With its stunning waterfalls, miles of hiking trails, awesome red cliff formations, and emerald pools, Zion National Park is Utah’s oldest and most visited park. Although the existence of such a varied landscape seems improbable, it actually does and attracts over three million tourists annually. A lot of people visit this area because of Angel’s Landing, a precarious walk along a jagged mountain ridge, but others come to see the canyon’s emerald pools and floor. One of the best ways to see the park, horseback tours are fun for the whole family or a group of adventurers. Here are some of the best things to do in Zion National Park, whether you’re there for a day or a week.
Travel the countryside on horseback
Riding through Zion National Park is an experience unlike any other. You can take the half-day tour or ride along the Virgin River for an hour, covering about a mile to the Court of the Patriarchs. The half-day hike follows the Sandbench Trail around the park, with an easy ascent of 500 feet to a vantage point in the park’s southwestern corner. Families are welcome to book these trips, but children must be at least 7 years old for the 1-hour tour and 10 years old for the half-day tour. The horseback tour is a fun way to see the park, and anyone can sign up for it without having any experience with horses beforehand. Tours of the park on horseback start as low as $45 per person.
Traverse the Narrows
The Narrows, a 16-mile backcountry route into the narrow canyons along the North Fork of the Virgin River, is the most well-known and popular route, but it is only open from June to October. Half of your hike will be in the river, and in some spots, the water may reach your waist. That being said, we are not talking about a stroll in the park here. The journey is best broken up into two days, as it takes about 12 hours to complete in total. There are 12 designated campsites available for overnight stays in the canyon. There will be towering canyon walls and turquoise water, as well as lush hanging gardens that grow out of the rocks.
Hiking the trail requires the right gear, which can be rented for a reasonable price from one of the many outfitters in the area of the park. If you’d rather not hike, the Sinawava Temple is at the beginning of a paved, wheelchair- and a stroller-accessible path that winds through some stunning scenery. This is the best option for vacationing families and other groups who don’t have the time or fitness to complete the full hike in two days. However you decide to explore the Narrows, you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Gaze Upon Emerald Lakes
One of Zion’s most famous paths, it offers a bounty of breathtaking views. One of the park’s best hikes, it passes by a number of pools, waterfalls, and monolithic formations, making it ideal for families. The pools at this oasis in the middle of the desert are separated into three levels—the lower, middle, and upper levels—and can be reached via three separate paths. The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is the simplest option because it’s paved. It’s only a half-mile walk to the lower pool’s hidden alcove, where ferns and mosses grow out of the mountainside.
Hidden from view, twin waterfalls cascade from the central pool as the path ducks behind them. Red Arch Mountain, Cathedral Mountain, and Mount Majestic can all be seen from two of the pools in the middle. The Upper Emerald Pool is reached by hiking a more difficult and steeper trail, but the reward is well worth the effort: a private oasis surrounded by towering cliffs on three sides. Keep in mind that the heat of summer can reduce the waterfalls to a trickle. Visit in the spring or fall when the water is running to see the waterfall at its fullest. You can plan your elopement at wedding zion national park.
You shouldn’t miss the beautiful drive
In Zion National Park, taking a scenic drive is a must. If you only have one day to explore the park, this drive will give you the best possible introduction. Driving through the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel and down into Zion Canyon from the east is the way to go. A breathtaking landscape of towering monoliths, mesas, and other geological wonders awaits you. There are several places to pull over and take pictures, as well as six switchbacks and two tunnels. Get out of the car at the overlook of the canyon, and hike the lone mile to the West Temple and the Towers of the Virgin. The drive is only 6.5 miles long, making it possible to complete it in under 30 minutes. If you happen to be traveling with fidgety children, this is an added bonus.