This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Please see my disclosure.
Best Hikes in Zion National Park
When I tell people I am from the United States when traveling, most respond saying they would love to visit ‘X city’. I have always been intrigued why the United States is overlooked for its natural beauty. I can say I do not agree with all the federal government decisions, but I am forever grateful for those who lobbied to save and preserve our natural treasures.
Growing up on the East Coast, I always dreamed of visiting the national parks out west. After my first backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon, I was hooked on exploring the national parks around the world. For my 25th birthday, my boyfriend and I used airline travel vouchers and booked a flight to Las Vegas. Instead of celebrating my birthday drinking and gambling my money away, I was headed to Zion National Park for a long weekend of camping and hiking. The main objective was to hike the famous Subway, but along the way I found some of the best hikes in Zion. Let’s go!
If you know anything about Zion National Park, then you may have heard of Angel’s Landing. A short hike that switches back up to a rock wall in the valley, it can be difficult for those afraid of heights. The last part of the hike warns to continue at your own risk. The path from here is very narrow and hugs the rock that drops hundreds of feet to the canyon floor. A chain has been bolted into the rock to give reassurance to the brave hikers attempting to reach the top of Angel’s Landing. Just don’t forget that going up is easier than going down! This hike provided great views of the canyon, where we were able to orient ourselves for the next few days.
Known for its canyoneering experience, the Subway requires a permits and can be difficult to obtain. I was very happy to be doing it without a guide and carried a short rope for the rappels, along with wearing a harness. Since I did not have two vehicles and the trailheads are outside the Zion National Park shuttle system, we parked the rental car at the bottom trailhead and headed to the road with our thumbs held high. It only took a few cars to pass before we were picked up by a local heading up the road to go mountain biking.
From the upper trailhead, we dropped down into the canyon. The trail starts by hiking sloping slabs of rocks before down climbing into the canyon. Canyon water holes stay roughly the same temperature throughout the year due to the lack of sunlight reaching it. Packing everything into a dry bag and stuffing it into my daypack kept my belongings dry as I submerged into canyon pools of water since the wall were not passable.
For views looking out to the canyon, this hike is challenging as it gains elevation on exposed trail. The trail is try but starts by walking through small canyons before climbing switchbacks along the canyon walls. Gaining more views and perspective of the entire park, it is a way to avoid the crowded easy trails.
Another popular hike is to wade through the Narrows to get deep into the canyon where the roads end and hiking trails are covered in water. I felt like a child again as I wore old sneakers to protect my feet from the rocks. The water levels change throughout the year and season, so make sure you plan accordingly. Watching water as it flowed over the rocky bottoms trying to keep my legs underneath me while balancing every step. The slot canyon walls meet the water running through during most of the hike with few islands that are not covered with the flowing water. It is a peaceful hike as the water rushing drowns out other noises and makes it easy to get lost in nature.
Have you ever been to Zion National Park? What’s some of your best hikes in Zion National Park?