Zion National Park is located in the southwestern Utah surrounded by beautiful sandstone canyons and mountains. There are a variety of Zion National Park summer activities from hiking and camping to rock climbing and sightseeing.
Use our Zion National Park travel guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of fun summer activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just want to relax and take in the beauty of nature, a visit to Zion National Park in the summer is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Use these done-for-you Zion Itineraries to plan your trip based on the number of days you can visit 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!
Zion National Park in the Summer
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.
In the summer, Zion Canyon is only accessible by using the Zion National Park Shuttle.
If you’re not staying in Springdale, be sure to arrive early to find parking at Zion National Park!
Visiting Zion in the summer means HOT temperatures, sometimes exceeding 100 degrees F! Monsoon season in Zion National Park usually arrives at the end of summer, between late July and mid September.
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.
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!
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.”
Zion National Park Summer Activities
Check out this list of fun Zion National Park Activities you can do in the summer:
Summer Ranger-led Programs at Zion
Free ranger-led programs are offered at Zion National Park during the summer months. Programs are designed to help visitors understand and appreciate the park more, and cover a range of topics like geology, botany, wildlife, and human history.
Ranger-led Activities at Zion include programs for adult, youth and families with children. There are a variety of ranger-led activities like 2-mile hikes, 30 minute talks at the Zion Human History Museum, evening lectures, ride with a ranger shuttle tours, 45-minute youth programs at the nature center, and nature center drop-in programs.
Summer Scenic Drives at Zion
There are four Zion National Park scenic drives to see and photograph the landscape in the park. The views you’ll see along each scenic drive is breathtaking!
Zion Canyon: When you’re planning your Zion National Park vacation, you’ll find that the Zion Canyon is the hub of the park. But most of the year, you’ll need to use the shuttle to access Zion Canyon.
Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway: This section of road through Zion National Park never closes, and you can drive your personal vehicle. There’s no shuttle bus along this route.
Along the scenic drive from Springdale to the East Entrance, you’ll encounter two tunnels, switchbacks, slickrock and fantastic views. There are numerous spots where you can pull off the road to take pictures or enjoy a short hike.
Kolob Terrace Scenic Drive: This road starts near the town of Virgin. Because it’s a bit away from Zion Canyon and Mt. Carmel, it’s not as crowded. Kolob Terrace is a high plateau area towering above an open desert with amazing views of the colorful rocks famous at Zion.
The road is open all year, but early spring be prepared for unpredictable weather in this area. Access to the upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point, could close due to a snow storm.
Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive: This section of the park is located 40 miles north of Zion Canyon at Exit 40 on I-15, about 17 miles south of Cedar City. The Kolob Canyon road is a five-mile drive that accesses the northwest corner of the park.
Summer Hiking at Zion
You’ll find the Zion National Park summer hikes are some of the best, and most unique, in the world like Angel’s Landing and The Narrows.
Check current trail conditions at Zion for any closures that may be in effect. Zion National Park trails can close due to storm damage, high water levels, falling rocks, or any other unsafe condition.
There are a variety of easy Zion National Park hikes for all age levels and abilities!
If you’ll be visiting during the busy season, check out all the Zion hikes without the shuttle to avoid the crowds.
We find the “slot canyon” hikes along Highway 9 a great way to escape the summer heat. We find a pullout to park, then start making our way down the riverbed and follow it along!
Summer Biking at Zion
A great way to explore the park and avoid the shuttle is bicycling at Zion. Riding a bike is a great alternative to riding the shuttle to access Zion Canyon. 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.
Pay attention to the unexpected turns, frequent wildlife, and blind corners along the Pa’rus Trail. Cyclists must warn pedestrians before passing. All traffic rules and regulations must also be obeyed and observed.
Zion makes it easy for cyclist with 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 Canyoneering at Zion
There are world-famous Zion canyoneering trails that involve route finding, rappelling, hiking, and swimming.
The two famous trails that require technical canyoneering skill are The Subway and The Narrows from the top-down. Both hikes require a permit, and all overnight trips in these areas also require a permit.
Check with the Rangers for the most current trail conditions, especially early summer when the late spring runoff could close the hikes due to high water levels.
You can also find plenty of unique canyons to explore in Zion to accommodate all levels of canyoneering skill. If you’re new to this outdoor activity, try a canyoneering tour!
Summer Photography at Zion
The Zion landscape is filled with amazing things to photograph: towering rock walls, the majestic Virgin River, intricate canyons, and views from above after a hike.
During the summer monsoons, watch for pop-up waterfalls to photograph!
There are many Zion National Park photo spots where you’ll catch the reflected light on the canyon walls:
- Towers of the Virgin at sunrise on the Museum patio in the back
- Canyon Overlook trail at sunrise
- Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway
- The Three Patriarchs
- Riverwalk along the Virgin River
- Views from Angel’s Landing and Observation Point
- Pa’rus Trail at sunset (great time for wildlife as well)
- The Watchman with the Virgin River near sunset
- Kolob Terrace
- Kolob Canyons
Summer Stargazing at Zion
Remember to take time to enjoy the park after dark! The vast and dark sky in Zion National Park is something you have to see to believe!
If you’re there during a new moon (no moon in the sky) you might experience your first encounter with the Milky Way!
It’s important at night to never stop or stand in the roadway. Always use pullouts and parking lots. This is a good safety tip in daylight or at night!
Taking night photos at Zion National Park of the stars, milky way, and light trails is a fun way to enjoy the cooler temperatures in the summer!
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 in 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
Summer Camping at Zion
There are three campgrounds for camping in Zion National Park:
- South Campground – Zion Canyon
- Watchman Campground – Zion Canyon
- Lava Point Campground – Kolob Terrace Road
These campgrounds are busy from March to November so be sure to plan ahead and make reservations!
All campsites are drive-up and allow a maximum of two vehicles. Only one RV or trailer is allowed. Each campsite allows a maximum of six people and two tents. Hammocks are allowed but are limited to the footprint of the campsite.
There are flush toilets, cold running drinkable water, and trash containers, but no showers or electrical outlets. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with attached grill.
If you can’t find a place to camp in the park, there are many RV parks near Zion National Park.
You’ll also find fun options for glamping near Zion National Park in luxury tents, tipis, covered wagons, and rustic cabins!
Summer Activities Near Zion National Park
There are even more activities and 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
Zion Summer Packing List
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!