Zion National Park in the Summer: Everything You Need to Know

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Zion National Park in the summer?

When you planning your summer vacation, use our Zion National Park travel guide and the information below to know what to expect when you visit the park.

Zion national park summer vacation

We share what to pack, where to stay and all the fun things to see, do and photograph during the summer at Zion.

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WHAT TO PACK FOR ZION NATIONAL PARK

DOWNLOAD: Zion National Park packing list for summer and winter!

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

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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 

Summer at Zion National Park in Utah means high temperatures and low humidity which results in an intense heat. Dressing just right to beat the summer heat in Zion is a must. 

To avoid getting sunburned, be sure you are wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing that will help block the sun. We recommend wearing clothing that provide UV protection and wicking.

Water is key in the summer. Carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack and healthy snacks. Use sunscreen and lip balm with UV protection.

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:

Fantastic 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.

Views you'll see along the Zion Canyon scenic drive.

Zion National Park Hikes in the Summer

In the summer you need to plan your Zion National Park 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.

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!

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 Recreation.gov.

While hiking in Zion, remember that due to the elevation you can expect big changes in temperature. The mornings and evenings are cool then it warms up during the day.

Zion Subway canyoneering hike

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!

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!

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!

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. Then there’s Kolob Canyons, about 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. It’s a bit out of the way, but provides a whole different view of Zion.

Kolob Canyon offers a scenic drive during the summer in Zion National Park.

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
take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

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!

horses near Zion National Park

Zion Horseback Riding in the Summer

Horseback riding tours aren’t well known and are often overlooked as a Zion National Park activity. Riding a horse through Zion 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.

two women biking 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.

More Activities To Do in Zion National Park:

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

Zion national park guides and maps

Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to 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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