7 Things To Do In Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a unique geologic experience located in southern Utah. The Virgin River has cut a deep canyon that offers amazing short hikes, longer climbs, rock climbing, backpacking and sight-seeing for people of all athletic abilities. It is hard to know what to do in Zion National Park. There are cool hikes available right off the bus stops and some destinations that take a little more effort. If you are planning to visit Zion National Park, we recommend you check out these 7 things to do in Zion.

1. Angels Landing

Take the Angels Landing Trail for a brisk hike from the valley all the way to an amazing overlook. It was once said the this area was so high that it was only available for angels to land. This five mile round-trip hike starts out as a paved switchback trail. The final ascent gets a bit more rough and requires propery hiking shoes and plenty of water. Our friend, Kristie Salzmann described this hike in an earlier post on hiking in Zion National Park.

Photo by Jiashiang Photo by Jiashiang

2. The Subway

The Subway is uniquely shaped slot canyon in Zion National Park. This narrow canyon is shaped similar to subway tunnels making this hike a truly unique experience. Bring your camera as this section of trail is definitely something you'll want to capture.

Subway - Zion National Park Photo by John Fowler

3. The Narrows

This is a popular hike but it requires you to travel through the river multiple times. It is recommended to wear waterproof boots and pants and to use a walking stick while crossing the rocky river. The Narrows Trail gives hikers a fun experience hiking through the narrow canyon. Be sure to know the risk of flash floods before attempting this trail.

The Narrows Zion National Park Photo by Andy Hawbaker

4. Kolob Arch

Take the 14-mile round-trip hike to Kolob Arch to get away from the shorter and more crowded trails. The reward, seeing Kolob, the second longest natural arch in the world. Chose your route carefully and you can experience some canyoneering or backpacking in this beautiful area of the national park. 

Kolob Arch Photo Courtesy of Zion National Park

5. Zion National Park Scenic Byway

If a scenic drive through Zion National Park and Southern Utah sounds desirable, take a ride on the Zion National Park Scenic Byway. The road will take you through the tunnel on the Mount Caramel Highway. This 1.1 mile tunnel was constructed in 1930. It was the longest tunnel of its type in the US at that time but this shortcut cut 70 miles off the distance to drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon National Park and also gave easier access to the Grand Canyon.

Zion Tunnel Photo by Daveynin

6. Emerald Pools

Here's an easy hike for everyone in the family. Start at the famous Zion Lodge parking lot and take the Emerald Pools Trail over the river and towards the pools. This hike is good for kids or older family members. Before arriving at the pools, the trail goes under a seasonal waterfall (pictured below).

Waterfalls Photo by Andy Hawbaker

7. Observation Point

If big views are on your list of things to see in Zion National Park, definitely hike the 8-mile roundtrip trail to Observation Point. From here you will have a bird's eye view of the canyon. These are some of the greatest views in Zion, don't miss this hike.

Observation point Photo by Robbie Shade

What do you think of this list? What did we miss? What else do you thing is a must-see in Zion National Park? Tell us in the comments below.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
Comments (4)
4/25/2016 at 7:06 PM
Hidden Canyon hike! Better than the pools IMO
5/24/2016 at 10:05 AM
Is the subway the same as the grotto?
7/21/2016 at 11:03 AM
Hi Logan! The Grotto is actually a separate trailhead. You can get to Angels Landing from the Grotto. Hope this helps! -Lauren
8/21/2017 at 4:16 PM
The subway is on the Left Fork of North Creek (title was misleading) - in the middle of one of the most strenuous 9 mile hikes in Zion, certainly not for beginners. One must get a permit and it is strongly recommended you use a guide so as not to get lost. As well as being very prepared both mentally and physically you will need all day to get in and out unless you decide to camp. Although it is a rare find, not sure it was good for your article to recommend.
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