The Top 5 Most Beautiful Zion National Park Hikes
Zion National Park has so much to offer that it can be tough to decide how to divide your time. Here are my five favorite Zion National Park Hikes, which can be accomplished in 2 days at the park.
1. Angel’s Landing
One of my all-time favorite hikes anywhere, Angel’s Landing offers a spectacular hiking experience in exchange for some hard work. You’ll traverse narrow ledges with steep drop-offs on either side, ascend 1500 ft in a short distance, all while fully exposed to the sun (except for one short section). Trust me, it’s well worth the effort for both the views and the sense of adventure and accomplishment you’ll have afterwards!
2. Hidden Canyon
A perfect follow-up to Angel’s Landing, Hidden Canyon offers more narrow ledges with steep drop-offs, and that’s just the first part of the hike! After hiking along steep drop-offs and crossing ponds formed in the middle of rocks, you’ll begin the REAL Hidden Canyon experience.
Once you pass the pools, the path will narrow and you’ll have to climb over several boulders to continue. For about as long as you want to go, this narrow slot canyon continues. Feel like Indiana Jones as you balance on logs to cross rivers and search to find the best path at every road block. After about a mile in the “hidden” portion of the hike, you’ll reach a small arch to commemorate your success on making it this far.
As a bonus to this hike you can take a short and easy detour to Weeping Rock for great views through a steady stream of water droplets pouring down the rock face. It’s just a quick 10 minute detour and well worth your time while you’re in the area.
3. The Narrows
Rivaling Angel’s Landing for the most famous of the Zion National Park Hikes, The Narrows can take you an entire day if you’re motivated. If you’re going to do this hike, be prepared to get wet as some sections require waist-deep water immersion or even swimming! Luckily, the Zion Visitor Center has fantastic waterproof shoes to rent. You may want to buy some Neoprene Socks to keep your feet from getting cold in the chilly river waters.
From the end of the River Walk, just hop in the river and start heading north. It’s about 3.3 miles to the most famous landmark of this hike, The Subway, and it can take you as far as 16 miles for the full Narrows round trip!
If you do The Narrows, be sure to leave plenty of time for your return since the “bottom-up” hike requires you to double back and finish where you started. Also keep in mind when planning that progress will be slow as you slog through the river. You’ll definitely feel accomplished (and wet!) after you’ve done this hike.
4. Upper And Lower Emerald Pools
To get to this trail you can either exit the shuttle at Zion Lodge or take the Kayenta Trail from The Grotto exit to the Emerald Pools trail head. If you have time, check out both the upper and lower Emerald Pools trails as they’re both very unique.
The lower loop will take you underneath waterfalls and through beautiful scenery, with small detours to the actual pools themselves. The upper pools are a bit more strenuous to reach, but you’re rewarded with a beautiful remote pool surrounded by sheer cliffs in every direction.
5. The Pa’rus Trail
This easy, casual stroll doesn’t usually make the top lists, but it’s the perfect way to wind down after a long day of challenging hikes. It consists of a fully paved trail follows from the Canyon Junction to the South Campground (or vice-versa). Nobody will get winded on this hike, but it offers a great experience as you bask in the mountains surrounding the trail. It’s a particularly great sunset hike offering great light and easy going as you make your way back to the Zion Visitor Center to wind down for the night.
Bonus Hike: Observation Point
I didn’t include this one on my initial list because I haven’t personally done it myself, so I can’t vouch for it. However, if you’re not completely exhausted from all of these other incredible hikes, Observation Point is a tough climb that rewards you with incredible views of the valley. Like Hidden Canyon, it branches off from the Weeping Rock trail for a strenuous 8 mile round trip and 2,100 foot elevation gain!
In the end, you can’t go wrong with any of the Zion National Park Hikes, but if you are limited in time and feeling ambitious, these should be at the top of your Zion to-do list.