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(Last Updated On: April 23, 2023)

Oh, Zion. Truly a remarkable park that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a prehistoric era. The most impressive park that I went to (in my opinion), but also the most commercialized. Make the most of your trip to Zion with my tips below!

To paint a picture for you: Zion is 229 square miles with an elevation change of 5000 feet from the lowest point to the highest point, containing some of the scenic canyons in the country.

Where To Stay:

 Finding a place to stay near Zion can be very challenging during peak season.

  1. Camp in the park. Camping in the park is ideal because you don’t have to pay for parking each day, however, camping in the park is difficult to get. You can make reservations in the Watchman Campground or you can arrive extremely early (7 am) and wait in line at South Campground until someone leaves. We were able to get in to South Campground on night 2.
  2.  Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM areas have saved us over and over. First off, they are FREE (well most of the time). Yay! As long as you are okay with no amenities and brought a shovel and some toilet paper :). We pointed quite a few people to the BLM we stayed at since we observed them driving hotel to hotel with no luck. This BLM is pretty close to the park. Read my Guide to Finding Free Camping
    1. Drive towards Rockville and turn on Bridge Road.
    2. Drive over a single lane bridge and keep towards the right on 250 S (I think it’s unmarked)
    3. Drive up an incline and look for a sign on the left “Smithsonian Butte”. This is your BLM.
    4. Drive into the BLM and find a pull off that is open.
  3. Stay in Springdale. If you are able to make a reservation/prefer hotels and motels – Springdale has a large selection. Springdale is also where we went for food while we were visiting Zion.

What Hikes to Do: 

Day 1: The Narrows. We got there in the early afternoon and it was blazing hot. Rent the neoprene socks, boots, and walking stick at the rental store if you plan on going in the river more than a half mile. It was challenging because of all the slippery rocks, but it is a no pressure hike that will cool you down. Check the flash flood risk on the website or at the visitors center.

Day 2: Horseback Riding. Make reservations day of or the night before HERE. $45 for an hour along the river. Great way to see the canyon and relax a bit.

Emerald Pools: 

  • 3 Miles round trip
  • Easy
  • Streams, waterfalls, pools

Day 3: Angel’s Landing. This hike made my entire trip. I’m afraid of heights and this hike is listed as one of the most 25 most dangerous hikes in the world. I felt so accomplished after completing this hike. This hike now requires reservations.

  • 5 miles
  • Full sun
  • Drop offs on both sides at the top
  • The view is everything.
  • Start as early in the morning as you can

1 Day Itinerary for Zion National Park

I recently revisited Zion National Park in March of 2023! My first time here (this blog post) was 2016, so a good amount has changed, and I’ve found some fun new hikes that I thoroughly enjoyed. Check out my new updated and more detailed post HERE!

Conclusion: Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of the busiest National Parks in the USA, and for good reason. It is definitely an impressive landscape worth seeing. Classic sights worth checking out are:

  • The Narrows
  • Angels Landing or Scout Lookout
  • Emerald Pools
  • Zion Canyon Overlook
  • Zion – Caramel Tunnel Drive

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Join the Conversation


  1. Paul on January 8, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    This seems to be a great travel destination. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Chad Taylor on June 28, 2023 at 7:08 pm

    Awesome info! We went to Zion last year and want to go back. We tried canyoneering for the first time with some local guides (https://allwaysadventure.com/canyoneering-adventures-in-east-zion/) and it was so fun!

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