Zion Canyon’s Top 10 Hikes

Things to Do, What's New — By julietrevelyan on August 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Zion Canyon National Park is a national jewel. Why, you ask? Because it’s gorgeous, accessible, and offers spectacular hikes of widely varying difficulty levels. As an added bonus, Zion is next door to a lovely little town called Springdale, which means restaurants, movies, shopping, and other entertainment also abound when you finish your outdoor adventures.

For first-timers to Zion, there are some classic hikes to tackle. Which ones are the best? I’ve come up with a list that gives nods to challenging hikes, easier hikes, don’t-miss hikes, and some other personal favorites.

The Zion Narrows

Considered an ultimate slot canyon classic by travelers from around the world. You’ll be walking in the Virgin River most of the way, so be prepared to get wet, navigate slippery rocks, and be turned away during truly inclement weather. You needn’t commit to the entire 16-mile length, however; just wading upstream from the Riverside Walk as far as you want to go can still offer a hearty taste of this world-famous slot canyon.

Zion Narrows

Emerald Pools

Lower Pool is best on a hot day and for younger kids; Middle Pool is more of a jaunt with glorious views as your reward; and Upper Pool is slightly more strenuous, but so totally worth it when you get there. All are very crowded in the summertime.

Weeping Rock

Ancient water seeps out of the rock itself, which also means it’s cool and full of green growing things. The shortest trail in the Park and therefore one of the most popular. Excellent for kids.

Observation Point

As the name implies, make sure you have your camera ready for this one. It’s also totally exposed to sun, 8 miles long, and uphill. But is your hard work ever paid off by the views at the end!

Canyon Overlook

If you don’t have the stamina or time for Observation Point, do this one instead. Same pay-off in views with far less effort put in, being only one mile roundtrip.

Zion Canyon Overlook

West Rim

Sometimes called the “Yosemite” of Utah for its tall cliffs and stupendous views, this hike is not one to simply toss off in a day (although you can if so inclined). But it is definitely a Zion classic.

Hidden Canyon

Don’t you love “secret” hikes? Keep an eye out for the small freestanding arch, tucked into a little canyon at the back of Hidden Canyon.

Kolob Arch

This one is a real trek, but if you do it, you get to see one of the world’s largest freestanding natural arches. How’s that for cool?

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

Okay, okay, you got me; it’s not a hike. But sometimes hiking just seems like too much for one day, right? So go ahead, try this very aptly-named drive for a break. With switchbacks, tunnels, and pullouts, it’s fun as well as one of southern Utah’s top most beautiful drives.

Angels Landing

Another Zion classic. This one has pretty serious drop-offs and a very awe-inspiring final ascent that involves a chain to hold onto. If you make it all the way, the views from the top are simply tremendous.

Angels Landing Sunset

Tags: angels landing, canyon overlook, emerald pools, hidden canyon, hiking, kolob arch, observation point, Utah, weeping rock, west rim, Zion, zion canyon scenic drive, zion narrows


  • Christina says:

    I LOVED hiking in Zion. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The “green” bus system is really wonderful too. Other parks should take a cue from Zion and help get rid of the traffic and noise. I hate to say it, but I could not do all of Angel’s Landing…I’m afraid of heights and those ledges almost did me in. However, I did do the Subway near Kolob. That was tough!

  • Julie Trevelyan says:

    Angels Landing almost did me in too. Not the heights (although those were awesomely HUGE), but my knees on the way back down. Sigh… I agree about more national parks going green in their transport systems. The big, more crowded parks especially, although more and more of them are doing so or planning it for the the future. Better late, I suppose! It should help air quality eventually.


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