take it and walk along the road to the trailhead. 

It’s a quick and relatively painless hike to a viewpoint that captures the canyon and the switchbacks of the road below, which is a great end for your time in Zion. Stay for sunset, or at least for the last light in the canyon (which is about an hour or two before sunset). 

What to Do with More Than 2 Days in Zion National Park

If you have an extra day, we’d add another one of the best hikes in Zion – either the Narrows or Observation Point. 

It depends on what you’re looking for, really. 

Hike the Famous Narrows

family trip to zion national park

The Narrows is one of the most unique hikes you’ll ever find. You’ll start from where the Riverside Walk ends and head up the Virgin River, following the canyon as it oscillates between narrow and wide and changes shape and color at every turn.

Keep in mind that in the spring, you need special equipment because the water levels will be high, which you can rent from Zion Outfitters just outside the south entrance. 

Hike to Observation Point for the Best View in Zion (We Think)

family trip to zion national park

Observation Point is the best view in the park, in our opinion, and is a great alternative to Angels Landing.

It’s a longer and harder hike at 8 miles and 2,600 feet of elevation gain if you do it from the canyon floor.

However, there’s an easier way to do it that involves more driving – head out to the East Mesa Trailhead (the last 0.5 miles is rough and rutted – we recommend parking and walking the last bit, particularly after rain) and hike the 6.5 miles roundtrip, which only gains about 600 feet of elevation. 

Here’s the view you get at the end. 

You could also spend more time in Kolob Canyons and hike the Taylor Creek Middle Fork . 

What to Do with One Day in Zion National Park?

If you only have one day in Zion, we’d recommend getting an early start to your morning. 

Plan on doing a big hike – either Angels Landing , the Narrows , or Observation Point – first thing. 

Break for lunch at the Zion Lodge (or the picnic tables nearby if you packed a lunch) and then head up to the Upper and Lower Emerald Pools from there. 

After that, if you didn’t do the Narrows as your hike, head out to the Sinawava Temple shuttle stop and do the short and sweet Riverside Walk to get familiar with the Virgin River and its subtle blue-green hue, which contrasts nicely with the red rocks of the canyon. 

In the afternoon, head out to the east end of the park, checking out Checkerboard Mesa , looking out for bighorn sheep, and doing the Canyon Overlook trail before calling it a day. 

Where to Stay at Zion National Park

The two best places to stay to visit Zion National Park are going to be inside the park , either at the historic Zion Lodge or in one of the two campgrounds, or in the town of Springdale , which is literally right outside the south entrance to the park. 

Psst! Trying to decide on a place to stay in Zion? We have a whole guide dedicated to finding the perfect place to stay in Zion – you should definitely read that if you’re looking for a deeper into places to stay.

Staying Inside the Park

We usually recommend staying inside national parks if you can – usually camping – to avoid the sometimes long lines to enter the park in the morning.

Zion is no exception, and it’s especially convenient because you are required to take the shuttle to access the canyon (except for December – February), and the places to stay inside the park mean you’ll be able to walk to the shuttle.

There is one lodge inside the park and two campgrounds. 

family trip to zion national park

The Zion Lodge is the only place to stay inside that park that is not camping. It’s inside the canyon with its own shuttle stop, which means you won’t have to deal with the parking and shuttle situation at the main visitor center. 

They have a range of room options, from spacious lodge rooms to private cabins. It’s a nice place, with plenty of amenities onsite like a cafe, restaurant, and gift shop. 

Usually, in places like Olympic National Park and Bryce Canyon for example, the lodges inside National Parks are… strictly okay. The location is usually good, but they’re pretty run down due to constantly being at capacity. And the price is generally high – you’re paying for the convenience of being inside the park. 

The Zion Lodge is a bit of an exception to that rule. It’s relatively nice, though it is still going to be expensive.

It might be worth it given the location inside the canyon – you’ll be within walking distance of multiple trailheads (including the trailhead for Angels Landing and Emerald Pools), and a short shuttle ride away from the rest of the park. 

Camping Options

There are two campgrounds inside the park, both right at the visitor center near the South Entrance. 

We stayed at Watchman Campground , which is a nice campground at the foot of the Watchman that takes reservations up to 6 months in advance. The location is unbeatable – you can easily walk to the shuttle, and the facilities are relatively updated – flush toilets and dishwashing sinks (no showers, though). It’s a competitive campground that books up months and months in advance for peak season (May – September), so make your reservations in advance. 

If you aren’t able to get reservations, check back often as cancellations do happen (that’s how we got a site – Alysha hit refresh several times a day on the park website). 

South Campground is the other option, and it’s right along the main park road not nearly as nice as Watchman. It’s first-come-first-served (though in 2021 reservations are required and open up 2 weeks in advance). The nicest sites are the eight walk-in sites along the river – you park across the trail from the site, so it’s not like you’ll be lugging your gear very far. 

Outside the Park

The best place to stay outside the park is going to be the town of Springdale, which begins just outside the south entrance of Zion.

family trip to zion national park

The Cable Mountain Lodge , which is literally right outside the entrance to the park – you can walk into the park and avoid parking and shuttling into the park altogether! – is both the nicest hotel in terms of style and amenities, and also the best location. It is a little pricier than other options below, so if you’re on a budget it’s probably not for you. 

The other two hotels that are within walking distance to the park entrance (~0.5 miles away) are Flanigan s Inn and the Cliffrose Hotel . 

  • Flanigans Inn is a great option, with nice facilities and an onsite restaurant (the Spotted Dog) that consistently gets phenomenal reviews. 
  • The Cliffrose is very, very nice, and is about the same level as the Cable Mountain Lodge. It’s slightly less convenient, but is still a good option if you want to be within walking distance of the shuttle into the canyon. 

If you’re looking for the best value in Zion , you’re going to have to look a bit further out. The Best Western PLUS and Holiday Inn Express (I stayed here with my family years ago on a summer road trip) are great options with nice enough rooms at a reasonable price. Plus, the Springdale Shuttle stops just outside both of them, making it easy to get into the park. 

family trip to zion national park

There are some cool and unique places to stay in Springdale and just outside of town that are worth mentioning if you want a truly unforgettable stay near Zion.

  • The Red Rock Inn : Great location in Springdale, walking distance to the best grocery store in town (Sol Marketplace), the best coffee in town (Deep Creek Coffee Company), AND one of the best restaurants (Oscar’s). They have standalone cottages, with breakfast delivered straight to your door. 
  • Wildflower : We drove by this spot as we were heading up Kolob Terrace Road, and I was intrigued. They’re about 15 minutes outside of Springdale, and you’ll have a choice between a stylish bungalow, a safari-style glamping tent, or a unique covered wagon. It’s a cool place to stay, and while it’s not right in town, it’s only about 15 minutes away from the park entrance. 
  • Under Canvas Zion : We first came across Under Canvas in Moab, when we said “whoa, THAT looks cool” as we drove by. It’s a little further out – about 30 minutes from the park entrance up Kolob Terrace Road – but it’s a cool spot with outstanding views of the surrounding landscape and stylish safari-style glamping tents. It’s pricey, but it’s one of the most unique ways to experience Zion, which is why it’s on this list. 

The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

We think the shoulder seasons – spring and fall – are the best times to visit Zion National Park. Both will give you relatively nice weather without the blazing hot temperatures that descend on the park during the summer, and fewer crowds than over the summer. However, weather can be more unpredictable. We were there in late April, and experienced both sunny and mid-70’s and snow from one day to the next. 

family trip to zion national park

Spring brings higher water levels, which makes hiking the Narrows a bit trickier – you’ll need to visit one of the outfitters in Springdale to get waders and special boots since the water can get up to your waist. 

Fall is similar to spring in terms of temperature and crowds, but you likely won’t have to worry too much about high water after a long, dry summer. Plus, the fall color in Zion can be pretty spectacular, with yellow trees creating a picturesque contrast with the red rocks of the canyon walls. 

In the summer , the park is BLAZING hot. It’s not like Bryce Canyon, which is about 3,000 feet higher in elevation and stays relatively cool during the summer. We’re talking 100+ degrees on a regular basis. You’ll want to stay hydrated, wear sun protection like sunscreen and a sun hat, and plan on being out and about primarily in the early morning and late afternoon, when it’s slightly cooler. Heat exhaustion is a real thing – don’t underestimate the heat.

Summer is also the most popular time to visit, which means you’ll need to book things well in advance if you’re planning on joining the hordes of tourists descending on the canyon. You’ll have longer waits for the shuttle, and longer lines to enter the park. 

Winter is the low season, and it’s going to be cold. You’ll find snow at higher elevations, which makes hiking a little trickier. However, the canyon is downright gorgeous with a light dusting of snow (which we got to experience…in April) and the crowds are thin, so it’s not a terrible time to visit. Plus, you can actually drive into the upper canyon in the winter months! We’d probably choose winter over the summer, if we’re being honest. 

Zion National Park is a treat – we think you’re going to love it. There’s such a diversity of landscapes, a ton of great hikes, and it’s the gateway to some of our other favorite spots in Utah and Arizona .

If you’re heading to the Southwest, don’t miss our other detailed travel guides to help you plan an unforgettable trip.

  • The Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park
  • How to Spend One Day in Bryce Canyon (Complete Itinerary)
  • The Best Hikes in Arches National Park
  • 4 Days in Moab: The Best of Arches, Canyonlands, and More
  • Where to Stay in Moab, Utah
  • 12 Amazing Things to Do in Moab, Utah
  • A Complete Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary (10 Days)

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Matt is the founder and main writer behind Wheatless Wanderlust, which he started back in 2018 as a way to share his gluten free travel guides with his fellow Celiac travelers.

Since then, Matt and his wife Alysha have visited 18 national parks, spent three months in Europe and six weeks in Colombia, and have explored every corner of the Pacific Northwest, which is where Matt grew up.

He writes super detailed guides to the places they visit, bringing together personal experience and historical context to help YOU plan an amazing trip.

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A Complete Guide To Planning A Trip To Zion National Park With Kids

  • Published on January 15, 2020
  • by The Mom Trotter
  • in National Parks , North America , Travel , Travel Destinations , USA States

family trip to zion national park

This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on any of the links below, I may get a commission if you make a purchase at absolutely no additional charge to you. This helps offset the costs of running this blog & I appreciate your support. Please see my  privacy & disclosure policy  for more.

Table of Contents

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Is your family planning a trip to Utah soon?  If you want to create some amazing, adventurous memories, you need to explore all that Utah has to offer, including the gorgeous 5 national Parks that are located within the state. 

First and foremost, we highly recommend a trip to Zion National Park with kids to give your family an adventure they will never forget.

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About Zion National Park

Zion may not be the most well known, or often visited national park, but once you experience it, you will wonder why.  A trip to Zion National Park with Kids, you will see is a great lesson in geology and history.

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History of Zion National Park

Zion National Park was originally called Mukuntuweap National Monument, which was established in 1909 by President Howard Taft. In 1919, it was renamed to Zion National Park in 1919.

The park service feared that the original name, Mukuntuweap National Monument, would be difficult for visitors to pronounce.  The assumption was that if the name was too hard to pronounce, visitors would be less likely to come. 

Zion Canyon has been home to humans for at least 8,000 years, and was settled by Mormon Farmers in 1847. Additionally, the area was first explored by Europeans 1776.

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Fun Facts About Zion National Park

The first visitor to arrive at the park by vehicle was back in 1917.

Zion National Park is home to ancient rock art that was created by the Anasazi people 800 to 1,500 years ago.  Unfortunately there has been vandalism in the past, so most of the rock art is no longer available to the public. 

At the 2002 Olympics, the Olympic Torch made its way through the park on its way to Salt Lake City.

There were several paintings of Zion Canyon by artist Frederick Dellenbaugh on display at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. 

In recent years, there has been an average of 5 million visitors to the park each year, which is a substantial jump from the 3700 visitors that came to the park in 1920. 

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What You Can Expect to See in Zion National Park

Zion National Park covers almost 150,000 acres. The highest elevation point inside of Zion National Park is at Kolob Canyon.  The peak is 8726 feet and the lowest elevation at the park is at Coal Pits Wash at 3666 feet. 

The park’s main attraction is Zion Canyon which is 15 miles long and 800 meters deep.

The park is home to almost 300 bird species, including the endangered California Condor. You will also find 79 different mammal species (including mule deer, cougars, and coyotes), 32 species of reptiles and 8 fish species. 

Additionally, Zion National Park has the richest plant diversity in the entire state of Utah with almost 800 native plant species.

There is also a natural underground spring located in the park. This water from the spring makes its way up through the rock surfaces over a time period of 1000 years.

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Best Time To Visit Zion National Park 

Zion National Park is open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day. 

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The weather at Zion National Park is incredibly diverse.  You can expect mid to late summertime temperatures to soar over 100 degrees, while wintertime temps can be uncomfortably cold.

Because of these temperatures, it’s best to avoid planning your trip to Zion National Park during these months. While spring does have more moderate weather, the water levels are higher, flood warnings are high and some of the hikes are off limits for safety.

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The ideal time to visit Zion National Park is during the autumn months. Temperatures hover between 60 and 90 degrees and low water levels mean that hikes are available. Plus, the autumn colors in Zion National Park are stunning. 

In order to protect the native plants, reduce traffic and parking issues and bring back more tranquility to the Park, the Zion Shuttle System was created.

While private vehicles are allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive some months, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to traffic February through November. If you have objections to riding the shuttle, you might consider scheduling your trip for the winter months.

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The shuttle runs from March through November, so if you plan to ride the shuttle while at the park, you need to keep that schedule in mind when planning your trip. These shuttle buses arrive every 7-10 minutes so you will never have to wait too long for the next trip. 

How Did We Get To Zion National Park 

We drove an RV from to Zion National Park from Los Angeles . We made a stop in Nevada where we spent the night and visited Valley of Fire State Park first before heading to Utah.

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Where Did We Stay In Zion National Park With Kids

We stayed at Zion River RV Resort in Virgin, UT which is one of the best RV parks just about 20 minutes away from the entrance to Zion National Park.

This RV resort offers so many amenities such as; camper cabins, 2 bedroom suits, RV parking, dog areas, a playground for kids, a laundromat, social hall, shuttle bus to and from Zion National Park, a swimming pool and spa and so much more.

