Day Hikes at Zion National Park

Zion National Park is an awe-inspiring destination located in southwestern Utah, featuring magnificent red-rock canyons. You’ll find hundreds of miles of day hikes at Zion National Park ranging from short and easy to strenuous.

This Zion National Park travel guide will detail the best day hiking trails, tips for day hiking, and day hiking gear for visiting this stunning Utah National Park!

Day Hikes at Zion National Park

Hiking in Zion is the most popular year round activity. Spring, summer, and fall are considered the busy season so be prepared for crowds during those seasons.

We live hours from Zion and get to visit often. This guide is based on our experiences hiking here during all four seasons. Our first tip would be to stay hydrated, use sun protection, and get the latest weather information before hitting the trails at Zion during any time of year.

Be sure you’re prepared with the right hiking clothing and gear for the weather and temperatures when you’re visiting. Click the image below to get a free Zion packing list for your fall vacation!

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A Photo Tour of Zion National Park

Take a visual tour through Zion National Park to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Tips For Day Hiking at Zion National Park

  • Zion Shuttle: The Zion National Park shuttle runs the majority of the year, and it’s the only way to access the hiking trails in Zion Canyon.
  • Avoid the Crowds: During the busy spring, summer, fall months you can enjoy a handful of Zion hikes without the shuttle!
  • Zion Parking: If you’re not staying in Springdale, be sure to arrive early to find parking at Zion National Park!
  • Zion Hiking Permits: Angels Landing permit is required for all hikers year round. The National Park Service (NPS) will issue permits using online lotteries at

Clothing for Day Hiking at Zion

Late spring, summer, and early fall will be hot and dry at Zion. Late fall, winter, and early spring it will be cold with the possibility of rain and even snow!

Day Hiking Gear for Zion

Here’s the Zion day hiking gear we recommend for exploring this park:

hiking gear and clothing

Day Hikes at Zion National Park

Zion National Park has easy, moderate, and strenuous day hiking trails:

  • Easy: uneven ground, but fairly level.
  • Moderate: a mix of steep grades and level sections.
  • Strenuous: steep grades, uneven terrain and long, steady climbs.

Remember that many trailheads start at an elevation around 5,000 feet. This can make “easy” trails challenging if you’re not used to the higher elevation.

Zion National Park is a hiking paradise crammed with majestic cliffs, verdant valleys, and incredible vistas. From easy peasy strolls to hardcore scrambles, there’s a trail for everyone.

Here’s a list of the best day hikes at Zion! We share the shuttle stop (where applicable), distance, time, accessibility, and services for these awesome hiking trails!

The Watchman and Virgin River at Zion
The Watchman and Virgin River at Zion

Easy Day Hikes at Zion National Park

There are four easy Zion National Park hiking trails that range from 0.4 miles to 3.5 miles and gain no more than 100 feet in elevation. A few are wheelchair accessible with assistance.

Pa’rus Trail Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center
  • Pets: Yes
  • Trailhead Location: Access is up the canyon from the Visitor Center and across the bridge adjacent to the South Campground. This trail can also be accessed from the Canyon Junction shuttle stop.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 3.5 mi
  • Elevation Change: 50 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Accessible: Wheelchairs may need assistance.
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Visitor Center.

The Pa’rus Trail is one of the best places to watch the red rock glow at sunset. Deer frequent the area as the path follows the Virgin River.

This is the only trail in Zion National Park that allows both pets (on a leash up to 6 feet) and bicycles.

We like to start at the Visitor Center parking lot and hike to the first bridge over the river then look back. Taking a picture here with the river leading toward The Watchman is an iconic photo for sunset at Zion National Park.

Archaeology Trail Sign at Zion National Park
Archaeology Trail Sign

Archeology Trail Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Behind the Zion Canyon Visitor Center near the entrance to the Visitor Center parking lot.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 0.4 mi
  • Elevation Change: 80 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 30 minutes
  • Accessible: No
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Visitor Center.

The Archeology Trail is a short little hike to the top of a hill where you’ll see an old Ancestral Puebloan food storage shelter. It takes about 5 minutes along the sandy trail to reach the top of the hill overlooking the Visitor Center and the Watchman Campground.

Look along the north side of the hill to see the foundational remains of the ancient storage shelter. You can see the artifacts from this site at the Zion Human History Museum.

Three patriarchs bridge and river at Zion National Park
Three patriarchs bridge and river

Court of the Patriarchs Day Hikes

  • Shuttle Stop: #4 Court of the Patriarchs
  • Pets: No
  • Services: No

There are a few ways to explore this area. First, there’s a quick and easy two-minute trail that takes you to a small viewpoint above the trees to see the formations across the canyon that are known as the “Court of the Patriarchs.”

