Discover the 10 best hikes in Zion
Learn about Zion National Park's best hikes and see which one is right for you
Zion is a haven of trails with incredible, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring views. Zion Canyon itself is relatively small, at only 15 miles long, so trailheads are condensed into this little area. Below we have described our favorite hikes in Zion Canyon, as well as some in Kolob Canyon, for those willing to travel a little further for spectacular views. You can read our all-time favorite Zion day hiking and backpacking trails here.
Since Zion gets extremely crowded in the spring and summer, and the most popular trails are very busy in the middle of the day, we recommend hitting the trail as early as you can. From March to November, the shuttle bus starts at 7 am.
1. OBSERVATION POINT
Observation Point is one of the more challenging and rewarding hikes in Zion National Park. The trailhead for Observation Point is located at shuttle stop #7. At 8 miles roundtrip, and 2,000 feet of elevation gain, you will hike switchbacks through sandstone, providing you will incredible and panoramic views of the canyon below throughout the entire hike. Once you reach the top, you will be standing across the canyon, looking down 700 feet on the infamous Angel’s Landing.
2. ANGEL’S LANDING
Angel’s Landing is the most iconic trail in Zion National Park. The trail begins at shuttle stop #6, The Grotto. Switchbacks define the trail for the first 2 miles, taking you into the chilly and shaded “Refrigerator Canyon”, and then to Walter’s Wiggles—21 tight and steep switchbacks take you up to Scout’s Lookout. Here, at Scout’s Lookout, is a flat and broad overlook into the canyon, and is a great turnaround spot for hikers who want to skip the chains up to Angel’s Landing. The last half mile (although it seems like much longer) to Angel’s Landing is along the narrow spine of a ridgeline. Chains are bolted into the rock to assist hikers; this trail is for the adventurous thrill-seeker. At the top of Angel’s Landing, you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the canyon below you.
It is recommended to start this hike as early as possible. This is one of the most popular trails in the park, and gets very crowded in the middle of the day.
3. EMERALD POOLS
The best thing about Emerald Pools Trail— there are three pools, making it a great hike for those seeking a short stroll, or those who want a more strenuous loop trail. A short, half mile trail takes you to the falls of Lower Emerald Pools; you can continue to the top of the falls at Middle Emerald Pools. And for the adventure-seekers, you can climb the stairs to Upper Emerald Pools, then continue to the Kayenta Trail to turn this into a loop.
The trailhead for Emerald Pools is at shuttle stop #5 (Zion Lodge); or for a longer loop, you can start at shuttle stop #6 (The Grotto) on the Kayenta Trail.
4. CANYON OVERLOOK
The family-friendly Canyon Overlook Trail is on the east side of Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, and looks down on Zion Canyon—as it’s name suggests. Short and sweet, the trail is just one mile roundtrip and gains only 100 feet of elevation from the parking area to the overlook. From the top, you are at a great vantage point to take in the expanse of Zion Canyon. This is also a great location for sunrise photography.
5. EAST RIM TRAIL
The East Rim Trail is a great backpacking trip, long day hike, or out-and-back hike—turning around when you are ready. You can either begin at Observation Point, where you will climb over 2,000 feet to the top; or near the East Entrance, where you will descend into the canyon. During the hike, you are treated to breathtaking views of Zion Canyon, and the out-of-this-world Echo Canyon. If you decide to complete the entire 12 mile trail as a through-hike, make sure you set up transportation in advance.
6. WEST RIM TRAIL
This through-hike starts at Lava Point Trailhead, in Kolob Canyons, and ends at West Rim Trailhead, in Zion Canyon; or vice versa. In total, the trail is 16 miles, and is ideal for a backpacking trip, with a wilderness shuttle. Since many visitors don’t have the time or resources for a multiday backpacking trip, a great way to see this trail as a day hike would be to start at the West Rim Trailhead, at shuttle stop #6 (The Grotto). The trail here begins up the same switchbacks—including Walter’s Wiggles—as the trail to Angel’s Landing. Once you reach Scout’s Lookout, the trail for West Rim begins to the left, and traverses the rim of the canyon, giving you an aw-inspiring perspective of the canyon below, and the massive cliffs surrounding you.
Unless you have prepared in advance for the long through-hike to Lava Point, hike along the rim until you are ready to head back to the trailhead, then simply turn around and hike down the way you came up.
7. WATCHMAN OVERLOOK TRAIL
One of the best things about this trail is how close the trailhead is—simply walk across the road from the Visitor Center to the Watchman’s Campground to where the Watchman Overlook Trail begins. The trail is 3 miles roundtrip and only has 500 feet of elevation gain, making it suitable for all ages and abilities. You will be walking through massive cottonwoods, and next to a flowing spring. Eventually, the loop will take you to incredible views of Observation Point and Angel’s Landing to the north, and the Watchman to the south. This easy hike is great because it provides spectacular scenery without exerting too much effort.
8. PA’RUS TRAIL
The Pa’rus Trail is mostly flat, making it accessible for families, wheelchairs, biking, and pets on leashes. To get to the trailhead from the Visitor Center, cross the road toward Watchman’s Campground and over the bridge is the trailhead. You can also access it from shuttle stop #3 if you are already in the canyon. The Pa’rus Trail takes you along the river and presents you with some of the best views of the towering features in the park. Roundtrip, this trail is 3.5 miles long.
9. THE NARROWS
The Narrows is one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park. There are two ways to hike it; the most popular—from the bottom up, starting at the Riverside Walk at the Temple of Sinawava, or from the top down, from Chamberlain Ranch. Hiking from the top down is a long and grueling day hike, or an overnight backpacking trip. If you decide to hike from the bottom up, you can go as far as you wish, then turn around and head back, there is no commitment to a 16 mile trek.
Either way you decide to hike the Narrows, you are in for a treat! You are hiking through the Virgin River, sometimes even wading through it. The canyon walls surrounding you have been etched away over thousands of years and seem like they have stories to tell. This is one of the most spectacular hikes in the park.
For more information about how to hike the Narrows, click here.
10. TAYLOR CREEK TRAIL
If you want to escape the crowds of Zion Canyon and gain a new perspective of the landscape, travelling to Kolob Canyons is worth the trip. The Taylor Creek Trail is a moderate, 5 mile roundtrip hike through one of the “fingers” of the canyon. It takes you along the creek, and eventually leads you to the Double Arch Alcove—an impressive tye-dye stained arch amphitheater.
JOIN A GUIDED HIKING ADVENTURE
Zion National Park is home to some of the most epic and amazing hiking vacations in the world. Wildland Trekking offers trips with the best of Zion: canyons, views, wildlife, solitude, adventure and fascinating natural and cultural interpretation.
Guided Zion treks are all-inclusive which covers permits; local transportation (excluded on certain tours); meals; equipment; safety systems and professional hiking/wilderness guides; all of which allows visitors to maximize their time in Zion and focus entirely on enjoying the Park.
ZION ADVENTURE TOURS
- INN-BASED HIKING PACKAGES: these tours are all-inclusive packages with lodging, amazing daily hikes, expert guides, meals, transportation and more!
- ZION CAMPING TOURS: camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of Zion on wonderful outdoor vacations.
- ZION DAY HIKE TOURS: maximize your day in Zion on a fully guided, award-winning hiking tour on one of the Park’s best trails.
- ALL UTAH HIKING TOURS: check out a full list of Utah offerings, which include Bryce Canyon, the North Rim, Arches, Canyonlands and more.
- UTAH BACKPACKING TRIPS: explore options for discovering Utah on an all-inclusive backpacking trip with expert guides and mind-blowing scenery.