16 Great Zion Hikes: Best Hikes In Zion National Park

by David & Intan

Some of the best hikes in Zion National Park include famous Utah trails like Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point, but there are also some short and easy Zion hikes with nice views and not too many people.

Founded in 1919, Zion was Utah’s first national park, and today it’s ranked as one of the most popular national parks in the United States. There’s a good reason for that, because the scenery in Zion National Park is extraordinary. This is definitely one for the bucket list!

Among other things, Zion National Park is home to one of the world’s biggest slot canyons (The Narrows), one of the longest natural arches (Kolob Arch), and arguably one of the most exciting day hikes in the world (Angels Landing).

We’ve visited this special park many times over the years, and I finally wrote up this list of the best hikes in Zion National Park. This isn’t a complete list of every nice hiking trail in the park, but these are just some of the very best Zion hikes in my opinion!



 
 

Best Hikes In Zion National Park

 

1. Angels Landing Hike

I have to start with Angels Landing, because it really is the king of Zion hikes. If you only do one hike in Utah and the national parks, make it this one.

It’s an epic and scary trail that takes you up the side of a steep sandstone mountain, with chains to grab onto for safety, and amazing views of Zion National Park surrounding you on all sides. Permits are required since 2022.

The Angels Landing chain section is especially noted for being hair-raising and hazardous, and there have been a number of falling deaths on this hike over the years, although it’s plenty safe if you stick to the trail.

At times, the trail will only be a few feet wide, and you’ll have to hug the side of the mountain. Not all of this section has chains, but the most sketchy parts do for your safety.

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails Angels Landing

Angels Landing — one of the best Zion hikes!

I wouldn’t say the Angels Landing trail is for everyone, but if you enjoy adventure, photography, and a good adrenaline rush, then definitely add it to your bucket list!

The final view at Angels Landing gives you a 360 degree panorama of Zion Canyon, along with the tiny roads and shuttle buses below, and you can even look down at the gigantic peak you just climbed.

It’s easily one of the best hikes in Zion National Park, but it’s also one of my favorite views on any hike we’ve ever done in our travels around the world.

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet (460 m)
Difficulty: Hard

Read More: Angels Landing Hike

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails Angels Landing

The craziest view on the Angels Landing hike


 

2. Observation Point Trail

The Observation Point trail is a bit underrated, but it’s easily one of the best hikes in Zion National Park. This one takes you to a viewpoint above Zion Canyon and the entire park.

Spread out in front of you are many of Zion’s best sights like the Great White Throne, Cathedral Mountain, and Angels Landing. We could even see the tiny people hiking to the top of Angels Landing, and the roads and shuttle buses looked like toys in the distance.

The elevation here at Observation Point is more than 700 feet above Angels Landing, so you really do have a bird’s-eye view of Zion National Park.

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails Observation Point East Mesa

Observation Point — one of the best Zion hikes

It’s fantastic scenery, and since this hike is less popular than other places in Zion, you don’t have to worry about sharing it with massive crowds like at The Narrows.

In fact, if you go early on a weekday you may even have the place to yourself, except for a few chipmunks running around looking for snacks.

The main trailhead for this hike was closed as a result of a big rockfall in 2019 that wiped out part of the trail and switchbacks.

However, you can still access Observation Point from the East Mesa Trail, which is actually an easier hike anyway. From this route it’s a relatively short and simple hike with stunning end views, so definitely add it to your Zion bucket list!

Distance: 7 miles (11 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 700 feet (215 m)
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Read More: Observation Point Trail

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails Observation Point East Mesa

Observation Point Trail in Zion National Park


 

3. The Narrows

Of course I have to mention the mother of all slot canyons, the Zion Narrows!

This is a giant gorge with walls a thousand feet tall, and the Virgin River flows through it. Hiking the Narrows involves walking in water, and if you go the full length it’s 16 miles total.

The good news is that the Narrows is open to all fitness levels because you don’t have to hike to the end of the gorge. You can stop and turn around whenever you want.

It’s possible to hike the entire Narrows in one full day if you get a permit in advance, but most people just go partway and then turn back (no permit required for that).

The bad news is that the Narrows is getting extremely popular. The crowds kind of ruined it for us. If you’re really intent on seeing the Narrows without crowds, I’d recommend getting a permit and hiking it from the top down. Otherwise, you may want to go to one of the other hikes in Zion National Park instead.

