Visiting Zion National Park in the Fall

You’ll love visiting Zion National Park in the fall! September, October and November are perfect times to enjoy outdoor activities at this incredible National Park in southwestern Utah.

Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your fall vacation: things to do, what to pack, where to stay and more!

Fall is the perfect time to visit Zion National Park. With its spectacular red rock formations and breathtaking canyons, it’s a sight to behold as the autumn leaves change color and transform the landscape into something truly magical.

Zion National Park in the fall

It’s important to know the weather, services, activities, and other tips for planning a Zion vacation in the fall.

The weather is just right for outdoor activities, but it’s a busy time of year so pack your patience!

Use our Zion National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in April! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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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 the Fall

Be prepared for crowds at Zion in the fall 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 Shuttle Run in the Fall?

Yes. The Zion National Park shuttle runs every day in the fall 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 in the Fall?

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 Services Are Available in the Fall?

Zion National Park is open all year long, every day of the year. Check the website for the most current Zion National Park 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 the fall so plan ahead!

Is Fall A Good Time to Visit Zion?

One of the best times to visit Zion National Park is in the fall. The temperatures are mild which makes for the perfect hiking weather as well as other fun activities while visiting the park. 

It’s also a great time to see fall colors at Zion National Park.

Fall Weather at Zion National Park

The Zion National Park weather in the fall is amazing! The temperatures are moderate which is why it’s a popular time of year for people to visit.

You’ll still experience monsoons in early fall at Zion. Be aware of potential flash floods at Zion: sudden increase in the depth and speed of water in rivers, streams, or washes due to heavy rain from thunderstorms. These flood waters carry large debris like tree trunks and boulders.

Dressing in layers is recommended during the fall at Zion – we always carry our fleece jacket and have a winter hat and gloves for the late fall mornings and evenings.

It’s also important to stay hydrated all year long so carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack.

Fall colors at Zion National Park
Fall colors at Zion National Park

Zion National Park Fall Colors

You’ll see leaves turning colors in all areas of the park: Zion Canyon, Highway 9, Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyon.

Best Time for Fall Colors in Zion National Park

September: 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. 

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

Late September 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. 

October: 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. Late October the colors really start to appear!

November: Late October through mid-November will be the very best time to see the Zion National Park fall foliage and colors in the main part of the park.  

Things to Do at Zion National Park in the Fall

Check out all the fun Zion National Park Fall activities:

Zion Ranger Led Programs in the Fall

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. 

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

Zion Canyon in the fall
Zion Canyon in the fall

Zion Scenic Drives in the Fall

Take time to enjoy all FOUR Zion National Park scenic drives:

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

Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway – this road 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.

Kolob Terrace – enjoy time away from the crowds here! This road is accessed west of Springdale in the town of Virgin. You’ll see a different side of Zion there.

Kolob Canyons – this five-mile drive is spectacular. It’s accessed 40 miles north of Zion Canyon.

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.


Fall Hiking in Zion National Park

There are so many great Zion National Park fall hikes to explore this park. 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!

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.

While hiking in Zion, especially in the late fall, 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.

Angels Landing permithikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit any time of year! The National Park Service (NPS) will issue permits using online lotteries at

Zion Narrows hiking trail in the fall
Zion Narrows in the fall

Zion Canyoneering in the Fall

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 canyoneering permits at Zion and be sure to read all regulations for doing this activity inside the park boundaries.

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.


Zion Photography in the Fall

Sunrise and sunset are the best times for Zion National Park photography 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, but you’ll capture amazing pictures of the reflected glow onto the red rocks.

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

Stargazing at Zion in the Fall

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.

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 at these times during the fall months:

  • September – 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
  • October – 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm
  • November – not visible

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 at Zion in the Fall

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 the Fall

You’ll find a variety of Zion National Park tours from half-day to full-day excursions for all interests: guided hikes, canyoneering, photography, and off-road experiences!

Zion Camping in the Fall

Camping in Zion National Park in the fall 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.

During the fall months 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.

You might also enjoy the fun options for glamping Near Zion National Park in luxury tents, covered wagons, and tipis!


Zion national park guides and maps

Things To Do Near Zion in the Fall

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

Zion National Park Itinerary

Click the graphic below to get your FREE Travel Bundle that includes 3-day printable itineraries to help you plan you fall vacation to Zion!

Zion Travel Bundle optin

Zion National Park in the fall

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