Located in the southwest corner of Utah is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Only 2.5 hours from Las Vegas or 4 hours from Salt Lake City, getting here and exploring is easy and convenient. Zion features a rare combination of elevation, wide open and level spaces, spectacular slot canyons, great year round temperatures, and an expansive river valley. See below for some of the must do’s of Zion National Park.
The Must Do’s of Zion National Park
#1 The Narrows
The Zion Narrows is probably one of the best canyons to hike in all of Zion National Park – and quite possible my personal favorite day hike of all time. The walls of the main canyon close in to form a tall and narrow canyon with beautiful rock formations and the Virgin River flowing around you. With the beautifully colored flowing water and barely any direct sunlight reaching the bottom, this is the slot canyon that all other slot canyons are compared to. If you only have a few days, I HIGHLY recommend making this hike a priority.
That being said, make sure you’re prepared. The water can be cold, and the levels can range in depth. I suggest visiting one of the outfitters in Springdale and renting gear just for this hike. We rented dry pants, canyoneering shoes, and walking sticks and it really made our entire trek pleasant. Read tips for hiking the Zion Narrows.
#2 Angel’s Landing
I loved this hike, and would definitely do it again. It’s a shorter hike, so did it on the day we arrived since time was limited. This is the perfect hike to do if you only have half a day – it took us about 2 1/2 hours including a 20-30 minute rest at the top.
The first part of the hike is not difficult, but it is a fairly steep incline. The first lookout is Scout’s Landing – this is a good stopping point if you’re afraid to continue onward or are short on time. If you’re feeling up to it, continue onwards to Angel’s Landing for one of the best views in Zion. This section of the hike is on a narrow stretch of rock with a chain running through the middle of it for you to hold on to. There are sheer drops on either side of you, and there’s a good amount of rock scrambling, and even a tiny bit of climbing – but nothing hard.
Overall it’s an incredibly fun hike, and while it feels dangerous, it isn’t that bad. Just be careful, and you’ll be fine. Read tips for hiking Angel’s Landing.
#3 Take a Repelling Lesson
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to get in touch with your inner canyoneer – there are a number of small outfitters in the area that offer repelling classes. While the views may not be as gorgeous as a nice hike in Zion, you’ll have a ton of fun and learn a lot in the process. This is a great opportunity to add an element of real hands on experience with the canyons and I couldn’t recommend it more.
We booked the high adventure day with Zion Adventure Company and was pleasantly surprised to find out our tour was going to be private (not always the case). The repelling session took place in Birch Hollow (a dry canyon) outside of Zion and consisted of some breathtaking repels and great hiking. They even take pictures of you while you repel and give it to you on a USB stick – at no extra cost.
They offer a ton of different options, and there’s no previous skills required to try. Worth every penny.