A trip to Zion National Park is sure to please if you're looking for outdoor thrills that can be fun for the entire family. You can take a shuttle from one end of the park to the other and see all of the landmarks and hiking trails there are. Not far off of the trails you'll find unspoiled natural pools, rushing rivers, and sheer, high cliffs with red, orange, amber, and white stone. You can go rock climbing or canyon walking, get on horseback and head along the river, or relax under lush green trees at the base of a weeping rock. Discover the 10 best things to do in Zion National Park.


    Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

    Take a shuttle among towering walls and brilliant colors

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    A drive along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will allow you to witness the deep colors of the towering cliff walls rising hundreds of feet into the air on both sides. The road will offer you some of the most famed sites in the entire park, including Angel's Landing and the signature feature of the park known as The Narrows. You can either rent a car and tackle the drive yourself, viewing the key attractions in the park alone, or take a shuttle bus that has scheduled stops at the scenic sites so you won't miss anything.


    Zion-Mount Carmel Highway

    Rent a car and drive the curves of a scenic highway

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    The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a scenic route that runs through the entire park starting at the South Entrance. It winds high above the valley below, offering dramatic views and photo opportunities of the wilderness. You will hug the cliffside while you climb the mountains and then go through a narrow tunnel (which isn't wide enough for most RVs!). When you exit the tunnel, you'll find the Canyon Overlook hiking trail as well as an endless landscape of orange and cream-colored ridge mountains with scatterings of lush green pine trees. There's no shuttle on this route, so you'll need a car.



    View mountain ridges and picturesque trails

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    Hiking is one of the most popular attractions in Zion National Park, with dozens of picturesque trails to tackle. Whether you're a novice adventurer or a skilled outdoor expert, you'll find a challenging trail that offers plenty of photographic opportunities of high-ridged mountains, deep and winding valleys, winding rivers with rushing waters, verdant pine forests, and more. You can even find trails that lead you to small pools where you can relax with a picnic lunch, or you can witness the weeping walls that drip with water from inside the mountains.


    Weeping Rock

    See a cascading waterfall that comes right out of a cliff

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    Weeping Rock is located along a scenic drive and is a massive dripping stone that lets you get up close to unspoiled hanging gardens clinging to the sheer cliffs. It's also one of the more famous sites that draw travelers to the park. The amount of water that runs off the rock varies depending on the season and can sometimes be just a few steady drips, while at other times it can be a cascading waterfall. Many travelers like to stand at the base of the cliff and be overcome by the majesty of the towering canyon walls. It's just a half-mile round-trip hike off of the road, so it's an easy jaunt to reach this iconic site.


    Riverside Walk

    Take an easy and relaxed walk along the shores of the river

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    The Riverside Walk is a hiking trail that covers 2.2 miles round trip. It's an easy trail to hike because it's paved the entire way and is accessible by shuttle bus or car. In some locations, the trail hugs a rock wall while taking you past striking hanging gardens with green foliage and the bright colors of local flora. The trail also offers access to the river shore edge. Across the river in the spring, you can see cascading waterfalls pouring over the red-brown cliff walls. It's also a famed spot for fans of bird-watching and wildlife viewing.


    Lower Emerald Pools

    Relax on the shores of serene natural rock pools

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    The Lower Emerald Pools are easy to access with a round-trip hike that's just over a half-mile. The hike starts near a shuttle bus stop and offers a gorgeous walk in the springtime. You'll be able to see the green foliage just starting to appear on the trees and finishing at the base of a weeping wall that alternates between trickles and cascading waterfalls. There are calm pools here that offer a tranquil place to just sit and become one with nature. If you feel the drive to do so, you can even continue behind the falls and head to the Middle and Upper Emerald Pools beyond.


    Checkerboard Mesa

    Discover the white and amber walls of a unique mesa

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    The Checkerboard Mesa encompasses most of the eastern side of the park and gleams bright white against a sea of brown, forming the distinctive pattern for which it's named. It is not only a scenic attraction, but it's also a convenient one with its own parking area and an information plaque outlining the significance and history of the site. It's also the first stop you'll encounter when you enter the East Entrance to the park. You'll be treated to a swirling pattern of white and amber as the summit towers above you into the deep blue sky.


    Human History Museum

    Learn the history of Zion from the Stone Age through today

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    The Human History Museum is a small museum that is the first stop on the park's shuttle bus and offers education and information about the cultural history of the region. It's a bit of a different attraction than the hiking, biking, and natural wonders of the park, and it features a massive model of the park so you can get a bird's-eye view of the entire area in one miniature place. The museum's permanent collection is focused on native indigenous culture as well as early pioneer settlers and the establishment of the park. You can interact with park rangers and even watch a video about the park that runs every half-hour.

    Location: Zion National Park Rd, Springdale, UT 84767, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 435-772-3256


    photo by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Canyon Trail Rides

    Explore the canyons and trails from horseback

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    Canyon Trail Rides let you book one of several 1-hour tours that will take you along the Virgin River, which is considered one of the park's most scenic areas. More experienced riders can choose to book longer tours. On your trail ride, you'll cross bridges over rushing white waters, be surrounded by red and amber-colored rock walls, and pass under rich green canopies of deciduous and pine trees. Horseback riding is also a family-friendly activity that even the kids can enjoy.

    Location: 530 UT-9, Virgin, UT 84779, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 435-635-1552



    Scale the cliffs and plumb the canyon depths

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    Zion National Park is an ideal place for canyoneering, thanks to its unusual landscape filled with deep, winding slot canyons. In fact, this is one of the biggest, most popular activities that draw visitors here. Not far away, tons of shops and outfitters offer equipment rentals and even courses and guided tours for beginner rock climbers through advanced canyoneers. Just driving through the park, you're sure to see rock climbers hanging off the sheer cliffs high above you, and there are not many more exhilarating experiences than being up there and looking down.


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