Best Things to Do in Zion National Park: 12 Zion National Park Attractions

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Zion National Park
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Are you planning a trip to Zion National Park? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Zion National Park, Utah. These sights and attractions will leave you with memories for a lifetime!

Situated in the heart of Utah’s rugged wilderness, Zion National Park is a haven for adventurers and nature lovers. With its towering red cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and emerald pools, Zion is a place where the earth’s raw beauty unfolds in every direction.

From the avid hiker ready to conquer the iconic Angels Landing to the photographer seeking the perfect golden hour at Canyon Overlook, or a family looking to explore the gentle trails of Riverside Walk, Zion has something to offer. From the breathtaking Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to the serene beauty of Kolob Canyons, this national treasure is a must-visit destination.

But what are the best things to do in Zion National Park? How can you make the most of your visit, whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended exploration? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the top 12 activities and attractions that make Zion a bucket-list-worthy destination. We’ll also share insider tips, seasonal highlights, and essential information to ensure a memorable experience.

Get ready to put on your hiking boots, pack your camera, and explore the wonders of Zion National Park. Here’s everything you need to know about the best things to do in Zion National Park.

The top places to visit in Zion National Park right now
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Best Things to Do in Zion National Park: 12 Zion Attractions

Are you ready to discover all the coolest things to do in Zion National Park? As mentioned previously, there’s a plethora of incredible activities in Zion National Park for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading to find out all the best places in Zion National Park.

Are you looking to connect with nature and enjoy Zion’s best hiking trails and rock climbing? Or would you prefer to simply marvel at the endless scenic views? Whatever you’re planning, Zion National Park can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best things to do in Zion National Park that you should know about.

1. Hike Angels Landing

If you’re looking for the coolest activities in Zion, hiking Angels Landing should be at the top of your list. This iconic trail is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are unparalleled. As you ascend the narrow ridge, with sheer drops on either side, you’ll feel a thrilling sense of adventure.

The 5.4-mile round-trip hike takes you to one of the most stunning viewpoints in the park. From the summit, you’ll have a 360-degree view of Zion’s majestic red cliffs, emerald valleys, and winding rivers. It’s a sight that will leave you speechless.

For those up to the challenge, Angels Landing offers a hiking experience like no other. It’s a trail that demands respect and preparation. So be sure to wear proper hiking boots, carry enough water, and start early to avoid crowds.

If you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a thrilling adventure, Angels Landing is a must-do in Zion National Park.

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It’s one of those unique places that capture the essence of the park’s wild beauty. It also offers a memory that will last a lifetime.

Hiking Angels Landing is one of the best things to do in Zion National Park.
Hiking Angels Landing in Zion offers unparalleled rewards, despite its challenging and thrilling nature.

2. Explore The Narrows

One of the most unique and unforgettable things to do in Zion National Park is exploring The Narrows. This hike takes you into the depths of Zion Canyon. This is where you’ll wade through the Virgin River, surrounded by towering sandstone walls that reach up to 1,000 feet high.

The Narrows is a hike like no other. You’ll be mesmerized by the play of light and shadow on the canyon walls, the sound of the river echoing through the narrow passages, and the feeling of cool water against your legs as you navigate the riverbed.

You can choose to hike The Narrows as a short day hike or a more challenging overnight adventure. Either way, you’ll need to come prepared with sturdy water shoes, a walking stick, and a sense of adventure.

The Narrows offers a chance to connect with nature profoundly and intimately. It’s a journey into the heart of Zion. This is where you’ll discover hidden waterfalls, lush hanging gardens, and the timeless beauty of the canyon’s intricate rock formations.

Don’t miss this extraordinary experience. It’s one of the best places to go in Zion National Park and a highlight that will stay with you long after you’ve left the park.

Exploring The Narrows in Zion National Park: wading through Virgin River amid towering sandstone walls.
Exploring The Narrows in Zion National Park: wading through Virgin River amid towering sandstone walls.

3. Take a Scenic Drive on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

Imagine cruising through a landscape so breathtaking that every turn reveals a new wonder. That’s what awaits you on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, one of the coolest Zion things to do. This winding road takes you through the heart of the park. This offers jaw-dropping views of Zion’s towering cliffs, lush valleys, and sparkling rivers.

