Zion National Park is a beautiful tourist destination located in southwestern Utah. The Park offers great diversity and incredible views. This Park, alongside the 5 Best National Parks United States are favorite destination to many; hence expect to interact with a handful of visitors.
As the first National Park in Utah, Zion has a special place in the region's history. Over the years, weather elements – flowing water and wind – have significantly impacted the ecosystem. The area is widely desert with beautiful sites such as the great red rock walls and steep Canyons.
You can enjoy your trip to Zion National Park in hundreds of ways, but without proper planning, you might not get value for your time and money.
Below are a few pointers on what you must do before visiting the Park.
How to Plan for a Trip to Zion National Park
Have a budget
Budgeting takes first place because as soon as you leave your house, everything will be a spending overhead. Going out with an open budget is never a good idea because you will come back super broke, and you’ll even be lucky to afford a ticket back home.
The best way to budget for a trip is to set aside a reasonable amount you wish to spend and work around it. You can get an idea of the amount from people who have taken the trip before or by getting the charges for each overhead from the respective sources.
Choose the timing for your visit
Every day is an excellent time to visit Zion National Park, but some seasons are better than others. Being the most popular national Park in the United States, you should consider whether you need to bump into strangers or visit at a time when there is low human traffic.
Between April and October, the months are usually the busiest and have advantages such as shuttle services through Zion Canyon. Winter season is the least crowded, but there is still plenty to do and see.
The fall season is the best for hiking because the temperatures are moderate, and the ground is relatively dry. Your preference solely determines the time of the year you choose to visit Zion National Park.
Secure the Permits
You need to get the permits depending on the activities you intend to engage in and the places you look forward to visiting. Most of the permits are accessible online, hence saving you the time you would spend queuing on-site.
Note there are days when the Park's management offers free access. Such says include the opening day for National Park Week, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day, among others. This information is available online. Hence it would help if you checked it out before purchasing any passes online.
While you can occasionally access the Park for free, some activities still require permits. These include overnight backpacking, rock/mountain climbing, Canyoneering, and hiking on the Narrows and Subway.
If any of these are in your plans, you can obtain the permits online from the National Park’s official page.
Pack your Belongings
What to bring on your visit to Zion National Park solely depends on the type of visit, whether a day tour or a hiking adventure that will take several days. A day's tour might not be very demanding as you only pack water, snacks, and a good camera/phone to freeze the beautiful moments.
Hikers, however, will have a lot more work when packing their belongings. Some of the must-have items include:
- First aid kit
- Enough food and water
- Tent (if you plan on camping)
- Source of light
- Camping Blanket
- Personal hygiene items
- Weather-appropriate change of clothing
- A map and compass.
Note that maps are available at the resource centers set up at the entry points to the Park. You must pass by these stations since you will get real-time information on the current state of the Park.
Take time to understand the area.
It helps to have a general idea of where you are headed. The good thing is that this information is available online for free. You can also inquire from social media groups that have people with a shared interest in outdoor exploration.
Gather information on the available means of transport, timing, danger spots, protected areas, animal habitats, etc. These details will keep you aware of your surrounding during the actual visit.
5 Best Activities in Zion National Park
Just like the Yosemite, Zion National Park is filled with adventure. To ensure you have the ultimate fun experience, here are a few activities that you should prioritize
Sunrise and Sunset Viewing
Zion National Park is naturally beautiful, but you have yet to experience the serenity if you have not witnessed how the sun shows up and bows out. Plan on waking up at dawn to witness the magnificent sight of the color-changing rocks as the sun starts to show up.
You will get the best views from the Canyon Overlook Trail Viewpoint, but you must get there early. The Towers of the Virgin, located behind Zion Nature Center, is also a good spot for watching the sunrise.
In the evening, you can hike or drive to the Virgin River Bridge to enjoy the sunset.
- Canyon Overlook
- The Narrows
- The Subway
- Kolob Canyon
- Emerald Pools
- Observation Point
- Angels Landing
While Angel's Landing will make you want to give up on life as it involves scaling sheer cliffs supported by a chain fastened into a rock, the Emerald Pools hike is solely for relaxation – it is safe for kids, people on wheelchairs, and even older people.
Bike Riding and Cycling
If your idea of adventure is biking or cycling, Zion national park is your place. You can ride through the canyons, under the cliffs, and on the rocky trails as you enjoy the beautiful scenery. Zion Park is generally bike–friendly, but you must stick to the designated biking routes.
You will have unmatched fun as long as you obey the traffic rules laid down by the Park's management. Some places prohibited for riders include the Zion – Mt. Carmel Tunnel and other trails marked solely for pedestrians.
The other activity that you should look forward to is horseback riding. This is one of the most adventurous ways to explore the scenic environment that makes up Zion National Park. Having this experience on horseback is a different flex altogether.
Horseback rides are available all year round, and they are gaining popularity because you stand a better chance to interact with the surroundings at close range. Unlike bikes, horses will not scare the wildlife away, and you can get as close as you want.
Horse riding has fewer limitations since any trail that allows human traffic is accessible for the horse.
Camping and Backpacking
Zion National Park offers amazing opportunities for campers and backpackers. It might not be as intense as the long-distance trails, such as the Appalachian trail, but you will love the adventure.
The camping experience here is high-end because the camping grounds are well-facilitated. You will have access to flushing toilets, electricity, and grills. You are covered, whether you are camping in a tent or an RV, and in case you need more adventure, wilderness camping is still an option.
The backpacking experience here is less intense since you might not need to carry items such as a flashlight, source of fire, and utensils. You will also need to walk around with just enough water for the day as the campsites provide clean water.
You do not know adventure if you have not visited Zion National Park. Include this location in your travel bucket list and make it a priority. If you have been here, I am sure you have a reason to return because you probably did not exhaust all the beautiful places.
I hope I have juggled your curiosity and now you are looking forward to this fantastic trip. Join the rest of the travelers as we enjoy this gem.
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