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Best Trails in Zion National Park Parunuweap Canyon

This list of the best trails in Zion is the opinion of the site authors Bo Beck and Tanya Milligan. Also note that some trails on this list may be difficult for the average hiker. The areas listed on this page are all a short distance from each other and all spectacular in their own way. If you are planning a trip to southern Utah, it would be a shame to miss any of the attractions in this incredible corner of the earth. See our itinerary section for suggestions on how to see the scenic wonders of the west in one to seven day vacation.

Bo's Favorite - Lady Mountain - Historic, challenging, un-maintained - if that is your idea of fun, Lady Mountain will not disappoint, but there needs to be at least one rock climber in the group. The 360° view at the end is a showstopper.

Tanya's Favorite - Parunuweap - My personal favorite begins at the well-known landmark on Zion's east side of the park, Checkerboard Mesa, then travel across slick rock to the East Fork of the Virgin River. This trek is only for experienced hikers and those with strong route finding skills. Be warned that you will probably not see another soul during this entire hike.

Classic trails - Trails that every first-time visitor to Zion National Park should see are listed in our Southwestern vacation guide.

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Grand Canyon North Rim Map Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion Narrows - The well traveled route through the North Fork of the Virgin River is incredible and easy to visit. Almost anyone can do at least a portion of the Zion Narrows by hiking the Riverside Walk and then dropping into the North Fork of the Virgin River. Short exploration is permitted from Zion Canyon without a permit. For a full dose of the Zion Narrows, obtain a permit and head to Chamberlain's Ranch in East Zion to begin the trail. The full Narrows hike is a rushed one day trip or a relaxed two day backpack.

Angels Landing - This busy trail is one you will not want to miss. Begin in Zion Canyon and hike up the West Rim Trail to find the half mile Angels Landing Trail that traverses a narrow fin above Zion Canyon. If you want more, return along the half-mile fin from Angels Landing and continue up the West Rim Trail to Cabin Spring then turn around and hike downhill back to the Grotto.                      

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. Exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.

Zion National Park Maps
 
Hiking Zion National Park

Zion Photo:  Author of the site, Tanya Milligan on Lady Mountain in Zion National Park.

 

Zion National Park Lodging

Lodging Zion National Park Lodging and services are available in East Zion. The main road through Zion, the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (SR-9) is open year-round, and is not a route the Zion Canyon Shuttle takes. Zion Canyon is deep inside the park. Towering 3000' walls form a slot canyon, forged by the violent rush of torrent water over millions of years. From late March to late October access through the six mile stretch of road is via the Zion Canyon Shuttle, the rest of the year the canyon is accessed in private vehicles.

 

Best Easy Trails in Zion National Park zion National Park Canyoneering

Weeping Rock - Short and sweet, this hike packs a lot of beauty into a brief walk.  This is probably the most traveled trail in the park.

Lower Emerald Pool - Make sure to take the Lower Emerald Pool Trail and not bypass it by going up the more obvious trail to the Middle Emerald Pools. The middle pool and upper pool can be accessed once at the lower pool. This trail is probably traveled more than any other trail in the park other than Weeping Rock.

Riverside Walk - This nice paved path allows you to get your feet wet in the Zion Narrows and to get a sneak peak of one of the best trails in the USA and the best trail in the National Park System.  This trail is in the top three most traveled trails in Zion.

Canyon Overlook - Break out of Zion Canyon and enjoy this fun hike that begins at the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and climbs to an impressive view of the Zion Switchbacks and lower Zion Canyon. The beauty is that it is a high altitude view (due to the higher elevation on the east side of the park) without the work of hiking to the top of something like Observation Point or Angels Landing.

Best Easy Remote Trails in Zion

Two Pines Arch - A short hike to an arch in Zion that few visitors ever get to see.

Many Pools - If it's been raining and the potholes are filled with water it makes this route all the more special, in fact, don't hike it unless there has been precipitation recently.

Shelf Canyon - This is a great little slot canyon located on the east side of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.

Pine Creek Waterfall - A short hike with a bit of scrambling that takes hikers to a refreshing pool and beautiful waterfall.

Hidden Gardens - A fun little slot in Clear Creek.

Clear Creek - Secluded, yet not, this section of  Clear Creek is near the tunnel so you hear a lot of road noise, but it's still a beautiful and an easier part of the park to explore than most and you will probably be alone in the slot.

Gifford Canyon - If you want a quiet stroll away from the crowds this one is ideal even though it begins in a hectic place near the tunnel, but quickly it takes you away from the crowds.

Best View Points in Zion National Park

Progeny Peak - Visible from busy SR-9 and in the center of Zion's slickrock circle , but you probably won't see another soul along this route. It goes past a charming arch, Two Pines Arch, and then up to Progeny Peak. The view is magnificent from the mountain. This is an un-maintained route rather than a trail is is off the beaten path.

Observation Point - Well traveled and scenic, this trail begins at the Weeping Rock parking lot in Zion Canyon and leads to one of the best views of Zion Canyon.

Angels Landing - Angels Landing is one of the most outstanding trails in the US and other than the Zion Narrows it is the best in the National Park System.  The path begins at the Grotto parking lot in Zion Canyon and ends at a spectacular view of Zion Canyon.

Deertrap Mountain - This trail begins at the turn-off near the east entrance of the park and ends high atop a mesa with a grand view of Zion Canyon below.

Cable Mountain - A continuous of the East Rim Trail, it begins at the first turn-off from the east entrance of the park, follows the East Rim Trail then breaks off, ending at a wonderful view of Zion Canyon.

Best Backpacks in Zion National Park

East Rim - This beaten path can be done as a long 10-mile day hike or it can include Deertrap Mountain, Cable Mountain, Observation Point or Hidden Canyon. The East Rim can be done as a one-way trail with no backtracking.

West Rim - Start in the Kolob Terrace and end in Zion Canyon. This trail is often done as a long day trip, but it makes an outstanding backpack. The winding switchback section called Walter's Wiggles is a dizzy path leaving Scout Lookout just below the junction of the West Rim Trail and Angels Landing Trail.

More Hiking in the Area

Hiking in the Southwest Parks Angels Landing

Hiking Zion National Park
Hiking Bryce Canyon
National Park

Hiking North Rim Grand Canyon
Hiking Toroweap

Hiking in the Southwest
National Monuments

Hiking Cedar Breaks
Hiking GSENM

Hiking Southwest National Forests

Hiking Dixie National Forest
Hiking Red Canyon

Hiking Southern Utah State Parks

Hiking Coral Pink Sand Dunes

 

History of the Thunderbird

Best Western
East Zion Lodge

Reservations
1.888.848.6358

Zion National Park Lodging

East Zion Lodge
Vacation House
Group Lodging
East Zion Golf
East Zion RV Park
Vacation Packages
Family Reunion
Bus Tours
Business Retreat

Mileage from
Mt. Carmel Jct.

Zion National Park 12
Bryce Canyon 60
Grand Canyon 85
Cedar Breaks 45
Grand Staircase 9
Dixie Forest 22
Sand Dunes 11
Coyote Butte 57
Red Canyon 47
Tuweep 90

Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.

In these pages you will find insiders information on Zion National Park lodging & camping. This guide includes maps, pictures and even information on Zion's hidden treasures.

 

Next:
Kids in Zion

Canyoneering in Zion

 

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