Located in southwestern Utah, Zion is one of the most popular national parks in the United States and attracts millions of visitors each year.
Here’s what to expect when you visit Zion National Park in May: weather, what to pack, where to stay, and all the things to see, do and photograph!
Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your trip: hiking, camping, biking, and horseback riding, and scenic drives. Zion National Park truly has something for everyone!
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just want to relax and take in the beauty of nature, a visit to Zion National Park in May is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Check out these Zion itineraries to help you plan your vacation for the number of days you’ll be in the park:
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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 May
Zion National Park is open all year long, and it’s open every day in May.
Zion is the most-visited Utah National Park to explore and photograph the colorful cliffs and canyons there. May is one of the busiest times of year so expect crowds.
Here are tips and important things to know about visiting Zion in May!
Does the Shuttle Run in May?
Yes, in May the shuttle runs every day and that’s the only way to access Zion Canyon. **Be sure to check the Zion shuttle schedule for exact dates for the month of May.
There might be limited parking at Zion National Park in the town of Springdale so plan to start your day early to get a parking spot in town and a spot on the shuttle.
Can You Drive Through Zion National Park 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 car on the other three Zion National Park scenic drives: Highway 9, Kolob Terrace Road and Kolob Canyon.
Weather at Zion in May
May Zion National Park weather 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.
Is May a Good Time to Visit Zion?
A trip to Zion in May is awesome as long as you’re prepared for crowds. The weather and temperatures are perfect this time of year!
Check out our guide for finding the best time to visit Zion National Park. Each season and month of the year will have different activities and services available.
Zion & Bryce Canyon AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Things to Do at Zion National Park in May
Here’s a list of Zion National Park Activities to explore this amazing park during the month of May!
Zion Scenic Drives in May
There are four Zion National Park scenic drives in the park.
Zion Canyon: 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!
Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway: This scenic road includes driving through the 1.1 mile long tunnel! 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!
Kolob Terrace: We recommend this lesser-known Zion scenic drive found west of Springdale near the town of Virgin. You’ll see a different side of Zion there, AND you can escape the crowds!
Kolob Canyons: This scenic drive is 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. It’s a bit out of the way, but provides a whole different view of Zion.
We recommend the Zion & Bryce Canyon GyPSy Guide App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.
Hiking at Zion in May
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.
Here’s a list of Zion hikes without the shuttle if you don’t want to fight the crowds!
And we often get asked for a list of easy Zion National Park hikes that range from 0.4 miles to 3.5 miles with no more than 100 feet elevation gain. There are even some that are wheelchair accessible!
Zion Canyoneering in May
The Subway and The Narrows are two famous trails for canyoneering at Zion. Canyoneering trails involve route finding, rappelling, hiking, and swimming!
Some of these technical hikes require a permit, and all overnight trips in these areas also require a permit. If you want to give it a try, check out these Zion canyoneering tours!
BUT in May high water levels could close the canyoneering trails so be sure to check with the Visitor Center to get the most updated information!
Zion Biking in May
One of the FUN ways to access Zion Canyon is by bike, especially in May when the weather is perfect!
Biking at Zion is a fun way to get around the park, especially during high visitation months like May. 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.
Zion Photography in May
The best times to photograph the park are sunrise and sunset. The colors are vibrant and the light creates a spectacular glow on the red rocks that cannot be missed.
The best photo spots for sunrise at Zion National Park are behind the museum and the view at the end of the Canyon Overlook trail. Here you’ll capture the sunrise glow on the Zion canyon mountains.
We like to photograph the reflected glow of sunset you see on the Watchman along the Pa’rus Trail.
Here are some more 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!
Stargazing at Zion in May
Definitely take one evening to stay after the sun sets and LOOK UP! In May you can see the milky way from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am!
Zion is a popular destination for astrophotographers so you won’t be alone in the park at night. Don’t forget to use your headlamp with a red light so you don’t interfere with the other photographers using a bright white light.
Guided Zion Tours in May
Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Zion National Park tours available in May to fit your needs: guided hikes, canyoneering, photography, and off-road experiences!
- Zion National Park: Private Guided Hike & Picnic
- East Zion Half-Day Canyoneering Tour
- VIP Guided Small-Group Tour with Photography in Zion National Park
- Sunset Horseback Ride at East Zion
- Zion Jeep (Morning) Premium Tour
- UTV Morning Tour at Zion National Park
Zion Camping in May
Camping in Zion National Park offers amazing landscape views you can’t find anywhere else! There are three campgrounds at Zion National Park: the Watchman Campground, the South Campground, and the Lava Point Campground.
The two campsites in Zion Canyon (Watchman and South):
- Drive-up sites and allow a maximum of two vehicles.
- Only one RV or trailer is allowed.
- Any RV including motorhomes, cabover campers and camper vans, or any trailer including 5th wheels, pop-up campers, and cargo or boat trailers are vehicles and count toward the limit.
- Each campsite allows a maximum of six people and two tents; plan accordingly.
- Hammocks are allowed but are limited to the footprint of the campsite.
The Lava Point Campground is the right location if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy the Zion Wilderness area in the Kolob Terrace area.
It’s usually open May through September, depending on weather. Its high elevation is 7890 feet above sea level!
If you can’t find a camp site in the park, there are a variety of RV parks near Zion National Park.
You might also enjoy the fun options for glamping Near Zion National Park in luxury tents, covered wagons, and tipis!
Things To Do Near Zion in May
You’ll find a ton of other places to visit in Utah that are near Zion National Park to add to your May vacation:
- Things to Do Near Zion National Park
- Grafton Ghost Town
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Kanab Photography
- Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
- Bryce Canyon Activities
Packing List for Zion in May
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 May vacation! Grab your free printable packing list by clicking the image below!