15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park Utah

15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park Utah

Zion National Park is great park to visit because there is so much packed into a small area, whether you’re a hardcore hiker or soft adventurer. We don’t consider ourselves hardcore hikers, and our fitness level is average, but we’re slowly getting our feet wet with backpacking.

We love that Zion is also a great place to find longer strenuous hikes and multi-day backpacking trips if you want to venture further into the park. It also has iconic hikes like the Zion Narrows and Angels Landing.

In case you’re not sure what you should do during your trip there, we’ve listed the best of Zion National Park hikes from easy to difficult.

15 Best Zion National Park Hikes

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Last Updated: Jun 25, 2019 // First Published: April 14, 2015

15 BEST HIKES IN ZION NATIONAL PARK

5 BEST EASY HIKES IN ZION

Trailhead Coordinates: 37.213341, -112.940680, map

Distance: 1 mile roundtrip, 213 ft elevation gain
Time: < 1 Hour
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Crowded

This trail leads you to one of the best photography spots in the park. The trailhead is near the East entrance just before the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. After a short hike up from the street, you go through a large natural cave, and are rewarded with an extraordinary view of Zion Canyon below.

Canyon Overlook Trail (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park Utah).

2. Emerald Pools Trail

Shuttle Stop 5 or 6 (6 takes slightly longer)

Distance: 1.2-3 Miles, 552 ft elevation gain
Time: 1-3 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Crowded

This collection of trails gives you a few different options, all with spectacular views of greenery, Pools, and waterfalls. The Lower and Middles Pools can be reached from the same trailhead, while the Upper Pool has a different starting point. This trail also allows you to walk under a waterfall.

Emerald Pools Trail (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).

3. Riverside Walk

Shuttle Stop 9

Distance: 1.8 mi miles roundtrip, 206 ft elevation gain
Time: 1-2 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Crowded

Also known as the Gateway to the Narrows, this is a paved path that takes you from the Temple of Sinawava to the Virgin River. You can then enjoy the entrance of the Narrows and even wade around in the river before making your way back.

Riverside Walk (15 Best Zion National Park Hikes).

4. Watchman Trail

Shuttle Stop 1 (Visitor Center)

Distance: 3.1 mile loop, 646 ft elevation gain
Time: 1-3 Hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Traffic: Crowded

This trail is often overlooked by visitors but offers an amazing view of the valley. Although it doesn’t actually climb the heights of the Watchman itself, it’s a great introduction to the beauty of the park.

Watchman Trail (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park Utah).
Photo: Andrew Mace / creative commons

5. Weeping Rock

Shuttle Stop 7

Distance: 0.4 Miles
Time: < 1 Hour
Difficulty: Easy
Traffic: Very Crowded

This short stroll takes you to the popular wall home to trickling streams of water and hanging gardens of fern and moss. It’s not our favorite “hike” in Zion, but it takes you to one of the most iconic parts of the park. The trail is narrow so is not recommended for wheelchairs or strollers.

Weeping Rock (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park Utah).

5 BEST MODERATE TO STRENUOUS DAY HIKES

Shuttle Stop 6

Distance: 4.1 Miles, 1617 ft elevation gain
Time: 2-4 Hours
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Very Crowded

One of the iconic hikes in Zion National Park, Angels Landing is not for the faint of heart (or anyone with a fear of heights). There are even portions of the trail that offer chains to help steady yourself as you navigate the part with drop offs on both sides. The views at the top are truly stunning!

Angels Landing Hike (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).

Shuttle Stop 7

Distance: 6.7 Miles out and back, 2131 ft elevation gain
Time: 4-6 Hours
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Moderate to Crowded

Observation Point is a Zion classic giving you glimpses of Echo Canyon and rewarding you with an amazing view of the park. This 8-mile round trip hike has a more than 2,100 feet elevation gain. The sharp ridge you see in the center is Angel’s Landing.

Observation Point (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).
Photo: Steve Dunleavy / creative commons

8. Kolob Arch

Trailhead Coordinates: 37.4378783, -113.1920637, map

Distance: 15.1 Miles roundtrip, 1781 ft elevation gain
Time: Full Day
Difficulty: Moderate
Traffic: Moderate

Kolob Arch is the second longest arch in the world, although many still argue that it’s larger than Landscape Arch. You can reach the arch from Kolob Canyons Road at Lee Pass or at the Hop Valley Trailhead, but both are 7-mile treks.

