21 Zion hikes, routes and trails you can’t pass up
Zion National Park has tons of hiking opportunities ranging from short family-friendly hikes to strenuous multi-day backpacking trips and everything in between.
First timers may want to check out the short and easy hikes below.
If you’re an adventure seeker, don’t miss two of Zion’s most famous hikes: Angel’s Landing and the Zion Narrows.
Still not the trail for you? No prob.
Here are 21 Zion adventures worth a visit:
Short-and-Easy Zion Hikes:
Emerald Pools Trail
A Zion classic as well as a nice family-friendly collection of trails located across from the Zion Lodge that wander through three levels of pools, complete with small streams and small waterfalls. The hike up to the Upper Emerald Pool is will get your heartbeat up but the extra effort is brief and worth it.
Read our post on Zion’s Emerald Pools Trail Hike.
Also a Zion classic and family-friendly park located at the Weeping Rock Trailhead. This is a very, very short walk up to the popular seeping wall of the park. Near the trailhead, steps provide water access, which is awesome given they no longer sell water bottles in the park. BYOB (bring your own bottle).
Riverside Walk (Gateway to the Narrows)
Yet another Zion classic family-friendly experience.
Starting at the Temple of Sinawava (the last stop on the Zion shuttle), this is a pleasant two-mile (round-trip) hike along a nice level paved trail that meanders along the Virgin River heading up towards the famous Zion Narrows. Many trees, ferns, and weeping walls add to the ambience.
In many spots along the trail, there is easy access to the water. Water access on a desert hike on a hot summer day is like being thrown a lifevest when you’re drowning… except exactly the opposite.
Canyon Overlook Trail
If you have a vehicle, drive east on Route 9 to go through the famous Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel and enjoy the ride through the wonderous slickrock of the Upper East Canyon. This short trail starts at a small parking lot near the east entrance of the tunnel and leads to a fabulous view of the main canyon. Early in the day is best as the limited parking typically fills up by mid-day.
#zionnationalpark not the #mtcarmeltunnel #utah
Northgate Peaks Trail
For a more remote hike that takes you out of the popular main canyon, try the Northgate Peaks Trail in the Kolob Terrace section. At 4 miles total, this hike is a bit longer than the other hikes on this “easy” list, but the trail is mostly level and will reward you with some great views. It’s also a great excuse to drive up the Kolob Terrace Road to witness some great scenery that many people skip right over.
Zion’s More Strenuous Day Hikes:
A Zion classic. Starting at the Grotto Trailhead, this is one of the classic hikes in Zion and one of the most stunning viewpoints you will ever experience.. I will warn you that it’s not recommended for anyone with a fear of heights.
Meilleur voyage 👌🏻#zion #angelslandingtrail A photo posted by @heloforget on
Zion Narrows Day Hike
Another de facto classic hike of Zion and, you guessed it, a Zion classic. The ever so popular Narrows day hike begins where the Riverside Walk ends and involves constant hiking in the flowing water of the Virgin River. Every turn in the river gives way to amazing views of the beautifully sculpted slot canyon walls. A truly amazing and awarding workout!
Hot summer days have got me yearning for cool river water and canyons. #nofilter #latergram A photo posted by Tiffany C. (@taffyness7) on
Starting at the Weeping Rock Trailhead, the hike to Observation Point is a strenuous hike along a paved trail that zigzags its way up over 2,000 feet to reach Observation Point, a wondrous viewpoint on the rim that overlooks Angels Landing and the main canyon. Along the way, you are treated to views of the slickrock wonderland of Echo Canyon. Seems heavenly!
A bit off of the radar, the hike to Hidden Canyon is a spur trail off of the main trail to Observation Point. A few exposed sections of trail that have been chiseled out of the sandstone walls are not for the faint of heart. The trail officially ends at the mouth of Hidden Canyon, but you may hike up as far as you please, evaluating a few rock-scrambling obstacles as you go.
Middle Fork of Taylor Creek
A Zion classic and family-friendly. If you have a vehicle and can drive up I-15 to the less popular Kolob Section of the park, the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek (Taylor Creek Trail) is a good 5-mile walk up through one of the Kolob Finger Canyons to the stunning Double-Arch Alcove. After your hike, be sure to drive to the end of the Kolob Canyons Road to catch a great sunset!
Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway “Bottom-Up” Hike)
A long strenuous day hike up one of the most popular canyons in Zion, the “bottom-up” hike doesn’t require any rappels or swims, but it is a strenuous backcountry hike through beautiful cascades to the beautiful lower Subway. (A backcountry permit is required for any hike through the Subway.
#TheSubway during early season. Usually this place is full of visitors, but by visiting late winter/early spring, we had the place to ourselves for a while. #ZionNationalPark #adventure #nature #hiking #canyon #ZionNP #latergram #LeftForkNorthCreek #WaterTrekking #creek A photo posted by Jeremy C. (@jeremy14c) on
Zion’s Backpacking Routes:
West Rim Trail backpacking route
A hike from Lava Point (the highest point in the park) down to the main canyon in two days is a perfect adventure with many spectacular viewpoints down into the Great West Canyon and Zion’s main canyon. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
The Kolob Arch Zion Narrows Top-Down Route
Another perfect two-day backpacking trip that starts in the upper plateau and makes its way into the deep and beautiful Virgin River Narrows. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
La Verkin Creek Trail (from Lee Pass) backpacking route
This is a two or three day backpacking hike, depending on how much you want to explore, and is located in the less popular Kolob Section of the park. Take the La Verkin Creek Trail from Lee Pass to see the Kolob Arch, Willis Creek, and Beartrap Canyon. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number.)
it was a hardy drive. but it was worth it. A photo posted by Matt Beatty (@mooncowboy) on
The Chinle Trail/Upper Coalpits Wash backpacking route
The southern desert section of Zion is not the most exciting route and isn’t a good choice for the hot summer months. It does offers stellar scenery and a great escape from the more crowded sections of the park. (A backcountry permit is required and you can choose your campsite number.)
The Trans-Zion Trek backpacking route
A route made popular by the outfitters in Springdale, the “Trans-Zion Trek” is a multi-day backpacking hike that connects several of Zion’s trails into one long route from one corner of the park to the other. Total mileage: roughly 50 miles.
The Barracks (East Fork of the Virgin River) backpacking route
Looking for a strenuous backpacking trip? The East Fork (Upper Parunuweap Canyon) is a large and remote canyon system with amazing scenery. Good navigation and rock-scrambling skills are needed for this route and dry bags are recommended in the river. Note: The majority of this hike is in BLM land just east of the NPS boundary.
Zion’s Beginner Canyoneering Routes ~ Newbie-Friendly
Canyoneering is an activity that involves hiking and skills like rappelling, rope work, rock-climbing, route finding, and swimming in cold water. If you want to see more of the remote and secluded canyon, this route is for you. They aren’t suitable for hikers who have no technical canyoneering experience, so study up!
Subway North Pole Log Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway “Top-Down” Route)
A Zion favorite, but try saying it once out loud. I dare you. This route is also considered a technical canyoneering or climbing route. A long strenuous day hike through an extremely beautiful section of canyon, involving several short rappels and a handful of swims to some of the most famous sandstone formations in the southwest. (A backcountry permit is required for any hike through the Subway and a carspot or car shuttle may be required.)
A tributary of the more famous Zion Narrows, the hike through Orderville is a long strenuous day hike that includes two short rappels, many down climbs, and a few possible swims. (A backcountry permit is required for any technical canyoneering hike. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
Another succesful weekend in Zion’s! #ordervillecanyon #nofilter #zions #zionsnationalpark #gopro A photo posted by Seanne Shields (@cnshields) on
Located in the Upper East Canyon, this is a short-but-sweet technical canyon that involves three rappels and a mandatory swim through a dark hallway (spooky!). Wetsuits recommended. (A backcountry permit is required for any technical canyoneering hike.)
#keyholecanyon A photo posted by Greg Dixon (@telelama) on
Pine Creek (Middle Pine Creek)
One of the most popular technical canyoneering routes in Zion featuring rappels through many beautiful subterranian sections, many pools of cold water, and a 100′ free rappel out of the canyon. (A backcountry permit is required for any technical canyoneering hike. You may also require a car shuttle service to get to the trailhead.)
If you prefer someone lead the way, check out these Zion hiking experiences on TripAdvisor.