Zion National Park
Zion...it is a unique park and seems one of the faves of family members. The road into the park and through part of the park is extraordinary. Interestingly, you cannot drive through all of the park. Once you are there, it makes sense as to why they do this. It truly cuts down on the traffic within the narrow canyon road of the park. In order to go deeper into the canyon, you need to take the shuttle. The shuttle runs all day and into the evening. The morning shuttles are in high demand during summer months and you can wait on line for a LONG time. Ughhh. Once on the shuttle you can ride it to any point down the line and to the end of the canyon. You can stop at any point and pick up lots of great hikes! The Narrows is a favorite. You walk in and across the river the entire hike! It is an amazing experience, especially during the hot summer months.
HIKES & BIKES:
The Narrows. This hike is a classic we do every year. It is the last shuttle stop at the end of the line. Once you get off the shuttle you have a little bit of a hike to get to the river and starting point. It can be SUPER crowded in the summer and I believe they have started limiting the numbers of people going in. Check the with the Rangers before heading out about weather conditions, water temperatures and levels. And be aware of flash flooding during certain times of the year. You don't want to be in the canyon if there is a flash flood warning. You hike into the canyon in the river. You can go FAR or you can go whatever distance you want choose, just turning around when you are done.
You are in water MOST of the time. You can rent water shoes/boots and hiking sticks from local shops in Springdale. We have never done so, but LOTS of people do. We have always worn Chacos, Keens, or old Converse or the like. A hiking stick has definitely been helpful as you scramble through water and boulders in the water. There are parts, if you go deep into the canyon where you swim!
Pack snacks and water, maybe something dry and warm. I would suggest a wet/dry bag to stow important items in your daypack, just in case. ;)
Angels Landing. I have not done this. If you are afraid of heights, it's a NO. Bryan has and crawled for several parts. LOL! But I hear totally worth it. Check with the Ranger, there may be some changes to the trail due to natural changes.
LOTS OF HIKES! There are so many to choose from. Go through the brochure given when you enter the park. Take the suttle and do the hikes. They are so accessible via the shuttle and all offer wonderful experiences!
Finally--the KOLOB CANYON DISTRICT of ZION. This website is great. Every year we spend time in the typical Zion park. Since we have been going, 20+ years, I have always wanted to explore the Kolob Canyon District and we never have the time. But, last year, we did a hike in this district and loved it. We did the Wildcat Canyon trail. It is a cooler area and great to escape some of the heat and crowds in the summer time. We will explore some more next time. Here is a bit from the NPS website:
The Kolob Canyons district of Zion National Park is located at Exit 40 on Interstate 15, 40 miles north of Zion Canyon and 17 miles south of Cedar City. A five-mile scenic drive along the Kolob Canyons Road allows visitors to view the crimson canyons and gain access to various trails and scenic viewpoints.
Here in the northwest corner of the park, narrow parallel box canyons are cut into the western edge of the Colorado Plateau, forming majestic peaks and 2,000 foot cliff walls. Whether you come to view the panoramic landscape from the scenic drive, hike into one of the majestic canyons, or begin a multi-day adventure into the Zion Wilderness, the Kolob Canyons of Zion has something special for everyone to experience. Please be aware that the Kolob Canyons Road may be closed during winter months due to snow or ice. Pedestrians are prohibited from walking the road during snow plow operations.
BIKE! 2021, we decided to do some biking in Zion. Well, this is by far one of my favorite experiences. You can bike the main road of the park. If you look at the map, the main artery of the canyon is only open to the shuttles bringing people in and out of the canyon. But, you can BIKE the shuttle route! The only vehicles you encounter are the shuttles and a car here and there like a maintenance vehicle or ranger. It is a beautiful ride. We rented bikes in Springdale, lots of options, packed our day packs, and rode 10 miles to the end, The Narrows Trailhead. We then hiked the Narrows, biked about halfway back, stopped to have lunch, and then rode the rest of the way back. It was an AMAZING experience! Will do this again!!
PLACES TO STAY:
Many options. Hotels and camping as well as Airbnb's.
Camping. For years, we have camped. There are three campgrounds in the park. We have only stayed at South Campground, although Watchman is right down the road from it. We are not crazy about South Campground. It is a beautiful spot but very crowded and often very hot during summer months. If you can go when it is a bit cooler, the campground can be nice.
Hotels. We enjoyed the Best Western in town....super awesome. The pool is GREAT and of course the kids loved that after lots of hiking in the park.
Airbnb. You can also find an Airbnb.
The town on the south end of the park, Springdale, is super cute! Small and artsy. Lots of food choices. This is by far one of our favorite parks and partially because of Springdale. It is quaint enough but still has good food and shops. It's just right!