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Zion National Park Hiking Trail Scenery

Zion National Park’s Most Challenging Hiking Trails

by | Mar 7, 2024

A stay in the best Zion hotels Utah has to offer wouldn’t be complete without some hiking. Zion National Park has many incredible hiking trails to choose from. They range from easy, family-friendly trails that everyone can enjoy, to more challenging treks.

If you’re up for a challenge, there are a handful of trails that will help you put your mind and body to the test. Some, like Angels Landing, are well-known, while others are often overlooked gems that are perfect for getting away from the crowds on a busy day in the park.

If you’ve already started your search for a “luxury hotel near me” for your visit to Zion, it’s time to start planning how you’ll spend your days. Keep reading to learn some of the most challenging trails to take on during your stay at Zion Wildflower Resort.

Angels Landing

No list of Zion’s most challenging trails would be complete without mentioning Angels Landing. This iconic trail is both Zion’s most famous and one of the most famous trails in any national park in the U.S. It’s well-known for its incredible views from the peak, as well as the challenging and dangerous stretch of trail that requires hikers to traverse a narrow ridgeline with steep drop-offs on either side.

The trail is 5.4 miles, which is shorter than some of the other difficult trails on this list. But with more than 1,500 feet of elevation change, the trail will challenge even experienced hikers.

If you are hoping to hike this trail during your stay in the best Zion hotels Utah has to offer, you’ll need to get a permit. The Angels Landing permit program includes two different lotteries. The first is the Seasonal Lottery, which opens four times a year and awards permits for the following season. The second is the Day Before Lottery. As the name suggests, the lottery opens daily, and awards permits for the following day. Booking your stay at Zion Wildflower Resort early will give you the chance to enter both lotteries, increasing your likelihood of getting a permit during your visit.

The Narrows

Rivaling Angels Landing for the most famous and unique trail in Zion National Park is The Narrows. What makes this trail so unique is that it takes hikers through Zion Canyon, requiring you to hike through the Virgin River, with towering cliff faces on either side.

Because this trail is located inside of the deep Zion Canyon, hiking the entire trail is a lengthy ordeal. For a through-hike of The Narrows, you’ll need to get transportation to Chamberlain’s Ranch, a private property outside of the park that provides access to the start of the trail. This is called a Top-Down hike and is 16 miles long. Some hikers opt to do this trail in a single day, while others camp overnight on the trail.

If you’re looking for something a little less challenging, you can hike The Narrows bottom-up. For this hike, you’ll first hike the Riverside Walk. This short, easy, paved trail will take you to the start of The Narrows. From here, you can hike upstream in the Virgin River as far as you’d like, then turn around and hike back out.

Observation Point

Observation Point is one of Zion’s most challenging trails. At eight miles long, with more than 2,100 feet of elevation change, the trail is more difficult than Angels Landing. But it’s incredible panoramic views are a great way to see the park in a whole new way. If you’re up for the challenge, the trail is a great alternative to Angels Landing if you can’t get a permit.

To get to Observation Point, you’ll first need to hike the East Rim Trail. The first two miles will follow the East Rim Trail, before splitting off to become the Observation Point Trail. Along the trail, you’ll climb through Echo Canyon, and walk along a rim far above Zion Canyon.

Planning Your Stay in the Best Zion Hotels Utah Has to Offer

If you’re looking for challenging trails to enjoy during your stay in the best Zion hotels Utah has to offer, this list is a great place to start.

Now that you know a few of the park’s most difficult treks, it’s time to book your stay at Zion Wildflower Resort. From luxury glamping tents to our modern, minimalist cabins, there’s a lodging option for everyone at our resort. And when you book a stay before May 31, you’ll enjoy big savings on your booking. 

When you book a stay of two or more nights, you’ll receive a 20 percent discount on your stay. Use code wild20 and book your stay today!

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