When we stayed the night there, the kids were excited to wake up to SNOW! They saw some other kids building a snow man and joined them for photos.

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Other Places To Stay In Zion National Park With Kids 

If you are looking for the best places to stay in Zion National Park with kids, there is just one lodging option available as well as several campgrounds.

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Rustic Zion Lodge

The Rustic Zion Lodge is located roughly 3 miles past the park entrance up Zion Canyon Drive the only accommodation inside the park.

You can rent cabins, hotel rooms or suites for your stay.  There is a year round dining room, a seasonal cafe, a gift shop and more. Additionally, kids under 16 stay free! 

Click here to see prices for the Zion Lodge and read reviews

Watchman Campground

The Watchman Campground is located along the Virgin River close to the South Entrance of the park. There is just over 180 sites with electrical hookups, it is important to note that there are no generators allowed here.

Click here to see prices for Watchman Campground and read reviews

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South Campground

The South Campground is  located close the Watchman Campground along the Virgin River near the South Entrance of the Park. There are no hookups at these 117 sites, but generators are allowed during specific hours of the day.

Click here to see prices for South Campground and read reviews

Fairfield Inn & Suites Virgin Zion National Park

The Fairfield Inn & Suites is fairly new and is located close to Zion National park. This hotel offers free breakfast and has a kiddie pool which is a big draw for families. It is also located close to Sand Hollow State Park and Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

Click here to see prices for Fairfield Inn & Suites and read reviews

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Driftwood Lodge in Springdale

Just minutes from the South Entrance of the Park you will find the Driftwood Lodge in Springdale.

This highly rated hotel offers an outdoor pool, a BBQ area, a river beach and more which makes it the perfect place to stay near Zion National Park with kids. 

Click here to see prices for Driftwood Lodge and read reviews

Lava Point Campground

If your family enjoys a more primitive style of camping, the Lava Point Campground is for you!  There are only 6 sites here with no hookups and these are all on a first come first serve basis, they are free though!

Kid Friendly Hikes In Zion National Park With Kids

Zion National Park is arguably the best National Park to take your kids hiking. Zion does, of course, have plenty of challenging, expert trails that are not recommended for children.

That being said, there are a good number of kid-friendly hikes in Zion National Park.

A trip to Zion National Park with kids would not be complete without doing these kid-friendly hikes. 

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Pa’rus Trail  

At 3.5 miles round trip, this hike is paved, easy and pleasant to stroll with children. This trail is open to leashed dogs, bikes, and is wheelchair accessible. 

Weeping Rock Trail

If you are looking for a simple stroll, the Weeping Walk Trail is perfect.  This paved trail is less than 0.4 miles long and takes you to one of Zion’s most famous landmarks, Weeping Rock.

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Canyon Overlook Trail

Another short hike, the Canyon Overlook Trail is just 1 mile out and back, and leads to a magical overlook of Zion Canyon. 

Emerald Pools Trail

The Emerald Pools Trail is actually a network of trails that lead to the Lower, Middle and Upper Emerald Pools. You can visit any or all of these pools from these trails. In total these trails equal 1.2 to 2.5 miles.  

Riverside Walk

The Riverside Walk is a 2.2 mile, paved “hike” along the Virgin river.  This hike leads right to the mouth of Zion Canyon and its stunning views.

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Other Things To Do In Zion National Park With Kids

If you are looking for non-hiking things to do in Zion National Park with kids, it’s time to hop in the car!

While you can’t drive in Zion Canyon during most months of the year, there are some other really great scenic drives that you can take with the family. 

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Mount Carmel Highway Drive

Mount Carmel Highway Drive is a 12 mile highway that is a connecting highway between the east and the south entrances of the park.

This drive takes you up and down switchbacks and through the 1+ mile long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which the kids will love!

Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive

The Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park is the side of the park that is not as well known, but equally beautiful. Located roughly 40 miles north of Zion Canyon, but well worth the drive.

The views are amazing, there are plenty of places to stop to look at the views, and there are even some hiking trails along the way.  Best part? This part of the park sees significantly fewer visitors each year so you won’t run into the same crowds. 

Tips For Visiting Zion National Park With Kids

  • Our best tips for visiting Zion National Park with kids is to choose your vacation dates wisely so that your family is comfortable and safe. 
  • Additionally, be sure to pack extra water and snacks so you have plenty of time to explore the area without the kids getting hungry and thirsty.
  • Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks I’ve ever been to. Make sure to have your photos taken by Arika at Zion Adventure Photog . She captured beautiful photos of our family! PS: Let her know I sent you.

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Hey Fam, I’m so glad you’re here! I am an entrepreneur and travel enthusiast who is passionate about sharing an alternate way of living surrounding travel, homeschooling, parenting and financial independence, with a mission to inspire other families.

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  • Last Updated On
  • October 22, 2023

17 Fun Things to Do in Zion National Park with Kids — Family Friendly Activities!

Ellie Hughes

Wondering where to take your kids in Southern Utah?

You’re in for a family treat in Zion National Park.

It’s Utah’s OG national park, covering a sprawling 146,597 acres of pure outdoor magic.

Speaking as a Utah local who has seen it all, your visit isn’t complete without stopping by here.

For parents, here’s the good news.

You’ll never run out of options for fun things to do in Zion National Park with kids.

From easy hikes to river adventures, this place is bursting with activities that will make both young and old feel like intrepid explorers.

Indeed, Zion is a playground for families.

And in this article, we’re here to help you pick activities that will pump up everyone in your crew.

So, keep reading, and get the lowdown on the adventures Zion has in store for your little ones.

Fun Things To Do In Zion National Park With Kids Compared

Whether you’re a short drive away or planning a big family vacation, Zion National Park has something for everyone.

With these top picks, let’s make your family’s next adventure in Utah the best one yet.

Editor’s Choice

Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour

Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour

Zion Helicopter Tours’ Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour offers breathtaking aerial views of Zion National Park from Virgin.

  • Age Compatibility: Tweens (10-12 years old)
  • Educational Value: 2/5
  • Fun Factor: 5/5
  • Accessibility: 3/5
  • Affordability: 1/5

#2nd Best Choice

East Zion: Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour

East Zion: Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour

Operated by East Zion Adventures, the East Zion: Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour offers off-road thrills amidst stunning canyon vistas in Zion.

  • Educational Value: 4/5
  • Fun Factor: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 2/5
  • Affordability: 3/5

#3rd Best Choice

East Zion: 1-Hour White Mountain Horseback Tour

East Zion: 1-Hour White Mountain Horseback Tour

East Zion Adventures’ 1-Hour White Mountain Horseback Tour offers a serene ride through scenic trails in the park.

  • Age Compatibility: Young Children (6-9 years old)
  • Educational Value: 3/5
  • Affordability: 4/5

Here are 17 fun activities in Zion National Park with kids.

1. Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour (Editor’s Choice)

3050 East UT-9 Virgin, UT 84755 (435) 668-4185 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ratings Criteria

  • Unbeatable views: The bird’s eye perspective etches a lasting memory in your mind as you soar above Zion.
  • Time-efficient: Both the 10- and 20-minute exploration offer a comprehensive and unique tour experience.
  • Pricey: The tour’s price is in the higher range, considering its short duration.
  • Limited educational value: You won’t have the chance to delve into the park’s history or geology firsthand while airborne.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Soaring above Zion National Park in a helicopter is an experience like no other.

You’ll get a bird’s-eye view of iconic landmarks you can’t see from the ground.

Whether you opt for the 10- or 20-minute flight, you’re in for a visual feast.

Red rock formations, winding rivers, and lush valleys unfold beneath you.

It’s a bucket-list-worthy activity and an adventure that elevates any Zion trip.

Recommended Ages

This helicopter tour is great for ages 6 and up.

The aerial views will wow young kids, while adults can appreciate the natural beauty.

It’s a family-friendly adventure everyone can enjoy.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Virgin Zion National Park

2. East Zion: Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour

Twin Knolls Road East Zion, UT 84755 (435) 648-2712 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Adventure galore: Between the thrilling UTV ride and the exhilarating exploration of slot canyons, this destination fulfills an adrenaline junkie’s wildest dreams.
  • Educational: During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the distinctive geology of slot canyons and perhaps uncover local historical insights.
  • Physical limits: This experience may not suit everyone, as those with mobility issues could encounter challenges during the adventure.
  • Not for young kids: The intensity level might be a bit overwhelming for younger children, so it’s advisable to consider age appropriateness.

Want to amp up your East Zion adventure?

The Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour is your ticket to excitement.

This tour is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, combining the thrill of UTV off-roading with the awe of slot canyon exploration.

You’ll navigate through rugged terrains and hike through the mesmerizing Crimson Slot Canyon.

The guided tour offers fascinating insights into the area’s geology.

It’s an adrenaline-pumping, educational experience perfect for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

The Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour is ideal for ages 10 and up.

It’s a hit with adventurous families, couples, and groups looking for an action-packed day in East Zion.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Zion Mountain Ranch

Related: Best Things to Do in Zion National Park, UT

3. East Zion: 1-Hour White Mountain Horseback Tour

  • Family-friendly: The tour offers a fantastic family outing, allowing people of various ages to come together to enjoy hopping on a horse and bonding.
  • Connect with nature: Riding a horse through scenic trails carries a serene charm, evoking a sense of peace and tranquility amidst nature’s beauty.
  • Accessibility: Access to horse riding requires the ability to mount and ride, limiting availability to those with such skills.
  • Less thrilling: The experience is more akin to a leisurely trot than a thrilling gallop, so it’s best to manage expectations.

Imagine riding horseback through the tranquil landscapes of East Zion.

The 1-Hour White Mountain Horseback Tour offers just that.

You’ll trot along scenic trails, surrounded by the beauty of Zion’s mountains and valleys.

It’s a slower-paced adventure that lets you truly absorb your surroundings.

The guides are super knowledgeable, sharing tidbits about local flora and fauna.

The tour offers a unique, relaxing way to experience Zion, making it a must-do for any nature lover.

The 1-Hour White Mountain Horseback Tour is most suitable for ages 8 and up.

It’s a fantastic option for families, couples, or anyone wanting a laid-back outdoor experience.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

4. Zion Nature Center

Zion Nature Center (Permanently Closed)

Zion National Park UT-9 Hurricane, UT 84737 (435) 772-3256 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Located at the north end of the main campground parking area at Zion National Parklies the Zion Nature Center.

Here you’ll find educational and informative displays, games, and youth programs.

If you’ve been searching for kids activities in Zion National Park, this is the right place to ask. Zion Nature Center organizes fun activities such as scavenger hunts and more.

Kids can also play games here, so if you want to take a break or escape the heat of the sun, head on over to the Zion Nature Center.

Visitors of all ages are welcome at the Zion Nature Center.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hurricane Wingate at Zion

Also See: Salt Lake City Attractions for Kids Kid Friendly Things to Do in Bryce Canyon

5. Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy Hurricane, UT 84737 (435) 772-3256 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Mt. Carmel Highway Tunnel is a 1.1 mile-long landmark tunnel cut through red sandstone cliffs, and is one of the gateways to Zion National Park.

If you want to know what to do in Zion National Park with kids apart from the usual outdoor activities, a quick answer would be to drive through the Zion to Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel.

This is no ordinary tunnel as you’ll see boulders of cream, yellow, brown, and red in the landscape lined with wildflowers, sagebrush, and desert pines.

Highlights of the drive include hilltops, hexes, towers, hillocks, amazing rock formations, and a lot of swirling.

Driving through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Tunnel is recommended for all.

Families with a baby can easily make this drive since it’s in the comfort of your own vehicle.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: La Quinta by Wyndham at Zion Park/Springdale

6. Lower Emerald Pool

Lower Emerald Pool

Emerald Pools Trail Hurricane, UT 84737 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Established in 1919, Lower Emerald Pool in Zion National Park is a scenic oasis in Utah featuring a waterfall and lush greenery.

Looking for a nature escape that’s both stunning and accessible?

Lower Emerald Pool in Zion National Park is your family-friendly go-to spot.

This Utah gem offers a relatively easy hike, perfect for families and beginners.

The trail is just 1.2 miles round-trip, making it doable for all ages.

As you walk, you’ll be surrounded by towering red rock formations that make Zion famous.

The real showstopper is the waterfall that cascades into a serene pool.

Surrounded by lush greenery, it’s like walking into a postcard.

Lower Emerald Pool is suitable for all ages.

The trail is relatively easy, making it great for families with young kids and older adults.

It’s a hit for multi-generational outings.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express Springdale – Zion National Park Area, an IHG Hotel

Also See: Things for Kids to Do in Moab Things to Do in Park City for Kids

7. Zion Jeep Tours

zion jeep tours

2400 Zion Park Blvd Springdale, UT 84767 (435) 668-3756 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Zion Jeep Tours offers private, safari, and jeep tours around Zion to access some of the best spots in the park.

The tours range from 3 to 9 hours and are perfect for experiencing Zion’s natural beauty.

One of the most recommended attractions for kids and families is the Zion Jeep Tours.

Most visitors in Zion don’t get to explore beyond the usual trails and mapped attractions.

Here’s a good opportunity for you and your family to see exclusive spots like an authentic ghost town, thousand-year-old American rock art, and a lot more.

Zion Jeep Tours are recommended for families with children of all ages.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Quality Inn & Suites Montclair

Related: Restaurants in Springdale

8. Zion Junior Ranger Programs

zion junior ranger programs

Zion National Park Hurricane, UT 84737 (435) 772-3256 Visit Website

Explore. Protect. Learn. That is the motto of a Zion Junior Ranger.

Kids and adults get to explore and enjoy Zion National Park and the natural world while completing activities in a given booklet for the program.

Are you looking for free kid-friendly things to do in Zion? Be a Zion Junior Ranger and claim your own badges.

Children and their folks will journey through the park in search of clues and new things to uncover.

This is a fun and thrilling approach for learning about the canyon and more.

The Zion Junior Ranger programs are recommended for children four years old and older.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: My Place Hotel – Hurricane, UT

Also See: Kids Activities: Provo Things to Do in St. George with Kids

9. Zion National Park Emerald Pools

zion national park emerald pools

Zion National Park Hurricane, UT 84737 (435) 772-3256 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

There are three trails in Zion National Park that will take you to see emerald pools.

