An Adventure Weekend Itinerary to Zion National Park

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Welcome to my new series on Adventure Weekend.  In this series, I am presenting a weekend itinerary on fun places to visit around the United States (and maybe some international locations).  Many of these itineraries will be ones I have done on my weekend travels for my engineering job. For my first park in this series, I am presenting a weekend itinerary to Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah.

Zion National Park is located in southern Utah and many of the adventures in the parks are bucket list worthy.
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During the winter, the Zion shuttle isn’t running and people are allowed to drive their cars in Zion Canyon.  The rest of the year, the Canyon is closed except for the shuttle buses.  This itinerary assumes the buses are running.

How to get there:

Zion National Park is within a couple hours of several major cities.  The cheapest option is to fly into Salt Lake, Las Vegas, or Flagstaff and rent a car to drive to Zion National Park. Zion National Park makes an epic addition to a Southwest Road Trip.

  • Salt Lake to Zion – 4.5 hours
  • Flagstaff to Zion – 4 hours
  • Las Vegas to Zion – 2.5 hours

Where to Stay:

This all depends on your budget. The town of Springdale has hotel options for all budgets.  There are several cute little inns and big modern hotels as housing options.  My personal favorite place to stay is in Zion National Park itself.  Zion has two large campgrounds and the Zion Park Lodge.  I tend to camp since I like sleeping outside and enjoy the fresh air.

An Adventure Weekend Itinerary to Zion National Park

Friday Evening

Arrive in Springdale and check in to your accommodations.  I usually stop at a major grocery store before arriving at the park.  Springdale has a little grocery store but it is expensive and has a rather limited selection.

If you want to break of the drive down to Zion, stop at Kanarra Falls Slot Canyon and take a refreshing hike to the falls.

Get to bed early, you will want to be up early to make full use of the park before the crowds arrive.

Saturday

Highlights for the Day

  • Observation Point
  • Weeping Rock
  • Hidden Canyon

Timeline

5:30 am – Wake up Breakfast

6:00 am – Catch the first shuttle into the canyon

6:20 am – Get off at the Weeping Rock Stop

6:30 am – Take a stroll to Weeping Rock (0.2 miles)

6:40 am – Start up the trail towards the East Rim trail junction (0.4 miles)

6:55 am – Take a right at the trail junction. Head towards Hidden Canyon (0.9 miles)

7:55 am – Arrive at the official end of Hidden Canyon.  Take your time and enjoy the view. (1.6 miles)

8:15 am – Head back down the trail

8:45 am – Arrive back at the trail junction. Take the left hand fork and head towards Observation Point (2.4 miles)

10:00 am – Pass the 2-mile sign post and the trail junction to East Rim Trail (3.9 miles)

12:00 pm – Arrive at Observation Point and a spectacular view of the Zion Canyon. Spend some time having lunch and enjoying the view.  Beware that the area is a popular spot for chipmunks.  Don’t give in to the cuteness and feed them. (5.9 miles)

Angel’s Landing is the section of cliff wall that sticks out if you look towards Springdale.

3:00 pm – Take your time hiking down from Observation Point.  The views of the valley and slot canyon are impressive.  Also remember most hiking accidents occur on the descent. (9.9 miles)

3:01 pm – Take your boots off and stick your feet in the stream coming from Weeping Rock.  The water is cold but your feet will thank you.  Let them soak in the cold.

3:30 pm – Have a snack and decide if want to hike anything else or just go on the shuttle tour of Zion National Park.

Sunday

Highlights for the Day

Timeline

5:30 am – Wake up Breakfast

6:00 am – Catch the first shuttle into the canyon

6:15 am – Get off at the Grotto Stop. Take time to go to the bathroom before heading up the trail.

6:20 am – Start up the trail to Angel’s Landing.  This is a hike you want to do fast on the way up.  It is the most popular hike in the park.  You will want to be off the Landing before the 9:00 bus people start hiking the last half mile of trail.

