What’s It Like Visiting Zion National Park in May?

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Zion National Park in May?

It’s important to know the weather, what to pack, where to stay and all the things to see, do and photograph in May at Zion.

Use our Zion National Park travel guide and the information below to plan your trip!

Zion National Park in May
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National Park Packing List

When you are visiting US National Parks it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.

→ CHECK OUT: National park packing lists for spring, summer, fall and winter!

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

outdoor gear we use

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING

Does the Shuttle Run in May?

Yes, in May the shuttle runs every day and that’s the only way to access Zion Canyon. Check the shuttle schedule for more information.

It’s important to know that Zion is the most-visited Utah National Park. The peak seasons are late spring, summer and fall so expect crowds in May!

Weather at Zion in May

May weather at Zion National Park is practically perfect with highs near 86 and lows near 54 degrees Fahrenheit. You may want a fleece jacket for the cooler mornings and evenings to layer for all-day activities. 

Always check the weather forecast so you have the right clothing for the conditions. It’s nice to have rain gear in case a storm rolls through so you can still enjoy the outdoor activities at the park.

Can you drive through Zion National Park in May?

Zion National Park is open all year long, and it’s open every day in May. In May you can’t drive your car through Zion Canyon. The shuttles run a full schedule every day.

You can drive your can on the other three Zion National Park scenic drives: Highway 9, Kolob Terrace Road and Kolob Canyon.

What Services Are Available in May?

Zion National Park is open all year long. It is open every day of the year. Check the website for the most current facilities hours:

  • Zion Canyon Visitor Center
  • Park Store
  • Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk
  • Zion Human History Museum
  • Zion Nature Center
  • Kolob Canyons Visitor Center

In May the Zion campgrounds are usually full every night so plan ahead.

THINGS TO DO AT ZION NATIONAL PARK IN MAY

Scenic Drives

There are four Zion National Park scenic drives in the park. In May, the only way to access Zion Canyon is using the shuttle. The other three roads are open to vehicles, and we highly recommend them all!

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and 1.1 mile long tunnel is a must-drive! The scenery along Highway 9 from Zion Canyon to the east entrance is breathtaking! Use the pullouts to stop and take photos, take a hike, and look for big horn sheep!

We recommend the lesser-known Kolob Terrace road west of Springdale near the town of Virgin. You’ll see a different side of Zion there, AND you can escape the crowds!

About 40 miles north of Zion Canyon is the Kolob Canyons area of the park. It’s a bit out of the way, but provides a whole different view of Zion.

Hiking

Many of the Zion National Park hikes are open in May, with exception of The Narrows and The Subway. These trails may be closed to hiking between mid-March and late May, depending on spring runoff and water levels.

May is a great time to explore the many other hikes at Zion when it’s good weather and it’s not too hot. It’s nice to be able to hike all day long, something you can’t (or shouldn’t) do during the heat of the summer!

Trails may close due to falling rocks, rockslides and other unsafe conditions so check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions before setting out on any hike in May.

Angels Landing Permit Information

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.

Three patriarchs waterfall and bridge at Zion NP

Wildlife

The wildlife you’re most likely to see in Zion are deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Deer like to hang out in the area near the Pa’rus trail and the campground as well as Zion Canyon.

When driving Highway 9 keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep!

Photography

When photographing sunrise and sunset at Zion, you won’t get a picture with the sun rising or setting. Instead you get the reflected light on the rock structures.

For sunrise 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.

Highway 9 has many places to photograph the Zion landscape. Stop at pullouts as you drive along

take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

What is the Best Time to Visit Zion?

From our experience, Zion in May is awesome for outdoor hiking, but the water trails like The Narrows and The Subway my be closed due to high water levels.

Since May is a popular time to visit, it will be crowded. We recommend hitting the shuttle and trails first thing in the morning!

Check out our list of the best times to visit Zion National Park with information about visiting in each season and month of the year.

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

Zion national park guides and maps

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:

National Parks packing list for spring summer fall and winter

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