Best Zion National Park Hikes

An image of a person painting a landscape in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

Zion National Park is one of the most photographable and paintable national parks in the world. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Zion – A Well-Named National Park

There are many wonderful Zion National Park hikes, but one of the best views in the park is at the end of the less traveled Canyon Overlook Trail. As I gazed out at the red and white Navajo sandstone cliffs surrounding the main canyon, it wasn’t hard to see why the canyon was so named. Isaac Behunin, the first Mormon pioneer to homestead inside the gorge called it Zion in 1870, a biblical name for a sacred place of refuge. In today’s hectic world, the name seems more appropriate than ever.

If you like hiking and stunning scenery, check out our post about hiking in Japan.

An image of two people grasping a chain as they climb the trail to Hidden Canyon Trail in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

Hold on to the chain on the Hidden Canyon Trail – the views can be distracting. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Top Zion National Park Hikes

Located in the southwestern corner of Utah, Zion National Park hikes are famous the world over. Angel’s Landing, The Narrows and Observation Point are the three most popular hikes in the park. On a recent visit, my husband and I decided to tackle some of the lesser known trails that are no less spectacular.

An image of a group of hikers heading up the trail to Hidden Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

Another view of the trail to Hidden Canyon in Zion National Park – Photo by GREG OLSEN

Hidden Canyon Trail

As we made our way up Hidden Canyon Trail, we were awe struck by the incredible rock formations and the beautiful colors in the sheer sandstone walls of the ravine. There are several places along the trail where you have to grasp a chain that is secured to the canyon wall to prevent yourself from slipping off a narrow ledge. Even in those spots, it was hard not to be distracted by the beauty of the canyon.

As we rounded a corner near a steep drop off, we couldn’t resist grasping the chain and leaning out for a selfie. The narrow ledge was barely wide enough to accommodate the two of us and as we stood there another young man was patiently waiting for us to pass. “Can you take a picture of me standing on this ledge?” he asked as we approached. “My mom is afraid of heights and this will drive her crazy.”

An image of two people standing under the arch on the Hidden Canyon Trail in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

The arch is a geological formation that is also a popular photo op on the Hidden Canyon Trail.

The Arch Photo-op of Zion National Park Hikes

Further up the trail, there is a 6 metre high natural rock arch that we decided to call the end point of our hike. The only problem was we couldn’t find it. We hiked well past the spot where we thought the arch should have been and then got directions from some fellow hikers who said we had already passed it. Doubling back, we had them take pictures of us inside the arch before heading back down the trail to explore more Zion National Park hikes.

An image of the someone looking at the view on the Hidden Canyon Trail in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

The views along the Hidden Canyon Trail are breathtaking. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Weeping Rock Trail and Canyon Overlook

After the spectacular Hidden Canyon hike, we did several shorter Zion National Park hikes including the Weeping Rock Trail, which leads to a rock alcove with dripping springs. Just before sunset, we found ourselves sitting at the viewpoint of Canyon Overlook with about a half dozen other hikers. Although the spot is better known for its sunrise views, watching the sun go down on the main canyon is also magical. As if on cue, two endangered California Condors soared overhead – their wings bathed in light high above the shadowy canyon walls. At that moment, we were sure we had done the three best Zion National Park hikes. Now that we’re back home, we’re thinking we need to go back to try the Narrows, Angel’s Landing and Observation Point. One thing we are still certain of is that this national park is appropriately named.

An image of the author sitting on a cliff watching the sunset at Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

Waiting for sunset at Canyon Overlook. Photo by GREG OLSEN

If You Go:

-Zion National Park is in southern Utah. The closest international airport is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada – about 274 km away. It’s easy to combine a visit to Zion and nearby Bryce Canyon with a Las Vegas vacation.

An image of two people sitting on the cliffs a sunset at Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park in Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

There are always a few people sitting out on the cliffs at sunrise and sunset at Canyon Overlook. Photo by GREG OLSEN

-We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Springdale, Utah. Located just outside the park gates, the hotel has a free hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi and a free shuttle into the park. During the peak spring and summer months, you must use the park’s free shuttle service to access hiking trails. There are also plenty of camping sites inside the park.

An image of Zion Rock and Gem store in Springdale Utah - Best Zion National Park Hikes

Springdale is a cute little town right outside the national park with hotels, restaurants and funky shops. Photo by GREG OLSEN

– Zion National Park was Utah’s first national park. For more information on Zion National Park, visit the official website for the park. For more information on visiting Utah, check out the official tourism site.

 

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