Half Day/ Auto-Tour Itinerary

Visitors spending half a day should focus on the Zion Canyon area, where the shuttles and most iconic park settings are:

  • Start at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, located at the entrance to Zion Canyon, South end of the park

    • Watch films, ask questions, obtain brochures, etc.

  • Take a shuttle bus (available every 5-15 minutes, depending on the day) up the canyon.

  • The busses stop at these locations, visitors can get off and look/explore/rest at any of these stops, or take these suggested easy trails:

    • Court of the Patriarchs

    • Emerald Pools/ Zion Lodge

      • Consider this 1.2 mile hike to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

    • The Grotto

    • Weeping Rock

      • Hike the short but steep Weeping Rock Trail - .4 mile, leads to the rock wall covered in dripping springs and hanging garden.

    • Big Bend

    • Temple of Sinawava

      • Get out and walk the Riverside Walk Trail - 2.2 miles round trip, follows the Virgin River in a narrow canyon, beautiful scenery.

  • Take the shuttle back down the canyon and end the tour by visiting the Zion Human History Museum, if time permits.

Full Day Itinerary

Visitors spending a whole day in the park can add several more hikes to the time spent in Zion Canyon:

  • Start at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, located at the entrance to Zion Canyon, South end of the park

    • Watch films, ask questions, obtain brochures, etc.

  • Take a shuttle bus (available every 5-15 minutes, depending on the day) up the canyon.

  • The busses stop at these locations, visitors can get off and look/explore/rest at any of these stops, or take these suggested easy trails:

    • Court of the Patriarchs

    • Emerald Pools/ Zion Lodge

      • Consider this 1.2 mile hike to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

    • The Grotto

      • If able, hike the strenuous and iconic hike, Angels Landing (5.8 miles), which follows a steep ridgback to the top of a cliff - not for young children or those with a fear of heights.

    • Weeping Rock

      • Hike the short but steep Weeping Rock Trail - .4 mile, leads to the rock wall covered in dripping springs and hanging garden.

    • Big Bend

    • Temple of Sinawava

      • Get out and walk the Riverside Walk Trail - 2.2 miles round trip, follows the Virgin River in a narrow canyon, beautiful scenery.

      • If you have time and energy left, wade into the river at the end of the Riverside Walk, along the Narrows river trail - as much as you want or have time for.

  • Take the shuttle back down the canyon and end the tour by visiting the Zion Human History Museum, if time permits.

Two Day Itinerary

Day One:

  • Park Near the Visitor Center close to a shuttle.

  • Take a shuttle bus (available every 5-15 minutes, depending on the day) up the canyon.

  • Exit the bus at these locations:

    • The Grotto

      • If able, hike the strenuous and iconic hike, Angels Landing (5.8 miles, 4 hours), which follows a steep ridgback to the top of a cliff - not for young children or those with a fear of heights.

    • Temple of Sinawava

      • Get out and walk the Riverside Walk Trail - 2.2 miles round trip, follows the Virgin River in a narrow canyon, beautiful scenery.

      • If you have time and energy left, wade into the river at the end of the Riverside Walk, along the Narrows river trail - as much as you want or have time for.

  • Take the shuttle back down the canyon and end the tour by visiting the Zion Human History Museum, if time permits.

Day Two

  • Take the shuttle and exit at these locations and hikes, if able:

    • Emerald Pools/ Zion Lodge

      • Consider this 1.2 mile hike to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

    • Weeping Rock

      • Hike the short but steep Weeping Rock Trail - .4 mile, leads to the rock wall covered in dripping springs and hanging garden.

  • Head back down the canyon, and drive your car east of the Canyon Junction, on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy.

    • Park at the Canyon Overlook Trail, just past the 1-mile tunnel.

      • Canyon Overlook Trail - 1 mile round trip, viewpoint of Pine Creek Canyon and lower Zion Canyon.

  • Just east past the Canyon Overlook Trail, drive over to Checkerboard Mesa.

    • Visitors can park next to the mesas, and hike, climb, and explore climbing on the sides of these mesas - white sandstone mounds covered in checkers-shaped slabs of stone.

  • On the return to the entrance of Zion Canyon, stop by the Zion Human History Museum, if time permits.

Backcountry Itinerary

Permits are necessary for all overnight stays in the Zion Wilderness, though day hikes do not require permits, except for the Narrows day hike.

Permits can be obtained until 5:00 p.m. the day before your trip, at the visitor center, however availability is unreliable and it is best to reserve online 3 months in advance.

Popular backcountry experiences are:

  • The Subway - this 9-9.5 round trip is a strenuous, technical hike off Kolob Terrace Road up North Creek involves climbing up or down (depending on if you start up or down the canyon) steep waterfalls, climbing over boulders, and wading/swimming in the cold river.

  • Kanara Creek - this 3.5 mile round trip is a moderately difficult hike up ladders and ropes and through a river. It is located just east of the town of Kanaraville, just south of Cedar City and outside the Kolob Canyons area of the park.