Distance: 9 – 16 miles (14 – 25 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails The Narrows

The Narrows is one of the most popular Zion hikes


 
Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails The Narrows

Huge canyon walls of the Zion Narrows


 

4. Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the shortest hikes in Zion National Park, but the views at the end are wonderful.

This hike can be done by families with little kids, as well as older folks. There are some sections with steep drop-offs, but the most dangerous parts are protected with a sturdy metal railing, so it’s never too scary.

The start of this hike is actually the toughest part, because you have to climb some stairs. Even though it’s a very short hike, you’ll want to bring water. There are a few shady spots along the trail, including a shallow cave or alcove, but much of the trail is in the sun.

At the end, you get monumental views of Zion Canyon. It’s almost similar to the final view at the top of Angels Landing, but with less work!

Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 feet (60 m)
Difficulty: Easy

Canyon Overlook Trail

The Canyon Overlook Trail is a relatively easy Zion hike


 
Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Canyon Overlook Trail

The final view on the Canyon Overlook Trail


 

5. Pa’rus Trail

If you’re looking for short, flat, and easy Zion hikes, the Pa’rus Trail is a great place to start. This one is very easy to reach because it’s right next to the campground, the Zion visitor center, and the main parking area.

The Pa’rus Trail is the only hike in Zion National Park that’s open to bicycles and pets, and it’s also one of the only trails that’s completely wheelchair-accessible.

This paved hike follows the Virgin River, and you can often see wildflowers and deer. Don’t expect anything too dramatic or earth-shattering, but it’s quiet and pleasant, with great views of Zion Canyon and the Watchman.

Along the trail, there are exhibits that explain a bit of the history and geology of Zion National Park. There’s very little shade, though, so if you go in the summer then the morning or evening is the best time to do this hike and beat the heat.

Distance: 3.2 miles (5.1 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Difficulty: Easy

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Parus Trail Easy

Pa’rus Trail — one of our favorite easy Zion hikes!


 
Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Parus Trail Easy

Crowd-free views at Pa’rus Trail


 

6. Riverside Walk

The Riverside Walk is a good option if you want to see views similar to the Zion Narrows, but without as much effort. This is an easy family stroll, so it’s wheelchair accessible and perfect for kids.

The entire path is paved and you don’t have to walk through any water, unlike the Narrows. Along the way, you can see chipmunks, squirrels, and deer, plus impressive views of the giant canyon walls. It’s like a preview of the Zion Narrows. After all, Riverside Walk is the access point for the Narrows!

This is a popular hike, so if you want to avoid the crowds it’s best to go earlier in the day. There’s lots of shade at that time too.

Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Difficulty: Easy

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Trails Riverside Walk

The Riverside Walk is one of the easiest Zion hikes — great for all ages!


 
Squirrel Animal Wildlife Riverside Walk    Riverside Walk
 

7. The Subway

The Subway is a challenging and semi-technical day hike where you can enter a unique-looking slot canyon that looks a bit like a subway tunnel. Permits are required, which you can read about on the NPS website here.

This hike is kind of like a more intense version of the Narrows, and it involves swimming, wading, scrambling, and climbing. You’re rewarded with some of the most unique views in Zion, and the managed access permits mean you won’t have to share it with any crowds!

Distance: 9 miles (15 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet (400 m)
Difficulty: Hard
 
 

8. The Watchman Trail

The Watchman Trail is another nice hike that you can reach pretty easily (without any shuttle) by walking from the Zion visitor center or the campgrounds. This hike has awesome views of Zion and the iconic mountain peak known as the Watchman.

Like many of the best hikes in Zion National Park, the difficulty of the Watchman Trail really depends on when you go. In the middle of a summer day, the heat can be excruciating. Other than that, kids can do this hike just fine.

The path starts out flat, but then there’s a fair amount of uphill walking, so it’s definitely more enjoyable if you go in the morning or evening when the temps are cooler.

Distance: 3 miles (5 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 600 feet (180 m)
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Watchman Trail

Watchman Trail — one of the best Zion hikes


 
Watchman Trail

Looking back toward Zion Canyon


 

9. Court of the Patriarchs

This is a very quick and easy 5 minute stroll with great views of three Zion mountains that were named for the Biblical patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were named by a Methodist minister who was inspired by the scenery of Zion Canyon in 1916.

Some people may find this one a bit disappointing because it’s almost too short to even call it a hike, but why not knock it out anyway since it’s so short? The viewpoint is amazing!

Court of the Patriarchs is the 4th stop on the Zion shuttle system, so it’s easy to visit as you enter the park in the morning, or on the way out of the park later in the day.