The drive is accessible by private vehicle during the off-season, but during peak times, you’ll need to hop on the park’s free shuttle. The shuttle stops at various trailheads and viewpoints, allowing you to explore the park at your own pace.

Don’t forget to stop at the Court of the Patriarchs, where you’ll be greeted by three massive sandstone cliffs named after biblical figures. Another must-see is the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater that serves as the gateway to The Narrows.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a unique experience where you’ll discover new vistas, hidden gems, and the undeniable beauty of Zion’s unique landscape.

So, if you’re wondering where to go in Zion National Park, start with this scenic drive. It’s a journey that will ignite your sense of wonder and leave you longing for more.

Experience the wonders of Zion's landscape on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, offering jaw-dropping views of cliffs, valleys, and rivers.
Experience the wonders of Zion’s landscape on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, offering jaw-dropping views of cliffs, valleys, and rivers.

4. Discover Kolob Canyons

Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyons is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. If you’re searching for unique places in Zion National Park, this lesser-known area offers a tranquil escape from the more crowded parts of the park.

Kolob Canyons is home to some of Zion’s most stunning landscapes. This place has deep red canyons, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views that will take your breath away. The 5-mile scenic drive provides easy access to various trailheads and overlooks. Each offers a different perspective of the canyons’ grandeur.

One of the most popular hikes in this area is the Taylor Creek Trail, leading to the Double Arch Alcove. Along the way, you’ll wander through lush creek beds, pass historic homesteads, and marvel at the towering canyon walls.

For those looking to capture the perfect photograph, the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint provides an unobstructed view of the entire canyon system. It’s a spot that showcases the raw beauty of Zion with one of the best views in Utah.

Kolob Canyons invites you to explore, connect, and discover the untamed beauty of Zion. It’s a destination that offers something different and something special. As such, if you’re seeking the coolest things to do in Zion, make sure to add Kolob Canyons to your itinerary.

Explore the hidden gem of Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park for a tranquil escape from the crowds.
Explore the hidden gem of Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park for a tranquil escape from the crowds.

5. Visit the Zion Human History Museum

For those intrigued by the rich cultural heritage of the area, a visit to the Zion Human History Museum is a must. It’s one of the best places in Zion to visit. It offers a deeper understanding of the land and its people.

The museum showcases the human history of Zion National Park, highlighting the Native American cultures, pioneer settlements, and the early exploration and development of the park.

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Through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and films, you’ll gain insights into the traditions, struggles, and triumphs of those who have called Zion home.

Don’t miss the opportunity to join a ranger-led program or take a stroll along the museum’s Pa’rus Trail, where you’ll find interpretive signs detailing the park’s natural and cultural history. It’s a chance to connect with Zion on a more profound level, beyond its stunning landscapes.

So, if you’re looking for cool destinations in Zion that offer more than just scenic views, make sure to include the Zion Human History Museum in your plans. It’s an experience that will enrich your visit and leave you with a deeper appreciation for this incredible national park.

Exploring Zion Human History Museum is one of the best things to do in Zion National Park.
Explore Zion Human History Museum for rich cultural insights.

6. Explore the Riverside Walk

A gentle stroll along the Riverside Walk offers a delightful and accessible way to experience the beauty of Zion National Park. If you’re wondering where to visit in Zion National Park, this trail provides a serene escape suitable for all ages and abilities.

Starting at the Temple of Sinawava, the paved trail meanders alongside the Virgin River, leading you through lush vegetation, hanging gardens, and towering canyon walls. The sound of the river, the rustle of leaves, and the occasional sighting of wildlife create a peaceful ambiance that invites you to slow down and savor the moment.

The Riverside Walk is a 2.2-mile round-trip journey that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. It’s a perfect opportunity for families, photographers, and those looking to experience Zion’s beauty without the strenuous effort of a challenging hike.

Along the way, you’ll find several spots to sit and enjoy the view, dip your feet in the river, or even enjoy a picnic. It’s one of the best Zion places to visit that captures the essence of the park’s natural charm.

If you’re seeking a relaxing and picturesque experience, don’t miss the Riverside Walk. The trail offers a taste of Zion’s magic and leaves you with a sense of tranquility and wonder.


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Enjoy the beauty of Zion National Park with a gentle stroll along Riverside Walk, a serene and accessible trail for all.

