Vacation Guide for 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.

Use our Zion National Park travel guide and the tips below to plan your fall. We share fun things to do, what to pack, where to stay and more for a fall trip to Zion!

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National Park Packing List

When you are visiting US National Parks it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.

→ CHECK OUT: National park packing lists for spring, summer, fall and winter!

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Fall Weather at Zion National Park

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. 

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

Check out all the fun 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 Zion National Park scenic drives.

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.


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.


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.


Sunrise and sunset are the best times to photograph Zion 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 photography spots at Zion 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
take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

Best Fall Hikes in Zion

There are so many great Zion National Park hikes, and fall is the best time to explore this park. Check out the Zion hikes without the shuttle if you want to get away from the crowds!

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.

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

Visitors can get a permit by entering seasonal lotteries or a different lottery the day before their planned hikes. It will cost $6 to enter any of the lotteries and successful permit holders will pay a $3 per person fee. These funds will cover costs to manage the lotteries and for additional NPS rangers who will assist visitors and check permits on the trail. Learn when and how to enter the lotteries at

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.

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

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay at to Zion National Park and where to stay near Bryce Canyon and 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.
  • 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. 

Resources for camping near Zion:

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