One Day in Zion National Park

There are plenty of gorgeous spots to visit in Zion National Park. And while many people camp out for a week or so, not everyone has the time. If you’re looking to spend a day exploring the canyons and trails of Zion, we’ve got you covered. Escape the bustling city life and enjoy a day in this iconic national park!

River Rock Roasting Co.

one day in zion

River Rock Roasting Co. is a pet friendly café that offers artisan roasted coffee, baked goods, and sandwiches. This cute café is worth the visit- Just kick back with coffee and enjoy the gorgeous canyon views to kick off your day.

River Rock Roasting Co. is between St. George and Zion, so you can easily visit if you are coming from Las Vegas. Feel free to pick up some coffee and breakfast at the River Rock Roasting Co. before heading to Zion.

Canyon Junction

Many people will stop and park their cars at the Zion Visitor Center right by the Springdale entrance. But if you prefer scenic crowds and avoiding the crowds, go ahead and park at Canyon Junction, which is the split of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Scenic Highway 9, you can take a shuttle up to the canyon. Just keep in mind that this route is permitted for shuttles, buses, and lodge guests during the summer.

Weeping Rock and Observation Point

This is a relatively strenuous hike that takes roughly 4 to 6 hours, but the views are worth it. You start at the Weeping Rock Trailhead, the 7th stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, and make your way through the Observation Point Trail. This roughly 8-mile hike is a tough battle, but it features breathtaking views of sights like Weeping Rock, Angels Landing, and even the Echo Canyon (which is cooler in temperature, giving you a look at the dark areas of it). If the hike to Observation Point becomes too difficult, you can easily turn around after getting a glimpse of the Echo Canyon.

Zion Lodge

The Zion Lodge is a great place for people to relax, especially after a long hike. Simply take a shuttle up to the lodge and take a rest on the verdant lawn. The Zion Lodge sells food, drinks, and alcoholic beverages, serving as the perfect break spot after your long day.

Mt. Carmel Highway

For a top-notch scenic drive, you can make your way up to Highway 9 on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. Drive through the canyon tunnel, which was built in 1929, and surround yourself with scarlet and sepia mountains. Forget everything when you immerse yourself in the twists and turns through Navajo sandstone. If you a lucky, you may even get a glimpse of desert bighorn stepping down the road. This is a gorgeous drive that’s definitely worth the time.

Springdale

Springdale, Utah offers a great variety of food and shopping. From Mexican and Southwestern grub at Whiptail Grill to upscale dishes at the Spotted Dog Cafe, there is something for everyone in Springdale. It’s conveniently close to Zion and a fun way to wrap up your long but wonderful day at the park.

Other Activities

If hiking isn’t up your alley, birdwatching, horseback riding, and biking are also great ways to enjoy the scenery of Zion. Watch the American Dippers peck around the Virgin River or the Mexican Spotted Owls flying around the tall canyons. If birdwatching isn’t on your list of activities, you can view the gorgeous redstone on horseback with Canyon Trail Rides or Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. But if you you want to quickly reach the phenomenal sights of Zion, you can bike trails like the Mt. Carmel Tunnel Climb or the Pa’rus Trail.

Regardless of what you have planned for your day in Zion National Park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. It is a gorgeous park known for its classic hikes, stunning wildlife, and breathtaking sights. Whether you’re visiting with family or a veteran hiker, a day in Zion will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience.

Tips for your Zion Day

  • Driving and parking in Zion can be difficult without lots of planning. You can easily stay in a hotel, bed-and-breakfast, or inn in Springdale just minutes away from Zion. Many hotels have free shuttle stops that take you directly to the park.
  • The busiest days at Zion are Memorial Day, Easter week, Labor Day, and Utah Education Association break (4 days in October, see www.myuea.org for details)
  • You can enhance your experience at Zion with ranger-led activities from mid-April to mid-October.
  • The National Park Service has extensive directions to the park, as well as park closure alerts on the National Park Service website.
  • Zion is particularly crowded during the summer months. To avoid visiting when the park is busy, it is best to visit between the months of May and November. (If you are able to visit in October, you can relish in the breathtaking fall colors!)
  • If you are going to be on your feet all day, be sure to pack the essentials. These include a refillable water bottle, snacks, good hiking shoes, a light-weight backpack, rain ponchos, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a first aid kit.
  • Many park visitors recommend picking up a map at a visitor’s center before starting your day at the park- you will be using it all day!
  • The Narrows, also known as the riverside walk, is an awesome trail for families. If you pursue this hike, be sure to wear close-toed shoes. They will help support your balance while you walk through water and across rocks.

Additional Information

AddressZion National Park | 1 Zion Park Blvd. | State Route 9 | Springdale, UT 84767

Visitor Centers

Zion Canyon Visitor Center

Located by the South Entrance of Zion. It can be accessible by the (free) Springdale City Shuttle.

Human History Museum

The Human History Museum is one half mile north of the South Entrance on the main park road. I tis also 11 miles west of the east entrance.

Kolob Canyons Visitor Center

Located off Interstate 15. It is 20 miles south of Cedar City, Utah.

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