Travel Guide for Visiting Zion National Park in October

Use this guide to know all about visiting Zion National Park in October. Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan the most amazing fall vacation!

October is a busy time of year so it will be crowded, but we’ve got some tips for you to help avoid all the people!

Zion National Park in October

Check out all the information below about visiting Zion in October: weather, what to pack, where to stay and all the things to see, do and photograph.

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WHAT TO PACK FOR ZION NATIONAL PARK

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Visiting Zion National Park in October

The best reason to visit Zion National Park in October: the weather! Moderate temperatures in October are perfect for enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, biking, canyoneering and landscape photography.

If you want to take advantage of moderate temperatures all day long, then October is a great time to visit Zion!

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!

Weather at Zion in October

The days and nights will start getting cooler this time of year at Zion. In October the highs are usually around 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! 

Zion national park in the fall

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.

Can You Drive Through Zion National Park in October?

Vehicles are not allowed in Zion Canyon during the month of October. You’ll need to use the shuttle system.

You can drive the other three Zion National Park scenic drives in the park: Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway, Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyons. There are several roadside stops along the routes for you to explore Zion on foot or by bike. Exploring the other areas of Zion is a great way to escape the crowds you’ll find in Zion Canyon.

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 things to do at Zion National Park 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

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.

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

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel 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.

We enjoy driving the Kolob Terrace road that’s accessed west of Springdale in the town of Virgin. You’ll see a different side of Zion there.

And if you don’t mind driving 40 miles north of Zion Canyon, you can drive the Kolob Canyons section of the park.

Hiking in October at Zion

Zion National Park hikes in October 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.

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

Be sure to check whether Zion hiking permits are required for any of the trails you want to explore. Angels Landing pilot program: 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.

Zion Narrows hiking trail in the fall

Canyoneering in September 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!

Big-Bend-Great-White-Throne-Zion-Canyon-Photo-Jeepers

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!

take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

Wildlife in October at Zion

October is a great time to see wildlife in the park like deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Deer can be found along the Pa’rus trail and in Zion Canyon in the morning and evening.

We’ve always had good success seeing the bighorn sheep when driving Highway 9, so keep your eyes open as you take that scenic drive!

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 Horseback Riding in October

Horseback riding tours at Zion aren’t well known and are often overlooked as a Zion National Park activity. Riding a horse through Zion gives you a different view of the iconic red canyons and cliffs of this park.

For those who have their own stock animals, read more about the guidelines for riding your own horse into the park.

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:

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