Court Of The Patriarchs Abraham Isaac Jacob

The three Zion patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob


 

10. Hidden Canyon Trail

The Hidden Canyon is another underrated hike in Zion with amazing views and not as many people as the blockbuster hikes like the Narrows. There’s even a natural arch at the end of the trail.

This one can be scary if you’re afraid of heights, and it has a chain section with steep drop-offs that are reminiscent of Angels Landing. Overall, it’s not as long or as challenging as Angels Landing, but this hike may not be a good one to bring the kids.

Unfortunately, this trail was closed because of a rockfall in 2018, and it’s been closed ever since. Keep an eye on the NPS website for updates, and hopefully it will re-open before too long!

Distance: 3 miles (5 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet (300 m)
Difficulty: Moderate
 
 

11. Taylor Creek Trail

The Taylor Creek Trail is an underrated and wonderful hike in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. It features two historic cabins, a majestic canyon, and a double arch alcove.

Keep in mind the Kolob Canyons are not located in the same section of the park as Zion Canyon, so about 1 hour of driving is needed to get here from Springdale, but it’s well worth the effort if you want to see the less touristy side of Zion.

The cabins on this trail were built in the 1930s, before Kolob was included in the national park boundaries. One of them, called the Larson Cabin, is extremely photogenic and you can reach it in about 20-30 minutes from the trailhead.

You can finish the whole hike in a few hours, and it’s pretty level overall, so kids can do it too. It’s definitely one of the best hikes in Zion National Park!

Distance: 5 miles (8 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 600 feet (180 m)
Difficulty: Easy

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Taylor Creek Trail Kolob Canyons

Taylor Creek Trail — one of the best hikes in Zion National Park


 
Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Taylor Creek Trail Kolob Canyons

This photogenic cabin is in the Kolob Canyons section of the park


 

12. Timber Creek Overlook Trail

This is a short and easy little hike in the Kolob Canyons that gives you wonderful views of a less traveled side of Zion National Park.

Again, this hike is part of the Kolob Canyons, which is not located in the same section of the park as Zion Canyon, so about 1 hour of driving is needed to get here from Springdale, but it’s worth it!

Timber Creek is just a quick walk to a viewpoint, and you can reach the end of the trail in about 15 minutes or less. It’s fun for kids too, and the payoff at the last viewpoint is just amazing.

Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 250 feet (75 m)
Difficulty: Easy

Best Hikes In Zion National Park Utah Timber Creek Overlook Trail Kolob Canyons

Timber Creek Overlook in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion


 

13. La Verkin Creek Trail

The La Verkin Creek Trail is one of the best Zion hikes in the Kolob Canyons, but it’s also a fair challenge. This is a long day hike, and it can take upwards of 7-10 hours roundtrip, depending on your pace. Come prepared, and bring more water than you think you’ll need.

The final destination of this hike is a view of the Kolob Arch, which is interesting because it’s one of the longest natural arches in the world. The span is more than 287 feet (87 meters), which makes it just barely shorter than the Landscape Arch in Arches National Park.

Along the La Verkin Creek Trail, you also get some great views of the canyons and surrounding cliffs. All in all, it’s a great day hike without the crowds you might see at some of the most famous Zion hiking trails!

Distance: 15 miles (25 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet (515 m)
Difficulty: Moderate / Hard

Kolob Canyon Overlook Utah

The spectacular Kolob Canyons of Zion


 

More Great Hikes Near Zion National Park

 

14. Red Hollow Slot Canyon

The Red Hollow Slot Canyon is a short and easy hike in Orderville, Utah, not too far from the Zion and Bryce national parks. You can reach the trailhead in about 1 hour of driving from Springdale.

This is a very photogenic hike, with nice red rock colors and steep canyon walls. As a bonus, Red Hollow Canyon is easy to reach and great for kids.

There’s one very tight slot that’s great for chimneying or stemming, where you place your back against one wall and then push your feet on the other wall to cross the gap. This type of maneuver was new to us, but we had a lot of fun learning how to do it.

All in all, this was one of our favorite Utah slot canyons!

Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 100 feet (30 m)
Difficulty: Easy

Read More: Red Hollow Slot Canyon

Red Hollow Slot Canyon Hike Orderville Utah

Red Hollow Slot Canyon Hike Orderville Utah    Red Hollow Slot Canyon Hike Orderville Utah
 

15. Spring Creek Canyon

The Spring Creek Canyon is another nice slot canyon by the little town of Kanarra, located less than 1 hour from Zion National Park.

