Travel Guide for 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 so it will be crowded, but we’ve got some tips for you to help avoid all the people!
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.
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.
What to Pack for Zion National Park
DOWNLOAD: Zion National Park packing list for summer and winter!
- Hiking shoes – waterproof hiking shoes for winter
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket – insulated coat in the winter
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing – base layers in the winter
- Lip balm with UV protection – summer and winter
- Sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- Hand lotion
- UV sunglasses – summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
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
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!
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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!
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!
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 ZION GUIDES & MAPS AT AMAZON
Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Travel Guide
- Zion National Park Packing List
- Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
- Things to do at Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Tours
Where to Stay Near Zion National Park
You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.
- Places to Stay at Zion National Park
- Camping in Zion National Park
- RV Parks near Zion National Park
- 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.