Winter Hiking in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful places to explore in winter. With its unique landscapes and breathtaking views, it is a great place to enjoy winter hiking at Zion National Park!

Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your winter vacation itinerary: hiking trails, what to pack, where to stay and more!

Zion National Park Winter Hikes

From scenic overlooks to challenging climbs, Zion National Park has something for everyone during the winter months. Exploring the Zion National Park hikes is one of the best ways to experience this stunning park.

Planning a trip to Zion National Park in the winter is the best because the crowds are gone. At times we feel like we have the trails all to ourselves!

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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!

Visiting Zion National Park in the Winter

You’ll LOVE visiting Zion National Park in the winter when it’s the off-season. The park is definitely not as crowded as it is during the summer. It’s a terrific time to visit this most-visited Utah National Park.

Does the Zion Shuttle Run in the Winter?

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles during the shuttle season. Typically, Zion National Park shuttles are running March through November, weekends in February, and the week between major holidays in December.

Visit the Zion NPS website to get the most updated shuttle information for the time you’ll be visiting.

Winter Weather at Zion

Zion National Park weather in the winter means cooler days and cold nights.

With the right winter clothing, you will still be able to enjoy yourself even with the cooler weather. 

Zion National Park Trail Conditions

Check current trail conditions at Zion for any trail closures that may be in effect. Zion National Park trails can close due to storm damage, falling rocks, or any other unsafe condition.

hiking at Zion National Park in the winter
Dress warm for hiking at Zion National Park in the winter

Tips for Winter Hiking in Zion National Park

One of the best Zion National Park winter activities is hiking. Check with the Visitor Center about trail conditions and whether traction devices are recommended.

Winter Clothing for Hiking

Zion National Park experiences cold and snowy weather in the winter. Be sure to wear and pack winter clothing essentials.

  • Base Layers: Wicking base layers will give you the warmth you need to fight off the cold winter weather in Zion. Plus, you can take them off easily whenever you no longer need them. 
  • Fleece jacketsFleece jackets serve as a light layer on warmer days in the park but can also add warmth to your layering.
  • Insulated Jackets: Insulated jackets provide the perfect warmth whether you are going for a light hike or a more extended excursion. 
  • Wool socks: Do not wear cotton socks. It is best to wear wool socks for winter. Bring a spare just in case anything unexpected happens.
  • Insulated hats: An insulated hat will protect you from losing too much of your body temperature through your head.
  • Winter gloves: If it’s extremely cold, use an insulating glove inside a waterproof shell mitt to provide dexterity and warmth.
  • Waterproof hiking bootsHiking boots need to be waterproof. You may also need traction devices for some trails.

Winter Hiking Gear

Here’s the winter hiking gear we recommend for hiking at Zion:

Since many of the trails are fully exposed to the sun you’ll need sunscreen, even in the winter.

In the winter the trails may be covered in snow or ice that may require traction devices for hiking.

Map of Zion Hiking Trails

Here’s a map of Zion National Park hikes to help you navigate the park.

This map includes our favorite Zion National Park hikes that include easy, moderate, and strenuous hiking trails.

map of Zion hikes

Zion National Park Winter Hikes

Most of the easy Zion National Park hikes are found in Zion Canyon. They 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, especially if there’s snow or ice on the trail.

There are other moderate and strenuous Zion hikes in Zion Canyon and along Highway 9 that can be explored in the winter.

You’ll find Zion National Park photography opportunities while hiking these easy trails so remember your camera!

Virgin River along the Pa'rus trail in the winter
Virgin River along the Pa’rus trail in the winter

Pa’rus Trail Winter Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Archaeology Trail sign at Zion National Park
Archaeology Trail sign

Archeology Trail Winter Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #1 Visitor Center
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 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.
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Behind the Zion Canyon Visitor Center near the entrance to the Visitor Center parking lot.

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.

Court of the Patriarchs
Court of the Patriarchs

Court of the Patriarchs Winter Hikes

  • Shuttle Stop: #4 Court of the Patriarchs
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible: No
  • Services: No
  • Pets: 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.” There’s 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.

Three-patriarchs-waterfall-and-bridge-at-Zion-NP-Photo-Jeepers-800
Court of the Patriarchs and the Virgin River

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

Three Patriarchs reflection in the River at Zion
Court of the Patriarchs reflection in the winter

We also like to explore the trails in this area that run along the river to photograph reflections in the water. It’s also a great place to see deer!

waterfall at Emerald Pool hike in the winter
Waterfall at Emerald Pool hike in the winter

Lower Emerald Pool Winter Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #5 Zion Lodge
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Distance (roundtrip): 1.2 mi
  • Elevation Change: 70 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 1 hour
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Zion Lodge.
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Across the road from the Zion Lodge.

