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 Utah.
Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your fall vacation: things to do, what to pack, where to stay and more!
It’s important to know the weather, services, activities, and other tips for planning a Zion vacation in the fall.
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What to Pack for Zion National Park
DOWNLOAD: Zion National Park packing list for summer and winter!
- Hiking shoes – waterproof hiking shoes for winter
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket – insulated coat in the winter
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing – base layers in the winter
- Lip balm with UV protection – summer and winter
- Sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- Hand lotion
- UV sunglasses – summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
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 sure to hit the shuttle, trails and Highway 9 scenic drive first thing in the morning!
Does the Shuttle Run in the Fall?
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 weather at Zion in the fall is amazing! The temperatures are moderate which is why it’s a popular time of year for people to visit.
- Zion National Park in September – highs in the 70s and the lows in the high 40s degrees F
- Zion National Park in October – highs in the 60s and lows in the high 30s degrees F
- Zion National Park in November – highs in the mid-50s and lows in the 30s degrees F
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.
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. 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.
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 for see the Zion National Park fall foliage and colors.
Zion & Bryce Canyon AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
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!
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 Scenic Drives in the Fall
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.
Fall Hiking in Zion National Park
There are so many great Zion National Park hikes, and fall is the best time 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.
- What to Bring on a Day Hike
- Hiking Gear and Tips for Kids
- Photography Gear for Hiking
- Best Camera for Hiking
Angels Landing pilot program: 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.
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 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
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
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.
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!
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 Horseback Riding in the Fall
TIP: the most overlooked Zion National Park activity is riding a horse through the park. A Zion horseback riding tour 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.
- Backpacking at Zion
- Birding at Zion
- Camping in Zion National Park
- Climbing at Zion
- Ranger-Led Activities at Zion
- River Trips at Zion
BUY ZION GUIDES & MAPS AT AMAZON
Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Travel Guide
- Zion National Park Packing List
- Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
- Things to do at Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Tours
Where to Stay Near Zion National Park
You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.
- Places to Stay at Zion National Park
- Camping in Zion National Park
- RV parks near Zion National Park
- 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.