Zion National Park is home to some of the most incredible hiking in the country. While staying in one of the many Springdale Lodging areas, visitors should be sure to visit Zion to hike at least one of these magnificent trails. Some are very well known, some are hidden gems, but all will provide an unforgettable experience.
These trails have been the start of a lifetime love of hiking for many travelers. The gorgeous scenery, well-kept trails, and hiking versatility make them a terrific place to hike for beginners and experts. Whether travelers are looking to hike during their entire vacation or just take a short hike to see the scenery, visiting Zion while in Springdale is an absolute must.
The following is a list of some of the best places to hike while in Zion. This is in no way a comprehensive list of everywhere to hike throughout the park. There are many more incredible trails to be explored. These ten trails, however, are some of the most popular and most worthwhile hikes to embark on.
Hiking along Angels Landing is one of the most daring, adrenaline pumping things that visitors can do while in the Zion area. This hike is very popular for many reasons. It does not require a permit, it is truly challenging and terrifying at times, and it gives hikers some of the most incredible views imaginable.
This hike includes obstacles like switchbacks, steep ridges, and precarious cliffs. There are chains at the more dangerous areas of the hike, which give hikers a bit of comfort after looking down at the seemingly endless drop below. Hikers that can get through the Angels Landing hike will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the gorgeous Zion landscape.
Dangerous trail in Zion National Park, Angel’s landing, Utah
For an easier, more relaxing hike, many visitors head to Pa’rus Trail in Zion. This is another very popular hiking trail, though it may feel more like walking along a road than hiking. This trail that runs alongside the Virgin River offers an easy way to explore the park, has great views of rock formations and wildlife, and is fun for the whole family.
Pa’rus Trail is a three and a half mile long round trip. This trail is a beautiful, well-kept paved road that is suitable for strollers, wheelchairs, and bikes. The trail leads along the Virgin River, a common gathering spot for the wildlife of Zion. The entire hike is a magical experience since hikers can focus on their surroundings rather than any obstacles ahead.
The North Fork Virgin River along the Pa’rus and Watchman trailheads in Zion Canyon Nation Park, Utah, USA
Acrophobics beware. This trail is not for those with a fear of extreme heights. This trail along a steep and narrow cliff will have hikers hugging the rock and crossing their fingers. The hike, while scary at times, is the perfect trail for adrenaline junkies and those who really want to see the best of Zion.
After about two miles of shuffling along the narrow edge, Hidden Canyon trail opens to a breathtaking view of the mouth of a narrow canyon. This, of course, is where the trail gets its name. This hike, while not one of the more popular ones in Zion, is well worth the hike for those who can stomach the terrain.
Named for the amazing views that can be observed from the finish point, Observation Point is a can’t miss hike when visiting Zion. Almost as popular as Angels Landing, Observation Point is a moderately long hike that takes hikers through some of the most beautiful areas of Zion and then ends with a breathtaking view of the landscape.
This hike is eight miles long, which takes most hikers around five hours to complete. The hike includes some steep climbs, elevations of 2,100 feet, and views of the stunning Echo Canyon. While the hike itself is enjoyable, the real reason most people hike Observation Point is for the amazing view at the end. Hikers can see the entire landscape, including Angels Landing and other popular trails, from the end of this hike.
From 6500 feet, you can see above and all around Zion Canyon, with Angels Landing down below on the right.
The Watchman Trail is well-known in Zion for being the perfect sunset hike, especially for those camping at South or Watchman campground. This relatively easy hike is perfect for hikers of all experience levels. It does not climb to dizzying heights, offers even terrain, and gives hikers terrific views of the entire area.
The ease of this trail is one of the things that make it such a terrific hike. The level ground and open trails mean hikers can look around at the lovely scenery as they walk along. The Watchman Trail does not climb up to the popular Watchman area, but it does give views of the Watchman, Springdale, Lower Zion Canyon, and the Towers of the Virgin. Getting such terrific views from such a leisurely trail is hard to come by.
Beautiful scene of Zion National Park , The watchman at sunset, Utah.
This short hike is akin to Pa’rus Trail in many ways, but it offers very different views and experiences. Most of Riverside Walk is an even, well-maintained trail that is easy to walk along. Riverside Walk is also called the Gateway to the Narrows since it leads to the difficult Narrows Canyon hike. This out and back trail is sure to be fun for the whole group.
On this trail, hikers will be alongside the Virgin River. This gives them great opportunities to see Zion’s native wildlife, fascinating plant life, and the beautiful entrance point of the Narrows. Once hikers reach the end of Riverside Walk, they can play in the shallow water at the entrance of the Narrows before heading back along the trail.
Emerald Pools Trail
This easy hike consists of a series of small trails that combine to create one gorgeous hike. Each trail leads along lush greenery, small streams, a variety of pools, and even waterfalls. For a hike that is packed with incredible views and is fun for the whole family, Emerald Pools Trail is a terrific choice.
This two-mile-long loop is full of amazing experiences. The ability to take different small trails means that hikers can customize the trip and still see the best sites of the trail. They can also stop in many locations to relax, take in the scenery, and even enjoy a picnic. For a leisurely stroll that shows the beauty of Zion, Emerald Pools Trail is all a hiker could hope for.
Taken in Zion National Park, Utah
This lovely trail is more of a quick sightseeing adventure than it is a hike. At less than half a mile, Weeping Rock trail is the shortest hike on this list. The reason it makes the cut is that the views it provides are unlike any in the entire world.
Weeping Rock is known for its small streams of water that run along the rock walls. These little streams help to grow moss and ferns, which hang overhead in a peculiar, yet beautiful, way. Most hikers will marvel at this gorgeous area and take a few pictures before heading back. So, for travelers who only have a small chunk of time but want to see something incredible, Weeping Rock is the place to go.
This hike can be considered canyoneering rather than hiking, but it is such an iconic part of Zion National Park that it couldn’t be skipped. The Zion Narrows provides a moderately strenuous hike, with much of the hike being through water, inside of a narrow canyon. There are many amazing things to see throughout this hike which make it well worth a long wade through the cool water.
Though the entire hike is eight miles, hikers can turn around whenever they feel they’ve gotten the narrows experience they were craving. This is great because hikers are not trapped into a long, strenuous hike. Hiking Zion Narrows is perfect for a hot day since most of the hike is spent in cool water shaded by canyon walls. For hikers who don’t mind a walk through the water, Zion Narrows is a must see portion of the park.
Original shot on 4×5 transparency.
This hike is the toughest on the list, but it is another iconic piece of Zion National Park. This hike is very strenuous, so it is not for beginning hikers. Taking The Subway from the bottom-up will eliminate the need for technical rappelling gear, but that doesn’t mean the hike will be easy. This is a hike that requires a permit. Permits are obtained by applying for a permit through the lottery system. Hikers will not be permitted into The Subway without a proper permit.
Starting at the Left Fork Trailhead gives hikers access to The Subway. From here, hikers are in for a nine-hour hike through some of the most incredible scenery imaginable. There are pools of water, many layers of prehistoric rock, and waterfalls. Both the open portion and canyon portion of this hike are truly magical to experience.
“The Subway” in Zion National Park, UT.
See the Best of Zion
Those taking advantage of any of the great Springdale lodging options should be sure to make their way to the gorgeous national park next door. Experiencing Zion on foot is something that every traveler should have the chance to do. Hiking along this unique landscape gives visitors a new appreciation for nature’s beauty. Taking at least two days to hike some of the popular spots in Zion listed above is the best way to understand just how amazing the Zion area really is.