What It’s Like at Zion National Park in September

Planning a vacation to Zion National Park in September? Be prepared for hot days, crowds and to use the shuttle to access Zion Canyon.

We’ve put together this Zion National Park travel guide with all the information you need to know about visiting the park in September.

Zion national park in september

Check out all the information below about visiting Zion in September: 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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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 September

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 September?

Yes. The Zion National Park shuttle is running every day in September so check the shuttle schedule for the most updated information.

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.

Weather at Zion in September

The average temperatures at Zion in September are highs in the 90s and lows in the 60s degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s important to stay hydrated so carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack. There are places to refill marked on the park map.

Monsoon season in Zion National Park usually ends mid September. When it rains, you might see pop-up waterfalls at Zion!

With rain comes the potential for flash floods! When hiking in any of Zion’s streams, washes or canyons – it’s extremely important that you plan around the weather. We recommend you check with Rangers for any threat of flash floods before you hit the trail.

Can You Drive Through Zion National Park in September?

Zion Canyon is closed to all personal vehicles in September 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.

zion-national-park-fall-leaves

What Services Are Available in September?

Zion National Park is open all year long, 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

Reservations are required for camping in Zion National Park in September so plan ahead!

Is September a Good Time to Visit Zion?

A September trip to Zion will be hot and crowded. Be sure 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 September

Check out all the fun things to do at Zion National Park in the month of September!

Fall Colors at Zion National Park in September

In early September you will only see a little bit of color at the higher elevations. By mid-September about 30 to 50 percent of the trees at the higher elevation have changed color. 

As late September comes around you will usually be able to see fall colors all over Zion National Park: Zion Canyon, Highway 9, Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyon.

two hikers enjoying the view along the Canyon Overlook trail at Zion

Zion National Park Hikes in September

September is a nice time to enjoy the Zion National Park hikes, especially in the mornings and late afternoons when it’s not so hot. 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.

You’ll find all types of hiking trails from easy Zion National Park hikes to strenuous canyoneering route. Check out the Zion hikes without the shuttle if you want to get away from the crowds!

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.

While hiking in Zion, remember that due to the elevation you can expect big changes in temperature. The mornings and evenings are cool then it warms up during the day.

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. These trails involves 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 scenic drive

Zion National Park Scenic Drives in September

Zion Canyon is only accessible by using the Zion National Park shuttle in September. The other three Zion National Park scenic drives are open to vehicles, and we highly recommend them all!

Highway 9 from Zion Canyon to the East Entrance runs through the park so you’ll need to pay the fee for this one, but it’s worth it! It will get very busy and has limited parking so we recommend getting up early to enjoy this drive. Use the pullouts to stop and take photos, take a hike, and look for big horn sheep!

We highly recommend the Kolob Terrace road west of Springdale near the town of Virgin. It’s not well known so you can get away from the crowds. Then there’s Kolob Canyons, about 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. It’s a bit out of the way, but provides a whole different view of Zion.

Zion-National-Park-Visitor-Center

Zion National Park Photography in September

If you’re a landscape photographer, check out our guide all about Zion National Park photography. Keep in mind that sunrise and sunset at Zion you’re looking for the reflected light on the rock structures, and not the sun rising or setting.

Our favorite Zion National Park photo spots for sunrise are behind the Zion Museum and at the end of the Canyon Overlook Trail. For sunset, we walk 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. The views along the Kolob Terrace Road are also amazing, especially at sunset!

take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

Stargazing at Zion in September

If you want a unique experience, be sure to do some stargazing at Zion National Park. The sky is full of stars, and if you’re lucky to be there when there’s no moon in the sky, you might even see the Milky Way!

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 September 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 September

Horseback riding tours 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.

More Activities To Do in Zion National Park:

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

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Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

If you’re not staying in Zion, you definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to the park. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay close 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.
  • VRBO 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. 

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