7. Go Canyoneering in Pine Creek Gorge

Adventure awaits in Pine Creek Gorge, one of the most exciting places to go in Zion National Park for canyoneering enthusiasts. With its narrow slot canyons, hidden pools, and technical descents, Pine Creek offers an exhilarating experience for those seeking a thrill.

You’ll navigate through tight passages, rappel down sheer cliffs, and swim through crystal-clear pools. Every step of the way, the beauty of Zion’s rugged landscape surrounds you, challenging you, and inspiring you.

Are you new to canyoneering? Guided tours are available, led by experienced guides who will ensure your safety and enjoyment. They’ll teach you the ropes, literally, and guide you through the twists and turns of this incredible canyon.

Pine Creek Gorge is a true adventure into the wild heart of Zion. It’s a place where you can push your limits, connect with nature, and discover one of the coolest things to do in Zion.

Get ready to grab your gear and dive into the adventure of a lifetime. Pine Creek Gorge is calling, and it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Find exhilarating canyoneering adventures in Pine Creek Gorge, a thrilling destination in Zion National Park.
Find exhilarating canyoneering adventures in Pine Creek Gorge, a thrilling destination in Zion National Park.

8. Enjoy Wildlife Watching

Zion National Park is a sanctuary for a diverse array of wildlife. This makes it a prime destination for nature enthusiasts. From bighorn sheep gracefully navigating steep cliffs to mule deer grazing in meadows, the opportunities for wildlife watching are abundant.

Grab your binoculars and set out on a journey to discover the park’s inhabitants. Early mornings and late afternoons are often the best times to spot animals, as they venture out to feed and explore.

One of the best places in Zion National Park for wildlife watching is the Watchman Trail, where you might catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep or even a golden eagle soaring above. The Virgin River is also a hotspot for birdwatching, home to species like the Peregrine Falcon and the Vermilion Flycatcher.

Wildlife watching in Zion provides a chance to observe, learn, and appreciate the beauty and complexity of life in the wild.

For those wondering what to do in Zion National Park, don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the world of wildlife. It’s an experience that will enrich your visit and leave you with a profound sense of respect for nature.

Zion National Park's diverse wildlife sanctuary is a prime destination for nature enthusiasts.
Zion National Park’s diverse wildlife sanctuary is a prime destination for nature enthusiasts.

9. Visit Checkerboard Mesa

Checkerboard Mesa is a geological marvel and undoubtedly one of the most unique destinations in Zion that captures the imagination of visitors. Named for its pattern of crisscrossing lines, this massive sandstone hill resembles a checkerboard, showcasing nature’s artistry at its finest.

Located near the East Entrance of the park, Checkerboard Mesa is easily accessible and offers a stunning view from the roadside. You can admire its beauty from the comfort of your car or take a short hike to get a closer look.

The horizontal and vertical lines on the mesa are the result of weathering and erosion, a testament to the power of nature and time.

For photographers, Checkerboard Mesa is a must-visit spot in Zion, offering endless opportunities to capture the intricate patterns and play of light on the sandstone. It’s one of the coolest places in Zion National Park that provides a unique perspective and a chance to see the park’s geological diversity.

For travelers on the lookout for something different and intriguing, make sure to add Checkerboard Mesa to your list of things to do in Zion. This natural masterpiece should not be missed on your next visit!

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion is a captivating geological marvel with crisscrossing lines, showcasing nature's artistry at its finest.
Checkerboard Mesa in Zion is a captivating geological marvel with crisscrossing lines, showcasing nature’s artistry at its finest.

10. Go Rock Climbing

Are you an adrenaline junkie with a passion for heights? Rock climbing in Zion National Park might be the perfect adventure for you. Towering sandstone cliffs and challenging routes make Zion a climber’s paradise, offering experiences for all skill levels.

From beginner-friendly climbs to expert-level multi-pitch routes, Zion’s unique geology provides a variety of climbing experiences. Famous climbs like Moonlight Buttress and Spaceshot attract climbers from around the world, while guided climbing tours offer expert instruction for those new to the sport.

Climbing in Zion goes beyond conquering the cliffs. It’s a way to connect with the landscape in a profound and personal manner. As you scale the magnificent walls, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, a connection with nature, and a thrill that’s hard to match.

