Zion National Park Hiking Guide: What To Know and What to Bring

Mar 23, 2018


Zion National Park Hiking Guide: What To Know and What to Bring

This hiking guide largely applies to visitors and tourists who spend time in Zion National Park during the summer months, or peak season, as it is called.

When hiking in Zion, remember that Southern Utah during the busy season is quite warm, sometimes exceeding 100°F during the summer. It is an arid climate, so be sure to be prepared for this type of weather during your planning and packing process and certainly before you hit the trails. You don’t want to get dehydrated and you don’t want to get sunburned, two things that can quickly ruin your Zion experience. Bring a satisfactory amount of water as well as sunblock. If you want a physical hiking guide, you can find them at the Springdale & Zion Canyon Visitor Center as well as the visitor center inside the park.

The majority of the hikes that you’ll find in Zion National Park, particularly in the main canyon, consist of paths that were created by blasting out walls of sandstone. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes designed for hiking as you’ll be trekking across hard surfaces and will often be required to hike uphill depending on the trails you choose. And of course, if you plan on experiencing The Narrows, know that you’ll be hiking through water and stepping on wet river rocks. Use the following information as a general hiking guide for hiking in Zion.

Non-Strenuous Hikes

When preparing to hike the non-strenuous trails in Zion National Park, it’s recommended to bring adequate footwear. Something like trail runners is best but quality sneakers should be sufficient. Open-toed shoes of any kind should be left at home. However, hiking sandals are fine for the leisurely hikes in the park. Heavy hiking boots are not the best option for hiking in Zion due to the fact that they often inhibit ankle movement, but if it’s the only thing you have, you’ll probably be okay. It’s also recommended to wear synthetic or wool socks instead of cotton ones as they do a much better job at preventing blisters.

Make sure that, before starting a hike, you know the distance and the route so that you can bring an appropriate amount of water, especially during the summer. Sturdy water bottles (or backpack-style water pouches) that hold more than traditional bottled water are recommended, no matter which hike you choose. Sunblock is essential. Hats should be worn when hiking in the sun. Because standard sports caps only shield your face, consider getting a wide-brimmed hat to shield the back of your neck as well. Certainly don’t venture into the park without packing some food and snacks, particularly on longer hikes; sandwiches from home, fruit, energy bars, jerky, things like that. Maps and other navigation devices will likely not be needed when hiking Zion’s non-strenuous hikes, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Strenuous Hikes

Use this section as a hiking guide for trekking through the more difficult hikes in Zion National Park. All of the information already mentioned applies to these trails in addition to the following:

Consider using a hiking pole depending on your physical abilities and the particular hikes you choose, particularly if you plan on carrying a heavy pack. You can rent or purchase them from various adventure outfitters in Springdale and from the two visitor centers. Certainly, if you’re hiking The Narrows, it is recommended that you use a hiking pole as well as that you wear shoes that drain water and that breathe well. Neoprene socks are great for hiking through water and can also be rented or purchased in Springdale. Additional pieces of equipment such as headlamps, maps, a hiking guide, navigation aids, and emergency kits should also be considered if you’re going on multi-day hikes, backpacking excursions, canyoneering, camping, or other strenuous outdoor activities involving hiking.

Hiking Guide Additional Thoughts

Obey every sign you see while inside Zion National Park. The instructions are mandatory. Signs with messages such as “Do Not Hike Here”, “Do Not Feed the Animals”, “No River Access”, and others must be adhered to. The signs are there for your safety and for the preservation of the park (click here to learn how to stay safe in Zion). Even when in the backcountry where off-trail hiking is sometimes permitted, be conscious and respectful of where you step and make concerted efforts to tread lightly where appropriate and do not needlessly trample though cryptobiotic soil and vegetation. Leave no trace, as they say.

Hiking Guide Note: you will not have any cell phone reception while hiking the trails of Zion except when you reach a very high point (Observation Point, Angels Landing, and others) and even then it isn’t guaranteed.

Zion National Park Hiking Guide: What To Know and What to Bring

Hiking Guide

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2 Comments

  1. Sotthivy Chey

    Is hiking in Zion is suitable for a 70 years old person

    Reply
    • Kay Goldstein

      I just hiked in Zion and I’m 71. We dis the watchman trail and the river walk. Loved it!!!

      Reply

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