Located in southwestern Utah, Zion is one of the most popular national parks in the United States and attracts millions of visitors each year.
Here’s what to expect when you visit Zion National Park in the summer: weather, what to pack, where to stay, and all the things to see, do and photograph!
Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your trip: hiking, camping, biking, and horseback riding, and scenic drives. Zion National Park truly has something for everyone!
Visiting Zion in the summer means HOT temperatures, sometimes exceeding 100 degrees F! And late summer monsoons can cause flash floods.
It’s important to stay hydrated, use sun protection, and get the latest weather information before enjoying all the outdoor activities at Zion in the summer!
Check out these Zion itineraries to help you plan your vacation for the number of days you’ll be in the park:
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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 Summer
Zion National Park is open all year long, and it’s open every day in the summer months of June, July, and August.
Zion is the most-visited Utah National Park to explore and photograph the colorful cliffs and canyons there. Summer is a busy time of year so expect crowds.
Zion National Park Summer Weather
Summer in Zion National Park starts mid-June with temperature highs reaching 90-105 degrees. When visiting Zion National Park in the summer, staying hydrated is the key to enjoying the park.
Monsoon season in Zion National Park usually arrives at the end of summer, between late July and 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.
Does the Zion Shuttle Run in the Summer?
Yes. The Zion National Park shuttle is running every day in the summer 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 the Summer?
Zion Canyon is closed to all personal vehicles in the summer 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 Summer at Zion?
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 summer so plan ahead!
Is Summer a Good Time to Visit Zion?
A summer 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. We don’t enjoy Zion in the summer, and instead prefer the other times of year to plan our vacations:
Summer Clothing for Zion National Park
Zion National Park in the summer will be hot and dry!
- UV Clothing: Loose-fitting, light-colored, UV protective wicking clothing is recommended for summer hiking.
- Sunhat: Sun protection is a must!
- Darn Tough hiking socks: Do not wear cotton socks. Darn Tough Socks are comfortable, breathe well, and prevent blisters!
- Sturdy hiking shoes: Hiking shoes or boots should be sturdy with good tread and traction.
Summer Gear for Zion National Park
Here’s the summer gear we recommend for exploring Zion:
- Water: Carry and drink at least two liters of water. Use refillable water bottles or hydration packs. We carry Propel powder packets to add to our water to help replace electrolytes.
- Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin! Due to the dry heat in Utah you’ll also want lip balm and lotion!
- First aid kit: No matter whether your hike is long or short, always pack a hiking first aid kit. Make sure your first aid kit has the essentials like plasters, bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, etc.
- Headlamps: If you’ll be hiking in the morning or late afternoon, carry a headlamp so you’re prepared in case you need to hike in the dark.
- Snacks: Pack salty and easy to digest snack to replace electrolytes.
Things to Do in Zion National Park in the Summer
There are so many things to do at Zion National Park in the summer. Again, we recommend you plan outdoor activities in the cooler mornings and evenings.
Zion National Park Hikes in the Summer
In the summer you need to plan your Zion National Park summer hikes 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.
Summer monsoon storms can bring flash floods so always check the current weather conditions and plan accordingly!!
Canyoneering in the Summer 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 Zion canyoneering tours!
BUT in early summer, high water levels could close the canyoneering trails so be sure to check with the Visitor Center to get the most updated information!
Zion Scenic Drives in the Summer
Zion Canyon is only accessible by using the Zion National Park shuttle during the summer months. The other three Zion National Park scenic drives are open to vehicles, and we highly recommend them all!
Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway: 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: We highly recommend the Kolob Terrace road west of Springdale near the town of Virgin. It’s not well known so you can get away from the crowds.
Kolob Canyons: This 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 & Bryce Canyon GyPSy Guide App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.
Zion Photography in the Summer
If you’re a landscape photographer, check out our guide all about Zion National Park photography. Keep in mind that 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 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 Summer
If you want a unique experience, be sure to do some stargazing at Zion National Park. The sky is full of stars, and if you’re lucky to be there when there’s no moon in the sky, you might even see the Milky Way!
Enjoying the cooler evenings for stargazing is one of the best Zion National Park activities in the summer!
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!
Summer Tours at Zion National Park
Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Zion National Park tours available during the summer to fit your needs: guided hikes, canyoneering, photography, and off-road experiences!
- Zion National Park: Private Guided Hike & Picnic
- East Zion Half-Day Canyoneering Tour
- VIP Guided Small-Group Tour with Photography in Zion National Park
- Sunset Horseback Ride at East Zion
- Zion Jeep (Morning) Premium Tour
- UTV Morning Tour at Zion National Park
Bicycling in the Summer 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.
Summer Camping at Zion
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.
The two campsites 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!
Things To Do Near Zion in the Summer
You’ll find a ton of other places to visit in Utah that are near Zion National Park to add to your summer vacation:
- Things to Do Near Zion National Park
- Grafton Ghost Town
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Kanab Photography
- Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
- Bryce Canyon Activities
Summer Packing List for Zion
Be sure to use a Zion National Park Packing List so you have the right clothing and gear to enjoy all the outdoor activities for your summer vacation! Grab your free printable packing list by clicking the image below!