Things to Do at Zion National Park
Looking for a bucket-list worthy place to visit? If you love the outdoors, you’ll find a variety of things to do at Zion National Park.
Zion has become one go-to spots for adventure-seekers who enjoy hiking, biking, canyoneering and more! Learn more about the exciting activities you can do at Zion National Park.
Use our Zion National Park travel guide and the list below to plan your trip.
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Things to Do at Zion National Park
Cycling is a fun way to explore Zion National Park. If you want to avoid the shuttle, riding a bike is a great alternative to shuttle buses for accessing the Zion Canyon scenic drive. (You can rent bicycles in Springdale).
Be aware of the rules for riding your bike at Zion:
- Bicycling is permitted on the park roadways and the Pa’rus Trail. The areas closed to bikes: all other park trails, off-trail routes, and the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.
- Bikes must be ridden single file on the right side of the park roads and Pa’rus Trail.
- And don’t forget to wear your helmet.
There is a limit of 6 bicycles or less for every cycling group. Anything that exceeds this number may pose a safety risk to other travelers due to narrow park roads.
On the Pa’rus Trail, there are several unexpected turns, frequent wildlife, and blind corners so always be aware of your surroundings. Cyclists must make it a habit to warn the pedestrians before passing. All traffic rules and regulations must also be obeyed and observed.
For your convenience, Zion National Park has installed bike racks located at major shuttle stops and trailheads. You may also take your bicycle on the shuttle bus as long as you can get the bikes on and off the front racks.
Zion National Park hikes are some of the best in the entire world. This park is the most visited in all of Utah due to the magnificent hiking trails!
Check out all the Zion hikes without the shuttle to avoid the crowds.
There are a variety of easy and moderate day hikes in Zion to choose from. Enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences like sloshing through the Virgin River in the Narrows or braving exposed cliffs on Angel’s Landing.
And there are more strenuous hikes and backpacking trails as well. Some of the trails and more remote wilderness areas require a permit so plan ahead.
TAKE NOTE: Angels Landing pilot program begins April 1, 2022
On and after April 1, 2022, hikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit. The National Park Service (NPS) will issue permits using online lotteries at Recreation.gov.
Visitors can get a permit by entering seasonal lotteries or a different lottery the day before their planned hikes. It will cost $6 to enter any of the lotteries and successful permit holders will pay a $3 per person fee. These funds will cover costs to manage the lotteries and for additional NPS rangers who will assist visitors and check permits on the trail. Learn when and how to enter the lotteries at go.nps.gov/AngelsLanding.
Zion National Park is globally recognized for being a premier place that offers canyoneering adventures. It’s an activity that involves route finding, rappelling, hiking, and swimming.
Since there are plenty of unique canyons to explore in Zion, visitors have ample opportunities with both beginner skills and advanced skills in canyoneering.
The two famous trails that require technical canyoneering skill are The Subway and The Narrows from the top-down. Both hikes require a permit, and all overnight trips in these areas also require a permit.
4. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is not an everyday activity in national parks. Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon are the only two parks in Utah that offer this activity.
This activity will give you a view of Zion many don’t see as you explore the iconic red canyons and cliffs that make this park unforgettable.
For those who have their own stock animals, read more about the guidelines for riding your own horse into the park.
When you photograph Zion, you capture towering red rocks, the majestic Virgin River, intricate canyons, and views from above after a hike.
Here are the photo spots at Zion where you’ll catch the reflected light on the canyon walls at sunrise and sunset.
- Towers of the Virgin at sunrise on the Museum patio in the back
- Canyon Overlook trail at sunrise
- Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway
- The Three Patriarchs
- Riverwalk along the Virgin River
- Views from Angel’s Landing and Observation Point
- Pa’rus Trail at sunset (great time for wildlife as well)
- The Watchman with the Virgin River near sunset
- Kolob Canyon
Also check out the scenery along all four Zion National Park scenic drives!
The vast and dark sky in Zion National Park is something you have to see to believe!
Remember to take time to enjoy the park after dark! If you’re there during a new moon (no moon in the sky) you might experience your first encounter with the Milky Way!
When stargazing at Zion, be sure to carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp with a red light. You don’t want to shine a white light into someone’s eyes!
Don’t stop or stand in the roadway. Use pullouts and parking lots. This is a good safety tip in daylight or at night!
Check the astronomical viewing forecast to determine when it is best to view the night sky.
Zion National Park has three campgrounds: the South Campground, Watchman Campground, and Lava Point Campground. Both the South and Watchman Campground are in Zion Canyon, while the Lava Point Campground is on Kolob Terrace Road.
These campgrounds are busy from March to November so be sure to plan ahead and make reservations!
All campsites are drive-up and allow a maximum of two vehicles. Only one RV or trailer is allowed. Each campsite allows a maximum of six people and two tents. Hammocks are allowed but are limited to the footprint of the campsite.
There are flush toilets, cold running drinkable water, and trash containers, but no showers or electrical outlets. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with attached grill.
More Zion Activities:
There are even more Zion National Park activities to do in the park:
And check out this list of things to do Near Zion National Park if you’re looking to extend your trip!
BUY ZION GUIDES & MAPS AT AMAZON
Plan Your Vacation to Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Travel Guide
- Zion National Park Shuttle
- Parking at Zion National Park
- Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
- Things to Do at Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Activities
- Zion National Park Photography
- Zion National Park Packing List
- Places to Stay at Zion National Park
Where to Stay Near Zion National Park
You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.
- Places to Stay at Zion National Park
- Camping in Zion National Park
- RV parks near Zion National Park
- Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
- Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
- Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
- Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants.