3 Must-do Hikes in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in Southwest Utah and is best known for its steep red cliffs. Named after the Hebrew word, “Zion,” which translates as “a place of peace and relaxation,” the park offers some of the most breathtaking canyon views in the entire United States. While you can see some of these amazing views from the Scenic Drive through the park, this is only a fraction of the beauty contained in this magical place. To really see the most spectacular sights the park has to offer, you’ll need to use the park’s shuttle system to venture deeper into the park and then get out and explore on foot.

1. Emerald Pools Trail – Easy to Moderately Strenuous
The Emerald Pools Trail is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park because it offers beautiful views at every turn and is easily accessible for almost anyone. Starting from the Zion Lodge shuttle stop, this trail offers 3 options. You can take the easy, half mile hike to the Lower Pools (1.2 miles roundtrip), which passes underneath two waterfalls that come from the Middle Pool above. From there, you might choose to continue another half mile up the ridge for a series of spectacular viewpoints on your way to Middle Pool (2 miles roundtrip). If you’re not tired yet, keep going up the steep trail. Another half mile climb over steep rocks will take you to Upper Pools, where you will be rewarded with a spectacular emerald pool and more stunning views! This hike is 3 miles roundtrip, but worth every step!

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Views from the hike to the Emerald Pools.

2. The Narrows – Easy to strenuous
The Narrows is the most popular hike in Zion National Park for good reason – it’s simply amazing! This hike will have you wading through the blue waters of the Virgin River and through some narrow, slot canyons. The entire trail is 16 miles long, but you can head in and turn around whenever you’ve had enough. But make sure you leave plenty of time for this hike, especially in the summer when it’s crowded. Start your hike from the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop, which is a 45 minute ride from the beginning of the park. Then, plan to walk about a mile before even getting to the water. Once you hit the water, the fun really begins. A lot of the trail is alongside the river over sand and rocks, but there are areas where you will definitely have to cross the river so plan to be in at least ankle high water. Some spots may even be waist deep so dress appropriately and definitely take a walking stick!

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Hiking the Narrows.

Continue in about 3 miles and you’ll hit “Wall Street,” the narrowest part of the trail, where towering walls are 1500 tall and the river is merely 22 feet wide. It’s truly spectacular.

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Entering Wall Street in the Narrows.

3. Angel’s Landing – Strenuous
Angel’s Landing is one of the most famous and thrilling hikes in the world. It is also one of the most dangerous. You have to walk on the edge of sheer cliffs with nothing to hold onto except a chain. Truth be told, I’m too much of a chicken when it comes to heights and decided I didn’t want to risk my life for a view – no matter how stunning it might be. So instead, I found this alternative hike. It is much easier, much safer and offers views almost as beautiful.

3. Angel’s Landing – Strenuous
3. Canyon Overlook Trail – Easy
This easy, one mile hike will take you to one of the best vantage points in the park! The trailhead is near the East entrance just before the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. After a short but steep hike up from the street, you’ll pass through a large natural cave and over several stone stairways before being rewarded with an extraordinary view of Zion Canyon below.

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Breathtaking views from Canyon Overlook.

All told, I spent a full two days exploring the masterpiece that is Zion National Park. I could have spent a full two weeks! I did the scenic drive through the park (twice) and stopped at all the photo stops. I took the shuttles in and did the hikes I mentioned above. It definitely lived up to its namesake of being both relaxing and peaceful. I’d add breathtaking and inspiring as well! Everything that I had heard about Zion was true and it was even more magnificent in person than any photo. I would not recommend visiting Utah without making time for a stop in this National Park. And I would not leave Zion without doing these three fabulous hikes!

Did you know? In Zion National Park there is an area called Weeping Rock. The water that can be seen oozing from the rock surfaces has taken more than 1,000 years to travel through the stone from its source in a natural, underground spring.

