We recently enjoyed some time in Southern Utah exploring National and State Parks, driving across Hwy 12 and Hwy 24 from Zion to Moab.
Here's our Top 10 from our visit to Zion National Park:
- The Narrows – if you enjoy hiking, this could be as simple as hiking a mile out and back, or packing for a hike in. The views in The Zion Narrows are absolutely breathtaking and something you’re sure to remember forever & always and want to go back for more.
- Check ZionGuru.com (or National Park Service) for water levels
- Plan ahead and reserve the appropriate gear based on water level and weather. We used ZionOutfitters.com
- Angels Landing – a strenuous hike worth the pay off. The hike up is open to all, but if you’d like to hike out to the landing, you’ll need to get a permit ahead of time.
- Biking/Cycling Zion – Zion scenic route is closed to most motorized vehicles, so it’s a perfect opportunity to take in the views from a traditional bike or eBike. We rented our bikes from ZionOutfitters.com. To get the full experience, use Pa’rus Trail which begins at the Zion Visitor Center Shuttle and pops up on Zion Scenic route at shuttle stop 3. This is an easy-moderate trip with very few minor inclines.
- Take the drive toward Bryce Canyon on Hwy 89. The views are stunning, the tunnel is fun, and if you’re in for more, you can park and do the Canyon Overlook hike (right after the tunnel, restrooms there) to see it all again. Road biking this route is also possible, but strenuous with traffic navigating. If you have time, take a day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park to see the hoodoos - about 1.5 hour from Zion Visitors Center.
- Day trip to Kanab for a Slot Canyon Tour – everyone must see this at least once! Jared with Kanab Slot Canyon Tours was a phenomenal guide! We did the sandboarding/UTV combo.
- Emerald Pools – this is a great hike with 3 difficulty levels. It’s basically a loop if everything is open and if you’re willing to navigate some water. At the trailhead, if you go left toward the middle falls, it is strenuous on the onset, but then levels out. If you go right, it’s a relatively mild hike to the lower falls with picnic areas and beautiful views, and you have the option to go from there to the top falls, in which you’ll pass the middle falls (the top of the lower falls) on the way.
- Riding the shuttle from start to finish along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a great way to see the canyon if you’re not up for the bike ride. Hot tip – if the shuttle stop at the visitors center has a long wait (longer than 20 min), you can drive – or walk – to the Museum (shuttle stop 2) and usually jump right on with no waiting.
- Remember that Zion also has 2 other entrances West of the Main Visitor Center/shuttle area that allow you to drive through that part of the park: Kolob Terrance Road Entrace and Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. Check nps.gov for road closings in the Winter and Spring.
- We enjoyed staying at Cable Mountain Lodge. It’s located in the same parking lot as the Visitor Center, Zion Outfitters, and the Market, so it was super convenient. They also have a variety of room options that work well for families, as well as a spa for your sore muscles after miles of hiking.
- If Angel’s Landing is crowded, Watchman Trail is another option to see a birds-eye view of Zion Canyon.
See our full Utah National Park itinerary: Our Utah National Park Tour