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Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park in Utah, part of the “Mighty 5” of Utah’s national parks, is famous for a number of famous hikes—you may have heard of Angel’s Landing, a hike that pushes you over a canyon, a bolt Hangs on the chain, or the sparkling cascades of the Emerald Pool. But none of these hikes are as idyllic as the photos of hikers ankle-deep in the water at “The Narrows.” The infamous hike gets its name from being at the narrowest part of Zion Canyon along the Virgin River, so you’ll often end up hiking the river rock alongside the water.

Living in the park has long been an experience at The Narrows, but with its uniqueness comes the overwhelming question, “What do I bring?” For “How do you like the hike?” Most important of them all: “What do I wear?” Read on to find out everything you need to know about this particular hike.

First off …

First, you need to know that there are two ways to hike the Narrows: You can take the day hike, or you can opt for an overnight hike (which requires a permit). Let’s talk about day hikes.

So, how do you get there?

The best part about Zion is that it works on a shuttle bus system to avoid overcrowding and pollution within the park. You’ll hop on the shuttle system in Springdale just outside the park, or you’ll hop on the parking lot. Think ‘theme park’ line up, the shuttle experience is very reminiscent of it. You’ll board the shuttle until the end – to the stop at Sinawawa Temple, about 45 minutes from the start of the journey. There are restrooms and water, but this is your last chance before heading into the canyon.

What is the hike like?

After leaving the bus stop, you will walk a path along the river for about a mile until you reach the ‘mark’. Once you get there, you start walking along the riverbank, over stones that are not uniform, and water level, ankle, knee, or even hip-deep at the base of the water. Huh. You’ll want to try and hike at least as far as “Wall Street,” which is about 3 miles (about 6 miles roundtrip) into the canyon. This is where the walls of the canyon tower over you (about 1500 feet high) and the river itself is quite narrow.

Since you come back the way you came, if you can’t make it that far, you can come back at any time. It takes about two-thirds of the time it takes to travel as it takes to travel back to the start.

What should you bring with you?

A sense of adventure! Also, at least two liters of water, closed-toe old running/tennis shoes, neoprene socks (this is key!), a walking stick, a waterproof camera if possible, or a dry one to keep your belongings Quick-drying clothes inside the bag are also the best option. It’ll be great early in the morning, so even if it’s calling for a hot day, an extra layer will be much appreciated.

You can rent gear like canyoneering shoes, walking sticks, etc from nearby operators which is helpful but not essential (though those neoprene socks are a must in my opinion).

Avoid open-toed sandals or heavy hiking shoes—you’ll be walking on rocks, and getting wet, and neither of these is a good choice for you.

If you’re going to stop by for lunch, make sure you’ve packed up all your trash and piled it up.

When should you go?

Like most national parks in the states, Zion is at its busiest in the summer. If you want to opt for fewer crowds, the colder months are ideal for you. However, if summer is the only time you need to visit, make sure you get up early and start the hike first thing in the morning. By noon, the crowd will have descended into the canyon, and you’ll be thankful you got off to a good start. Again, the early bird gets the worm! If photography is what you’re after, the best lighting is usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It’s really important to keep in mind – flash floods are a very real danger. Be careful, and heed the warnings – if there’s even a chance of rain, don’t hike in narrow areas.

The Narrows is easily one of the best hikes you can do, and you can experience it for yourself on one of our Utah tours.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Zion National Park

Q. What is famous about Zion National Park?

A – Zion is renowned as one of the best places in the world for canyoning, which is a sport of slender canyon descent. The national park invites adventurers to ease into the spectacular water slots and river-filled canyons that range from strenuous hiking and technical challenges to swimming and rappelling.

Q. Can you drive through Zion National Park now?

A – You can self-drive on all open park roads except Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. During most of the year, Scenic Drive is accessible only by shuttle bus. Shuttles are free and can be found at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

Q. Which is the best month to visit Zion National Park?

A – The best times of year to visit Zion and avoid the crowds are late autumn, winter, and early spring. While the weather can be chilly, and fewer facilities are open, visitor numbers are sharply lower at this time of year.

Q. Is it free to go to Zion National Park?

A – Zion National Park charges $35 per vehicle and $20 per person. An annual pass costs $70 per visitor.

Q. What makes Zion special?

A – The main attraction of Zion National Park is a vast canyon. An average of 2,000 feet deep, Zion Canyon offers hiking opportunities with its destination in a 20 to 30-foot-wide area known as The Narrows and a challenging area known as The Subway. Other spectacular features of Zion include natural rock arches.