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28 Comments

  1. […] a relatively easy hike, try the Emerald Pools hike. If you don’t mind wading through water, the Narrows hike is not to be missed. And if you are a thrill seeker, don’t miss one of the most dangerous […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not visited Zion yet, but have studied up on the trails there. I am probably in agreement with you on Angel’s Landing. That trail might make me a little too nervous. I do hope to hike the Narrows one day.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Zion is one of my favorites. Those hikes are great!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Zion National Park looks like an awesome place to visit. I would probably choose the easier hikes and concentrate on taking photos. Some of them you describe seem a bit treacherous. I love the photo captioned “Entering Wall Street in the Narrows.” Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good to know there is an alternative to the dangerous and strenuous Angel’s Landing trail! I think I’d opt for the easier and still pretty darn scenic option. I’ll have to remember this for whenever I get to Zion. It’s definitely on my bucket list.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have the best childhood memories of Zion. The Emerald Pools hike is so great, and if you get hot then you can jump in the water. Angel’s Landing is so worth it. We never did the Narrows, as there was always flash flood warnings when we were there, so I would like to go back and do that. Great choices!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I really enjoyed the Angels Landing hike. The views were extraordinary.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Talk about perfect timing, I will be visiting Zion in March! Will have to check these out – I am so excited to finally get there!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve always wanted to go to Zion! Everyone’s photos always look so amazing. I didn’t realize that there were so many hiking options, so thank you for sharing that information. I’m still not sure if I’d do the Angel’s Landing hike, but I’d definitely consider it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Very thorough and useful advice! Thanks a lot for sharing, you have great photos too! Ill make sure to head on over next time I’m in the USA. Do people ever go camping in that area? Is it easy to do so?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Yes, there are a lot of camping options throughout all of Utah!

      Like

  11. I’m such a sucker for waterfalls – it’s rare that you can walk behind one, nevermind two! Now I have to go there thanks, great blog! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The Wall Street is my most favorite!
    National parks indeed are ones of the best places to travel.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I like to do hiking as well but i’m not sure when I could visit Zion 🙂 Anyway, thank for the tips.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. bethanyllord

    This looks so beautiful – I haven’t been to Utah yet, but it’s on my list! I’m not sure how I would do with all the hiking, but I think for those views I could do almost anything.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’d never heard of Zion national park until now. I’m glad I came across this because it looks absolutely stunning and I’m adding this to my national parks list for North America.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. This is one hike I really want to do. I thought UTAH had nothing to do in that state but the nature and hiking trails look amazing. Love this post and great photos

    Liked by 2 people

  17. gokulr27

    Looks like the best place for a hike. The last shot of the Zion canyon was mindblowing.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Wow those hikes are amazing. We were just reading a Nat Geo article on the push to get millennials to visit the national parks. You post should help with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Visiting America’s national parks would be a dream come true! So much natural beauty to explore!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I adore Zion National Park. We visited about four years ago in late June and loved wading up the Narrows with three kids in tow. I have a huge fear of heights and with the littles in tow – I decided to leave the views to the braver of heart. Although I would love to see the vista from up there! Happy to have found your blog – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I only managed one of those hikes. I wanted to do the narrows but flash floods were forecast so I had to give it a miss. I also didn’t have time for Angels landing, but one day I will go back and do them both 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Tracy (lifeofkuhl)

    We LOVED Zion. We did the Pools, The Narrows and Angels Landing. We found it so hard to leave this place. Great Post!

    Like

  23. We went to Zion during our USA road trip, but it was raining heavily and we couldn’t really see anything, so we left. This post made me realize what we missed. It is so beaufiful, especially the Wall Street.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      You should definitely go back! It’s stunning!

      Like

  24. Fair Dinkum Traveller

    Wow.. your pictures are stunning and the place looks awesome. I had not much about the Zion National Park but your article is so detailed, it makes me want to get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. This park is spectacular and amazing for a hike! I would love to visit it soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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