The lower, middle, and upper pool trails vary in difficulty, but are all worth the hike.

Fun for teens and adults, this hike will give you amazing views of emerald pools.

What are these pools, you ask?

Emerald pools are small, shallow lakes with surface areas less than an acre.

If you haven’t seen one yet, here’s your chance to do so.

But be careful when hiking, especially with children.

The surfaces near emerald pools tend to be very slippery, so stay alert, Mom.

The lower pool trail, being paved and the easiest among the three, is recommended for hikers with a baby and young children.

The middle and upper pool trails are medium to hard in difficulty and are recommended for teens and adults who are experienced hikers.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn & Suites

10. Zion Horseback Riding

zion horseback riding

What’s the best way to spend 1-3 hours in Zion National Park?

It’s exploring the canyons and trails on horseback.

Choose from the Virgin River Ride or the Sandy Beach Trail, either one a memorable experience for your family.

Got plans this weekend?

Go through some trails in Zion National Park on horseback.

It’ll be one of the highlights of your trip as you trot through the Three Patriarchs, the Beehives, and take an astonishing trip through beautiful cactus gardens.

Horseback riding through Zion is recommended for children ages 7 years old and up.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Quality Inn Zion

11. Zion Human History Museum

zion human history museum

Zion National Park Rd Springdale, UT 84779 (435) 772-3256 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Located a mile north of Zion’s south entrance lies the Zion Human History Museum. Its permanent exhibits showcase American Indian culture, the effects of water on the park, and more.

Looking for cheap family-fun? Check out the Zion Human History Museum and watch a 22-minute video about an overview of the park.

Rangers will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Also drop by the museum’s bookstore and get a souvenir to remember this trip by.

The Zion Human History Museum is recommended for kids ages 6 years old and above.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Bumbleberry Inn

12. Zion Shuttle

zion shuttle

The Zion Shuttles were established in 1997 due to the park’s growing popularity.

Its usual route starts at the Visitor Center up to the Scenic Drive then stops by points like the Zion Lodge and numerous trailheads like the Emerald Pools and the West Rim Trail.

Heading to Zion National Park today?

One of the fun things to do in Zion National Park with kids is riding the Zion Shuttle.

It’s perfect on a hot day and you’re tired from hiking and you just want to sit down.

Visitors of all ages are welcome to board the Zion Shuttle.

13. Zion Canyon Visitor Center

Zion Canyon Visitor Center

Zion National Park, 1 Zion Park Blvd Springdale, UT 84767 (435) 772-3256 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Kick off your Zion National Park adventure at the Zion Visitor Center.

Here, you’ll find intriguing exhibits about the park, a handy gift shop, and a free water bottle refill station.

When it comes to exploring exciting things to do with kids, Zion National Park Visitor Center should be your first stop.

Sure, you’re eager to hit the trails, but don’t skip this place.

This place is like a prelude to the great outdoors and other fun Zion National Park kids activities.

They can grab a Junior Ranger booklet, which is tailored by age group and turns exploring into a rewarding game.

Completing it earns them a Junior Ranger badge—a keepsake they’ll proudly show off.

Plus, the weather station is your go-to for ensuring you’re dressed for the day, which is crucial during the unpredictable monsoon season.

The Zion Visitor Center is a hit for all ages, but the Junior Ranger program is a special treat for kids between 4 and 12 years old.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection By Hilton

14. Kayenta Trail

Kayenta Trail

Kayenta Trail Utah 84737 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

This path is a scenic detour when you’re returning from the Emerald Pools.

If you’re already planning on seeing the Emerald Pools, adding the Kayenta Trail to your itinerary is a no-brainer.

Unlike the often crowded Emerald Pools, Kayenta offers a more peaceful vibe.

Kids will love feeling like little explorers as they traverse the trail, and the unobstructed views of Zion Canyon give them that “wow” moment.

This makes it one of the most kid friendly things to do in Zion National Park.

Snap a family selfie with the towering red cliffs and winding Virgin River as your backdrop.

Also, bring a pair of binoculars, as you might spot some wildlife or even climbers scaling the canyon walls.

The Kayenta Trail is great for kids aged 6 and up who are comfortable with walking distances.

15. The Narrows

The Narrows

Zion National Park Utah 84737 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Take the family on an unforgettable adventure in Zion’s Narrows, accessible at the end of the Riverside Walk.

Looking for an adventure that’s a bit off the beaten path?

The Narrows is where it’s at.

Imagine hiking in a river, water splashing around your legs, and towering cliffs surrounding you.

Kids will get a thrill out of navigating through the water.

Sometimes, it’s just ankle-deep, and other times, they’ll get to practice their doggy paddle.

Remember to pack close-toed shoes and walking sticks—it makes balancing way easier and adds an extra layer of fun for the kiddos.

For those searching for fun things to do in Zion National Park for kids, a visit to this park is a must.

It’s ideal for families with kids aged 8 and above, especially if they’re good swimmers.

The water levels can vary, so being comfortable in water is key.

16. Angels Landing (Formerly Known as the Temple of Aeolus)

Angels Landing (Formerly Known as the Temple of Aeolus)

7393+J6 Springdale, Utah 84737 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Angels Landing isn’t for the faint of heart—or fear of heights.

This 2.5-mile trek rewards daring families with jaw-dropping vistas.

If your family loves thrills, Angels Landing delivers.

It’s a hike like no other.

The first two miles are perfect for older kids who can handle steep terrain, and the views are insta-worthy.

The hike culminates at a narrow viewpoint that’s like standing on the edge of the world.

But let’s be clear: the final half-mile isn’t child’s play.

It has cables to hold onto and sheer drops that can make your heart skip a beat.

The hike is best suited for families with older kids, say 12 and up, who have some hiking experience.

The trail splits into an easier path and the more challenging final leg, so you can choose what fits your family’s comfort level.

17. Bumbleberry Gift Shop And Bakery

Bumbleberry Gift Shop And Bakery

897 Zion – Mount Carmel Hwy Springdale, UT 84767 (435) 429-7199 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Bumbleberry Bakery is your go-to for mouthwatering pies and baked goods.

Tucked into a cozy corner next to Wildcat Willies, this bakery is a sweet haven for families who love indulging in homemade treats.

While there aren’t many indoor kids activities Zion National Park has to offer, this store is definitely worth your time.

Where do we start?

If your family has a sweet tooth, Bumbleberry Bakery will be your personal paradise.

The pies are legendary—from apple to cherry to the house-special bumbleberry, every slice is a piece of heaven.

Parents, you’re not just spectators in this sugar fest.

Grab a gourmet coffee and join in the fun, or take a moment to enjoy a sweet, quiet break.

From tots to teens to parents, there’s something for every age at Bumbleberry.

So, when you’re in the Zion National Park area and thinking of “things to do with kids near me”, make sure this place pops up.

Activity Guide 

Comparing attractions: which one is right for you.

Each of our top attractions offers a unique lens through which to appreciate Zion.

Taking to the skies in Zion National Park: 10 or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour was like getting a bird’s-eye view of heaven.

The 10-minute ride felt like a quick adrenaline shot the first time.

So, on our family’s second visit, we tried the 20-minute option, which gave us time to soak in the grandeur.

The red rocks seemed to dance below, and my kids were so excited being up close to the clouds.

Switching gears, we hopped on a UTV for the East Zion: Crimson Slot Canyon Exploration and UTV Tour.

I could feel the grit in my teeth as we zoomed through the landscape.

My youngest said it was like being in an action movie, minus the explosions.

This one’s perfect if your family wants to get dirty with Mother Nature.

Last but not least, the White Mountain Horseback Tour was a serene contrast.

The horses knew the way, allowing us to lose ourselves in the scenery.

The pace was slow, the air smelled of sagebrush, and I felt like a cowboy in an old Western film.

This is the one for families after a laid-back, soul-soothing experience.

So, whether you’re up in the air, tearing through canyons, or trotting along mountain trails, Zion never disappoints.

Choose based on the adventure you seek.

But even better, why not try them all?

How I Picked The Activities

I’ve had the chance to explore Zion National Park more times than I can count as a Utah resident.

But this isn’t just about my own experience and hands-on analysis.

I’ve also chatted with locals and travelers to get their take on the best family activities around.

So, whether you’re planning a trip or looking for a weekend getaway, you can trust that these activities are tried and true for family fun.

Our Rating Method 

I rate these activities based on the following criteria: 

  • Age Compatibility: I use this criterion to assess the ideal age range for each attraction. Is this activity suitable for toddlers, preschoolers, or young children? Will teenagers and tweens enjoy this attraction? I ask myself these questions whenever I assess age compatibility. 
  • Educational Value: This is used to evaluate the educational benefits that the activity offers. Does the activity provide learning opportunities to children? Does it teach them lessons in science and history? I ask myself these important questions when rating the activity’s educational value. 
  • Fun Factor: This measures the level of excitement, engagement, and enjoyment that the activity offers. Is it engaging and enjoyable for kids? Will it create memorable and positive experiences for families? These questions are important whenever I rate the activity’s fun factor. 
  • Accessibility: This measures how accessible the activity is for families. Is it wheelchair accessible? Is it easily accessible by public transportation? Does it have ample parking space? I consider these factors when evaluating the accessibility of every activity. 
  • Affordability: This assesses the value of money provided by the activity. Are the admission fees reasonable? Does it offer deals or discounts for families? I use these questions to evaluate the affordability of every attraction. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is zion national park stroller-friendly.

Zion National Park is not stroller-friendly. The park’s trails often feature uneven and rocky terrain, making it challenging to navigate with a stroller. For families with young children, a baby carrier is generally a more practical option when navigating the park.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Zion With Kids?

The best time to visit Zion with kids is during the spring and fall seasons. These months offer milder weather and fewer crowds, making it more comfortable and enjoyable for family adventures. Summer can be hot and crowded, so if you’re considering a visit at that time, be prepared with plenty of water and sun protection.

Are There Kid-Friendly Hikes In Zion National Park?

Kid-friendly hikes are definitely a part of Zion National Park’s charm. Trails like the Riverside Walk and Weeping Rock are short and relatively flat, making them ideal for families with younger kids. These trails offer stunning views and a chance for little adventurers to connect with nature.

Fun Things to Do in Zion National Park with Kids: Reddit User Recommendations

Zion with kids- need suggestions! by u/sunnynightsRN in ZionNationalPark

Conclusion 

So, you’ve been wondering about some fun things to do in Zion National Park with kids.

Let me tell you, the place doesn’t disappoint.

It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book, but way better because you’re actually living it.

From the serenity of horseback rides to the rugged thrill of UTV tours, there’s something for every brand of explorer in your family.

But if I had to pick just one that I’d want to experience with my family again, it’s the Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour.

It’s the quickest way to make your jaw drop and your heart soar, plus it offers an unforgettable experience for the kids.

It’s a splurge, but some things are just worth the price of admission.

So go ahead, and make Zion’s epic playground your family’s next grand adventure.

17 Fun Things to Do in Zion National Park with Kids — Family Friendly Activities!

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One Week Itinerary in Zion and Bryce With Kids

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Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime when you head to Zion and Bryce with kids! In April 2019, I traveled with my parents, sister, and family of five young children to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. We had such a wonderful time! To help other families plan a similarly awesome trip, I decided to round up all the activities we did and compile them into a one-week itinerary in Zion and Bryce with kids! 

Journey to Zion National Park

Day 1 – las vegas.

Las Vegas Casino at Mandalay Bay, a stop on an itinerary in Zion and Bryce Kids

My family decided to spend one day in Vegas at Mandalay Bay, and then purchased a rental car to drive to Utah. Of course, we made sure to stop at the legendary In-n-Out Burger before hitting the road! Even without stopping, the drive down was extremely scenic and breathtaking, particularly when we drove through the mountains in Arizona. 

In Zion, we stayed three nights at Cable Mountain Lodge . The hotel was recommended to me by a few people, and I was ultimately glad I chose it. Its location was so great, as it’s actually the hotel closest to the entrance of the park. Our rooms had stunning views of the mountains, as well. We all thought the hotel mountain views were beautiful, too. Since we arrived late in the afternoon, we spent our time exploring the hotel, visiting the pool, and having dinner in our room. We were just too tired to go out, and we wanted to save our energy for Zion! 

Note : You lose one hour on the drive. Vegas is PST and Utah is MDT.

Day 2 – Zion National Park

family trip to zion national park

Hoping to avoid the crowds, we went to Zion’s visitor center early and shuttled to the last stop. There, we walked along the Riverside Trail, which was great for our children because it wasn’t particularly steep. Even if you don’t want to walk, riding the shuttle is a nice way to tour the park! Just be sure to bring a jacket you can eventually take off. It was pretty cold in the morning, but eventually warmed up. Then, we took the shuttle to the Lodge and grabbed lunch there – it was so delicious! After, we hiked the lower Emerald Pool trail and enjoyed it.

Around 2 pm, we shuttled back to the hotel, spent the afternoon in the Cable Mountain pool, and then had a nice dinner at Zion Brew Pub. I also wanted to note that there is absolutely no phone or WiFi service in Zion. I still had no service at the hotel, but luckily was able to use WiFi. The best part of the day, though, was that our 4th grader was able to enter for free with the free National Park Pass for 4th graders !

We chose to visit Zion in April because we wanted to beat the extreme heat and infamous crowds. Aside from the fact that we had to get up early for the shuttle, we didn’t mind the crowds this day. If you dislike the cold, you may have a better time in the summer. Fortunately, the pool at the hotel was heated! 

Search hotels near Zion National Park South Entrance in Springdale using Hotels.com.

Day 3 – Zion National Park

family trip to zion national park

Our third day in Zion was cold and rainy. We thought the rain might hold out, so we took the 8 am shuttle (which was empty). From there, we hiked the Weeping Rock Trail. It was short and ideal for the type of weather! We then shuttled to the Court of the Patriarchs and were able to experience the breathtaking views. I had read that if you cross the road and go up Sand Bench Trail, you’ll find another good viewpoint – so we did that too. By then it had started raining, so we headed to our second stop – The Zion Museum. Kids were able to do a Jr. Ranger program and then hand in their packets later in the day, which was fun. We also caught an intro to Zion movie, which was an educational experience for our entire family.

