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  • Writer's pictureMr and Mrs Jones

Zion National Park Travel Guide

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Bonus: Bryce Canyon National Park Feature Included!

Table of Contents:
 

When to Visit Zion

Zion National Park is beautiful all year round, although between April and November, Zion offers free shuttles throughout the park and the weather is comfortable. We visited in June and the weather was perfect! The shuttles were clean and efficient, we didn't wait more than 3 minutes for a shuttle. You will want to get to the park early, the crowds start to pour in after 8:00am. If you plan to park in the parking lot near the visitor center, be sure to get there by 7:00am, it fills up quickly!

Lodging

When planning our trip to Zion we were looking for lodging that offered an experience in itself. We wanted to finish a full day of hiking/sightseeing through Zion and still have time to relax and take in the views at our lodging. We found the most incredible resort 15 minutes from the entrance to the park, Zion White Bison Resort. This was by far one of our favorite glamping resorts in Utah! We stayed in one of their covered wagons and were astonished by the amenities offered: bathroom, shower, AC and heating all in unit, fire pit, grill, extra blankets, bathroom toiletries and the gosh darn cutest aesthetic! We spent our days hiking and exploring Zion’s National Park and then camping out here in the evenings, the scenery is spectacular. Not to mention the check-in and check-out process is contactless and very simple. I would recommend this as one of the best places to book your stay when visiting Zion!

*If you book your stay at Zion White Bison this month,

use discount code ASHLEYRAE to save 10% on your booking!*


 

Activities

Zion National Park is likely one of the most vibrantly colorful, and naturally beautiful national parks that we've visited. We could have spent a whole week walking throughout the park and soaking up the surrounding views in this real-life mirage of a desert oasis. If you are ready to strap on some hiking boots and explore some of Zion’s trails, here are our favorite trails categorized by their difficulty levels!


Easy Hikes:


1. Riverside Walk: This 1.9 mile, out and back trail is gorgeous and wonderful for families! It follows alongside the river and ends at the base of the narrows trail. We saw several families and kids swimming in the deeper areas of the river, it’s a great place to bring a picnic, blanket and hammock to relax and have lunch while listening to the river run.


2. Lower Emerald Pools:

A 1.2 mile hike to a desert oasis! This is one of the most popular and therefore crowded trails in Zion, but it is beautiful. This trail is great for families! If you are spending more than one day in Zion and have time for multiple hikes, we recommend hiking this one either first or second to the riverside walk trail!


Intermediate Hikes


3. The Narrows:

Continue up Riverside Walk into the Narrows: Once you reach the end of the Riverside Walk trail (and you will know you have reached the end, because the trail goes right into the river), you will start your journey through the famous Narrows trail. Make sure to bring water shoes with proper foot support - you will be trekking through ankle to thigh deep waters over various sizes of round, slippery rocks.


4. Upper and Middle Emerald Pools:

After reaching the Lower Emerald Pools, you can continue up an incline to see both the middle and upper pools. They are both pretty, but the lower pools are the most captivating in my opinion by boasting a waterfall that you are able to walk behind via the trail.


Advanced Hikes


5. Angel's Landing:

(You will need a permit for this hike. It is a lottery permit, so all you need to do is sign up to register the morning prior (there is a small nonrefundable registration fee), and then you will receive an email by 4:00pm, notifying you if you did or did not win a permit to hike Angel’s Landing for the following day. We applied and did not receive a permit on our first attempt, but the next day, we applied again and won a permit! The lottery permits were put into place during COVID to limit the number of people on this trail, and have continued because hikers have expressed higher satisfaction levels with the trail being less packed. That is not to say that there still won’t be large amounts of people on the trail. Even though Angel’s Landing is ranked the most dangerous public hike in the United States, you will still be hiking it with a line of people behind and in-front of you. Important things to remember :

  • Make sure you have good hiking shoes with excellent traction and ankle support.

  • Always ensure you have your footing before moving forward.

  • Bring lots of snacks and water, also remember to stay hydrated all day.

  • Don’t forget sunscreen and a camera!


Restaurants

Breakfast/Lunch:

Meme's Cafe - Recomended Meal: Crepes! The cinnamon sugar crepe is delicious.

Cafe Soleil - Recommended Meal : Chipotle Chicken Wrap. Grab one of their homemade trail mix bars if they have them, they were delicious and a great snack to have for a day full of hiking! (They were extremely fast as well, so if you are in a rush in the morning this is your brunch stop).

Free Love Cafe - Recommended Drink: The Bay Latte! Isn't it funny that we are moving away from the Bay Area, but I still can't resist a good honey, lavender latte!

Dinner:

El Jinete Mexican Grill - Recommended Meal: Nachos! This was a little hole in the wall place that was packed with tons people coming in and out for to-go orders, super yummy!

Stage Coach Grill - Recommended Meal : BBQ Bacon Burger is amazing! The Jalapeño poppers were also fantastic! This restaurant is just outside Zion, 4 miles west in a little town called La Verkin.


Bryce Canyon National Park:

After exploring the activities and views that Zion has to offer, the best additional activity that I recommend is to take the drive to visit Bryce Canyon National Park! It’s only an hour and a half from Zion National Park, and well worth the drive time!

When visiting we were interested in finding one perfect hike that showcases all that Bryce Canyon has to offer in 3 miles, and we did! The trail is call the Navajo Loop Trail. Specifically, you will hike from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point on the Queens Garden to Navajo Loop Trail. Below are photos from this trail. Additionally, another popular attraction that runs off of the Navajo Loop trail is Thor’s Hammer Loop trail. This leads to the iconic rock formation that resembles Marvel’s Character, Thor’s hammer. Bryce Canyon National Park is absolutely stunning and a one of a kind national park, we highly recommend adding this to your itinerary when traveling through Zion National Park.

If you're interested in visiting Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park, let this travel guide be your inspiration!! Don’t forget to share your posts from your Zion and Bryce Canyon trip with the #letskepupwiththejoneses so we can see and share your pictures!


Travel Soon!

Love, Mr and Mrs Jones


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