You’ll find an information sign here that points out the three peaks individually named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and two others named The Sentinel and Mount Moroni.

Cross the road to access the Sand Bench Loop horse and foot trail. We don’t recommend you hike this trail, but do walk as far as the bridge. This is a wonderful Zion National Park photo spot in the morning and evening!

zion national park spring runoff
Spring runoff near Emerald Pool

Emerald Pools Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #5 Zion Lodge
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Across the road from the Zion Lodge.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 1.2 mi
  • Elevation Change: 69 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 1 hour
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Zion Lodge.

The Lower Emerald Pools and Upper Emerald Pools are two separate trails, but can easily be done as one. This is a nice hike that only has 269 feet of elevation gain between the two trails.

You’ll walk along a sandy trail leading to small pools of water – the upper pool is the biggest so if you’re short on time, we recommend that one.

During the spring runoff, or during a rain storm, a waterfall is created along this trail that’s really cool to see!

Weeping Rock at Zion National Park
Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Across the bridge adjacent to the parking lot. Follow the signs to the left.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 0.4 mi
  • Elevation Change: 98 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 30 minutes
  • Services: Pit toilets are available at the parking area.

Weeping Rock is a short but steep paved trail with minor drop-offs. It takes you to a rock alcove with dripping springs. There’s a terrific view of Temple of Sinawava from this trail.

During the rainy season in the spring and monsoon rains in late summer, water cascades down the rock over the alcove which is a cool thing to see and photograph!

Virgin River along Riverside Walk at Zion National Park
Virgin River along Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Adjacent to bathrooms and water refill station.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 2.2 mi
  • Elevation Change: 57 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
  • Accessible: wheelchairs may need assistance.

The Riverside Walk is a paved Zion National Park trail that follows the Virgin River along the bottom of a narrow canyon. It’s a wonderful place to photograph the river and small waterfalls along the trail.

At the end of this trail, the bottom up Narrows trail begins. The Riverside Walk is a popular trail so it’s best to hike in the morning or later in the day.

Moderate Day Hikes at Zion National Park

The moderate day hikes you’ll find in Zion National Park range from 1 mile to 7.6 miles and have larger elevation gains. Many of these trails offer magnificent views of Zion Canyon.

This list of moderate Zion day hikes requires extra planning:

  • wear proper footwear
  • carry enough water
  • know the physical abilities necessary to successfully complete the hike
Watchman Hiking Trail at Zion
Watchman Hiking Trail

Watchman Trail Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Follow the sidewalk through the Visitor Center plaza, past the shuttle stop to the crosswalk – stay along the river to begin the trail.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 3.3 mi
  • Elevation Change: 368 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Visitor Center.

The Watchman trail begins out with a flat section of trail by the river. It’s a moderate hike due to the elevation climb along sandy, rocky, and uneven terrain with several drop-offs.

You’re rewarded with amazing views of the Towers of the Virgin, lower Zion Canyon, Watchman Peak, and Springdale. 

Photographer at the Canyon Overlook in Zion
Dave photographing sunrise at Canyon Overlook

Canyon Overlook Day Hike

  • NOT accessible by shuttle
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Located near the east entrance of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
  • Distance (roundtrip): 1.0 mi
  • Elevation Change: 163 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 1 hour
  • Services: Pit toilets are available in the parking area.

As you drive on the Highway 9 Zion National Park scenic drive from Springdale, the parking area is immediately on the right as you exit the last tunnel. If you’re coming from the East Entrance, right before the tunnel entrance there are parking areas on the right.

Canyon Overlook trail is short, a little challenging, has a great view at the end, and you might see bighorn sheep. There is a bit of a climb of elevation (163 feet total), but it’s nothing crazy and doesn’t last long. You’ll be making your way up into the canyon and eventually come to a little bridge leading to “the cave” before making the push to the final overlook.

The trail is pretty straightforward with very minimal rock scrambling. At the end, you have a fabulous view overlooking Echo Canyon. You can also see the window holes from the tunnel off to the left.

Parking is extremely limited, so do this early morning or be prepared to circle around many times to grab a spot. Canyon Overlook is one of the best photo spots for sunrise at Zion National Park to capture the sun lighting the distant mountain peaks!

Strenuous Day Hikes at Zion National Park

The strenuous day hikes in Zion range from 2.5 miles to 9.4 miles and have elevation gains of up to 2,148 ft. These trails are physically challenging, and some can be even be mentally challenging as you must walk along steep cliffs holding onto chains for safety.

