the 5 best hikes in zion national park

The 5 Best Hikes in Zion National Park

by | Jan 19, 2023

With a variety of on-site amenities to enjoy, you could easily spend your trip relaxing at Zion Wildflower Resort. Zip around the property on a bicycle. Cool off in the pool, or treat your sore muscles in the spa. Relax with some yoga set against a stunning backdrop, or let the kids burn off some energy at the playground. In the evenings, roast marshmallows around a campfire, or maybe do some stargazing. 

But this Zion resort’s location, just a short drive from the national park, also makes it the perfect base camp for your next visit to Zion National Park. Zion National Park is a year-round destination for outdoor lovers, history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and more. The park has been ranked the second most-visited national park in the country for a number of years now—and for good reason! The towering red rock cliffs, stunning canyon, and range of landscapes easily make it one of the most beautiful destinations in the U.S.

You’d need weeks or more to explore all that Zion has to offer. But if you’re planning to visit the park for a few days during your next Zion Wildflower Resort stay, these are a few of the hiking trails you’ll definitely want to make time for.

The Best Hikes in Zion National Park

Zion National Park covers more than 229 square miles and is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails. They range from easy, paved trails to more challenging trails with lots of elevation change.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the park’s best and most popular trails.

1. Angels Landing

Angels Landing is Zion National Park’s most famous trail, as well as one of the most popular. While hundreds of thousands of visitors hike this trail each year, it’s one of the park’s most challenging. 

The trail is 5.4 miles long with more than 1,500 feet of elevation change. Angels Landing has a few challenging elements. One is Walter’s Wiggles. This set of 21 steep switchbacks starts just under 2 miles into this hike. Here, you’ll climb more than 250 feet in just a short distance. The final section of the hike is what the trail is best known for. Here, hikers cross a narrow ridgeline, with steep drop-offs of more than 1,000 feet on either side. A chain link handrail gives hikers something to hold onto as they cross this dangerous section of trail. Make it to the trail’s summit, and you’ll be treated to arguably the best view in the entire park!

Because of crowding on the trail, Angels Landing began requiring permits in 2023. If you want to hike past Scouts Lookout, which is located after Walter’s Wiggles and before the chain handrail section, you’ll need to obtain a permit in one of two lottery systems ahead of your visit.

2. Canyon Overlook

Not up to hiking Angels Landing? Canyon Overlook Trail is a great alternative. This trail is just 1 mile long, and rated easy to moderate. This trail is located east of the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel, so you’ll enjoy incredible views of the canyon without the climb!

3. Emerald Pool Trails

Another popular trail located in the Lower Zion Canyon is Emerald Pool Trail. This trail actually features three sections; Lower Emerald Pools, Middle Emerald Pools, and Upper Emerald Pools. Depending on where you opt to turn around, this trail can be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 miles long, and rated easy to moderate. 

The Lower Emerald Pools Trail is a rough, but relatively flat hike. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you’ll be treated to a beautiful waterfall on this short hike. Middle Emerald Pools Trail is a moderate, 2.2-mile hike that takes you along an unpaved sandstone ledge. This trail features the steepest climb of the three and takes you above the waterfalls of the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. The Upper Emerald Pools Trail connects to the Lower Emerald Pools Trail. This 1-mile section of trail features stone steps leading to another seasonal waterfall.

4. The Narrows

The Narrows trail rivals Angels Landing in terms of popularity and is one of the most unique hiking trails in the world. This trail takes hikers into the narrowest part of Zion Canyon and requires you to hike through the Virgin River. 

If you want to hike the full 16 miles from Chamberlain’s Ranch into Zion, you will need a permit. A challenging 10-mile hike from the Temple of Sinawava in the park to Big Stream and back does not require a permit. You can also hike a shorter section of the trail to get a taste of this incredible hike.

5. Riverside Walk

To get to The Narrows from in Zion, you’ll first need to hike the Riverside Walk. This 2.2-mile round trip, easy hike is a must-see of its own. You’ll walk alongside the beautiful Virgin River, with towering rock walls on either side and lush trees lining the river. Depending on the season, you might even get treated to waterfalls falling over the side of the cliffs high above you.

Planning Your Zion Resort Stay

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or looking for some kid-friendly hikes, there are plenty of trails to choose from in Zion. While the ones on this list are a few of the best, there are tons more to choose from. If you’re looking for more hiking options, stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center on your way into the park. There, you can talk to a park ranger and get more hiking tips, as well as learn about any current trail closures or warnings.

Now that you know a few must-see hikes, it’s time to start planning your next visit.

With a range of lodging options to choose from, there’s something for everyone at Zion Wildflower Resort. Take a step back in time—with some modern amenities and comforts—with a stay in one of our Luxury Wagons. Rough it, luxury-style, in a Canvas Glamping Tent. Or enjoy a stay in one of our beautiful Private Bungalows.

Ready to start planning your next Zion adventure? Book your stay at Zion Wildflower today!

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