Best time to visit Zion
Learn about the best times to visit Zion National Park
There are many things to take into consideration when planning a trip to Zion National Park. First, you should take an introspective look at how you handle crowds. Summer is by far the busiest time of year in Zion, helping to make it the 4th most visited park in the United States. (If summer is the only time of year that you can visit, we will give you some tips and tricks below to avoid the crowds in summer.) Secondly, you should think about what activities you want to do in the park to help you determine what month to visit.
We have broken down the most common “when to go” questions into categories below. Hopefully with this guide, you will be able to determine which time of year is best for you to visit Zion National Park.
WEATHER AND TEMPERATURE
The weather in Zion is very hot in the summer, and cold in the winter—the tops of towers getting snow through the season. There is also a monsoon season in Zion, that could cause flash flooding. It is very important to consider the weather when planning your trip, as well as staying up-to-date on the weather while in the park.
Below are the average temperatures and days of precipitation in Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyons
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR SIGHTSEEING
For sightseeing in Zion National Park, the best time of year to visit is in the spring and fall. The temperatures are cooler than in the hot summer, and the crowds have lessened. Spring is a wonderful time to see the lush green landscape, as well as the rushing water of the Virgin River, and waterfalls cascading gently over the side of cliffs. Fall is great for cooler temperatures and warm autumn colors of the cottonwoods residing by the Virgin River. Any time of the year is going to provide you with incredible scenery, and an enjoyable experience, but spring and fall are the best times of year for sightseeing.
BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR HIKING AND BACKPACKING
The best time of year for hiking in Zion is in the fall. Typically, most trails are open this time of year, whereas in the spring, trails may be closed because of the Virgin River flooding. Also, the crowds begin to thin in the fall, and hiking is much more enjoyable. Check the current trail conditions for up-to-date information.
The best time of year for backpacking is in the spring, summer and fall. As most of these trails are longer and away from the crowds, you don’t have to worry too much about the busyness of summer. Make sure you look at the wilderness trail conditions, so you can plan your trip accordingly.
You can read about how to obtain backcountry permits here. Or, you can book a day hiking tour, inn-based tour or camping-based tour with Wildland Trekking to avoid the stress of planning a National Park trip on your own.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO AVOID THE CROWDS
The best time of year to visit Zion and avoid the crowds is in the late fall, winter and early spring. While the weather may be chilly, and less facilities are open, the amount of visitors is exponentially less this time of year. Winters are typically cold and wet; and while it may reach 50-60°F during the day, it could easy dip below freezing at night. But, don’t let this frigid weather deter you from visiting in the winter, it is truly beautiful, and also your best chance for solitude in Zion.
If summer is the only time of year that you can visit the park, here are some tips to make your trip enjoyable and 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.
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.