Kolob Arch (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).
Photo: Zion National Park / creative commons

9. The Subway (Bottom-Up)

Trailhead Coordinates: 37.2908319, -113.0968386, map

Distance: 7.0 Miles round trip, 1305 elevation gain
Time: Half Day
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Low

The subway is a gorge that looks like a subway tunnel. Although the bottom-up hike doesn’t require any rappels or swims, you do still hike in water and need a permit for the hike. For hikers who are more technical, the Top to Bottom hike is spectacular as well!

The Subway (15 Best Zion Hikes).
Photo: Robert Shea / creative commons

Shuttle Stop 9

Distance: 3-8 Miles
Time: 2-6 Hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Traffic: Very Crowded
Best Time to Go: April until Oct

This hike is perfect for a hot summer day. You can go as far up the river as you want before you turn around, but try to make it up to the most iconic portion called Wall Street. The brochure says this one is careful and moderate, but in our opinion, sometimes it’s easier to climb stairs for hours than tread through water for hours.

Note: Hiking the Narrows depends on the water levels. Check the National Parks site for any trail closures.

 

Zion Narrows Hike (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).

5 BEST BACKPACKING TRAILS

11. The Barracks

Distance: 20 Miles
Time: 2-3 Days
Difficulty: S
Traffic: Low

The Virgin River has two main forks. The North Fork is most frequented because of The Narrows, but the East Fork offers equally beautiful canyons in much more solitude. There are also tons of side canyons to explore as you hike through the Parunaweap Canyon. The majority of this hike actually lies outside of Zion in its neighboring BLM.

The Barracks Hike (15 Best Zion Hiking Trails).
Photo: Rasheed Siddiqui / creative commons

12. La Verkin Creek Trail

Distance: 18.6 miles round trip, 2326 ft elevation gain
Time: 2 Days
Difficulty: Moderate
Traffic: Low
When to Go: Year Round

Most people use this trail to visit Kolob Arch, but take time to soak in all the beauty and make it an overnight trip. The campsites along the trail are truly wonderful and tack on an additional 5 miles round trip hike to Beartrap Canyon falls.

La Verkin Creek Trail (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).
Photo: Tim Brown / creative commons

13. The Trans-Zion Trek

Distance: 48 Miles point to point
Time: 3-5 Days
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Low

This hike takes you through several trails in the park bringing you from one corner of Zion to the other. You will need to be sure to get all the appropriate permits, but you it’s well worth it as you will see portions of the park that most people don’t get a chance to experience.

The Trans-Zion Trek (Best Hiking in Zion National Park Utah).

14. West Rim Trail

Distance: 16-18 Miles
Time: 2 Days
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Moderate
Best Time to Go: April to Oct

Starting off at Lava Point, this trail has some of the best views you can find, including canyons, springs, trees, and flowers. And you can add on a side trip to Angels Landing too!

West Rim Trail (15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park).

Distance: 16 Miles
Time: 2 Days
Difficulty: Strenuous
Traffic: Moderate

Although you technically can do the hike all in a day, taking time to camp halfway through is truly spectacular. The hike requires a permit and you are in water for a large portion of the hike. Check out our guide to this hike for more details.

The Narrows Hike (15 Best Zion National Park Hikes).

MAP OF ZION NATIONAL PARK HIKING TRAILS

Heading to Zion? Save this pin and click to see the 15 Best Hikes in Zion National Park You Can't Miss - Zion National Park Map of Hiking Trails // Local Adventurer #utah #zion #nationalpark #findyourpark #hiking

More Zion Hikes

  • East Rim Trail (10.3 mi point to point, 1162 ft elevation gain, difficult)
  • Hidden Canyon (3 mi roundtrip, 931 ft elevation gain, moderate, Shuttle Stop 7)
  • Kayenta Trail (3.1 mi roundtrip, 419 ft elevation gain, moderate)
  • Northgate Peaks Trail (6.0 mi loop, 1118 ft elevation gain, moderate)
  • Taylor Creek Trail (easy)
  • Timber Creek Overlook (easy)

What's Nearby

Best Places to Stay in Zion National Park

What type of hikes do you typically like to do? Which of these Zion hikes above have you done or would you like to do?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for the detailed post. Very helpful! :)

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