Zion National Park in the Fall

You’ll love visiting Zion National Park in the fall!

September, October and November are perfect times to go to this incredible National Park.

In the fall the temperatures are milder to enjoy the best Zion hikes, and there are fewer people visiting the park compared to summer.

It’s awesome to take photos of the colorful rocks and autumn leaves during this time of year.

Read more to see why we recommend you plan your Zion vacation in the fall.

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What to Pack for a Trip to Zion in the Fall

What to Pack

Here’s the list of gear we recommend for a National Park trip in the fall:

→ CHECK OUT our National Park Packing Lists.

1. US National Parks Pass: You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.

→ BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation. 

2.  Fall Hiking Shoes: → Check out our FAVORITE hiking shoes/boots!

3. Fall Hiking Socks:  → Check out the BEST SOCKS EVER!

4. Fall Clothing for Hiking (Layers)

Wicking and quick-drying base layers

Fleece jacket (Columbia is the BEST!)

Rain jacket

5. Daypack

6. WATER:  → We carry water bottles or hydration backpacks

7. FOOD:  → Check out our favorite healthy snacks

8. Flashlight:  → Check out the headlamps we like

9. National Park maps

10. Female urination device

11. Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)

12. Hand sanitizer

13. First aid kit

14. Bags to pack out trash

15. Camera Gear – DOWNLOAD our Camera Gear Checklist

16. Photography gear for hiking

Fall Weather at Zion National Park

Fall is a great time to visit Zion. The temperatures are mild which makes for the perfect hiking weather as well as other fun activities while visiting the park. 

While visiting in September, you can expect temperatures during the day to be in the high 70s and the lows to fall into the high 40s at night. 

When October hits, temperatures will drop to the 60s during the day and the high 30s at night. 

November will be a bit cooler as the daytime highs will be in the mid-50s and the nighttime temperatures will be in the low 30s. 

Dressing in layers will be key to staying warm and keeping cool in the fall at Zion.

Zion National Park Fall Colors

If you are going to Zion to see the fall colors, then you will want to go starting in mid-September. Usually, you will only see a little bit of color at the higher elevations in the early part of September. 

As mid-September hits, about 30 to 50 percent of the trees at the higher elevation have changed making for a gorgeous sight. 

As late September comes around you will usually be able to see fall colors all over Zion National Park. This is a truly incredible view to see and to take pictures of. 

By mid-October the higher elevations will be passed peak season, but you will still see beautiful Zion National Park fall colors at lower elevations. 

While visiting in late October through November will be the very best time for see the Zion National Park fall foliage and colors.  

Things to Do at Zion National Park in the Fall

Ranger Led Programs

Be sure to take advantage of the ranger-led programs that run throughout the year. In the fall they will run until mid-October. 

These programs are great to help teach geology, botany, and wildlife as well as human history. 

Ranger-led activities at Zion include things like 2-mile hikes, lectures, ranger shuttle tours, youth programs at the nature center, and more. Be sure to check to see what activities are available before visiting.

Scenic Drives

Take time to enjoy all FOUR scenic drives in Zion.

The Zion Canyon road is only accessible by shuttle or bicycle in the fall. The shuttles are free. You can rent bikes in Springdale.

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 the Kolob Canyons section has a five-mile drive that’s also spectacular. It’s accessed 40 miles north of Zion Canyon.

Stargaze

Did you know that Zion has some of the clearest skies in the fall?

The Museum patio has a wide view of the sky so it’s a great place for stargazing. There is ample parking with restrooms. This location is the park’s official night sky viewing area.

Another good stargazing site is the Kolob Canyons viewpoint at the end of the Kolob Canyons scenic drive. Look east toward the cliffs for the darkest skies.

Canyoneering

Zion is known for it’s canyoneering adventures. It’s an outdoor activity that combines route finding, rappelling, problem solving, swimming, and hiking.

The two most famous canyoneering trails are The Narrows and The Subway. You will need permits and be sure to read all regulations for canyoneering in the park.

If you want a once of a lifetime experience, then go on a guided canyoneering trip at Zion.

The fall weather is just right for exploring the canyons at this park.

Best Fall Hikes in Zion

There are so many great hikes in Zion, and fall is the best time to explore this park.

While hiking in Zion, be sure to dress in layers. Due to the elevation you can expect big changes in temperature. The mornings and evenings are cool then it warms up during the day.

Canyon Overlook Trail

If you are visiting Zion National Park in the fall, you will want to do the Canyon Overlook trail.

This trail provides the beauty of Zion without going on a really hard hike. 

This hike is just 1 mile long and takes about an hour to complete.

Canyon Overlook is a terrific spot to watch and take photos at sunrise.

Riverside Walk

The Riverside Walk trail is a little over 2 miles round trip and the whole thing is paved, which makes it great for little ones, even strollers.

This is an easy hiking trail and it is incredibly gorgeous once the leaves begin to change colors. 

You will see plants and trees in beautiful shades of yellow and red during the fall months in this area of Zion National Park.

Angel’s Landing Trail

Angels Landing is the most popular hike in all of Zion. This hike is almost 5.5 miles with a climb of over 1500 feet.

As you make the climb you will be able to look down at some incredible colors. 

This hike is steep and takes about three hours to complete not including stopping for all those photographs you will want to take while hiking. 

There are also narrow cliff ridges on this hike as well that you want to be careful of. 

If you plan to hike this trail in the late fall, dress accordingly because it will be very cool at higher elevations.

Kayenta Trail

The Kayenta trail is an unpaved 2-mile hike that takes about 1 ½ hours to complete.

It is a moderately hard hike with some drop-offs. While hiking you will definitely want to take photos of the Zion Canyon as you go.

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