Visiting Zion National Park in September

Planning a vacation to Zion National Park in September? This National Park in southern Utah is filled with a stunning landscape of red rock canyons and sandstone cliffs.

Zion National Park in the fall is a busy time of year. In September the shuttle into Zion Canyon will be running and you’ll need hiking permits for some trails. Be sure you have the latest information for visiting Zion during this time.

Visiting Zion National Park in September

When planning your trip, use this Zion National Park travel guide with all the information you need to know about visiting the park in September: weather, what to pack, where to stay and all the things to see, do and photograph.

We are lucky to only live a few hours away from Zion National Park so we’ve been able to visit many times during all seasons! The tips we share for planning a September vacation to Zion are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years!

Tip number is to pack the clothing and gear you’ll need for the weather and temperatures for the time you’ll be visiting. Use our Zion National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in September! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free Zion National Park packing lists
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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 or later in the afternoon to avoid the most crowded times!

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.

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.

What Zion Permits or Reservations Are Needed in September?

We highly recommend you check the Zion NPS website for the most updated information regarding the US National Parks Reservations required for the time you’ll be visiting. You will need permits to hike one of three trails in the park: Angels Landing, the Subway, and from the Narrows top-down. We’ll detail this more later in the article about hiking at Zion.

Weather at Zion in September

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

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!!

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.

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 Zion 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 Zion National Park fall activities you can do in the month of September!

There are fun way to get the family excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

All ages will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!! We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Fall leaves at Zion National Park

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
View from the Canyon Overlook hike

Zion National Park Hikes in September

September is a nice time to enjoy the Zion National Park fall 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.

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.

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!

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
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 Highway 9 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 in September, 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!

Kolob Terrace is located west of Springdale near the town of Virgin. It’s not well known so you can get away from the crowds.

Kolob Canyons is about 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 GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

Zion in the fall near the 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!

Check out our Zion National Park Photography Guide with a list of best photo spots and tips for taking pictures at this stunning park!

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

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!

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 September from 3:30 pm to 11:30 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
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 Guided Tours in September

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 camping at Zion National Park
RV camping at Zion

Zion Camping in September

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 September 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 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.

Zion National Park Lodging in September

If you can’t find a camping spot in Zion, or if camping isn’t your thing, there is a lodge and cabins where you can stay inside. There are even more lodging options near the park:


Zion national park guides and maps

Things To Do Near Zion in September

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

Zion National Park Travel Bundle

Check out these Zion itineraries to help you plan your vacation for the number of days you’ll be in the park:

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

Zion Travel Bundle optin
Zion national park in september

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for the great info! My husband and I want to go there, but also lots of other places around there, it’s overwhelming!
    We love to hike.

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