Visiting Zion National Park in October

Use this guide to know all about visiting Zion National Park in October. We’ve created a Zion National Park travel guide to help you plan the most amazing fall vacation!

October is a busy time of year which means the shuttle will be running so keep that in mind as you plan your daily itineraries. We’ve got tips to help you navigate the park to avoid the crowds and shuttle!

Zion National Park in October

Living only a few hours away, we’ve had the opportunity to visit Zion National Park many times. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years!

Here’s our list of all the things you should know before visiting Zion in October: weather, what to pack, where to stay and all the things to see, do and photograph.

Use our Zion National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in October! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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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 October

When visiting Zion National Park in the fall, be prepared for crowds since it’s considered a peak season for this most-visited Utah National Park.

Be sure to hit the shuttle, trails and Highway 9 scenic drive first thing in the morning!

Does the Zion Shuttle Run in October?

Yes. The Zion National Park shuttle is running every day in October so check the shuttle schedule for the most updated information. In the fall the shuttles start running a little less frequently and for less hours each day.

There will be limited parking at Zion National Park and the town of Springdale so plan to start your day early to get a parking spot in town and a spot on the shuttle.

We recommend you take the first shuttle into Zion Canyon to access the hiking trails there early before the crowds start.

Another tip is to plan late afternoon hikes, but be sure you time it right so you don’t miss the last shuttle leaving the canyon, or it’s a LONG walk back to your car!

Can You Drive Through Zion National Park in October?

Zion Canyon is closed to all personal vehicles in October so plan to use the Zion National Park shuttle that runs a full schedule every day.

The other three Zion National Park scenic drives are open for you to drive your own car: Highway 9, Kolob Terrace Road and Kolob Canyon.

Weather at Zion in October

The days and nights will start getting cooler this time of year. The Zion National Park weather and temperatures in October are highs 79 degrees and the lows hover around 48 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Be prepared with a fleece jacket so you can get out early to enjoy the outdoor activities at the park to beat the crowds.

We’ve also experienced major rainstorms in October, and weren’t prepared with rain gear so we were confined to driving in our car while it rained. It was fun to see the pop-up waterfalls! 

It’s important to stay hydrated and if you’re not used to the dry heat in Utah, you’ll want lip balm and lotion!!

Zion pop-up waterfall
Zion pop-up waterfall during a rain storm

What Zion Services Are Available in October?

Zion National Park is open all year long. It is open every day of the year. The shuttle system runs during the month of October, check the website for the hours of operation. Check the website for the most current Zion facilities hours:

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

Zion campgrounds are usually full every night during October. Plan ahead to find the best places to stay in Zion National Park.

Is October a Good Time to Visit Zion?

We enjoy visiting Zion in October because the weather is “just right”. Utah National Parks are busy in the fall so be prepared for crowded. We recommend you plan to hit the shuttle, trails and Highway 9 scenic drive 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.

Things to Do at Zion in October

Check out all the fun Zion National Park fall activities you can do in the month of October!

Fall Colors at Zion National Park in October

In October you should be able to see fall colors all over Zion National Park: Zion Canyon, Highway 9, Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyon.

Zion in the fall Watchman and river
Fall colors at Zion

Zion Scenic Drives in October

While visiting Zion National Park in the fall you are able to drive three of the four Zion National Park scenic drives. In October you should find fall leaves turning color to accent the amazing landscape in the park.

Zion Canyon: this road is only accessible via the shuttle. It’s an amazing 6.5 miles of the most incredible rock formations and hiking trails.

Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel: we think this is a must-drive! The tunnel is 1.1 miles long and the elevation gain is 800 feet. Driving along Highway 9 from Zion Canyon to the east entrance is breathtaking. Take advantage of the pullouts to stop and take photos, or even take a hike.

Kolob Terrace: we enjoy this scenic drive to get away from the crowds and see a different side of Zion! The road is accessed west of Springdale in the town of Virgin.

Kolob Canyons: if you don’t mind driving 40 miles north of Zion Canyon, you can drive a SHORT section of this part of the park. If you’re not already going that way, we don’t think it’s worth the drive for this short scenic road.

We REALLY like the Zion GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you!

Walters Wiggles hike to Angel’s Landing

Hiking in October at Zion

Zion National Park fall hikes are the best! It’s quite different from summer when you’re sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion. The temperatures are “just right” during the day, and pleasantly cool in the mornings and evenings.

You’ll find all types of hiking trails from easy Zion National Park hikes to strenuous canyoneering route.

Remember there are Zion hikes without the shuttle if you don’t want to battle the crowds!

We recommend you check with the Visitor Center for updated trail conditions before setting out on any hike because the Zion landscape is always changing which means trails may close due to falling rocks, rockslides and other unsafe conditions.

Also be sure to check whether Zion hiking permits are required for any of the trails you want to explore. Angels Landing permits are required year-round to hike the chains section. You can hike to Scouts Landing and back without a permit.

Zion Narrows hiking trail in the fall
Zion Narrows hike in the fall

Canyoneering in October at Zion

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 canyoneering tours!

Sunrise at Zion National Park

Zion Photography in October

If you’re a landscape photographer, check out our guide all about Zion National Park photography. The best times to photograph the park are sunrise and sunset when the light isn’t as bright as midday. You won’t actually see the sun rising or setting due to the high stone walls in the park. You’ll be photographing the reflected glow onto the red rocks.

In October, you’ll find colorful fall leaves to complement the landscape! Our favorite Zion National Park photo spots are:

  • History Museum back patio: sunrise
  • Canyon Overlook: sunrise
  • 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
  • Pa’rus Trail: sunset
  • Kolob Terrace: sunset

Our Zion National Park Photography Guide includes a list of best photo spots for sunrise, sunset and gives tips for taking pictures at this stunning park!

head light along road in Zion National Park
Night photography at Zion

Stargazing at Zion in October

If you want a unique experience, be sure to do some stargazing at Zion National Park. The sky is full of stars!

If you’re lucky to be there when there’s no moon in the sky, you might even see the Milky Way! The Milky Way is visible in October from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm!

Carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp with a red light to navigate. If you’ll be out in the park at night, don’t stop or stand in the roadway. Always use pullouts and parking lots. This is a good safety tip in daylight or at night!

Zion Pa'rus Trail in the fall

Bicycling in October at Zion

Did you know you can access Zion Canyon by bike? Bicycling at Zion is a fun way to get around the park. 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.

There are 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 Guided Tours in October

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

RV driving through Zion
RV driving through Zion

Zion Camping in October

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.

In October there are two campsites open 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 in the Kolob Terrace area is usually closed in October due to high elevation and the possibility of snow!

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!


Zion national park guides and maps

Things To Do Near Zion in October

You’ll find a ton of other places to visit in Utah that are near Zion National Park to add to your October vacation:

Zion National Park Itinerary

Click the graphic below to get your FREE Travel Bundle that includes 3-day printable itineraries.

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