Zion National Park is a pleasure to experience and a wonder to behold at all times of the year, but there are a few days that entail especially high visitation. These include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and any park-sponsored “free” days. In general, all holidays and weekends are busier than weekdays. We encourage visitors to plan around these busy times to ease the impact on the park and create a better experience for all.
As you’ll see from the accompanying chart, there are some lower-visitation times where you’ll have more seclusion. If you have flexibility in your vacation time, visiting Zion National Park during times with less visitation is strongly encouraged.
Each season has its own advantages in Zion National Park, so coming back to experience the unique aspects of each season is a must. Regardless of when you come, you’ll have a memorable experience.
This season of wildflowers finds cactus blooms and vibrant greens contrasting against the red rock canyon walls. Temperatures are ideal for more strenuous hikes. Spring rains and winter snowmelt often raise the water level of the Virgin River, making The Narrows unsafe for hiking. Check the river conditions on the National Park Service Page.
High temps and lack of shade on most hikes will require you to drink plenty of water and use liberal amounts of sunscreen. Heat stroke is no joke. Canyoneering in Zion is best enjoyed in the summer. Be aware of the weather conditions and never enter a slot canyon if there is any chance of rain. Flash floods are no joke either.
SSeptember marks monsoon season, which brings sudden and strong rain, potentially creating flash floods. Be mindful of the forecast and only enter slot canyons when the forecast is clear. When there is no bad weather, fall is an excellent time to take on strenuous hikes due to more mild temperatures. Fall colors come later to Zion than many places; expect the leaves to change around mid-October.
Most main canyon hikes* stay open all year, but some snow and ice build-up is typical. These conditions suggest the use of traction cleats, which are available at outfitters in Springdale. Higher elevation areas, like West Rim Trail or Kolob Terrace, get significant snow, often limiting access.
If you choose to brave the heat waves, be mindful of the extra safety measures (hydration, sun protection, fatigue prevention, etc.) your journey will require. And always check Current Conditions before heading to Zion.