Even though the park wasn’t as crowded this day, we still made reservations at the Red Rock Grill in the Zion Lodge for dinner. The spot was crowded and we even saw people being turned away at the door. I recommend booking in advance. They had plenty of kid-friendly dishes and we enjoyed our meal here.  

The Best Hotels Closest to Zion National Park in Utah for 2021 (Expedia.com)

Day 4 – Zion National Park

On our fourth day of exploring Zion and Bryce with kids , we immediately headed toward Zion’s notorious Angel’s Landing. My advice is to simply tackle as much of this challenging hike as you feel like, even if you don’t finish the entire trail. Initially, it was very easy on our kids, and has incredible views. At the very beginning of the trail we had seen three river access points, so we also took the kids there, and they had a blast playing. They also loved spotted wildlife throughout our visit – frogs, squirrels, deer, turkeys, beetles – you name it! Honestly, it was probably their favorite part of the Zion trip.

Then, we hiked the Grotto Trail to the Lodge and took our final shuttle to hit the road. We were sad to leave! Overall, though, I think we had a good amount of time in Zion. We couldn’t do everything, but we still did a lot and didn’t feel rushed.

Find Top 50 Zion National Park house rentals on Vrbo.com

FLT Recommended Places to Stay Near Zion with Kids

When staying near Zion with kids , consider Cable Mountain Lodge , offering convenient access to Zion National Park . For immediate park access, stay at Zion National Park Lodge , the only in-park lodging option, offering cabins, standard hotel rooms, and suites. Then,  Zion Mountain Ranch  is ideal for those seeking horseback riding on-site, however, it is also about 30 minutes away from the Zion National Park visitor’s center and shuttle. Finally, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park , and  Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection by Hilton , are among the other family-friendly hotels near Zion National Park .

RELATED ARTICLE: Where to Stay in Zion with Kids (Hotels, Ranches, and Unique Options)

Journey to Bryce Canyon National Park

Overlooking the mountains in Bryce, Zion and Bryce Kids

Throughout our trip to Zion and Bryce with kids, we discovered that there were various closures. This put a dent in some of the activities we had originally planned in our one-week itinerary. In Zion, the Narrows, Upper Emerald Pool Trail , Kayenta Trail, the Zion-Mount, and Carmel Highway were all closed. The closure that I cared most about was the highway because that would have made the drive to Bryce shorter! Overall, though, I wasn’t too bothered by the closures – we had more than enough to do as it was. So, without further ado, my family hit the road to Bryce! The ride had great views and took almost three hours since we took the longer route due to the closures.  

Upon arrival, we checked into The Lodge at Bryce Canyon – the only in-park lodging. I made these reservations a year in advance. I think National Park lodges are in great natural locations, but a bit “rustic” in general (low on amenities and no televisions, for example). At the lodge, we had three rooms, (two queens in each) and I had one kid sleep in my parents’ room each night. Still, we were all glad we stayed in-park at Bryce. It was really the most convenient option. The food situation in Bryce left a little to be desired, however. There was a lodge restaurant, a general store, and a pizza place. It turned out the pizza place was not open for the season yet. 

On this first night, we were not planning for a sit-down dinner, but with few other options, we had dinner at the lodge. It was good, and there wasn’t any wait for a table. From our hotel room, it was a three-minute walk to Sunset Point. We ended the chilly night overlooking the park.  

Day 1 – Bryce Canyon National Park

family trip to zion national park

On our first day, some of us woke up to see the sunrise over Bryce Canyon, just a quick walk from the lodge! It was pretty cool but also FREEZING! After the sunrise, we had an enjoyable breakfast at the lodge. To continue evolving our one-week itinerary in Zion and Bryce with kids , we ventured toward the visitor’s center for the first time. There are four main lookout points in Bryce Canyon: Sunset, Sunrise, Inspiration, and Bryce Point . We were able to easily walk to Sunrise and Sunset, but we drove to Inspiration and Bryce Point. Bryce Point was our favorite. 

We saw a ranger talk on Hoodoo geology and learned that Bryce is not actually a Canyon (but Zion is). Afterward, we hiked the Queens Garden Trail. I thought it was really cool to go down into the Hoodoos. There were also three additional lookout points, Swamp Canyon , Farview, and Natural Bridge. Navajo Loop was closed. 

This day, there was a 30-minute wait for lunch at the lodge. I’m speculating that since most people don’t stay overnight in the park, and are in for the day, that lunch is the busiest meal of the day with fewer people around for breakfast and dinner. I suggest either packing your own lunch, eating a big breakfast, or arriving earlier than the crowds. 

Based on a tip from a work acquaintance, we had dinner reservations at Stone Hearth Grille. The Mossy Cave Trail was on the way. It was a little underwhelming, but we let the kids go down to see the waterfall, which interested them. Pro tip: do Mossy Cave on your way home from dinner, or make sure you have a change of clothes because our littles ones got real muddy real fast. 

Stone Hearth Grille is definitely a must-do if you’re a foodie – it turned out to be one of our favorite restaurants anywhere! It’s fine dining, and you need reservations. Though we had the kids with us for dinner, we saw others there with children as well. 

Thoughts on Adding Additional Parks

Our tiredness this day solidified that we couldn’t have added in Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, or the Grand Canyon in our Zion and Bryce with kids itinerary. I even really wanted to go to Snow Canyon . But with three kids ages 4-9, we really pushed ourselves to the limit with this itinerary as it was! 

Brian Head Resort Skiing

On my family’s last day in Bryce, we had breakfast at Bryce Lodge, checked out, and headed out for a half-day of skiing at Brian Head Resort on our way back to Las Vegas. 

This was our first time skiing out West, and we all loved it! It was the end of the ski season and there were very low crowds. My kids took lessons and we thought the ski instructors were both great. We also thought the snow conditions were a lot better than what we are used to on the East coast. I really didn’t know anything about this place, but we decided to give it a shot. In general, it seems like it is a lower-cost resort with lower crowds, knowledgeable instructors, and fair snow conditions. An expert might not think it’s hard enough for them – but we are definitely not experts – so we were super happy it was right up our alley. I have never been to a ritzy ski resort out West, but if that’s your thing, this one is different from that. 

Then we drove back to Vegas and stayed overnight at Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas Airport. I knew we weren’t going to be at the hotel long this night due to an early flight, so I was just looking for something cheaper with easy airport access. This hotel definitely fits the bill. Since I didn’t think we’d get much sleep this night as it was, I only got one room with two queen beds and a rollaway bed. 

Choose from these top 20 Bryce Canyon National Park cabin rentals on Vrbo.com

Our Last Day

We were out and about pretty early this day, so as to not miss our flight. Overall, we had a great trip to Zion and Bryce with kids ! I knew beforehand that our trip was going to be more “traveling,” as opposed to “vacationing.” It was definitely fine, but a little less relaxing to be changing hotels so often and really living out of our suitcases.

We really do want to go back and check out other things we didn’t get to do. For example, The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary seemed too far this trip, but I think my children would have really loved it. I’ll have to try to get there sometime, along with Snow Canyon , the east entrance of Zion, Canyonlands , Arches , and Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase , the Grand Canyon , and maybe even the Narrows or the top of Angel’s Landing!

FLT Recommended Places to Stay Near Bryce with Kids

Consider the peace offered by rustic accommodations when staying near Bryce National Park with kids . While 45-minutes away, shake up your adventure by staying in one of the tiny homes offered by Escalante Escape . Or, just under an hour from Bryce Canyon National Park , Escalante Yurts is another unique option for families.

Find Hotels Closest to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah using Expedia.

Concluding Thoughts  

Mossy waterfall Zion Bryce with kids

I hope my one-week itinerary in Zion and Bryce with kids inspires you to make a similar trip of your own! Though our schedule was tight, I don’t regret the choices we made. Originally, I had booked two nights in Vegas, two nights at Cable Mountain , and two nights at Bryce Lodge . A month before we left, however, we changed our minds and decided to add an extra day to our Zion itinerary. I’m so glad we did – I kept calling Cable Mountain, and eventually I was able to get three nights for all three rooms. I was so happy!

Article written by Families Love Travel Top Contributor, Rebecca Rotem .

All images in this article, unless otherwise noted, were taken by and are used courtesy of Rebecca Rotem.

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family trip to zion national park

11 of the Best Zion National Park Family Resorts and Hotels

posted by James Brockbank on May 28, 2022 // last updated on May 28, 2022

Zion national park is a scenic oasis in Southern Utah where you can see traces of volcanoes that erupted thousands of years ago and fossils that represent past life on Earth.

If you’re a fan of watching the night skies, the park provides you with exceptional conditions for that as they are a certified International Dark Sky Park. 

But for you to enjoy the Zion national park, you’ll probably need accommodation. And you’re in luck because the park has many family resorts and hotels offering a wide range of fun activities for the revelers.

We will give you all the inspiration to help you plan your vacation. Here below are the best Zion national park family resorts:

1. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

2. zion mountain ranch, 3. cliffrose lodge and gardens, 4. best western zion park inn, 5. pioneer lodge, 6. bumbleberry inn, 7. clear creek guest ranch, 8. cable mountain lodge, 9. zion lodge, 10. the best western abbey inn hotel, 11. best western coral hills.

family trip to zion national park

When Ray and Ruth Lewis bought the ranch in 1962, they wanted guests to enjoy a peaceful place, the wonderful nature surrounding them, the scent of pine and juniper, and watch the wildlife.  

Zion Ponderosa is a quiet destination away from the packed hiking and crowded restaurants. 

The Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort has employees that will make you feel at home and top-notch amenities. The welcoming atmosphere and caring staff will give you an adventure of a lifetime. The resort offers lodging, dining and recreation. 

The lodging amenities offer different options as follows:

  • Vacation homes
  • Cabin suites
  • Deluxe glamping
  • Conestoga wagon
  • Cowboy cabins
  •  RV camping 
  • Tent camping

The recreational activities offered include:

  • Canyoneering at the base of the park 
  • Traditional riding on horseback to experience the wild west guided by real cowboys 
  • Sunset Jeep tours 
  • Hiking around the resort and in the national park

The Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is your heaven on earth.

family trip to zion national park

The Zion Mountain Ranch is one of the Zion national park family resorts next to the Zion national park itself. The proximity makes it a unique western destination. The ranch sits three miles away from the eastern entrance to the Zion national park. The Zion Mountain Ranch ranks second among the top Zion national park family resorts.

Inside the ranch, revelers enjoy a spectacle of roaming herds of buffaloes. As you eat, you will enjoy the breathtaking view of the national park and roaming buffaloes. 

The Cordwood restaurant on the ranch offers organic food from the ranch itself or from sustainable sources. 

In terms of lodging facilities, you can choose between a small cabin with all the modern comforts and a breathtaking view and larger accommodation for groups with a patio and private sauna. From the front of your cabin suite, you can catch the spectacular view of a beautiful sunset.

The roaming buffaloes do not take anything away from the luxury of the ranch. The ranch offers a range of fun activities, including:

  • Horseback riding
  • Canyoneering
  • Rock climbing
  • Zion Mountain climbing
  • Trail biking
  • River rafting 
  •  Wildlife spotting

Lift your spirit in the wild and amazing Zion Mountain Ranch.

family trip to zion national park

The Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens ranks third among the top Zion national park family resorts. It is also rated the best in the Southwest national park area. The lodging experience is one of a kind. 

The Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens border the Zion national park. The view is magnificent, from the mountain peaks to the river façade.

There are plenty of exciting activities for all ages of guests. Children’s activities are also in plenty on the property. You do not need to worry about how to keep kids engaged as you kick off your shoes and soak in your family vacation.

The property has a wellness hotel, excellent rooms, and customer-centric service. The activities in Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens include hiking, wildlife, and nature spotting. 

It has a good pool and is perfect for families.  

family trip to zion national park

The Best Western Zion Park Inn ranks fourth among the top Zion national park family resorts. It is the largest lodging in Zion national park. 

It sits at the foot of the red cliffs of Zion national park. The location gives it excellent scenery and plenty of adventures.

The activities in the Inn include canyoneering and adventures through the rocks. You can also go for a nature hike. The heated outdoor pool provides the perfect relaxation. 

family trip to zion national park

The Pioneer Lodge ranks fifth among the top Zion national park family resorts. The lodge is in Springdale, a few minutes from the southwest entrance to Zion national park. It offers a memorable experience of the town of Springdale, Utah. 

Springdale is a town lined up with bed and breakfasts, motels, and plenty of small shops. It hosts the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater. Among the enjoyable spectacles of the theater is a weekly light and sound show in summer.

The pioneer lodge offers a breathtaking view of the red cliffs of Zion national park a few miles away. The lodge is the perfect place for outdoor adventures and the melting place of discovery. 

The activities include:

  • A nature hike on the rugged landscape 
  • Canyoneering 
  • A horseback ride through the trails lined with trees. 

The outdoor swimming pool is an excellent way to cool off after a day outdoors.

The pioneer lodge has forty deluxe rooms besides two apartments suitable for families. There is a heated spa and grand pool. 

The lodge also boasts a coffee shop and a magnificent restaurant. It is a great place to visit with friends and family.

family trip to zion national park

The Bumbleberry Inn ranks second among top southern Utah lodges. It ranks sixth among the top Zion national park family resorts. 

The Inn is the utopia of Utah. It is near the Zion national park and is convenient for vacation. This relaxing getaway belongs to the Smith family and is a landmark in its own right. 

The Bumbleberry Inn offers access to the Bumbleberry Theater for live rock entertainment. From your window, you have an excellent view of the red rock cliffs of the Zion national park.

The rooms are spacious with alluring views. The rooms are comfortable and classic, making them perfect for families. Bumbleberry Inn boasts of a gift shop famous for Bumbleberry Pies. The modern amenities include:

  • The gift shop 
  • An onsite restaurant
  • A fitness center
  • Swimming pool 

There are plenty of activities at the Bumbleberry Inn, including:

  • Live entertainment
  • Sightseeing 
  • Photography. 

The Virgin River is also a good place for those who bring their fishing poles along.

