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Zion National Park Itinerary- 2 Day Ultimate Trip Guide

Updated: Apr 27

Zion National Park was Utah’s first National Park and is located near the city of Springdale. Every year thousands of visitors from the United States and around the world flock to this gorgeous park for hiking, biking, camping, and, stargazing. Zion’s canyons are caused by erosion over millions of years, but out of the erosion came a breathtaking landscape that is almost unreal.


I recently spent two days exploring and hiking in the park. This was my second time visiting the park, my last visit was in 2019. In this post, I will share my itinerary and provide some helpful tips for visiting the park!


Zion National Park

Tips:

  • There is an entrance fee but sometimes the fee booth may be closed. The fee is around $20/person or $35.00/vehicle. If you visit National Parks often, I recommend purchasing the America The Beautiful annual pass. The pass is $80, and you can access National Parks and other federal sites throughout the U.S.

  • Within the park, there are no gas stations but near the visitors center, you will find a few shops and restaurants.

  • Bring food and water with you on the trail. (I like to carry at least 2 liters of water, a sandwich, and a few snacks)

  • Cell Phone reception is spotty and I recommend downloading an offline map of the area.

  • Parking is available at the visitor center. If the parking lot is full, there is street parking and other parking areas in Springdale that are close to the park. A shuttle will transport visitors from the city to the Zion Canyon Village.

  • Once you arrive in the park there are free shuttles that leave from the visitors center that will transport you to stops throughout the park. You can view the shuttle schedule here.

  • A permit is required for hiking Angels Landing and permits must be reserved the day before. Visit this link for more information.

  • If you plan to hike the narrows, keep in mind that this trail is weather-dependent and is closed when there is a risk of flash flooding.

  • For additional information visit the National Park Service Website.

When to Visit:

  • The Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

  • Temperatures are the best during the Fall (October and November) and Spring months (March and April). If you plan to visit during the Summer (May-September) be prepared for high temps reaching 100 F. If you plan to visit during the Winter months (December, January, and February) be prepared for snow and limited shuttle bus services.

  • The park’s busy season is from April to October.

How to get There:

  • The best way to get to the park is by driving. I recommend flying into Las Vegas, renting a car, and then driving to Zion from there. Las Vegas is the closest major city to the park.

  • Distance from Las Vegas, NV: 2 hr. 15 min

  • Distance from Bryce Canyon National Park: 2 hrs.

  • Distance from Salt Lake City, Utah: 4 hrs. 30 min

Where to Stay:

  • There are no accommodations within the park unless you plan on camping, but there are a lot of really nice hotels to choose from that are near the park.

  • The first time I visited the park, I stayed at the Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn and Suites. It was a cozy hotel with a comfortable bed and beautiful views.

  • This time I stayed at a comfortable Airbnb for two nights, in the nearby town of La Verkin. La Verkin is about a 25-minute drive from the park.

Safety:

  • Overall Zion and the surrounding area is a very safe city and has a very low crime rate. We have always felt very safe during our visits. As with any city, it is always best practice to use wisdom when traveling and be aware of your surroundings.

Budget:

  • A weekend trip to Zion is fairly inexpensive. That being said, visiting during peak tourist season can quickly change this budget-friendly trip to an expensive trip. If you have an Airbnb, I recommend cooking most of your meals. This will help to keep costs low.


2- Day Itinerary


Day 1 (Breakfast, West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout, Angels Landing, Pa’rus Trail)

Before hitting the trails, start your morning at Deep Creek Coffee Co. This cafe offers delicious food that will fuel your hikes and coffee that will give you all the energy you need. We went there 3 mornings in a row! I got the matcha latte (I’m not much of a coffee drinker), the Bro-ritto, and the blueberry muffin. Everything was amazing!






Bro-Ritto

Matcha Latte


After breakfast, catch a ride on the Springdale Shuttle to the park. After you arrive in the park, catch the Zion Shuttle to Stop 6 to hike the West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout and if you have a permit, Angels Landing. This is a popular but difficult hike with breathtaking views! Angels Landing is at the top after you finish Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail. Angels Landing is a narrow strip of rock that visitors can walk along for an additional challenge.

Once you finish the hike take some time to rest, enjoy a snack, and take in the views.


Scout Lookout Via West Rim Trail


Location: Stop 6

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 3.6 miles + more if you do Angels Landing

Elevation: 1,115 ft



view of the canyon valley


Views on the way to Scout Lookout Trail


After you make your way down, if you have enough energy to take on a second hike and you are looking for something a little less challenging, take the shuttle to stop at 3 Canyon Junction. The Pa’rus trail is located at stop 3. This is a great trail for all levels and is very easy to complete.


Pa’rus Trail


Location: Stop 6

Difficulty: Easy (paved)

Distance: 3.2 miles out and -back

Elevation: 134 ft


Day 2 (Breakfast, Emerald Pools, Watchman Trail)


We are starting our morning again at Deep Creek Coffee Co. After breakfast, catch a ride on the Springdale Shuttle to the park. After you arrive in the park, catch the Zion Shuttle to Stop 5 to hike Emerald Pools. Emerald Pools is a challenging trail that takes you to beautiful waterfalls. There are three Emerald Pools, Upper, Middle, and Lower. The upper and lower trails are nice. There is not much to see on the middle trail. The trail is steep and slippery in some places, so take caution when hiking this trail. Once you make it to Upper Emerald Pools, take some time to rest and enjoy a snack.


View of the Water Falls

Lower Emerald Pool Trail


Location: Stop 6

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2.2 miles out and- back Elevation: 150 ft


Lower Emeralds Pool

Middle Emerald Pools Trail

Location: Stop 6

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2.2 miles out and- back Elevation: 150 ft

Upper Emerald Pool Trail

Location: Stop 6 Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles out-and-back Elevation: 200 ft


Upper Emerald Pool

After you make your way down if you have enough energy to take on a second hike and you want to hike another moderate trail, take the shuttle to stop 1 the Visitor Center. The Watchman trail is located at stop 1. This is a great trail for more amazing views. Tip: This trail can be muddy when wet.


Watchman Trail

Location: Stop 1 Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3.3 miles out and- back Elevation: 368 ft


Bonus Hikes:

If the weather is good, plan to hike The Narrows via Riverside Walk. We were not able to hike the trail this time due to the weather, but I hear that the trail is amazing. This trail takes you through the river and the water has been known to be at neck level. About 60% of this hike is spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the river. I recommend renting equipment from the shop in Zion Canyon Village (It’s right next to the Springdale Shuttle Stop). Tip: Plan to do this hike on day one or day two. It's best to reserve a day for this hike.


Location: Stop 9 Difficulty: Hard Distance: up to 9.4 miles and can take up to 8 hours to hike Elevation: 334 ft


Bonus Trips:

A mountain tunnel road that leads to beautiful canyon views.

Bryce Canyon is another National Park located about 2 hrs. from Zion National Park.

Overall, Zion National Park is a great park to visit! I hope this post will assist you in planning your trip to Zion or inspire you to visit Zion National Park!



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