Q. Do you need a reservation for Zion?

A – This summer, Upper Zion Canyon and Scenic Drive are both close to cars and you’ll need to make a reservation on the park’s socially distanced shuttle service to access places like the Emerald Pool, West Rim Trail, and Angels Landing.

Q. Which is better Zion or Bryce?

A – Both these parks offer great outdoor activities for people of all ages. For canyoning and rappelling, Zion beat Bryce. You’ll find world-class hiking in any park, but in Zion, you can find yourself hiking through streams or on sandstone ledges, like Angel’s Landing – one of the scariest hikes in the world!

Q. Are there waterfalls in Zion National Park?

A – There are many waterfalls in Zion Narrows. The first you’ll reach, Mystery Falls, is accessible to almost everyone. Day hikers usually return after reaching this landmark. You can reach Mystery Falls less than half a mile from your starting point at the Temple of Sinawa.

Q. What does Zion stand for?

A – Zion is a specific, historically significant place – the name refers to both the city of Jerusalem and a hill in the city itself – but it is also used more generally in the sense of “sacred place” or “kingdom of the heavens”. The root of Zion is Hebrew Tsiyon, and while the word holds a special significance in the Jewish faith.

Q. Where is zion national park?

A – Zion National Park is located on State Route 9 in Springdale, Utah.

Q. What can you do at Zion National Park?

A – 8 Top Attractions & Things to Do in Zion National Park

  • Explore the Sights along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.
  • Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.
  • Hit the Trails on a Day Hike.
  • Weeping Rock.
  • Riverside Walk.
  • Lower Emerald Pools.
  • Checkerboard Mesa and the East Side of Zion National Park.
  • Human History Museum.

Q. Where to stay at zion national park?

A – Springdale. Springdale is the most populous place to stay in Zion National Park. As the gateway to the national park, Springdale sees almost every single visitor that passes by. Although there are less than 1000 permanent residents, the city is well prepared for tourists.

Q. Is it worth staying inside Zion National Park?

A – We recommend a 3-4 night stay in Zion National Park. This gives visitors time to take in all of Zion’s sights and ample time to enjoy the main hikes (Angels Landing, the Narrows via the Riverside Walk, and the Emerald Pool Hike).

Q. How do people live in Zion National Park?

A – There are three campgrounds within the park, of which only two are full-facility campgrounds. If you are figuring out where to stay in Zion National Park and camping is your goal, within the park you can stay either within the main entrance (Springdale area, west) or the Kolob Canyon entrance to the north.

Q. How many days are enough for Zion National Park?

A – We suggest that you plan at least 5-7 days for your visit to Zion National Park. If you’re an avid traveler, take your time on popular (and strenuous) day hikes like Angels Landing, Zion Narrows Day Hike, and the Observation Point Trail. To avoid hunger and dehydration, pack plenty of water and snacks before heading out.

Q. How far is zion national park from las vegas?

A – Zion national park from las vegas is 2 hr 35 min (159.8 mi) via I-15 N.

Q. Is Bryce or Zion closer to Las Vegas?

A – Zion National Park is about 3 hours from Las Vegas and 5 hours from Salt Lake City. Begin your visit at Zion National Park as it is close to both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. After that go to Bryce Canyon National Park!

Q. Which is the best month to visit Zion National Park?

A – The best times of year to visit Zion and avoid the crowds are late autumn, winter, and early spring. While the weather can be chilly, and fewer facilities are open, visitor numbers are sharply lower at this time of year.

Q. Is Zion worth seeing?

A – Zion National Park has quite a reputation for its death-defying hikes and otherworldly landscape, and it’s worth visiting for why (and when) it is. Zion National Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful national parks in all of America. Located in southwestern Utah, it is famous for its vast Zion Canyon.

Zion national park weather (Link)

Q. Which is the best month to visit Zion National Park?

A – The best times of year to visit Zion and avoid the crowds are late autumn, winter, and early spring. While the weather can be chilly, and fewer facilities are open, visitor numbers are sharply lower at this time of year.

Q. What is the coldest month in Zion?

A – The lowest temperature ever recorded in the park was -20 degrees Fahrenheit in 1989. The average rainfall is usually very high in the winter months and will receive both rain and snow. December is the coldest month of the year in Zion, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on entering the park.

Zion national park map (Link)

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