what time should i get to zion national park

What Time Should I Get to Zion National Park?

by | Apr 21, 2024

We’ve talked a lot about the best time of year to visit Zion. While summer is the most popular time of year to stay in the best luxury hotels Zion National Park has to offer, ask a local, and they’ll likely tell you that winter is one of their favorite times of year in the park. Fall and spring, with their bright pops of color and milder temperatures, are also great times to visit.

But what about the best time of day to visit the park? Unless you’re planning to get to the park at sun-up and stay til sun-down each day, understanding what to expect at different times throughout the day can help you to better plan your time in the park.

If you’re planning a stay at Zion Wildflower Resort, keep reading. We’re breaking down what it means to get to the park at different times of day, and how to choose the right time to arrive during your visit.

Early Morning

For many seasoned Zion visitors, the answer to the question of the best time to visit the park is simple: early morning. Arriving at the crack of dawn not only offers cooler temperatures, particularly during the hot summer months but also provides the opportunity to witness one of the park’s incredible sunrises. Set against the park’s red rock cliffs, the soft light of sunrise is truly breathtaking.

Another big benefit of getting to the park early is a chance to beat the crowds. On the busiest days in Zion, parking often fills up quickly. If you don’t get a spot just inside the park, at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, you’ll need to park in Springdale instead, and then ride the Springdale Shuttle to the park’s entrance. There are two alternatives to this; visit during the park’s off-season, or get to the park early to get a great parking spot. That way you can hop right on the Zion Canyon Shuttle to start your adventure.

Mid-Morning to Afternoon

As the morning progresses and the sun rises higher in the sky, temperatures begin to climb, making it an ideal time to embark on hikes and explore the park’s numerous trails, especially during cooler months. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll along the Riverside Walk or a more challenging trek to Observation Point, there are options available for hikers of all skill levels.

However, it’s essential to plan your activities accordingly, taking into account factors such as trail popularity, weather conditions, and personal stamina. Some of the park’s most sought-after hikes, such as The Narrows, can become crowded later in the day, making early morning or late afternoon departures preferable for those seeking a quieter experience.

Additionally, be sure to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun, especially during the hotter months. Wearing sunscreen, a hat, and lightweight, breathable clothing can help prevent sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

However, while a mid-day visit to the park has its drawbacks, when you stay in the best hotels Virgin, Utah has to offer, you’re just a short drive from the park. This makes it easy to visit multiple times during your stay, which means that you won’t need to get up at the crack of dawn each time to experience it all.

Late Afternoon to Evening

As the day draws to a close, Zion National Park gets a second incredible display; sunset. Arriving in the late afternoon allows you to witness the park’s landscape transformed once again, as the setting sun bathes the park in yellow and orange hues.

For those seeking a memorable sunset experience, iconic viewpoints such as Canyon Overlook and Watchman Trail offer breathtaking vistas of the canyon bathed in the golden glow of twilight. Be sure to arrive early to secure a prime viewing spot, as these locations can become crowded during peak times.

Moreover, the evening hours provide an excellent opportunity for stargazing. Zion is an International Dark Sky Park, which means that it has minimal light pollution, allowing for clear views of the night sky. 

Of course, arriving at the park in the evening has some drawbacks. If you do plan to do some hiking, you’ll want to be off the trail before sundown for safety reasons. Packing a flashlight can help you safely get off a trail if you do wind up still hiking after dark.

Planning Your Stay in the Best Luxury Hotels Zion National Park Has to Offer

Deciding what time to arrive at the park during your stay in the best luxury hotels Zion National Park has to offer can help you make the most of your visit, and enjoy a safe, fun experience in the park.

Ready to start planning your next visit to Zion Wildflower Resort? Now is a great time to book a stay! Right now, when you book a stay of two or more nights, you’ll enjoy a 20 percent discount on your booking. This sale only lasts until May 31, so don’t wait or you might miss your chance to save big under canvas in Zion National Park.

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