Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

“The Promised Land” of Utah's early settlers has now become a mecca for nature-loving travelers and adventure sports enthusiasts. Zion National Park is full of activity options for all ages and tastes. Discover all the tips for this amazing place here.

It was not for nothing that the Mormons, the first settlers in the region, baptized this extensive area of ​​593 km² with the name “Zion”. The word comes from the Hebrew “Tzion” (in Portuguese, Zion), which has the biblical meaning of "promised land" This is what they believed they had found when they saw that immense valley in the Zion National Park. 

Without a doubt, Zion Park is a paradise. Especially when it comes to the magnificent views of the valley. Upon arriving at the park, what draws the most attention are the big sandstone boulders. They are composed of varied colors – shades of beige, orange and red – that make up inspiring scenarios. These rock formations are the result of erosion that has been sculpting nature over many years.

out to unique landscape, is a true amusement park for those who enjoy connecting with nature in the most varied ways. Whether on trails, hiking through the Virgin river or by climbing. For those who like to delve deeper into research, it is worth mentioning that the area is home to great varieties of species of animals, plants and flowers.

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Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park location 

Zion National Park is on the outskirts of the city of Springdale, located about 270 km from Las Vegas, Nevada. For those coming from Utah, the park is 480 km from the state capital, Salt Lake City. It is the oldest of the five parks in the state of Utah, the famous Mighty 5.

How to get to Zion National Park

By car:

Zion National Park is located on State Route 9, in Springdale, Utah. For those leaving Las Vegas, the distance is about 262 km and the trip starts on the Interstate 15 North road. From Exit 16, you need to take State Route 9. From there to the park, you drive approximately 53 km. On this route, you pass The Verkin, city very close to Zion (32 km). In fact, it was in this city that I stayed.

An important tip for those who travel between American states, it is always important to keep an eye on the time zone. The time can change only when crossing a border. For example, when I crossed from Utah to Nevada, I gained an hour on the clock.


If your starting point is different, it is worth taking a look at the official website to see the different routes.

A good tip is to buy a cell phone chip from AMERICA CHIP to use on the trip. This allows you to use unlimited 4G internet throughout the United States, in addition to saving you on GPS rentals. With it, we used Google Maps during the entire trip on our cell phone and reached all the parks with ease.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Enjoying the arrival of Zion by car | Travel Tips – Photo: Bruno Tavares

By bus:

This is an option for Who travels to Las Vegas and do not intend to rent a car. Or for those who just want spend a day in Zion National Park and don't want to waste energy driving. The park is far from the city and going on a day trip can be quite tiring. The tip, then, is to look for tours from Las Vegas. You will find different companies and pricing options. It might be worth it, but you will be limited to the tour itinerary and times.


By airplane:

The major airports closest to Zion are those of Las Vegas, Nevada (170 miles – 273 km) and that of Salt Lake City, Utah (300 miles – 482 km). However, there are smaller airports that are even closer: Saint George, Utah (49 miles – 78 km), with flights departing from Salt Lake City and Denver, Colorado. And Cedar City, Utah (60 miles – 96 km), also departing from Salt Lake City.

What to Pack for Zion National Park

Because of the heat (even in autumn the temperature is still high), I chose to buy long-sleeved shirts with sunscreen and a waterproof boot to do the trails. You can find good prices at specialty stores (Timberland, Columbia, etc) or even cheaper stores like Ross, Marshalls and even Walmart.

If you don't want to get wet at all on some of the park's trails (such as the The Narrows which we will talk about below), the tip is to use rubber clothes.I saw several people wearing special boots with waterproof socks and pants. You can even rent it in the city. Another option is to take sneakers and boots to the park, if one gets wet you can continue your hiking day with another dry one (that's what I did).

Other items that cannot be missing from the backpack are: water and sunscreen. It's very important to stay hydrated and your skin protected on tours like these, as you'll be in the sun all day. Something to eat, like energy bars or fruit, is also welcome.

How does Zion National Park work?

Business Hours:

O Zion National Park fica open 24 hours a day, during the year. But the main services, like the Visitor Center, have their hours limited according to the time of year. In winter, for example, the shuttle, the park's free bus service, is not available to visitors. Therefore, it is worth taking a good look at the website before planning your trip.