This Zion National Park trail is officially listed as two: Lower Emerald Pools and Upper Emerald Pools. The hike to the Lower Pools is considered easy while the trek beyond to the Upper Pools is moderate.

Follow the paved trail to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls. You might need traction devices for this trail if there’s snow or ice.

deer at Zion National Park
Deer along the Grotto Trail

Grotto Trail Winter Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #5 Zion Lodge or #6 Grotto
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance (roundtrip): 1 mi
  • Elevation Change: 35 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 30 minutes
  • Services: Bathrooms and water filling stations are available at the Zion Lodge. Bathrooms are also available at the Grotto.
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Behind the shuttle stop at the Zion Lodge. This trail can also be accessed from the Grotto if you walk down canyon and behind the historic stone building.

The trail runs along the road to connect the Zion Lodge the Grotto. It’s a terrific trail to see wildlife. We also like the trails that run along the river in this area.

Weeping Rock hike at Zion in the winter
View from Weeping Rock hike in the winter

Weeping Rock Winter Hike

  • Shuttle Stop:#7 Weeping Rock
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance (roundtrip): .4 mi
  • Elevation Change: 98 ft
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 30 minutes
  • Services: Pit toilets are available at the parking area.
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Across the bridge adjacent to the parking lot. Follow the signs to the left.

Weeping Rock is a short but steep paved trail with minor drop-offs. It takes you to a rock alcove with dripping springs that could be frozen in the winter. Or if it’s raining, water cascades down the rock over the alcove which is a cool thing to see and photograph!

Big Bend Great White Throne Zion Canyon
Big Bend Great White Throne

Big Bend Winter Hike

After you’ve visited Weeping Rock, cross the road to access all the trails near the river. This is where you’ll see the Great White Throne. We’ve seen deer and wild turkeys while exploring these trails.

Riverside Walk Trail
Riverside Walk Trail

Riverside Walk Winter Hike

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

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.

In the winter, this trail becomes tricky because the trail isn’t flat. The areas of the trail covered with ice are difficult to navigate when there’s an inline or decline.

The Narrows hike at Zion in the winter
The Narrows hike in the winter

The Narrows Winter Hike

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

If you plan to hike the Narrows in the winter, you’ll need to rent the right winter gear from Zion Adventures in Springdale.

Most people don’t go the entire 9.4 miles, but only hike in a couple of miles before turning around. This is a one-of-a-kind hike that you should definitely do, at least part of if you have a chance.

Be sure you know The Narrows guidelines before you hike this trail, especially during the winter!

View from Angel's Landing
View from Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing Winter Hike

  • Shuttle Stop: #6 The Grotto
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
  • 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.
  • Pets: No
  • Trailhead Location: Across the road from the shuttle stop and then across the footbridge.

You will need an Angel’s Landing Permit to hike this trail any time of year. We recommend you talk to the Rangers before heading out so you know the trail conditions and if you’ll need tractions devices.

Angel’s Landing is one of the best Zion National Park hikes. 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.

Walter's Wiggles on the Angel's Landing trail
Walter’s Wiggles on the Angel’s Landing trail

At the top of the switchbacks, you’ll end up at Scout’s Landing, which can be 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.

Angel's Landing trail with snow
Angel’s Landing trail with snow

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. The views are still pretty stellar from Scout’s Landing.

Canyon Overlook at sunrise at Zion
Canyon Overlook at sunrise

Canyon Overlook Winter Hike

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

On the east side of the tunnel, right before the tunnel entrance, is the trailhead and parking for Canyon Overlook. Parking is extremely limited, so plan to hike this trail early morning or be prepared to circle around many times to grab a spot.

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) at the beginning as you make 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.

At the end, you have a fabulous view overlooking Echo Canyon, where you just (most likely) drove up from. You can also see the window holes from the tunnel off to the left. It’s one of the best photo spots for sunrise at Zion National Park!

You might need traction devices for this trail in the winter. We recommend you ask the rangers for the latest trail conditions before making the hike.

Zion NP red landscape with snow
Hiking along Highway 9 in the winter

Highway 9 Winter Hikes

There are un-marked hiking trails that let you explore the area along the Highway 9 Zion National Park scenic drive. Simply stop at a pullout and see what trails you find.

Most of the trails are easy, but you’ll find areas where you can access the river bed and explore mini slot canyon type terrain. And there are places you can scramble over the slickrock to hoodoos.

You’ll need to watch for snow and ice along the trails in the this area. It’s a great place to see wildlife!

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Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.

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