The outdoor swimming pool and the in-ground hot tub make for a perfect way to unwind after a day full of action. 

family trip to zion national park

The Clear Creek Guest Ranch ranks seventh on the top Zion national park family resorts. The ranch sits two miles to the east of Zion national park. It is the ideal country getaway in Utah. From the small ponds to the majestic mountains to the fresh air, the scenery offers a lot of relaxation.

  • Hiking in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Fishing and swimming in Lake Powell
  • Traveling through the wondrous landscapes of the Zion national park
  • Fun-filled picnics
  • Buffets and barbeques
  •  Hayride

The charming accommodation and ultra-modern amenities will make anyone feel at home. The Clear Creek Family Ranch is the perfect setting for corporate team building.

family trip to zion national park

The Cable Mountain Lodge ranks second among top southern Utah lodges. It ranks eighth among the top Zion national park family resorts. 

The stonework architecture dates back to the old days of great American national parks. The accommodation facilities consist of fifty private suites. The spa and heated swimming pool are perfect for relaxation after a day in the sun.

The activities at the lodge include: 

  • A visit to the Zion canyon 
  •  A visit to the Virgin River
  • Shuttle to the canyon
  • Crossing the footbridge into the Zion national park

The spacious accommodation and full kitchen are fit for the whole family.

family trip to zion national park

The Zion Lodge ranks third on top southern Utah ranches and lodgings. It ranks ninth on the top Zion national park family resorts. 

The lodge is the only lodge located in the park. It is home to over 146,000 acres of cliffs, plants and animals, canyons, and beautiful scenery.

The Zion Lodge offers horseback riding. The sandstone walls make for peaceful reflection for the revelers. 

The accommodation comprises cabins with double size beds, a fireplace, a full bath, and a porch. The Zion Lodge is an excellent hotel for families.

family trip to zion national park

The Best Western Abbey Inn Hotel ranks ninth among top St. George hotels. It ranks tenth among the top Zion national park family resorts. 

The hotel is a good location for all Utah adventures. You can access the Zion national park and Grand Canyon national park. 

You can also access hiking trails, ten golf courses, and several amusement parks from the hotel. The accommodation consists of 150 comfortable and clean rooms. 

The amenities include pay-per-view videos, satellite television, and a fitness center.

Activities include sightseeing, rock climbing, and shopping. The Best Western Abbey Inn Hotel is your perfect family holiday destination.

family trip to zion national park

The Best Western Coral Hills ranks tenth among top St. George hotels. It ranks eleventh on the top Zion national park family resorts. The property is in the St. George district and a short distance away from Utah’s national parks. It allows access to the Zion national park and Snow canyon state park. 

Downtown, the Fiesta Fun Family Center provides plenty of fun to families. There is sensational shopping, and dining, among other attractions. The accommodation consists of spacious rooms, free wireless internet, and a 42-inch television.

The heated outdoor pool and kid’s pool ensure that everyone relaxes after a day out in the sun. The Best Western Coral Hills is a destination for the family.

More about our TFVG Author

family trip to zion national park

James Brockbank

A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.

Featured in Travel articles such as Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy and SFGate, you know you're reading some of the best vacation tips online.

family trip to zion national park

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Zion National Park with Kids | Road Trip Itinerary + Favorite Family Hikes

family trip to zion national park

We traveled the second week of April which was perfect for us – right before the busy season and not too hot!

Arrive in Moab, UT

Day 1: We braved the drive from Wichita to Moab, Utah – but you could easily fly into Moab and rent a car from there. Moab has a really cute main street with murals, breweries, coffee shops, and a darling food truck park.

Accommodations: We used Hyatt points and stayed at the Moab Hyatt Place . We loved it because it had a great outdoor pool and hot tub with a beautiful view! 

family trip to zion national park

Canyonlands National Park

Hike white rim overlook trail.

Day 2: Considered one of the more “underrated” of Utah’s national parks, this canyon is extremely large (527 square miles) and a bit more rugged in comparison to other parks. We decided to take on a smaller hike in Island in the Sky (the navigation systems either don’t work due to lack of service or take you down an incorrect path – so here is a map to use ). This was a great first hike of the trip for our girls, ages 8 and 6. 

Drive White Rim Overlook Road

The White Rim Road is a 100 mile loop around Island in the sky. We drove a portion of this, but my husband wants to go back to drive the entire loop (we had already been in the car for far too long after driving from Wichita the day before). 

To get to the White Rim Road, we took Shafer Trail (in our jeep) which were steep switchbacks down the mountain. Do not recommend if you are fearful of heights – which I am not, but I was a nervous wreck on this trail. 

Arches National Park 

Day 3: Arches National Park was my favorite part of our entire trip – I loved the drive through the park, the Delicate Arch Trail hike, and the overall views. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked. I was fully in the moment and in complete awe of the natural beauty. 

We made the hike to the iconic Delicate Arch (on Utah’s license plate), which is a 3 mile roundtrip hike which took us about 2 hours. There are some climbs on this hike, so we were happy we started early before the sun got too strong. *Starting early also helped us miss the crowds – there was an extremely long line of cars to get into the park as we were leaving at 11am. 

Zion National Park 

Day 3 (contd.) The Drive to Zion:  We did opt to veer from Google Maps (strongly recommend doing this!) and take a 20 minute detour for the scenic route into Zion. 

Accommodations:  We stayed in Springdale, UT at a darling lone cabin at Zion Canyon Campground at the base of the mountain. We absolutely recommend and thought this was the perfect hub for our family. It had a laundromat (which we totally used), a pool, and bunk beds for our girls. It was called the Crawford Ranch Cabin , and the caretaker Rene was wonderful and responsive and left us a s’more kit upon arrival. So sweet. 

Restaurant Recommendations:  Springdale was full of cute shops and eateries but we absolutely loved Zion Pizza & Noodle Co.  (highly recommend the European Trail pizza) and Oscar’s Cafe  (the Impossible Burger was seriously delicious) – 5 star review from our family!

Canyon Overlook Trail

This was easily one of our family’s favorite hikes! It’s one that could easily be missed if you don’t plan for it – so it is a must on the itinerary!  We knew about it thanks to Earth Trekkers, who gave so many  helpful tips here . 

From highway 9, this 1-mile hike is great for varying ability levels and ages, and it takes approximately one hour. More importantly, when you make it to the top, you have the most breathtaking view of Zion! It was a perfect pit stop on our way into the park. 

family trip to zion national park

Emerald Pool Trails

Day 5: This was a 3 mile roundtrip hike that took us around 3 hours to complete, and I would consider it a moderate level hike. We had an 8am shuttle pass (you have to use the shuttle to get into Zion National Park), and so once again, we beat the crowds! The first part of the hike was an easier walk to the Lower Emerald Pool , and then we decided to keep going to the final climb to the Upper Emerald Pool (you can opt to keep going or make your way back down the mountain). The final climb was a bit more strenuous and challenging, but was totally doable for our 6 and 8 year olds. 

Angel’s Landing

This one my husband took solo. The difficulty is ranked “strenuous”, and it takes approximately 3-5 hours to complete. But, it is the most popular hike in Zion, and the final climb (not suitable for kiddos) is considered to be extremely thrilling for adventure-seekers (as your climb is assisted by a chain) and has the most spectacular  mountain-top view. You can read all about the tips and tricks for Angel’s Landing here . 

family trip to zion national park

Glenwood Springs, CO

I’m so glad we made this stop for dinner and a dip in the natural hot springs. We were able to swim in the springs both the night we arrived and the morning we headed home.

family trip to zion national park

Restaurant Recommendation: Frida  was adorable and served delicious authentic Mexican food (with perfect margaritas for parents and churros for the kids). 

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Zion National Park Family Tours & Vacation Packages

Let TourRadar take the hassle out of finding a trip for the whole family. With 113 tours of Zion National Park lasting from one day up to 24 days, you're sure to find a great family-friendly adventure. Looking beyond Zion National Park? See all family holidays .

113 Zion National Park Family trips with 3,042 reviews

7 Day Southwest National Parks Grand Canyon Camping Tour Tour

  • Active Adventure
  • Mountain Hikes
  • Hiking & Trekking

7 Day Southwest National Parks Grand Canyon Camping Tour

"An epic, whirlwind adventure! What an amazing trip! Our guide was Dylan and he was terrific. He was smart, informative, and funny. He customized our week based on our group - making sure we all had a say and got to experience these magical places in our own ways as much as reasonably possible. He even saved someone’s life from another van by doing the Heimlich Maneuver! We did the camping option. We had envisioned relaxing evenings by the campfire but that only happened a couple of times. Usually we were scrambling to set up camp in the dark and then get packed and ready to roll out with the sunrise so we could pack in as much adventure as possible. So many incredible moments along the journey - our van fam was wonderful, pizza at sunset on the Grand Canyon’s south rim, a night hike in Aches with shooting stars and the Milky Way, s’mores on our last night with the whole group, and Dylan’s playlists for every occasion… we came home exhausted and happy, with multiple bucket list items checked off. Highly recommend!"
  • 5% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Grand Canyon and More 3 day tour Tour

  • Sightseeing
  • Christmas & New Year

Grand Canyon and More 3 day tour

"Best 3-Day Tour Ever! Our tour guide Christian was very knowledgeable & informative about the areas & their history. Our Navejo guides for Antelope Canyon & Monument Valley were helpful, kind & informative. The landscapes were breathtaking & the entire experience was well worth every penny. There was more walking than I thought there'd be, which was quite difficult for me at times, but the encouragement & patience from all the guides & participants were appreciated. Shuttle buses at the Grand Canyon were a blessing for those of us who are elderly & enabled us to see sights we would have missed otherwise. My only disappointment was my inability to walk horseshoe bend, but am grateful for those in our group willing to share their photos. The tour was an experience of a lifetime & one that is unforgetable & highly recommended!"

Western USA Family Holiday Tour

Western USA Family Holiday

USA - The Western Deserts Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

USA - The Western Deserts

Enchanting Canyonlands (Classic, 7 Days, Salt Lake City Airport And Post Hotel Transfer) Tour

  • Coach / Bus

Enchanting Canyonlands (Classic, 7 Days, Salt Lake City Airport And Post Hotel Transfer)

Five Epic National Parks (9 Days) Tour

Five Epic National Parks (9 Days)

"Lucked into the right time for this trip avoiding high season, where time that would have been wasted waiting to enter / park / view a site was able to be used to attend other scenes. Loved EVERYTHING. But cherished rafting the snake river around Jackson Hole at the beginning of the tour. And the helicopter ride at / around / through the Grand Canyon at the end. A real life participant in your own memory / movie trumps a single photo for me."
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Five Epic National Parks (9 Days, Las Vegas Airport And Post Trip Hotel Transfer) Tour

Five Epic National Parks (9 Days, Las Vegas Airport And Post Trip Hotel Transfer)

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Wonders of the American West (Classic, 10 Days, Las Vegas Airport And Post Trip Hotel Transfer) Tour

Wonders of the American West (Classic, 10 Days, Las Vegas Airport And Post Trip Hotel Transfer)

Canyon Country featuring Arizona & Utah (Scottsdale, AZ to Las Vegas, NV) (2024) Tour

Canyon Country featuring Arizona & Utah (Scottsdale, AZ to Las Vegas, NV) (2024)

Spectacular Canyons and National Parks (End Denver, 13 Days, Denver Airport And Post Trip Hotel Transfer) (19 destinations) Tour

Spectacular Canyons and National Parks (End Denver, 13 Days, Denver Airport And Post Trip Hotel Transfer) (19 destinations)

Spectacular Canyons and National Parks (End Rapid City, 13 Days, Keystone To Rapid City Airport Coach Drop) Tour

Spectacular Canyons and National Parks (End Rapid City, 13 Days, Keystone To Rapid City Airport Coach Drop)

Painted Canyons of the West featuring Utah’s Five National Parks (Denver, CO to Las Vegas, NV) (2024) Tour

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Zion National Park Family Trips/Tours Reviews

"We thoroughly enjoyed the 7-day tour of the US southwest . We love the destinations included in the tour, every place we visited is on our bucket list. I wanted to pinch myself every day that I visited those iconic and beautiful places as shown in my photos below. We enjoyed all the extra, optional experiences that were suggested by the tour guide. They added more fun to the tour. The Hummer tour in Moab, Utah was one of the optional experiences and it was a blast! Not only it’s fun, you get to see the amazing scenery during the sunset. One previous review mentioned he or she was forced to participate in the Navajo taco dinner in Monument Valley. That comment is not true. You have a choice not to do that and the guide can make a different arrangement for you. The optional Navajo taco dinner is one of the highlights of the tour that we will remember for a long time. It would be a shame not to have this cultural experience when you get to meet Navajo people when you are in the Navajo Nation! Our tour guide, John did a fantastic job. He was full of enthusiasm and energy. He kept the tour well organized and always provided information we needed. We highly recommend the tour."
"It was an absolutely stellar tour with great value for money, and I would take another with Bindlestiff, no doubt. Our guide, Charlie, was the buddy you wanted to bring you along, sharing many insights and tales. Meeting the Navajo and enjoying the spectacular landscapes and parks have become memories for life."
"Enjoyable. Worth it."

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International Versions

  • Deutsch: Zion Nationalpark Familienreise Rundreisen
  • Français: Parc national de Zion : Circuits en famille
  • Español: Circuitos en familia por Parque Nacional de Zion
  • Nederlands: Familie Rondreizen in Zion Nationaal Park

Utah's Adventure Family

Zion National Park: Family Guide

Post author avatar

  • Posted in National Parks
  • Updated January 1, 2023

Utah has 5 National Parks within its borders. These include Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon , Capitol Reef , Arches , and Canyonlands . We also like to count 4 other parks as belonging to Utahns because they are so close: Great Basin , Mesa Verde , Yellowstone , Grand Teton . At Utah’s Adventure Family, we think it is our responsibility to help you get the most out of your vacation to these gems.

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Today we feature Zion National Park. This park, located in southern Utah east of St. George is a ranked in some polls as one of the top 5 National Parks in the country. In this post, we’ll give you everything you need to know, including links (all links are to other areas of our site) to hikes and things to do in and around Zion. We also created a Zion Bingo sheet for our kids that they used while exploring the park, and surrounding area.

