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zion national park

Hiking Trails in Zion National Park

Zion National Park, located in southwestern Utah, is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and diverse hiking opportunities. From towering sandstone cliffs to narrow slot canyons, Zion offers a range of trails that cater to all levels of hikers. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular and scenic hiking trails in the park.

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1. Angels Landing


  • Distance: 5.4 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Elevation Gain: 1,488 feet
  • Highlights: Panoramic views of Zion Canyon

Angels Landing is one of Zion’s most famous hikes, known for its thrilling ascent and spectacular views. The trail starts at The Grotto and includes a steep climb with numerous switchbacks, culminating in a narrow ridge with chains for support. This hike is not for the faint of heart but rewards hikers with incredible vistas.


  • Start Early: Begin your hike early to avoid crowds and the heat.
  • Safety: Be cautious on the final ridge section; it can be very narrow with steep drop-offs.

2. The Narrows


  • Distance: Up to 16 miles round trip (hike as far as you wish)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Highlights: Wading through the Virgin River, towering canyon walls

The Narrows is a unique hike through the Virgin River, where you’ll wade and sometimes swim through the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. The hike can be tailored to your preference, with the most popular section being the bottom-up day hike from the Temple of Sinawava to Big Spring.


  • Gear: Rent water shoes and a walking stick from local outfitters.
  • Weather: Check weather conditions for flash flood warnings before starting.

3. Observation Point


  • Distance: 8 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Elevation Gain: 2,148 feet
  • Highlights: Panoramic views, views down into Zion Canyon

Observation Point offers some of the best views in Zion National Park, even higher than Angels Landing. The trail starts at Weeping Rock and ascends through Echo Canyon, providing a mix of stunning scenery and challenging terrain.


  • Fitness: This is a demanding hike; ensure you’re in good physical condition.
  • Time: Allocate enough time (4-6 hours) to complete this hike.

4. Emerald Pools


  • Distance: 1.2 to 3 miles round trip (depending on the pools you visit)
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Highlights: Waterfalls, lush vegetation

The Emerald Pools trail system consists of three different trails leading to Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools. This hike is suitable for families and those looking for a shorter, less strenuous option while still enjoying beautiful waterfalls and shaded pools.


  • Family-Friendly: Great for kids and beginners.
  • Crowds: Can get busy; visit early or late in the day to avoid crowds.

5. Canyon Overlook


  • Distance: 1 mile round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Highlights: Stunning views of Zion Canyon and the Pine Creek slot canyon

Canyon Overlook is a short and relatively easy hike that offers spectacular views. The trailhead is located just east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, and the path includes some rocky sections and railings for safety.


  • Accessibility: Good for those with limited time or looking for an easier hike.
  • Photography: Ideal for sunrise or sunset photography.

Safety and Preparation

Essential Tips

  • Water: Always carry plenty of water, especially in the hotter months.
  • Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Footwear: Use sturdy hiking shoes or boots.
  • Permits: Some trails, like Angels Landing, require permits. Check ahead.

Weather Considerations

  • Summer: Be prepared for high temperatures.
  • Winter: Trails can be icy; check conditions.
  • Flash Floods: Be aware of flash flood risks, especially in narrow canyons.

Also Read: The Pros and Cons of Using Carbon Fiber for Outdoor Gear – Drifter’s Loom (driftersloom.com)


Zion National Park’s diverse hiking trails offer something for everyone, from the adventurous thrill-seeker to the leisurely nature walker. With stunning landscapes and varying levels of difficulty, these trails ensure an unforgettable experience in one of America’s most beautiful national parks. Remember to prepare adequately, respect the natural environment, and enjoy the beauty of Zion!

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