Zion National Park Fall Activities

Located in southwestern Utah, the Zion National Park landscape is filled with beautiful sandstone canyons and mountains. There are a variety of Zion National Park fall activities like hiking, biking, scenic drives, and camping.

Use our Zion National Park travel guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of fun fall activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!

Zion National Park Fall Activities

Visiting Zion National Park in the fall is one of the best times to enjoy moderate weather. It’s also one of the busiest times of year so expect crowds. We recommend getting an early start to the day!

Be sure to use a Zion National Park Packing List so you have the right clothing and gear to enjoy all the outdoor activities for your fall vacation! Grab your free printable packing list by clicking the image below!

get the free Zion National Park packing lists
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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!

Zion National Park in the Fall

Zion is the most-visited Utah National Park to explore and photograph the colorful cliffs and canyons there. Fall is a busy time of year so expect crowds.

During the fall months of September, October, and November, Zion Canyon is only accessible by using the Zion National Park Shuttle.

If you’re not staying in the town of Springdale, be sure to arrive early to find parking at Zion National Park!

The weather at Zion in the fall is amazing! The temperatures are moderate which is why it’s a popular time of year for people to visit.

Zion is a desert environment so it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun! With the temperatures changing so much throughout the day, it is especially important to dress in layers. 

In late fall we recommend a fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves if you’ll be outside in the early morning and evening.

Zion National Park Fall Activities

Check out this list of fun Zion National Park Activities you can do in the fall!

Fall Ranger-led Programs at Zion

Free ranger-led programs are offered at Zion National Park during the fall months. Programs are designed to help visitors understand and appreciate the park more, and cover a range of topics like geology, botany, wildlife, and human history.

Ranger-led Activities at Zion include programs for adults, youth and families with children. There are a variety of ranger-led activities like 2-mile hikes, 30 minute talks at the Zion Human History Museum, evening lectures, ride with a ranger shuttle tours, 45-minute youth programs at the nature center, and nature center drop-in programs.

Zion National Park scenic drive Highway 9
Highway 9 scenic drive

Fall Scenic Drives at Zion

There are four Zion National Park scenic drives to see and photograph the landscape in the park. The views you’ll see along each scenic drive is breathtaking!

Zion Canyon: This part of Zion is the hub of the park. During the fall you’ll need to use the shuttle to access Zion Canyon.

Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway: This section of road through Zion National Park never closes, and you can drive your personal vehicle. There’s no shuttle bus along this route.

Along the scenic drive from Springdale to the East Entrance, you’ll encounter two tunnels, switchbacks, slickrock and fantastic views. There are numerous spots where you can pull off the road to take pictures or enjoy a short hike.

Kolob Terrace Scenic Drive: This road starts near the town of Virgin. Because it’s a bit away from Zion Canyon and Mt. Carmel, it’s not as crowded. Kolob Terrace is a high plateau area towering above an open desert with amazing views of the colorful rocks famous at Zion.

The road is open all year, but late fall be prepared for unpredictable weather in this area. Access to the upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point, could close due to a snow storm.

Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive: This section of the park is located 40 miles north of Zion Canyon at Exit 40 on I-15, about 17 miles south of Cedar City. The Kolob Canyon road is a five-mile drive that accesses the northwest corner of the park.

hoodoo city at Zion
Hoodoo city at Zion

Fall Hiking at Zion

You’ll find the Zion National Park fall hikes are some of the best, and most unique, in the world like Angel’s Landing and The Narrows.

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

There are a variety of easy Zion National Park hikes for all age levels and abilities!

If you’ll be visiting during the busy season, check out all the Zion hikes without the shuttle to avoid the crowds.

We recommend exploring the “slot canyon” hikes along Highway 9 to escape the crowds! We find a pullout to park, then start making our way down the riverbed and follow it along!

TAKE NOTE: Angels Landing permits are required year-round. The National Park Service (NPS) will issue permits using online lotteries at Recreation.gov.

biking near Zion National Park
Biking near Zion National Park

Fall Biking at Zion

A great way to explore the park and avoid the shuttle is bicycling at Zion. Riding a bike is a great alternative to riding the shuttle to access Zion Canyon. 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. Due to the narrow park roads, there is a limit of 6 bicycles or less for every cycling group.
  • Wear your helmet.

Pay attention to the unexpected turns, frequent wildlife, and blind corners along the Pa’rus Trail. Cyclists must warn pedestrians before passing. All traffic rules and regulations must also be obeyed and observed. 

Zion makes it easy for cyclist with 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 by yourself.

Zion Narrows hike
Zion Narrows hike

Fall Canyoneering at Zion

There are world-famous Zion canyoneering trails that involve route finding, rappelling, hiking, and swimming. 

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.

You can also find plenty of unique canyons to explore in Zion to accommodate all levels of canyoneering skill. If you’re new to this outdoor activity, try a canyoneering tour!

Waterfall at Zion
Waterfall at Zion during a rain storm

Fall Photography at Zion

The Zion landscape is filled with amazing things to photograph: towering rock walls, the majestic Virgin River, intricate canyons, and views from above after a hike.

During the late fall rainy season, watch for pop-up waterfalls to photograph!

If you’re looking for the best photo spots for sunrise at Zion National Park we recommend behind the Zion Museum and at the end of the Canyon Overlook Trail. For sunset, we hike along the Pa’rus Trail to capture the reflected glow of light on the Watchman in the Virgin River.

Here are a few more of our favorite Zion National Park photo spots:

  • Three Patriarchs (shuttle stop): early morning
  • Riverside Walk (shuttle stop): early morning
  • Highway 9 landscape and bighorn sheep: early morning and evening
  • Checkerboard Mesa: early morning and evening
  • Kolob Terrace: sunset

Check out our Zion National Park Photography Guide with a list of best photo spots and tips for taking pictures at this stunning park!

night photography at Zion National Park
Night photography at Zion National Park

Fall Stargazing at Zion

Remember to take time to enjoy the park after dark! The vast and dark sky in Zion National Park is something you have to see to believe!

If you’re there during a new moon (no moon in the sky) you might experience your first encounter with the Milky Way!

In the fall, the Milky Way is visible at these times:

  • September – 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
  • October – 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm
  • November – not visible

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!

It’s important at night to never stop or stand in the roadway. Always use pullouts and parking lots. This is a good safety tip in daylight or at night!

Fall Tours at Zion National Park

Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Zion National Park tours available in the fall to fit your needs: guided hikes, canyoneering, photography, and off-road experiences!

RV driving through Zion
RV driving through Zion

Fall Camping at Zion

There are three campgrounds for camping in Zion National Park:

  • South Campground – Zion Canyon
  • Watchman Campground – Zion Canyon
  • Lava Point Campground – 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.

If you can’t find a place to camp in the park, there are many RV parks near Zion National Park.

You’ll also find fun options for glamping near Zion National Park in luxury tents, tipis, covered wagons, and rustic cabins!


Zion national park guides and maps

Fall Activities Near Zion National Park

There are even more activities and things to do near Zion National Park:

Zion National Park Itineraries

Use these done-for-you Zion Itineraries to plan your trip based on the number of days you can visit the park!

Zion Travel Bundle optin

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