Transport and Parking within Zion National Park:

Everything you want to do in the park is very well signposted, structured and easily accessible. To get around the park, you can leave your car in the parking lot, which is free, and which is close to the Zion Visitor Center. From there, you can take the shuttle, which is available throughout the day for visitors. It is with him that you go to the trails.

A hint: as the park is very popular, the parking lots can get very busy. Another option is to stop the car outside the park, in the city of Springdale, and take the shuttle to enter the park.

Another cool thing is that inside the shuttle you go listening to historical information about the park. This transport also has wheelchair access and space to store backpacks, climbing equipment and space for up to three bicycles.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The shuttle inside the park | Travel tips

It's worth taking a look at the map at this link to see all the bus stops, from outside the park to the furthest point, which is about 45 minutes from the Visitor Center.

Other important information: as during the period of March to November, the shuttle remains in constant operation, cars are not allowed on the main road, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Only in winter, when buses are not operating, can private vehicles travel on the highway. It is worth mentioning that most of the stops have parking, restrooms and water supply points. For more information on how the shuttle works, click here

Accessibility within Zion National Park

The park offers trails where people are allowed to enter. animals and by bicycleLike Pa’rus Trail. In addition, most of these trails are also recommended for children and elderly. Accessibility is another big concern in Zion – people with some kind of walking difficulties can also enjoy the tour.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

How much and where to buy Zion National Park Tickets

For those arriving by car, the entrance fee is U $ 35. The ticket is valid for all passengers. For motorcycles, the price is US$30 and is valid for the two people in the vehicle. You can buy the ticket directly at the entrance to the park.

If you enter the park on foot or by bus, admission is $20 per person. It is worth remembering that all these tickets are valid for 7 consecutive days and can be purchased at the park entrance booths.

Tip: If you are planning to visit other National Parks in the region, my tip to save on all the tickets is to buy the American National Parks Annual Pass. The fee is $80 and allows the pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single private vehicle to enter federally operated recreation sites across the country, more than 2000 locations. It's a great economy, and you can buy it online, on the official website here.

A piece of information that I discovered there and is worth mentioning. Let's say you bought a ticket to just one park (i.e. pay $35), then decided to go to another and paid another $35, a total of $70, if you go to a third park (within the validity of 7 days from the first entry) you will only pay the difference from the annual ticket price of $80, that is, you will only pay another $10. However, it is mandatory save the received and are within the validity period of 7 days. But if you've already planned to visit more than 2 parks, I recommend buying the $80 annual at the first park and don't worry.

Other annual pass options can be found at this link, including one-year entry into Zion only, for $50.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park | Travel Tips – Photo: Bruno Tavares

Things to do in Zion National Park  

Upon arrival at Zion National Park, head straight to the Visitor Center, which is right at the entrance. There you can take the maps and find out about all attractions. In fact, I recommend that every day you return to the park go through the Visitor Center, as they update information about the trails, weather forecast and any other useful information daily.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The path closest to this point is the Watchman Trail, one of the most visited in Zion. Along the walk, you can see classic Zion landmarks such as the “Towers of the Virgin”. It is also from the Visitor Center that you take the shuttle to the main visitation area of ​​the park, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, where everything happens.

Through the nine stops, the entrances to the trails and the main attractions of the park are located. I included in my visit the most popular trails in Zion National Park – Pa’rus Trail, Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. Below I describe, in more detail, how this experience was and all the tips:

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Pa’rus Trail

No second point of the shuttle, is the Zion Human History Museum, where you can watch a movie with useful information about the park and choose programs and trails, which vary in distance and degree of difficulty.

It is from this point, too, that the entrance to the Pa’rus Trail, the first track of my script. In it, animals are allowed and you can do it by bike. Pa'rus is considered easy and can be done by wheelchair users. To complete the route, it takes 2 hours (round trip) for a total of 5,6 km.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Pa'rus Trail can be done by bike – Zion National Park | Travel tips

Angel's Landing

Legend has it that the trailblazer wanted to find the highest point to see the Canyon. When he got to that point, he said that the place was so high that only angels could get there. This, in fact, is the reason why the track is called "Landing of Angels".

to get to Angel's Landing, you need to get off the shuttle at point 6, cross a bridge and take the West Rim Trail to the right. On this path, there is an intersection point, where you can choose to continue on the West Rim trail (more “quiet”) or enter a most dangerous route. I opted for the second option, which would take me to the top of Angel's Landing

Just to be clear, Angel's Landing itself is just the final stretch and the highest point of this route. As the most famous route in the park, the entire stretch of the West Rim Trail is called Angel's Landing, which is a bit confusing. But that's it: Angel's Landing is the final stretch, narrower, with very dangerous parts, close to very high cliffs.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The West Rim Trail seen from above – Zion National Park | Travel tips

The trail has a lot ascent and zig-zag sections. The complete tour is around 4 to 5 hours. Upon arriving at the lookout Scout Lookout, the walk on Angel's Landing begins in earnest. From there, you face a climb of 800 meters, and pass through challenging cliffs, on both sides.