Looking for the coolest activities in Zion? Add rock climbing to your itinerary. Zion’s cliffs are calling, promising an adventure that will elevate your spirit and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Zion offers diverse climbing experiences, from beginner to expert, including famous routes like Moonlight Buttress.
Zion offers diverse climbing experiences, from beginner to expert, including famous routes like Moonlight Buttress.

11. Take a Horseback Riding Tour

Saddle up and explore Zion National Park from a whole new perspective. Horseback riding tours offer a unique way to experience the park’s stunning landscapes. This provides a connection to the land that’s both intimate and exhilarating.

Guided by experienced wranglers, you’ll venture along scenic trails, passing through meadows, crossing streams, and winding through forested paths. Along the way, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Zion’s iconic landmarks, such as the Three Patriarchs and the Beehives.

Horseback riding tours are available for riders of all ages and abilities. This makes it a fantastic family-friendly activity. It’s one of the coolest Zion National Park activities. It’s where you can create lasting memories and share the joy of exploration with loved ones.

The gentle rhythm of the horse’s gait, the fresh mountain air, and the beauty of Zion’s wilderness combine to create an unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to slow down, immerse yourself in nature, and see Zion through the eyes of the early pioneers.

So, if you’re searching for unique things to do in Zion National Park, consider a horseback riding tour. It’s an adventure that captures the essence of Zion’s wild beauty. It also offers a memorable way to explore this incredible national park.

Consider a horseback riding tour for a unique and adventurous way to explore Zion National Park's wild beauty.
Consider a horseback riding tour for a unique and adventurous way to explore Zion National Park’s wild beauty.

12. Stargaze at Canyon Overlook

When the sun sets over Zion National Park, a whole new world of wonder comes to life. The park’s clear skies and minimal light pollution make it one of the best places to go in Utah for stargazing.

Canyon Overlook is a prime spot to set up your telescope or simply lie on a blanket and gaze up at the night sky. As the stars begin to twinkle, you’ll be mesmerized by the vastness of the universe and the beauty of celestial bodies.

From constellations to meteor showers, the night sky over Zion offers endless opportunities for discovery and amazement. It’s a chance to connect with the cosmos, reflect on our place in the universe, and experience the tranquility of the night.

Guided stargazing tours are also available, led by knowledgeable guides who can point out planets, stars, and other celestial wonders. It’s an educational and inspiring experience that adds a magical touch to your Zion adventure.

Hands down, stargazing at Canyon Overlook is one of the most extraordinary attractions in the state. Leaving you with a sense of wonder, it’s a sight I recommend everyone in Zion National Park to enjoy.

At Canyon Overlook, stargaze and be mesmerized by the vastness and beauty of the night sky.
At Canyon Overlook, stargaze and be mesmerized by the vastness and beauty of the night sky.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Things to Do in Zion National Park:

Do you have further queries on the best things to do in Zion National Park? Here are some common questions I get asked a lot about what to do in Zion National Park, Utah.

What kind of activities can you do at Zion National Park?

Zion National Park offers a wide range of activities for all interests and fitness levels. From hiking iconic trails like Angels Landing and The Narrows to scenic drives, rock climbing, horseback riding, and stargazing, there are exciting things to do for everyone. Guided tours, wildlife watching, and exploring the human history museum are also popular activities.

How many days do you need at Zion National Park?

The number of days you need at Zion National Park depends on your interests and the activities you want to pursue. A two-day visit allows you to see the main highlights and enjoy a couple of hikes. However, spending three to four days gives you a more relaxed and comprehensive experience, allowing time to explore lesser-known areas and enjoy a variety of activities.

What should I see at Zion National Park?

