Zion Hikes Without the Shuttle

If you’re looking for Zion hikes without the shuttle, check out this list!

There are amazing Zion hikes to be found in all these parts of the park: Zion Canyon, Kolob Terrace, Kolob Canyon and along Highway 9.

Use this Zion National Park travel guide for a list of things you can do on your own schedule away from the shuttle crowds!

5 Zion NP hikes without the shuttle

It’s important to know that the most-visited part of Zion National Park is Zion Canyon. For the majority of the year, the only way to access this part of Zion is by using the shuttle system.

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ZION HIKES WITHOUT THE SHUTTLE

All Zion National Park hikes are terrific ways to explore the park! Most people focus on the popular hikes found in Zion Canyon.

But there are other areas in Zion that don’t require using the shuttle. Check out the Zion National Park scenic drives you can access year-round with your vehicle. Every route has amazing hiking trails to explore.

Here’s our list of \easy Zion National Park hikes without the shuttle!

Pa’rus Trail 

  • Hike length: 1.7 miles one way
  • Time Required: 1-2 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy 
  • Trailhead Location: Zion Visitor Center/South Campground, Zion Museum, and Canyon Junction

One of the most accessible trails in Zion Canyon is the Pa’rus Trail. It’s the only hike in Zion that allows pets and bicycles. Enjoy the scenery as you walk near the river and cross over bridges. It’s not surprising to see mule deer grazing making this trail more exciting.

Highlights: 

  • Wonderful location to see the reflected light on the “Watchman” at sunset.
  • There is not much shade on this trail.

Watchman Trail

  • Hike length: 3 miles round trip
  • Time Required: 1-2 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate 
  • Trailhead Location: Zion Visitor Center (trailhead along the road on the east bank of the Virgin River) 

The Watchman Trail is relatively short, starting in between the Visitor Center and the Campground, leading to a spectacular viewpoint 300-feet above the canyon’s floor. From there, you will enjoy a view of the entire Visitor Center from a bird’s eye perspective. 

This trail is suitable for children, but there are a few cliff edges where you’ll need to watch them.

Highlights: 

  • No view to speak of except overlooking the Visitor Center
  • Short hike that’s usually not crowded

Canyon Overlook Trail

  • Hike length: 1 mile round trip
  • Time Required: 30 minutes-hour 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Trailhead Location: Canyon Overlook Trailhead/parking lot (just to the east of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel on Route 9)

The Canyon Overlook Trail is an easy and short family hike. There is one section of the trail that can be considered “moderate” due to a few exposed spots with steep drop-offs where you’ll want to watch the kids.

Enjoy the magnificent view at the end of the trail!

Highlights:

  • Terrific location to watch the reflected light on the far canyon walls at sunrise.
  • This trail gets busy and the parking lot is small so plan to do it early!

Taylor Creek Trail

  • Hike length: 2.2 miles to the Double Arch Alcove (one-way)
  • Time Required: 3-5 hours
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: 2.1 miles up the Kolob Canyons Road in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. 

The Taylor Creek Trail is a 5-file round trip trail that is relatively easy and family friendly. Along the trail you’ll see two historical cabins: the Larson Cabin and the Fire Cabin. These historical cabins originated in the 1930s. 

At the end of the hike you’ll see the Double Arch Alcove, a cave-like formation with undercut sandstone and water seeping through colored rocks.

Highlights:

  • There are no scenic views to photograph on this trail, but the cabins and alcove make up for that.
  •  The trail is a bit overgrown, but well worth the hike!

Timber Creek Overlook Trail

  • Hike length: 1 mile round trip
  • Time Required: 20 minutes to 1 hour 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: The end of the Kolob Canyons Road (in the Kolob Section of Zion National Park)

The Timber Creek Overlook Trail is a short hike that leads to astonishing views from above the ridgeline.

The trail is sandy and has some loose rocks with a gradual ascent of 150 feet to reach the viewpoint. There you’ll see the Shuntavia Butte beyond the valley. 

Highlights:

  • Late afternoon and sunset light really make the view glow with that reflected light that’s so beautiful!
  • Nice family friendly hike.

Kolob Terrace Hikes

There are many hikes in the Kolob Terrace area of Zion that don’t require the shuttle. Here are a few popular trails in this part of Zion:

  • Northgate Peaks – short easy family hike
  • Hoodoo City – short easy hike
  • West Rim Trail – 15-mile backcountry trail
  • The Subway – strenuous semi-technical canyoneering trail
  • Hop Valley – connect to La Verkin Creek in Kolob Canyons, but you can make it a short hike into the valley then back up to the trailhead

MORE ZION HIKES

Check out our list of the BEST Zion National Park hikes that include those found in Zion Canyon that will require using the shuttle when it’s in service.

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.

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Plan Your Vacation to Zion National Park

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

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

  • 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. 

Resources for camping near Zion:

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