Emerald Pools Zion

Kolob Canyons

Let’s start with the specifics: Zion has 3 areas, two of which require a $30 entry fee, or a National Parks Annual Pass. The first area is Kolob Canyons . This small area right off the I-15 freeway has a Visitor’s Center, a 5 mile scenic drive and 2 family friendly hikes .

This Taylor Creek hike is in Kolob Canyon

Kolob Terrace

The second area is Kolob Terrace Drive . There is no fee required for this area as it weaves in and out of the park. You can read more about this little known section of the park on our link. The third, and by far most popular and largest section of the park is Zion Canyon, which we’ll discuss in great detail below.

Kolob Terrace Road

Zion Canyon

There is a large Visitor’s Center on the St. George side of Zion Canyon. You can get hike permits, directions, or catch the shuttle there. That’s right, Zion is a shuttle park. A few miles up the road from the Visitor’s Center the road splits. Any passenger vehicle that can fit in the tunnel can travel to the east (right) toward Kanab. The left fork goes into Zion Canyon where it dead ends, and only the shuttle is allowed.

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Shuttle System

Before visiting Zion, make sure to visit the National Parks website and see what hours the shuttle is running. The shuttle generally runs March through November, and on weekends and holidays during the winter, but things can change quickly. So we like to double check right before we go so that we are prepared. The shuttle is free and very convenient for getting around in Zion.

Stop #1: Visitor Center

I’ll start by explaining the shuttle system, since you will certainly have to use it. It runs from March-November. First of all, Zion is about as busy as Disneyland in the summer. So you may have to park in town and ride a shuttle just to get to the Visitor’s Center! But if you’re lucky enough to park at the Visitor’s Center, you can climb on the shuttle. This is Stop #1 .

There are some cool displays at the Visitor's Center, including this large relief map of Zion Canyon.

Stop #2: Museum

Luckily, the shuttle comes very often– about every 5-10 minutes. At some point in your trip, you’ll want to get off at Stop #2 . This is the Museum. At the museum, you can watch a short interpretive video (20 minutes), which tells the history of the park. We definitely wouldn’t skip this spot, even though the museum is small. You can walk behind the museum and see some of the famous Zion landmarks. This is also where all the Ranger talks happen if you decide to attend one for the Junior Ranger Program.

Stop #3: The Junction

Stop #3 is not particularly important, but it is where shuttles are divided from vehicles. It’s called The Junction. In other words, you can drive to Stop #1-3 (but you probably won’t be able to park), but there, the road splits and only shuttles can go to Stops #4-9. Cars have to go to the right, through the Mount Carmel Tunnel Road, which we will describe below. Some people find spots in dirt parking lots near the Junction and catch the shuttle here.

Stop #4: Court of the Patriarchs

Stop #4 is called the Court of the Patriarchs. This is a short, simple stop that everyone should do. You can get out and look at the 3 peaks named after biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is a very short (100 yards) doable paved trail to an overlook that get’s you above the trees to see the patriarchs.

Stop #5: Zion Lodge

Stop #5 is Zion Lodge. There are several trails here including the Grotto and Emerald Pools , though if you take our advice on these hikes, the Lodge is the end goal rather than the trailhead. You can stay at Zion Lodge, and eat at the restaurant here as well.

This is the picnic area at the Grotto. It is definitely shady and perfect for lunch--best place in the park.

Stop #6: Grotto

Stop #6 is the Grotto. There is a very nice area for a picnic as well as the trailheads for Emerald Pools and the Grotto as we describe them on the links above. You can start Angel’s Landing here as well (we have not done this hike with our children). If you are going to do the Angel’s Landing hike, starting April 2021, permits are required. Definitely read the information on the Zion National Park website about the lottery system and day before tickets.

Stop #7: Weeping Rock

Stop #7  is Weeping Rock . This is the trailhead for Weeping Rock, which you definitely should do because it’s short and paved. It is also the trailhead for Hidden Canyon Trail.

Stop #8: Angel’s Landing Overlook

Stop #8  is Angel’s Landing Overlook. There isn’t a whole lot here, but if you’d like a photo, you should get out and take it here.

The shuttle stops are marked with these green signs. One for going up the canyon, and one for going down. Make sure you are waiting in the correct spot.

Stop #9: Temple of Sinawava

Stop #9  is the final stop where the shuttle turns around and heads back down the canyon. For some reason this stop is called The Temple of Sinawava. The Riverside Hike and the Narrows both start at this stop.

Our boys thought riding the shuttles was a ton of fun. It was convenient for not moving parking spots to every place, but it was inconvenient because you need to carry everything you'll need for the day.

Mt. Carmel Tunnel Road

Mt. Carmel Tunnel Road separates from the canyon road at Stop 3. You can take a private vehicle on this road, which you should definitely do. The main feature of this road is the tunnel, which is over 1 mile long, easily the longest tunnel we’ve been in! Remember that you may not stop in the tunnel, and large rigs will need to be careful in the tunnel.

This is the Zion - Mt. Carmel Tunnel on the east side.

Other stops along this road include Pine Creek Waterfall , which is one of the most secret hikes in Zion. At the far end of the tunnel you’ll see the trailhead for our favorite Zion hike, Canyon Overlook Trail . This trail is extremely popular and parking can be difficult. We like to hike here early in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening when crowds are thinner. Just past Canyon Overlook trail, you will find a new family favorite, The Hobbit Hole . This trail leads through a slot canyon and through a small natural arch/natural bridge. It is perfect for families.

There are a few other overlooks and one shorter tunnel heading toward the east gate, and you should definitely drive all the way out to see the unique features there including Checkerboard Mesa. We also saw the  Desert Bighorn Sheep both times we drove through this section of the park, so keep a sharp eye out!

We saw the Bighorn Sheep both times we drove to the east in two different spots each time.

Junior Ranger

One thing that we love to do in National Parks is the Junior Ranger Program . When you arrive at the Visitor’s Center ask for a book. This program is good for ages 4 and up, and it clearly tells you how many pages you need to do. One of the pages asks questions that you will answer at each shuttle stop. Be aware of this page before you get too far up the road, or you’ll have to backtrack.  

This program is FREE and you earn a cool badge made of wood at the end. Our boys have quite a collection of Junior Ranger badges and patches from National Parks, National Monuments, and State Parks.

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There are tons of activities for families in Zion National Park. Don’t miss our other reviews on the Kolob Terrace Road and Kolob Canyons section of Zion, as well as our full hike review at Zion Hikes for Kids . We also found a lot of fun Things to do Near Zion . Enjoy your time in this amazing National Park.

Riverside Walk Zion

Tips for Families

  • GO EARLY in the day. We arrived at 8:00 am one day and 8:30 am another day and we easily found a parking space in the front of the Visitor’s Center parking lot. When we left around 11:00 one day, there were no spots, tons of people driving around looking for spots, and a line at the ranger booth to get in. So be an early bird the days you visit Zion.
  • Go mid week. We were there on a Wednesday and Thursday and the park was pretty quiet. I’m sure the weekends are filled with people.
  • Make a plan. We started at Stop #9 and worked our way backward through the stops. We didn’t want to do too many long hikes in a row, so we did Riverside Walk, then Weeping Rock, then lunch, then the Grotto, Court of the Patriarchs, and then watched the movie at the Visitor’s Center as a rest. Do what works for your family.
  • Take what you need for the day! Since you won’t have easy access to your car, plan ahead to carry a lot of water and lots of snacks or a lunch. We had each of our boys carry backpacks to help divide up the load.
  • Have fun! Don’t get caught up in getting everything on the list done. We have a big problem with this sometimes, so we have to remind ourselves that if we don’t hike EVERY single hike in Zion…it will be okay. We can always come back when the kids are bigger anyway. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings and being on an adventure with your family.
  • Check out our ideas for Things to do NEAR Zion National Park when you need to escape the crowds.

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Parenthood and Passports

Zion with Kids | 8 FUN Things to Do in the Utah National Park

  • Post author By Melissa
  • Post date January 16, 2024
  • No Comments on Zion with Kids | 8 FUN Things to Do in the Utah National Park

family trip to zion national park

Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. A family vacation to Zion is an opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful areas of the country, hike some of the most famous trails in America, and learn about nature by connecting with it!

Luckily, there are a lot of things to do in Zion with kids, including easy scenic hikes and other fun outdoor activities. 

Things to know before visiting Zion National Park

the view from our visit to Zion National Park with kids

Before visiting any national park of destination, it is good to have some general information about it. Zion, in particular, requires a bit more planning than most national parks.

For one, it is one of the best national parks in Utah and therefore, it is a highly visited destination. So, you want to plan for or around the crowds when visiting Zion with kids.

Secondly, unlike most national parks, like Yellowstone , where you can do a self-driving tour, during much of the year, parts of Zion are only accessible by shuttle. Parking throughout the park is extremely limited!  

Zion National Park requires entrants to purchase a recreation use pass prior to entering. You can purchase a weekly pass for $35 per week. However, if visiting Zion as part of a Utah or Southwest USA road trip , you may want to buy a national park pass.

The national park pass grants you access to all national parks in the United States for one full year.

Considering there are 5 national parks in Utah alone, it is well worth buying the park pass instead of paying park admission at every park.

Many people combine a visit to Zion with one or more of the other Utah national parks. Bryce Canyon National Park is located about an hour from Zion, while Arches and Canyonlands are located just outside of Moab, Utah , and Capital Reef is an easy stop between Zion and Moab.

Getting around

Parking in Zion National Park is extremely limited and parking spots fill up very early in the morning. So, the shuttle is the best way to get around the park if you plan to hike any of Zion’s popular trails.

There is a free shuttle that takes you from the town of Springdale to a variety of different stops throughout the national park. You can find more information on the Zion shuttle here .  

Best time to visit Zion National Park

a sandstone wall in Zion National Park

Zion is open year round. However, not all seasons are created equal, and when to visit Zion National Park depends on what you hope to do while there. 

Summer is the most popular time to visit Zion with kids. Children are out of school, so if visiting Zion in summer, expect crowds. Summer can also be extremely hot.

Temperatures over 100 F (38 C) are not uncommon! 

Fall would be a great time to visit Zion if you are trying to avoid the crowds and are seeking a slightly calmer experience. However, temperatures can get chilly at night, and the shuttles run less frequently due to fewer people visiting the park. Still, Zion is one of the best national parks to visit in fall !

Winter in Utah is cold. So cold, in fact, that they can build attractions entirely built from ice . You can often experience snow in the park, particularly at higher elevations. Some of the trails will also be cold due to the risk of icy conditions.

Hiking the Narrows in winter would also likely be out of the question, unless wading through icy cold water in a dry-suit sounds appealing.

Spring can be a great time to visit Zion with kids. But expect, nights to still be rather cold.

Depending on the amount of snow in southern Utah the previous winter, some trails may still be inaccessible, particularly in early spring. 

Where to stay near Zion with kids

There are plenty of great options for hotels and Airbnbs near Zion. If you choose to stay inside the national park, Zion Lodge is located directly on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Camping in Zion is also an option but requires a reservation. 

Finally, many people on a family vacation to Zion stay in Springdale, the gateway town to the national park. There are a ton of great hotels, motels, and unique lodging options in this town, just a mile or so from the visitors center for Zion National Park. 

For those who prefer something really unique, there are also several glamping options near Zion National Park .

Best hikes in Zion National Park with kids

Hiking is by far the most popular activity in Zion National Park. Zion is home to two of the most famous and unique hikes in the United States: Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. Here are some of the best hikes to do in Zion with kids.

Pa’rus Trail

Pa’rus Trail is an easy, paved, wheelchair accessible trail that starts at the Visitor Center and goes 3.5 miles to Canyon Junction shuttle stop. This relatively flat trail is perhaps the easiest trail in the park.

It is the only trail in Zion open to both pets and cyclists.

The wide trail is an easy beginner hike, although don’t expect the dramatic canyon views that Zion is known for. Regardless, Pa’rus Trail is very pretty, and makes for the perfect Zion hike with babies or toddlers.  

Emerald Pools ( Lower Emerald Pools and Upper Emerald Pools)

Emerald Pools - ones of the prettiest hikes in Zion with kids

Emerald Pools is another great hike in Zion with kids. It was a personal favorite for our  (at the time) 5-year-old daughter. The hike leads you to a series of three tiers of natural ponds, known as lower, middle, and upper Emerald Pools.

While there is a steep drop off at times along the trail, it is an easy-to-moderate trail that climbs comfortably and evenly in elevation. The trail is roughly 2 miles, and you can turn around at any of the three pools. 

If hiking in Zion with kids, the pools offer a relaxing stopping place for some imaginative exploration. While you can’t swim or play in the water, our daughter enjoyed catching and releasing tadpoles in the middle pools. 

Canyon Overlook 

Canyon Overlook trail - an easy kid-friendly hike in Zion

Canyon Overlook is a short trail in Zion that ends with spectacular views.

Located in the Upper East Canyon, on the other side of the Mt. Carmel tunnel, this hike also has some areas with steep drops, similar to the path to Emerald Pools, so be extra careful if doing this Zion hike with kids, particularly young children.  

Riverside Walk

child watching a deer on Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk is another easy, mostly paved hike to do in Zion with kids. If you plan to hike the Narrows, you basically have to do Riverside Walk, as well.

This flat trail takes you alongside the Virgin River for approximately one mile, before dropping you off at the entrance to the slot canyon known as the Narrows.

One of the fun facts about Zion – there are approximately 80 different species of mammals that live in the park, and Riverside Walk is one of the best places to spot them, thanks to the river being a natural water source for the animals.

hiking the Narrows with kids in Zion National Park

Another personal favorite, the Narrows is one of the most famous trails in the United States, and for good reason. This unique hiking trail involves trekking through one of the best slot canyons in Utah and through a river of running water.

Hiking the Narrows with kids is not only possible, it is a lot of fun for the entire family and worthy of any Utah bucket list ! This in-and-out hike can be as long or as short as you would like. Once you, or your kids, feel like they’ve gone far enough, you can turn around.

We would recommend hiking poles if planning to hike the Narrow, with kids or without. Walking through the water, which is constantly running, can be very slippery, so you’ll need water hiking shoes , as well.