Tip: if you want to avoid congestion (traffic of people), choose hike early. The time I did it (I started at 10 am) there were a lot of people. But the stretches where you have to wait for those coming from the opposite way are very quiet, the spaces for crossing are not so risky. You can easily pass through.

The view from up there is beautiful and rewarding. You can have an almost complete panorama of Zion National Park and there are several spots to take that selfie. I recommend setting aside a few minutes to enjoy the scenery, then eat something (I brought some fruit) and don't forget to hydrate yourself. The walk back also takes a lot of effort. Make no mistake, going down is not better than going up, it forces your knees a lot, so don't rush and be very careful.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The trail has chains to help the ascent – ​​Zion National Park | Travel tips

The Narrows

A The Narrows is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park. It is a trail that requires enough physical preparation. That's because you will face long walks through the cold waters of the Virgin River, between the high gorge walls that beat little sun and waterfalls on the way.

The Narrows is only open when the river is low and calm. From July to September, that's when there are more chances of the trail being open.

To get there, you need to stop at point 9 do shuttle no Temple of Sinawava. This is the gateway to the trail. Take advantage of this stop to go to the bathroom and fill your water bottles. The first part of the trail is the Riverside Walk, this part is very quiet on a 1 hour flat walk. Then The Narrows begins, that's where the challenge began! The trail does not have a well-defined length, you can follow it for more than 10 hours and there will still be a trail. We only did 4 hours of trekking, round trip.

The Narrows is a mostly flat trail, but don't be fooled by that. It's hard to step on submerged stones, not to mention that the river has a current that can be quite annoying in some parts. For this reason, it is necessary to be dressed appropriately: such as waterproof shoes and socks. A good tip is to take walking sticks, which make it much easier during the trail.

Watch out, too, on rainy days as the river rises very fast and you might get stuck somewhere. That's why I always recommend going before (even if you've been through the day before) Visitor Center, to know about the weather forecast and the river level.

Want to know more about Zion National Park? Run there on Instagram Travel tips and see all about The Narrows and Angel's Landing in the story highlights.

See also our tips for Zion National Park in our video:

Other popular attractions in Zion National Park

As Emerald Pools They are also very popular with tourists. I don't include this visit in my itinerary. However, I could not fail to mention this area, which can be very welcome for those looking to refresh themselves along the way.

The trail passes through different natural pools and waterfalls. But beware, on very hot days and with a lack of rain, the water level can be low and you may not find exactly what you usually see in the photos out there.

The entrance to this trail, the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, located at point 5 of the shuttle, in the Zion Lodge – a stop with a snack bar, bathroom, water and benches for moments of rest.

Another point that I cannot fail to mention is the The Subway, a very popular area, again like The Wave, you need to go through a lottery to be able to enter. Part of the trail is also done inside the river and includes natural pools and climbing points. To get permission for the trail, you need to enter the website and make the request up to three months in advance and the amount to be paid is U$ 5.

But if you haven't signed up for the lottery in advance via the website and the trip is just around the corner, there's still a chance. There is a draw that is done 7 to 2 days in advance. See more information about sweepstakes for The Subway on the official website here.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The Subwa no, Zion National Park – Foto: Petr Meissner via Flickr

How many days to stay in Zion National Park

It takes at least two days to get to know the park in depth, with a certain calm, mainly if you opt for the longer trails. As there are many attractions, it all depends on what you are looking for and the degree of difficulty of the activities you want to do. It is worth remembering that it is important to set aside time to take a breath, contemplate nature and, of course, for food.

So, if you want to dedicate yourself a lot to Zion National Park, make good use of your ticket, which is valid for seven days. With good planning – and with the park map in hand – it is possible to calculate the time you will spend at each of the points. This map can be of great help to you in tracing your route. And, of course, it's always worth visiting the official Zion Park website to learn more about each of the attractions.