Zion National Park is a stunning natural wonder filled with remarkable landscapes, soaring cliffs, and diverse flora and fauna. Here’s a rundown of must-see attractions and activities:

  1. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive: Take a drive through the dramatic landscapes of the park. During peak season, private vehicles may be restricted, so make use of the shuttle service.
  2. Angels Landing: This iconic hike is for the adventurous, as it leads to a summit with breathtaking panoramic views. The final stretch is steep and exposed, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
  3. The Narrows: Experience hiking in the Virgin River as you explore this unique slot canyon. It’s often a wading experience, so appropriate footwear and preparation are key.
  4. Riverside Walk: A family-friendly trail that leads you along the Virgin River, offering fantastic views of the canyon.
  5. Observation Point: Accessible by hiking or a shuttle (when available), this point offers one of the best views in the park, overlooking Zion Canyon.
  6. Canyoneering: For those looking for more adventure, Zion is a premier destination for canyoneering. Hire a guide or explore some routes independently if you have the experience.
  7. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for the park’s diverse wildlife, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, and over 200 species of birds.
  8. Zion Human History Museum: Learn about the cultural history of the park and its early inhabitants.
  9. Kolob Canyons: Visit this less-visited area of the park for more stunning scenery and hiking opportunities.
  10. Stargazing: The clear desert skies make Zion a fantastic place for stargazing. Join a ranger-led program or simply find a quiet spot to gaze at the heavens.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or a history enthusiast, Zion National Park offers something incredible for everyone.

What is the best month to visit Zion National Park?

Spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) are considered the best months to visit Zion National Park. The weather is pleasant, and the park is less crowded compared to the summer months. However, each season offers unique experiences and scenery, so the best time to visit depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities.

Captivating beauty of Zion National Park in fall.
Captivating beauty of Zion National Park in fall.

Is Zion National Park suitable for families?

Absolutely! Zion National Park offers a variety of family-friendly activities. This includes easy hikes like the Riverside Walk, scenic drives, and educational programs at the Zion Human History Museum. The park’s shuttle system also makes getting around convenient for families.

What should I do first in Zion National Park?

Visiting Zion National Park in Utah is a breathtaking experience, filled with opportunities for hiking, sightseeing, and photography. If it’s your first time there, a great way to start your adventure is by visiting the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Here’s why:

  1. Orientation and information: At the visitor center, you can familiarize yourself with the park’s layout, get updates on weather and trail conditions, and receive valuable advice tailored to your interests and fitness level.
  2. Park maps and guides: Pick up maps and brochures to help you navigate the park’s trails and scenic routes.
  3. Shuttle service: During peak season, the park’s main canyon is accessible only by shuttle. You can catch the shuttle near the visitor center, which stops at various trailheads and viewpoints.
  4. Ranger programs: Check the schedule for ranger-led programs. These guided walks and talks can provide fascinating insights into the park’s geology, flora, fauna, and history.
  5. Plan your hikes: Based on the information gathered, you can plan your hikes. A popular first hike for many visitors is the Riverside Walk, a relatively flat and easy trail that offers beautiful views of the Virgin River and canyon walls. More adventurous hikers might choose to tackle the iconic Angels Landing hike, though it’s strenuous and not for those with a fear of heights.
  6. Permits: If you’re planning to do any backcountry hiking or overnight camping, you’ll need to secure the necessary permits, which can be obtained at the visitor center.
  7. Explore the museum: Near the visitor center, the Zion Human History Museum offers exhibits on the park’s cultural history, Native American heritage, and pioneer settlements.

Starting your visit at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center allows you to gather essential information, make informed decisions about your activities, and set off on the right foot to fully enjoy this stunning national park.

Can you explore Zion National Park without hiking?

Yes, Zion National Park offers many ways to enjoy its beauty without hiking. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive provides stunning views from the comfort of your car or the park’s shuttle. There are also accessible trails, ranger-led programs, and opportunities for wildlife watching, photography, and simply enjoying the breathtaking landscapes.

Wrapping up the Coolest Things to Do in Zion National Park

Zion National Park, with its majestic red cliffs, emerald pools, and diverse landscapes, offers a world of adventure and exploration. From the thrilling hike to Angels Landing to the serene beauty of the Riverside Walk, the park provides endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and those seeking a connection with nature.

Are you an avid hiker, a rock-climbing enthusiast, or simply looking to enjoy the scenic views? Zion has something special to offer. The unique geology, rich cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife make it a destination that captures the heart and ignites the spirit of wanderlust.

Pack your bags, grab your camera, and set out to explore the best places in Zion National Park. From the coolest activities in Zion to the hidden gems waiting to be discovered, your adventure awaits. Experience the magic of Zion. This is a place that offers scenic beauty, a journey into the wild, the profound, and the extraordinary.

The top things to do in Zion National Park for all types of travelers
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