Visiting Zion in May
Learn all about what to expect visiting Zion National Park in May
May is a great time of year to visit Zion National Park. The valley of Zion Canyon is lush with green flora, the Virgin River is rushing quick and clean, and wildlife is frolicking in the warm sun. There are many benefits to visiting Zion in May, as well as some drawbacks. If you are able to visit the park in May, you are sure to have a fantastic trip, and leave with an appreciation for the beauty and magnitude of Zion.
Benefits of Visiting Zion in May
The biggest benefit of visiting Zion in May is the breathtaking scenery. The classic red, pink and cream rocks of Zion, contrasted against the lush green cottonwoods, junipers, grasses and other plants. As the snow melts at high elevation, the Virgin River is fed with clean, aqua blue water, creating another beautiful contrast in the valley. It is truly breathtaking in Zion in the spring. The lighting in May can create marvelous sunrises and sunsets, and is a great time of year for photography.
Drawbacks of Visiting in May
Spring, summer and fall are the busiest seasons in Zion National Park, and you will definitely notice the crowds in May. This means long lines for the shuttle buses, and limited parking inside the park. To avoid the stress of navigating the busy National Park, and for help getting off the beaten path, we recommend booking a trip with a guiding company.
If spring or summer is the only time of year that you can make it to Zion, here are some tips to avoid the crowds:
1. Get to the park early: the earlier you get to Zion, the more likely you are to get a parking spot; and the more of the park you have to yourself before the crowds arrive.
2. Visit Kolob Canyons: The Zion Canyon is small and crowded—since most visitors spend the majority of their time there. Whereas, Kolob Canyons are in a more isolated area of the park, provide incredible and unique views, and is much less travelled.
3. Go on a picnic: avoid the eateries at busy eating times, and choose to go on a picnic instead. You can stop at the grocery in Springdale before heading into the park. There are wonderful places along the river and in the shadows of the cliffs above you for a picnic meal.
4. Read our list of trails less traveled: these trails will give you a better chance for incredible views with less of a crowd.
Things To Do In May
Hiking is absolutely ideal in May—with trails ranging from easy to strenuous, there is something for everyone in Zion National Park, giving you the chance to experience the best of Zion from amazing vantage points. You can read our list of best trails in Zion for recommendations.
Bicycling through Zion Canyon is wonderful in May, letting you avoid the crowds of the shuttle bus, and feeling the crisp spring air whoosh past you as you cruise down the road without cars. Shuttle buses have bike racks in front if you wish to take your bicycle on them. Canyoneering and rock climbing are also popular activities in the park, and May is a great time to do them. Be sure to check out our best tours page for more details.
Hiking in May
Hiking and backpacking is wonderful in May. Trails to high elevations are typically open and give you amazing and panoramic views of the canyon below, alive with flora and fauna. There are also wonderful trails along the valley floor, that take you next to the rushing Virgin River, through the cattails and lush cottonwoods. With trails that range from easy to moderate to strenuous, all ages and levels of ability are able to enjoy hiking in Zion. Make sure you read the current conditions for up-to-date information.
Inn-based tours are a great option for early spring, where you will experience the best of Zion, Grand-Staircase Escalante, and/or Bryce Canyon on day hikes with a local and knowledgeable guide, then go back to a exceptional lodge. This trip takes care of all the planning, accommodations and meals, so you can enjoy your trip without any of the stress that comes with planning a National Park vacation.
Camping tours are another wonderful option for seeing much of Zion and nearby Snow Canyon. Appropriate gear, including tents, sleeping bags, trekking poles, daypacks, and all meals are provided by the company. And, day hikes are great for those who want to maximize their time in park, while gaining knowledge from a local and experienced guide.
Weather in May
Spring is in the air in Zion in May, and warmer temperatures follow. The average temperature for Zion Canyon in May is a high of 83, and a low of 52 degrees Fahrenheit (28/11 degrees Celsius). In Kolob Canyons, the average temperature is a high of 71, and a low of 44 degrees Fahrenheit (21/6 degrees Celsius). On average, it rains 5 days during the month of May.
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.