Best time to visit Zion National Park

O autumn, when I visited Zion, is a good season and well recommended. The temperature is still high, but not as hot as in summer and not as crowded as during this holiday period.

No winter, it is possible to visit the park as well, but with a different proposal, since some of the services and attractions are closed at this time. Not to mention the temperature, which drops considerably.

What I noticed was that, in the morning, Zion National Park becomes emptier. This is the tip for those who prefer to do the trail in a quieter climate, to hear the sound of nature. In the afternoon, the park gives a nice filling. Opting for trails after lunch can even be a good idea for those who like to be safer on the way.

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The Watchman Trail in Autumn – Photo: Zion National Park via Flickr | Travel tips

Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The Zion Landscape in Winter – Photo: Zion National Park via Flickr | Travel tips

Itinerary of other parks in the USA combined with Zion National Park  

If you are setting up a nature itinerary across the United States, it is worth mentioning that Zion National Park can be combined with the other parks of the so-called Might 5. This itinerary includes, in addition to Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon . That last one was also on my list, in addition to the Valley of Fire and the Grand Canyon.

Want to know more: 

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: The Complete Guide

Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide to America's Most Famous Park

The Wave, Arizona USA: Everything you need to know before you go

Where to stay in Zion National Park

There is no shortage of accommodation options close to Zion. you can stay in Springdale, which is the gateway to the park or in neighboring towns: St George – 50 minutes by car. Hurricane – 30 minutes from Zion National Park or La Verkin –  which is about 25 minutes from Zion, and prices are better than in Springdale. I chose to stay one hundred La Verkin.

But if the proposal is to immerse yourself in nature, you can stay at one of the Zion campsites. Reservations can be made through the Zion Park website.

Hotels in La Verkin

La Quinta Inn was a great lodging option. The hotel is approximately 25 minutes from Zion National Park, with easy access via a very quiet road and with a beautiful view. The hotel was recently renovated, with very modern decor. What I liked the most was the room – which was very spacious with a big and comfortable bed, in addition to being very quiet. Breakfast is complete and hearty. Also, prices are much cheaper compared to other Springdale hotels. Rates are around $99 for a couple. It was worth it, I recommend it.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

The Best Western Plus Zion West is also 25 minutes from Zion National Park. The hotel offers free wi-fi and parking, breakfast included in the rate, spacious rooms with flat-screen cable TV. air conditioning and microwave.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

hotels in Hurricane

Hurricane Wingate is a 3-star hotel with rates starting at $70 per person. The hotel is approximately a 30-minute drive from Zion National Park. The rooms are new with clean decor and spaces. They have a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Wi-fi and breakfast are included in the rate.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Econo Lodge is a 3 star with great value, rates are around U$ 40 per person and an 8,1 rating on Booking.com. The hotel is 37 km away (approximately 30 minutes from Zion National Park). It offers wi-fi and breakfast included in the rate. The rooms have a TV and a private bathroom.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Hotels in Springdale

Flanigan`s Inn is very close to Zion National Park, just 13 km. The chalets are very spacious and equipped with air conditioning and minibar, some have balconies. The hotel also offers (at an extra cost) a spa to relax after hiking in Zion Park. In the surroundings of the hotel there are good options of restaurants and bars.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Red Rock Inn Cottages is right next to Zion National Park, just 2 km away – you can walk. The hotel is highly rated on Booking – with a score of 9,4 – Fantastic. The chalets have views of the mountains, the rooms have modern decor and very clean. Wi-fi and breakfast are included in the rate.


Zion National Park – everything you need to know before you go

Find more discount hotels in Zion National Park here 

Did you like our tips? Tell us about your experience here! 

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Receive a SIM card at your home in España and use unlimited Internet throughout the US

We discovered one of the best solutions for you not to spend hours of travel in telephone stores in the country, speaking an unknown language to get a SIM card. This is one of the tips we love to give our readers: America Chip.

Write it down: The company sends an international Chip to your home in Spain. When you're on the plane, just change your Brazilian SIM card for this international one. You will arrive in the United States with unlimited internet, using your cell phone at will, as you use in España.

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  • Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide to America's Most Famous Park
  • What to do in Las Vegas: The 9 best tips to enjoy the city
  • Is it mandatory to take out travel insurance for the United States?
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