While the water is typically only ankle or knee-deep on an adult, it can get up to waist-deep or higher, depending on how much rain southern Utah has experienced. On that note, be sure to check the weather before hiking the Narrows in Zion.

Slot canyons are prone to flash flooding and can turn very dangerous and even deadly in a matter of minutes if it rains. If you’re more comfortable hiking with a guide, you can book a guided excursion to the Narrows .

Can you hike Angel’s Landing with kids?

The short answer: Please don’t… at least don’t attempt the final stretch to the top of Angel’s Landing which requires holding onto chains while ascending a narrow area with gut-wrenching drop offs on each side.

To put it bluntly, this is one of the most dangerous and deadly hikes in America . People are falling to their death at an increasingly alarming rate.

As a friend of ours who is an experienced hiker and a Utah native put it, ‘the scariest part about Angel’s Landing is watching inexperienced people, like families with kids, attempt to hike it.’ 

If you are visiting Zion with kids, please don’t risk their lives for a cool hike. Kids just aren’t experienced or coordinated enough for such a challenging and technical  hike, where literally one wrong step could be fatal. Even some adults may want to hire an expert guide to attempt Angel’s Landing.

Other things to do in Zion with kids

Aside from hiking and enjoying the breathtaking views, there are a few other things to do in Zion with kids. 

Zion Mount Carmel Highway

A tunnel along Mt. Carmel Highway

The Mount Carmel Highway in Zion is a fun, scenic drive that passes through long, dark tunnels that occasionally have natural windows that will give you a brief glimpse of the deep canyon below.

The ten-mile long highway also takes you down a series of switchbacks from the cliffs to the bottom of the canyon.

Junior Ranger Program

Kids ages 6 to 12 can become an honorary, certified junior ranger during your family trip to Zion National Park.

Just pick up the inexpensive ($1.00) activity booklet at the visitor center, and have your kids complete the booklet, which includes some educational information and questions about the park.

Once the booklet is complete, they will receive their special Explorer Patch and will officially be a junior ranger. 

Play in the Virgin River

child playing in the river in Zion National Park

After a long sweaty hike during the hot summer months, there is nothing more refreshing than dipping your feet into the cold waters of the Virgin River.

You can also book a river tubing tour just outside of Zion for even more water fun!

What to bring in your day pack if visiting Zion with kids

If visiting Zion National Park with kids there are a few things you will definitely want to have with you in your day pack. These necessary items are essential to keep you and your kids safe from the sun, heat, and often unforgiving elements within the national park.

  • Lots of water
  • Sunscreen 
  • Hiking Poles
  • Don’t forget: your national park pass !

Have a question or comment about traveling to Zion with kids? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.

Like it? Pin this guide to Zion with kids to save for later!

A family vacation to Zion National Park is an opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful areas of the country, hike some of the most famous trails in America, and learn about nature by connecting with it! Luckily, there are a lot of things to do in Zion with kids, including easy kid-friendly hikes in Zion and other fun outdoor activities. | Utah National Parks | United States National Parks | Utah Mighty 5 | Utah family vacation | family travel | hiking with kids | summer travel | United States travel

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Your Gateway to Zion National Park

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Family Vacation in Zion

Family vacation in Zion National Park

Summer has come knocking on the door again? Take your next family vacation in Zion, you won’t regret it. Zion National Park has something to offer for all ages. Whether as a family or individually, kids, teenagers and parents can all find an adventure suited for them.

One of many visitors to reach out to us this past year was Brian from Alabama. Brian and his family visited Zion National Park in the early summer and had a fantastic vacation together. “Zion is my favorite place in the whole world!” Brian told us. “We had such a great time there, visiting one of the most beautiful places on earth with my family. I’m definitely coming back!” Each year, hundreds of families make their vacation in Zion and each year we get lots of people telling us that Zion is their “favorite place” and they’re “definitely coming back!”

Family Activities

There’s lots in Zion for the whole family to enjoy together! Most hikes in Zion are family-friendly (not too difficult). But in case you were wondering, hiking isn’t the only thing to do in Zion. Zion offers many more family activities like fishing , biking , horseback riding and more. Another great family activity is the East Zion Jeep Tour.

Zion Jeep Tour adventure

Best Family Hikes in Zion

Of course, hiking depends on yours and your family members’ preferences. No matter where or when you’re hiking, remember to come prepared. BRING WATER, wear sunscreen, use worn-in hiking shoes, dress according to the weather. Some wonderful, easy hikes to do as a family are Emerald Pools , Weeping Rock & Sand Bench Trail .

  • Difficulty Level: Very Easy
  • Time Frame: 2 – 4 hours
  • Distance: 2 miles there & back
  • Accessibility: Year round
  • Time Frame: 10 – 20 minutes
  • Distance: Under a mile
  • Time Frame: 1 – 2 hours
  • Distance: 4 miles there & back

Family Time Outdoors

In a recent article from the National Wildlife Federation, there are many benefits associated with being outdoors. Did you know the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes a day in unstructured play outside and more than 7 hours per day in front of a screen? It’s important for people to spend time outside, but it’s especially important for children.

Spending time outdoors increases Vitamin D levels, which is important to bone, heart & mental health. Being outside is also paramount in reducing stress levels, which can then improve many health issues for children. There is perhaps nothing so wholesome to do as a family than being outside with each other.

Stay at Bumbleberry Inn in Zion National Park

Educational Opportunities

Though away from school, vacation can still be a great time for learning (and it can still be fun!). The Zion Canyon Visitor Center, The Zion National Park Lodge, The Zion Nature Center, The North American Wildlife Museum at Majestic View Lodge and the Zion Human History Museum are all wonderful places for learning about the wildlife, history, geology & plants of Zion National Park.

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SheBuysTravel

Where to Stay in Zion National Park for an Epic Outdoor Getaway

U tah draws visitors from around the world to witness the picturesque beauty of its national parks. Zion National Park , located near St. George, Utah, features world-famous hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows. Zion is a three-hour drive from Las Vegas or a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Salt Lake City.

I grew up in Salt Lake City and have many fond memories of Zion as a child. Our family visited regularly and now that I’m a parent I love taking my kids there as well. A few years ago we all hiked the Narrows in the park and it is one of my family’s favorite experiences.

The natural beauty of Zion National Park and its proximity to two major cities – Las Vegas and Salt Lake City – make it a great place for a quick getaway. You have several vacation rental options when planning your trip. We recommend the following places to help you have the best trip possible.

1. Zion National Park Lodge

Want to stay close to the action? For the best hikes, this is a great location. Right inside of Zion National Park you will find Zion National Park Lodge . This is the only lodging you will find within the park itself – you can’t get any closer to the amazing views of Zion than this.

Highlights of Zion National Park Lodge :

  • Only lodging inside the park
  • Walking distance to Zion hiking trails
  • Options include hotel rooms, suites, and cabins
  • ADA-accessible options available
  • Air conditioning
  • Onsite restaurant
  • Free parking
  • Easy access to all the trails in Zion
  • Horseback riding tours

CHECK PRICES/AVAILABILITY

2. LaFave Luxury Zion

Want to stay close to the park when visiting Zion? Stay in Springdale, Utah. Springdale is located right outside the south entrance to Zion National Park. There are several lodging and dining locations in Springdale, including LaFave .

LaFave is a luxury resort featuring a variety of houses and villas able to accommodate 2-16 people, making it great for large groups.

Highlights of LaFave :

  • Good for big groups – house and villa options
  • Luxury accommodations
  • In-unit washer and dryer
  • Large units with kitchens
  • Private outdoor areas with grill
  • 1 mile from the entrance to Zion
  • Zion shuttle stops in front of the resort

3. Springhill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion

Springhill Suites Springdale Zion  is great for those wanting to stay close to the park and are accustomed to Marriott hotels. It is in a great location, not just to the park, but you will be within walking distance of several restaurants. Enjoy the breathtaking mountain views and unwind from a day of hiking without going too far.

Highlights of Springhill Suites Springdale Zion :

  • Hot tub and pool
  • Bike rental
  • Fitness center
  • EV charging station
  • ADA accessible
  • Family-friendly
  • Pet friendly
  • 2.7 miles from the Park entrance

4. Cliffrose Springdale , Curio Collection by Hilton

Cliffrose Springdale  is a modern resort that allows you to reconnect with nature. Only a short walk from the park’s south entrance, this resort is nestled along the Virgin River, allowing visitors to take in all the beauty of Zion from the ease and comfort of their own private patio or balcony.

Highlights of Cliffrose Springdale :

  • Outdoor pool
  • Room service
  • 5-minute drive to the park’s entrance

5. Holiday Inn Express Springdale

The Holiday Inn Express Springdale  is great for those travelers who are on a budget but still want to enjoy the comfort and convenience of a hotel close to the park. This has everything you would expect from a Holiday Inn Express, plus amazing mountain views that can only be found staying this close to Zion National Park.

Highlights of Holiday Inn Express Springdale :

  • Budget-friendly
  • Outdoor pool and hot tub
  • Laundry facility
  • 3 miles from the park entrance

6. Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn & Suites

Looking for a budget-friendly option close to Zion? Best Western Plus Zion  is a great option. With all the comforts of staying in a hotel, you can get out in nature knowing you will have a comfortable bed and warm shower to come home to.

Highlights of Best Western Plus Zion :

  • ADA Accessible
  • EV charging
  • 2 miles from the park entrance

7. Majestic View Lodge

Majestic View Lodge  allows visitors to take in the majestic mountain views of Zion’s famous red rocks from the comfort of their room. Enjoy rustic room decor that will really set the mood for your adventures in the west.

Highlights of Majestic View Lodge :

  • Swimming pool and hot tub
  • Onsite dining
  • Free shuttle access to town and Zion
  • 10 min from the park entrance

8. Zion Mountain Ranch

On the other side of Zion National Park from Springdale, you will find Zion Mountain Ranch . Close to the east entrance of Zion National Park and about two hours from the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  This place is great if you want to be close to Bryce Canyon National Park or Lake Powell . Both are within an hour and a half drive from the resort.

Stay in mid-range accommodations that can fit any size party. Zion Mountain Ranch is made up of multiple cabins ranging from one-bedroom accommodations to three-story cabins, making it great for large groups.

Highlights of Zion Mountain Ranch :

  • 3 minutes from the eastern park entrance
  • Rustic private cabins
  • Cabins range from one bedroom to ones big enough for large groups
  • Private kitchen
  • Horseback tours
  • Bike tours and rentals
  • Guided hikes
  • 1 hour from Bryce Canyon National Park
  • On-site restaurant focused on farm-to-table dining

9. Autocamp Zion

A 45-minute drive from Cedar City  you will find Autocamp Zion , great for those who want to go glamping. There are three room types to choose from: luxury tents, cabins, and Airstream trailers. There is a central clubhouse featuring a bathroom for those staying in the tents. The cabins and Airstreams do feature private bathrooms. This property is full of great amenities to help you connect with nature.

Highlights of Autocamp Zion :

  • Luxury tents, cabins, and Airstreams are available
  • Tents use the bathroom in the clubhouse
  • Air-conditioning in the Airstream units and cabins, fans  in the tents
  • Community firepits and lounge areas
  • On-site general store
  • Free bikes to use on the property
  • Accessible suites available
  • Small kitchen areas
  • 20 min drive to Zion visitors center

10. Under Canvas Zion National Park

Near Kolob Canyon  and a  27-minute drive from Hurricane Utah  you will find Under Canvas Zion National Park.  This is the place to go if you are looking to go glamping. This resort is made up of luxury tents each with its own private bathroom and wood-burning stove. It is all the fun of camping with the comforts of indoor plumbing. This resort also features plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy from morning yoga to nightly s’mores.

Highlights Under Canvas Zion :

  • USB charging paks in tents
  • Fire pit and s’mores
  • Morning yoga
  • Kids activities
  • Solar powered
  • Experience coordinators available
  • Tents sleep 2-6 people
  • Good for families
  • All tents include a private bathroom
  • Each tent has a wood-burning stove with firewood
  • 35 min drive to park entrance

Zion National Park is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy the unique landscapes found in southern Utah. There are so many places to stay I am sure you will find the one that is best for you. Whether you want to connect with nature by glamping or relaxing in a rustic cabin, your next trip to Zion is sure to be an adventure.

Utah draws visitors from around the world to witness the picturesque beauty of its national parks. Zion National Park, located near St. George, Utah, features world-famous hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows. Zion is a three-hour drive from Las Vegas or a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Salt Lake City. I grew up in Salt Lake City and have many fond memories of Zion as a child. Our family visited regularly and now that I’m a parent I love taking my kids there as well. A few years ago we all hiked the Narrows in the park and it is one of...

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Need to pay to drive through the park on Rt. 9? - Zion National Park Forum

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Need to pay to drive through the park on Rt. 9?

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Hi, my family is taking a trip to St. George. We'll be staying in SLC and then Escalante. On our way from Escalante to St. George, we want to take Rt. 12, then 89 to Rt. 9 and over from there. Will we need to pay for park admission if we're just driving through on Rt. 9?

6 replies to this topic

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Yes, you will have to pay the park admission fee. Even though it's a state highway, it goes through a national park. There will be an entry station on highway 9.

Thank you! We'll make sure to plan for it then.

It will go quickly if the driver has a debit/credit card in hand when pulling up to the entry gate. Entry fee is $35.

If you plan to stop at Bryce on the way too, you may want to consider purchasing an annual parks pass:

https://store.usgs.gov/2024-annual-pass

For $80 it gives you access to all NPS sites for a full year. Might be worth it depending what other trips you have in mind.

if you are 62 or older and a US resident, you can get an senior annual pass for $20.00

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family trip to zion national park

Zion National Park

Can You Drive Through Zion National Park?

If you’re planning a trip to zion national park, you’ve probably heard a lot about heavy traffic, shuttle transport and general concerns about getting around. that might have you wondering if it’s even possible to see zion by car. well there’s good news for your road trip playlist and budding trucker’s tan: you are allowed to drive through zion national park at least, most of it. most of the time. confused we’ve got you covered..

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Spoiler alert: yes! And it may be one of the most scenic drives of your life.

If you’re planning a trip to Zion National Park, you’ve probably heard a lot about heavy traffic, shuttle transport and general concerns about getting around. That might have you wondering if it’s even possible to see Zion by car.

