Visiting Zion National Park With Kids

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Zion National Park with kids. Since we live so close, we have a ton of tips to share! 

Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of family-friendly activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!

Zion National Park with kids

Located in southwestern Utah, Zion National Park features an array of breathtaking landscapes, including towering sandstone cliffs and deep canyons carved by rivers over time. It’s one of the most popular national parks in the United States.

Kids will find a variety of fun things to do like hiking, biking, stargazing, and more! So pack up your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure with kids at Zion National Park!

Here are some done-for-you Zion itineraries to plan your family vacation based on the time you have to spend at the park:

Zion Travel Bundle optin
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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!

Tips For Visiting Zion National Park With Kids

Zion National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is the most visited Utah National Park so be prepared for crowds in the spring, summer, fall, and winter between Christmas and New Year’s. During these times, 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!

Zion is a desert environment so it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun, even in the winter!

Most of the year you’ll enjoy fun outdoor Zion National Park activities like scenic drives, hiking, biking, and photography. During the winter, the activities may be a bit more limited due to cold or snowy conditions!

Zion Seasons and Weather

The best Time to Visit Zion National Park is during the most temperate seasons in the spring (April through May) and fall (mid-September through October). The spring and fall daytime highs average 65º to 86º F and lows average 40º to 50º F.

Do your research to know what the Zion National Park weather will be at various times of year so you can decide which season and month is best for you to plan your vacation to this stunning park!

Things To Do At Zion National Park With Kids

There are fun way to get the kids excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Check out this list of fun things to do at Zion with kids:

Zion Ranger Programs With Kids

Free ranger-led programs are offered at Zion National Park between mid-April and mid-October. 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.

Zion Passport Stamps with Kids

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!! We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Zion Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program at Zion National Park is a fun kid activity! There are activities to complete in order to earn the Junior Ranger Badge and signed certificate. Grab the free Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center,

Zion National Park in the winter Highway 9
Highway 9 scenic drive in the winter

Zion Scenic Drives With Kids

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 Highway 9 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 if you’re visiting Zion National Park in the winter, be prepared for unpredictable weather in this area. Access to the upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point, closes in the winter.

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.

Pa’rus Trail in the Fall

Zion Hikes With Kids

There are a variety of easy Zion National Park hikes that are perfect for kids like Pa’rus Trail, Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, and Riverside Walk.

You’ll also find some of the best, and most unique, moderate hikes in the world at Zion. Older kids will enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences like sloshing through the Virgin River in the Narrows or braving exposed cliffs on Angel’s Landing (Angels Landing permits are required year-round.).

If you’ll be visiting during the busy season, check out all the Zion hikes without the shuttle to avoid the crowds. Canyon Overlook and Hoodoo City are two kids will enjoy!

To avoid the crowds, we love winter hiking in Zion National Park. Yes, it’s cold and trails could be snow-covered or icy, but it’s such a unique experience to see Zion with snow!

An important tip for hiking with kids is to make sure you select a hike that fits the kids’ abilities. Before you set out on any hiking trail, make sure you have the right hiking gear for kids.

Biking near Zion National Park

Zion Biking With Kids

Riding a bike at Zion is a great way to explore the park and avoid the shuttle. 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.

Zion National Park Tours With Kids

Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of family-friendly Zion National Park tours available to fit your needs: guided hikes, horseback riding, and off-road experiences!

Milky way at Zion National Park
Milky way at Zion

Zion Stargazing With Kids

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!

If you wait for a nice, clear evening, you can see stars from almost anywhere in the park. Be sure to maximize your experience by allowing your eyes time to adjust (usually takes about 30 minutes), avoiding the moon, bringing a star chart, and using a headlamp with red light to reduce harm to your night vision.

Check the park’s website for updated information on stargazing at Zion!


Zion national park guides and maps

Things To Do Near Zion With Kids

Packing List for Zion National Park

Use our Zion National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free Zion National Park packing lists

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