Strenuous trails require preparation and planning. Rain storms can bring flash floods so always check the current weather conditions and plan accordingly. 

chains section of Angel's Landing hike
Chains section of Angel’s Landing hike

Angel’s Landing Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #6 The Grotto
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Across the road from the shuttle stop and then across the footbridge.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 5.4 mi
  • Elevation Change: 1,488 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 4 hours
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Zion Lodge.
  • Permit Required

Angels Landing is one of the best hikes in Zion National Park. It starts off at The Grotto and follows the Virgin River before climbing the side of the cliff via 21 switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles.

At the top of the switchbacks, you’ll end up at Scout’s Landing. If you don’t have a permit to hike the chains section, this is where you stop and return the way you came. It’s also a good stopping point if you have a strong fear of heights. From there to the top, you follow a narrow ridge with steep drop-offs on either side.

There is a chain to hold onto on the way up, but there isn’t much room on the final part of this trail, so if you’re very nervous, have terrible balance, or just hate heights, you may want to reconsider the push to the top.

Natural Arch along Hidden Canyon Hike at zion
Natural Arch along Hidden Canyon Hike

Hidden Canyon Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Access the East Rim Trail from across the footbridge adjacent to the parking lot. The Hidden Canyon Trail turns right from the East Rim Trail at the sign.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 2.5 mi
  • Elevation Change: 850 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 2.5 hours
  • Services: Pit toilets are available at the parking area.

The Hidden Canyon trail starts at Weeping Rock, along with Observation Point. You climb the same steep switchbacks before making your way around the outside of the cliff and into the canyon itself. This hike ends in a canyon and doesn’t offer any views of the park.

There are some exposed cliffs, but there are chains to navigate through those sections. The trail can get a little slippery with loose sand on the rock. Once you get around the cliff, the maintained trail ends, but you can continue to hike a little more.

You’ll need to do some scrambling over rocks and boulders, but none of it is terribly difficult. Remember it can be harder to scramble back down. After the first boulder scramble, the canyon almost has the feel of a slot canyon, but is more open. There are some open sandy areas and other areas covered in moss.

About halfway through this Zion National Park trail, there is an arch off to the right marked with a few little cairns. The trail ends shortly after that and you just have to turn back around.

View from Observation Point in Zion
View from Observation Point

Observation Point Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Access the East Rim Trail from across the footbridge adjacent to the parking lot. The Observation Point Trail branches off of the East Rim Trail after approximately 2.5 miles.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 8.0 mi / 12.9 km
  • Elevation Change: 2,148 ft / 655 m
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 6 hours
  • Services: Pit toilets are available at the parking area.

The view at the end of the Observation Point trail rivals the view at Angel’s Landing. It actually overlooks Angel’s Landing.

This Zion National Park trail starts at the Weeping Rock stop and takes you up some steep switchbacks. If you don’t like heights, but don’t mind a longer hike, this is a good alternative to Angel’s Landing because it doesn’t have the same exposed cliffs.

The last mile on the rim of the canyon is mostly flat, offering relief from the steep climb up. The hike back down is the same way you came. It can be tough on knees, so take your time getting back down.

Zion Narrows day hike
Zion Narrows day hike

The Narrows Day Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Adjacent to shuttle stop and restrooms.
  • Distance (roundtrip): 9.4 mi
  • Elevation Change: 334 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 8 hours

The Narrows is the other trail everyone knows when you mention Zion National Park hikes. This trail starts at the end of the Riverside Walk and takes you into the Virgin River with canyon walls towering above you on both sides. 

In the spring, this hike will close when the water flow is too fast and too high to be safe for hikers.

In the fall and winter it’s recommended you rent the gear you’ll need to comfortably navigate the wet, cold water and uneven terrain. There are many local outfitters in Springdale.

The Subway hike at Zion
The Subway hike

The Subway (Left Fork) Fall Hike

  • Distance: 9-9.5 miles
  • Time: Full day

The Subway is another top Zion hike, but can only be done if you land one of the few permits available. There is a Zion Subway Left Fork lottery that happens 2 months in advance, as well as a last-minute drawing.

Located on Kolob Terrace Road, you can either hike this bottom-up or top-down. The top-down route requires ropes and rappelling experience, while bottom-up does not, but it is very difficult. Either way, you’ll need extensive route finding skills. You’ll also need to cross creeks, swim through cold, debris-filled pools, and scramble over boulders.

You will also need two cars or a shuttle for this since the beginning and end of the trail are far apart.

There are Zion Canyoneering tours available if this is an activity you want to try before committing to this hike!


Zion national park guides and maps

Utah Hiking Ideas

Zion National Park Itineraries

We’ve made it easy for you to plan your Zion National Park hikes and activities with these done-for-you itineraries based on the time you’re able to spend at the park!

Grab your free copy of the Zion Travel Bundle that includes printable 1, 2, and 3-Day itineraries! Simply click the image below.

Zion Travel Bundle optin

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