Well there’s good news for your road trip playlist and budding trucker’s tan: you are allowed to drive through Zion National Park! At least, most of it. Most of the time. Confused? We’ve got you covered. 

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

The reason people might be unsure about driving in Zion National Park is because Zion Canyon , the road to the park's most popular hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows , is closed to passenger cars for most of the year. From March through November (except the week of Christmas), you can only access Zion Canyon via shuttle or bike.

If you’d like to see Zion Canyon from behind your own steering wheel (and not a stranger’s head), visit in the off-season. Not only will you be able to drive right up to popular trailheads, but you’ll also enjoy cooler temps, smaller crowds and the possibility of catching the always mesmerizing sight of snow on red rock.

If you’re visiting between March and November (and statistically, you are), you can get on the Zion Canyon shuttle from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The shuttle is free and doesn’t require any reservations. Shuttles stop at all of the canyon’s popular trailheads, and leave about every 5-10 minutes, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long to catch one. Of course, the view from inside a shuttle isn’t quite as romantic as from the driver’s side window, but we’re betting you’ll forget all about that the second you hit the trail. 

Driving Through Zion National Park

Outside of Zion Canyon, any park road that’s open during your visit is driveable. Zion’s main road, state Route 9, travels from the park's east entrance to the town of Springdale, where you’ll find most of the area’s lodging and services. 

Lots of folks decide to stay in Springdale , and if you flew in from Las Vegas the nearby west entrance is the obvious way to enter the park. But if you want your drive through Zion to take your breath away even more than it normally would, the park’s east entrance offers the most show-stopping introduction. 

From the entrance gate, you’ll travel about five miles before reaching the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, which is about 1.1 miles long. After traveling through the dark for a few minutes (with some sneak previews of the view to the sides), you’ll emerge to a sweeping view of the red-rock cliffs above and around you and the canyon floor 800 feet below. It’s a once-in-a lifetime view, that’s only made better by the build-up in the tunnel.

Kolob Canyons

If you want to take the road less traveled (literally), make your way north of Zion Canyon to the Kolob Canyons district of the park. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Zion (aka the quiet corner), this under-the-radar drive will have you over the moon with incredible views and quieter crowds. It’s one of the most unique areas of the park, and one that most don’t make the time for. Here you’ll see rising and falling peaks of Navajo sandstone, along with some of both the oldest and youngest rock in the park. It’s also your best chance at some peace and quiet in the busy months. 

The Kolob Canyons district is home to over 20 miles of hiking trails, but the scenic drive does a pretty dang good job of showing you the highlights. The road traverses a rising ridgeline, climbing 1,000 feet in elevation before reaching its turnaround point — the Timber Creek Overlook. Here you’ll get a panoramic view of the district that’ll have you saying “Narrows, shmarrows.”

Got more questions about your trip to Zion National Park? Utah.com has you covered, with itineraries , visitor information , lodging recs and more .

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Zion national park fall and winter 2023 schedule.

Visitors deboarding the Zion shuttle with sandstone cliffs in the background

NPS Image / Ally O'Rullian

Zion Canyon Line Shuttle Schedule 

Springdale Line Shuttle Schedule 

Personal vehicle access in Zion Canyon starts November 27, 2023 

  • The last day of fall shuttle service in Zion Canyon and Springdale is November 26. 
  • Plan for limited parking. When parking in Zion Canyon is full, the NPS may temporarily close the road.  

Shuttle service resumes December 22, 2023 – December 31, 2023 

  • During these 10 days, visitors cannot drive personal vehicles on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  

Winter personal vehicle access in Zion Canyon starts January 1, 2024  

  • The last day of winter shuttle service in Zion Canyon and Springdale is December 31, 2023. 
  • Visitors can drive personal vehicles on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive starting on January 1, 2024.  
  • Plan for limited parking. When parking in Zion Canyon is full, the NPS may temporarily close the road. 

Shuttle service resumes in Spring 2024 

The NPS will resume shuttle service in spring. We will share specific dates in 2024. 

Fall and winter camping 

Watchman Campground 

  • Camping is open year-round, and you can make a reservation up to six months before your visit at  www.recreation.gov  or by calling l-877-444-6777. Plan ahead and make arrangements for where you will stay before you get to the park.  

Lava Point Campground 

  • The last camping is fall (when it snows). The campground will reopen when snow melts in 2024.  

South Campground 

  • The last camping is Sunday, October 29.  The South Campground is scheduled to be closed for rehabilitation in 2024. Watch for more information this winter. 

Visitor Center and Wilderness Permit Desk hours 

Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyons Visitor Centers 

  • Open 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. every day from September 18 through winter 2024.

Zion Human History Museum 

  • Open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. every day from September 18 through November 26. 

Wilderness Permit Desks  Zion Canyon 

  • Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through November 26.

Kolob Canyons 

  • 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.  

Need to know 

No matter when you visit Zion, plan ahead by checking for updates at  nps.gov/zion .  Whether you ride a shuttle or drive your own car in Zion Canyon, be prepared for crowds.  

  • Pack your pass.  Bring your annual park pass or receipt in your pocket, and don’t forget it at a hotel or in your car. Rangers at park entrances will request to see it. 
  • Parking fills up early year-round. 
  • Watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists if you are driving. 
  • Stay on trails and avoid walking in the road. 
  • Ride your bike on the road or the Pa’Rus Trail.  Bicycling is not allowed on any other trails in the park. If you are riding in the road, you must stop to let buses pass you. 
  • Be aware of road closures . The NPS may temporarily close roads if traffic is congested or there is nowhere for drivers to park. 

In general,   fewer people visit Zion on weekdays than weekends.  Consider arriving early or after 3 p.m. to avoid the busiest times of day. 

Follow  Leave No Trace  practices everywhere in the park and be sure to pack out all your trash.  

www.nps.gov/zion

About the National Park Service.   More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at  www.nps.gov , and on  Facebook ,  Instagram ,  Twitter , and  YouTube

Last updated: September 18, 2023

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Contact info, mailing address:.

Zion National Park 1 Zion Park Blvd. Springdale, UT 84767

435-772-3256 If you have questions, please email [email protected]. Listen to recorded information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers answer phone calls from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already speaking with someone else.

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  1. Zion National Park with Kids

    Family Hotels in Zion National Park. For kid-friendly Zion National Park lodging, a fun option would be to stay at the historic Zion Lodge, the only hotel inside Zion National Park (at shuttle stop 5). Guests of the Zion Lodge can stay in a historic cabin or within the lodge in a room with 2 queen beds. As a fun way to get around Zion National ...

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    Canyon Overlook Trail: For one of the best views in Zion, put this short, fun trail on your list. It is only 1-mile round trip and starts near the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel. 4. Watchman Trail: This short trail starts near the Visitor Center and offers nice views over the southern part of Zion National Park. 5.

  3. The Complete Family Guide to Zion National Park

    We visited Zion National Park as part of a larger Southwest road trip. Zion is really fun, beautiful and interesting on its own, but we strongly encourage visiting along a more grand, all encompassing trip. Do what you gotta do to make a visit happen, and hopefully our family guide to Zion National Park is just what you need to make that happen.

  4. What to Do in Zion National Park with Kids

    1) Hike. Hiking is arguably one of the best things to do in Zion National Park. Zion has hiking for any ability. Truly hiking is one of the best family activities in Zion National Park because it gets the whole family up close to the flora and fauna as well as the wildlife of the park.

  5. The Complete Zion Road Trip [6-Day Itinerary]

    Exploring The Zion Region Tucked into the southwest corner of Utah, Zion National Park is the centerpiece for a 6-day red-rock vacation that includes a little bit of everything that makes the state such a marvel to experience. Whether you're flying into Salt Lake, Las Vegas, or nearby St. George, most visitors will enter the park through Springdale, a growing town that's equipped to offer ...

  6. How to Plan a Perfect Zion National Park Itinerary (2 Days)

    With 2 days, you'll be able to plan a Zion National Park itinerary that fits in one of the longer hikes in Zion (like Angels Landing), the scenic drive between the East Entrance and Zion - Mt. Carmel tunnel, and some of the shorter hikes in the canyon. However, there's plenty to do and see in the area to fill 3 days in Zion National Park.

  7. Zion National Park: A Guide to Zion with Kids

    Like most other national parks, Zion is open for the 2020 summer season but with limited operations. Don't let this deter you though; we had an epic trip—the journey to Zion being half of the adventure. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your family vacation to Zion National Park, including where to stay and where to hike.

  8. How to Spend 1 day in Zion National Park with kids

    Zion National Park was one of the many parks we squeezed into our cross-country, family travel road trip when we first moved from Seattle to Maryland. A simple trip to see the Redwoods and Yosemite quickly turned into a trip to see as many national parks with kids in the west as possible, even though we could only spend about a day in each.

  9. A Complete Guide To Planning A Trip To Zion National Park With Kids

    A trip to Zion National Park with Kids, you will see is a great lesson in geology and history. Photo by Zion Adventure Photog History of Zion National Park. Zion National Park was originally called Mukuntuweap National Monument, which was established in 1909 by President Howard Taft. In 1919, it was renamed to Zion National Park in 1919.

  10. Plan Your Visit

    Phone: 435-772-3256. If you have questions, please email [email protected]. Listen to recorded information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers answer phone calls from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already speaking with someone else.

  11. 17 Fun Things to Do in Zion National Park with Kids (2024)

    Here are 17 fun activities in Zion National Park with kids. 1. Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour (Editor's Choice) Zion Helicopter Tours' Zion National Park: 10- or 20-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour offers breathtaking aerial views of Zion National Park from Virgin.

  12. A Family Trip to Zion National Park (via Las Vegas!)

    Day 1- Vegas Arrival and The Paris Hotel. We arrived in Las Vegas quite late in the evening with intentions of heading out to Zion first thing in the morning. Our real "Vegas time" was planned for the end of the trip. But given that the airport is right around the corner from the Vegas strip, it makes sense to stay on the strip to get a ...

  13. One Day in Zion National Park with Kids (24 Hour Zion National Park

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  14. Spend One Week in Zion and Bryce with Kids

    FLT Recommended Places to Stay Near Zion with Kids. When staying near Zion with kids, consider Cable Mountain Lodge, offering convenient access to Zion National Park.For immediate park access, stay at Zion National Park Lodge, the only in-park lodging option, offering cabins, standard hotel rooms, and suites.Then, Zion Mountain Ranch is ideal for those seeking horseback riding on-site, however ...

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    Zion National Park Crowds: The challenging thing about Zion is that it's not designed to handle the growing crowds it's attracting. There is one visitors' center, one parking lot, one park lodge, one shuttle line that pretty much everyone has to take for some part of their visit. It's a challenge to avoid parking, getting on the shuttle ...

  16. 11 of the Best Zion National Park Family Resorts and Hotels

    It is a great place to visit with friends and family. 6. Bumbleberry Inn. The Bumbleberry Inn ranks second among top southern Utah lodges. It ranks sixth among the top Zion national park family resorts. The Inn is the utopia of Utah. It is near the Zion national park and is convenient for vacation.

  17. Zion National Park with Kids

    Canyonlands National Park Hike White Rim Overlook Trail. Day 2: Considered one of the more "underrated" of Utah's national parks, this canyon is extremely large (527 square miles) and a bit more rugged in comparison to other parks. We decided to take on a smaller hike in Island in the Sky (the navigation systems either don't work due to lack of service or take you down an incorrect ...

  18. 20 Zion National Park Tips for Planning the Perfect Trip

    But one of my best tips for visiting Zion National Park is to buy an America The Beautiful Pass before your trip. At $80, this pass buys you entrance to all US national parks for one year. It'll easily pay for itself if you plan to visit more than one park during a consecutive 12-month period.

  19. Zion National Park Family Tours & Vacation Packages

    Grand Canyon and More 3 day tour. "Lucked into the right time for this trip avoiding high season, where time that would..." Five Epic National Parks (9 Days) "Enjoyable. Worth it." Mighty 5 From Las Vegas. Find the right Zion National Park Family tour for you with TourRadar. Choose from 110 trips with 2956 customer reviews.

  20. Zion National Park: Family Guide

    These include Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. We also like to count 4 other parks as belonging to Utahns because they are so close: Great Basin, Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, Grand Teton. At Utah's Adventure Family, we think it is our responsibility to help you get the most out of your vacation to these gems.

  21. Zion With Kids

    Kids ages 6 to 12 can become an honorary, certified junior ranger during your family trip to Zion National Park. Just pick up the inexpensive ($1.00) activity booklet at the visitor center, and have your kids complete the booklet, which includes some educational information and questions about the park.

  22. Family Vacation in Zion

    Zion National Park has something to offer for all ages. Whether as a family or individually, kids, teenagers and parents can all find an adventure suited for them. One of many visitors to reach out to us this past year was Brian from Alabama. Brian and his family visited Zion National Park in the early summer and had a fantastic vacation together.

  23. Where to Stay in Zion National Park for an Epic Outdoor Getaway

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  24. The Best Zion National Park One Day Summer Itinerary (2024)

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  25. Need to pay to drive through the park on Rt. 9?

    Zion National Park ; Zion National Park Travel Forum; Search. Browse all 7,890 Zion National Park topics » Need to pay to drive through the park on Rt. 9? Watch this Topic. ... Hi, my family is taking a trip to St. George. We'll be staying in SLC and then Escalante. On our way from Escalante to St. George, we want to take Rt. 12, then 89 to Rt ...

  26. Can You Drive Through Zion National Park?

    The reason people might be unsure about driving in Zion National Park is because Zion Canyon, the road to the park's most popular hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows, is closed to passenger cars for most of the year. From March through November (except the week of Christmas), you can only access Zion Canyon via shuttle or bike.

  27. Zion National Park Fall and Winter 2023 Schedule

    Plan ahead to know when shuttles will run and where you can camp in Zion National Park. NPS Image / Ally O'Rullian. Subscribe | What is RSS: News Release Date: ... More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home ...

  28. Stacy

    113 likes, 25 comments - pointsforfamilytravel on December 14, 2023: "Are you planning a National Parks road trip this summer? Time to book those rooms now.