The Best Fall Hikes in Zion National Park

Oct 19, 2019

Fall is here, and while Zion National Park may technically be located in a desert, it sees its fair share of color this time of year.

Any trail you choose in the park will allow you to see the leaves change and plantlife come to life in shades of red and yellow. But a few trails, in particular, become a little extra beautiful this time of year. Keep reading to learn a few of the best Fall hikes of Zion National Park.

Canyon Overlook Trail

For families with young children or those who want to experience the park’s stunning Fall colors without taking on a strenuous hike, Canyon Overlook Trail is a great choice.

Like Angels Landing, you’ll enjoy incredible views of Zion Canyon from far above at the summit of this hike. But at just 1-mile in length and rated easy to moderate, it’s far more accessible. The hour-long Canyon Overlook Trail starts just East of the Mount Carmel Tunnel. This time of year, the canyon floor comes alive with the colors of Fall. Don’t forget to bring your camera on this hike!

Riverside Walk

Another leisurely hike that’s made even more beautiful as the leaves begin to change is the Riverside Walk. This 2.2-mile roundtrip hike is entirely paved, making it ideal for families with young children or anyone looking for a flat, accessible hike. 

You’ll follow along the winding Virgin River, lined with trees and other plant life that turns shades of yellow and red this time of year.

Angels Landing

Of course, no list of Zion hiking trails would be complete without the iconic Angels Landing. The most popular hike in the park, this 5.4-mile hike will have you climbing over 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. From there, you can see the canyon and all of its color far below.

Unlike the Riverside Walk or Canyon Overlook Trail, Angels Landing isn’t for everyone. This steep, lengthy hike will take you at least 3 hours to complete, or longer if you climb slower or stop for lots of photographs. You’ll also have to scale narrow cliff ridges, using a chain handrail to keep your balance.

But if you’re willing and able to take on the challenge, Angels Landing is a bucket-list hike for any outdoor enthusiast. Just make sure that you start preparing at least a few weeks or months ahead of your trip. Also, if you’re planning a late-Fall hike to Angels Landing, keep in mind that temperatures will be much cooler at higher elevations, so pack additional layers that you can add to stay warm and comfortable during your adventure.

Observation Point

Another rugged hike that rewards those who conquer it with stunning views is Observation Point. Even longer than Angels Landing, this hike is 8-miles long and climbs 2,300 feet in elevation. Most hikers take between 4 and 6 hours to complete it.

Also like Angels Landing, you’ll want to do plenty of preparation ahead of this hike, and pack the right gear. From the top, you’ll enjoy views of some of Zion’s most iconic landmarks, including Angels Landing. But the entire hike, from start to finish, is beautiful, especially when the trees start to match the beautiful red rock walls and peaks of this hike.

Taylor Creek Trail

Head to Kolob Canyon for this next hike. At 5-miles roundtrip, this hike is far less steep than the previous hikes on this list, with just 450-feet in elevation change. Taylor Creek Trail takes hikers through a variety of landscapes, from a narrow box canyon to the tree-lined Taylor Creek. You’ll pass the geologic formation titled the Kanarraville Fold. There are even two historic homestead cabins on this trail, both of which were built by settlers in the area in the early 1930s. 

The changing scenery gives visitors a chance to see the different views and colors of Fall, all in one moderate hike.

Choosing the Perfect Fall Hikes in Zion National Park

There’s really no bad time to visit Zion National Park. But if you want to see the park come alive in color, a Fall trip is a must. Whether you want to take on a challenging hike like Angels Landing or Observation Point, or a more family-friendly adventure like Riverside Walk or Canyon Overlook Trail, you can’t go wrong with one of these beautiful trails.

Of course, as with any visit to Zion, you’ll want to do a little planning. To start, Fall means that the weather and temperature may change throughout the day. With cool temps in the morning and high 70s or even 80s during the middle of the day, you’re going to want to dress in layers that you can easily add or shed as you warm-up or cool off. It’s also important to check for trail closures ahead of your visit. Rockfalls, weather, or regular maintenance may close trails on a day-to-day basis, so you’ll need to check often to better plan your day’s itinerary.