This one is a pretty easy hike, and it has bright reddish-orange rock colors that can be really stunning with the right amount of sunlight.

We did Spring Creek on a weekday and the trail was almost completely empty, so that’s another thing it has going for it!

Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Difficulty: Easy

Spring Creek Slot Canyon

Spring Creek Slot Canyon    Spring Creek Slot Canyon
 

16. Kanarra Canyon & Falls

The Kanarra Creek slot canyon is unique for having two waterfalls in the canyon, and it’s just a 1 hour drive from Zion National Park. It’s definitely one of our favorite hikes in the Zion area!

The first waterfall is near the start of the slot canyon, and it’s easy to pass thanks to a new metal ladder that was just installed by the city of Kanarraville. The second waterfall comes into view a bit later.

Overall, I’d probably rate this hike as easy, even though it’s a bit longer and has more elevation gain than many of the slot canyons in Utah.

Nowadays you have to pay for a permit to do the Kanarra Creek hike because of its popularity, and there are a limited number of permits available per day. These sell out often, so you’ll want to plan ahead.

Distance: 4 miles (6.5 km) roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 650 feet (200 m)
Difficulty: Easy

Kanarra Creek Falls Slot Canyon    Kanarra Creek Falls Slot Canyon

Kanarra Creek Slot Canyon

The magnificent walls of Kanarra Creek Slot Canyon


 

Best Short & Easy Zion Hikes

If you’re mainly looking for short and easy Zion hikes, here are some top recommendations:

  • Canyon Overlook Trail — 1 mile (1.6 km) roundtrip
  • Court of the Patriarchs — 0.2 miles (0.3 km) roundtrip
  • Pa’rus Trail — 3.2 miles (5.1 km) roundtrip
  • Riverside Walk — 2 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip
  • Taylor Creek Trail — 5 miles (8 km) roundtrip
  • Timber Creek Overlook Trail — 1 mile (1.6 km) roundtrip
  • Watchman Trail — 3 miles (5 km) roundtrip

All of these Zion trails will be pretty easy for most hikers, and several of them are suitable for seniors or families with kids. The best wheelchair accessible hikes are Pa’rus Trail and the Riverside Walk.

Parus Trail Easy Short

The Pa’rus Trail is nice if you’re looking for easy Zion hikes


 

Slot Canyon Hikes Near Zion National Park

There are a bunch of good slot canyons near Zion National Park, and it’s possible to combine one or two of these with a visit to the park.

You may have to do a little bit of driving, but it’s worth it!

Here are some of the best Zion slot canyons:

  • The Narrows (inside Zion National Park)
  • Keyhole Canyon (inside Zion National Park)
  • The Subway (inside Zion National Park)
  • Red Hollow Canyon (30 miles east of Zion)
  • Red Canyon Kanab (40 miles east of Zion)
  • Spring Creek Canyon (45 miles northwest of Zion)
  • Kanarra Creek & Falls (45 miles northwest of Zion)
  • Buckskin Gulch & Wire Pass (90 miles east of Zion)
  • Willis Creek Slot Canyon (100 miles northeast of Zion)

These are some of the best slot canyons near Zion. With a bit of exploring, you may be able to find others as well!

Read More: Utah Slot Canyon Guide

 

Map Of The Best Zion Hikes

Here’s a map of Zion hikes you can use to plan your own road trip. A lighter color is used to mark some nice hikes that are outside of Zion National Park, but still near it and close enough to reach with a bit of driving.

You can click the icons to get more info on each point of interest, but keep in mind some of the locations on this map may be approximate.

For more detailed information on how to find the exact trailheads for these Zion hiking trails, you can check out my individual travel guides for each hike.

As always, please remember to keep the trail clean, be considerate of other hikers, and leave no trace. Thanks and happy travels!
 

 

Where To Stay At Zion

 

Best Utah Tours


 

More Zion Hiking Guides

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this list of some of the best hikes in Zion National Park. These have been some of our favorite Zion hiking trails over the years.

Don’t forget to check out my Utah slot canyon guide as well as my complete list of the best hikes in Utah!
 

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2 comments

BigMoney February 22, 2023 - 10:02 pm

Nice blog, keep it up.

Reply
Fred White March 28, 2023 - 1:11 pm

Mate, thanks for this guide. Been searching for detailed information on hikes in America and this is the only article so far that’s given everything I need. Just added this place to my map so I don’t forget to visit. Cheers!

Reply

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