7:30 am – Arrive at the base of Walther’s Wiggles.  These 21 steep switchback are a steep hike up to Scout’s Lookout.

7:40 am –  Arrive at Scouts Landing.  Take a moment to enjoy the view and check out the last section of trail.  I still consider this the scariest section of hiking trail I have ever hiked. Keep one hand on the chain and watch out for the edge. Angel’s Landing has claimed 6 lives don’t be the 7th. (2 miles)

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8:20 am – Congratulation, you have made it to a place where “only Angel’s could land.” Enjoy the view and think about how much hard work you put into getting to this spot.  Have a snack and prepare yourself for getting down off the landing

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9:00 am – Head down off Angel’s Landing. Be careful. This is the scary part of the hike.  This is the dangerous part.  All the people on the later shuttles are heading up now.  You will have to pass each one of them on your hike down.  All those tight spots with chains are now a two-way hiking path.

10:00 am – Make it back to Scout’s Lookout.  Now is the time to really enjoy the view here.  You have made it off the landing and now just have to hike the shuttle stop. (3.0 miles)

11:00 am – Arrive at the shuttle stop. Hopefully, you have made the 11:00 am shuttle if not the next one comes by at 11:30 am. If you have time can either spend some time exploring the other small trails in the park or take some time to drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.  This tunnel is a wonder of 1920’s construction.  It is a 1.1-mile long tunnel between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.

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What do you think of my Weekend Itinerary to Zion National Park?

35 thoughts on “An Adventure Weekend Itinerary to Zion National Park”

  1. Such an awesome national park with some great picture opportunities. I hope I can plan this next year on one of the long weekends. Thanks for the detailed itinerary, I am sure it will be really helpful while planning.

  2. I just visited Zion a few months ago and I agree – In December it was a bit quiet but then it gave me time to appreciate the park even more, we saw a giant deer on the side of the driveway chilling!
    At the end of the day we were chatting with two rock climbers and the sun was about to set – the rock (the white throne) changes colors right away from white to red… EPIC @ knycx.journeying.

    1. The dear just chill where ever they want too. The climbers are amazing. I wouldn’t never do the climbs but they are so impressive.

  3. I love Zion! And Angels Landing is possibly one of my most favorite hikes ever – that an the narrows! All that red rock around is just so calming! Great itinerary too – you hit a couple of points I’m hoping to see on my next visit!

  4. Spectacular views! This looks like a great place to visit. I’m starting to explore national parks in the US this year and I will keep Zion in mind

  5. I love Zion National Park! I just wish we had more time there when we went last summer–we just had an afternoon so we hiked up Angel’s Landing. Thankfully the heat wasn’t too crazy and we didn’t encounter too many people! Would love to check out more of the park next time–Hidden Canyon looks like a cool spot!

    1. I both love and hate Zion for the crowds but it is a great place to visit and explore. One always need more time to visit the National Parks.

  6. This looks right up my alley! i did a lot of hiking before kids and i can’t wait for them to get big enough to hike again! Hows the terrain? lots of ups and downs and switchbacks?

  7. I have plans for a long USA road trip through some of these National Parks in the future. Zion will certainly be on my list. Great photos.

  8. Fantastic itinerary – I can’t wait! We had the chance to go through Zion, though we were in the area right when school holidays had started, so decided we didn’t want to even bother trying to share the park with those crowds. We’re really hoping to have the chance to get back in off season – will plan it out a bit further in advance this time! Will bookmark your itinerary – thanks for sharing!

  9. This is a very full weekend filled with gorgeous sights and active adventures – exactly my kind of trip! I have never been to Zion – but know I will make it there one day. It is so unique and beautiful, I would love to take a trip like this one day.

  10. What a fantastic hike and spectacular views, definitely worth getting up early to catch those wonderful vistas and avoid the hot day ahead. I really want to visit this park for 2016.

  11. Zion and canyon Lands always look so amazing. I am always expecting to see cowboys and Indians appear lol. We have never been to the USA but if we did this is on our list for sure

  12. Great itinerary, Jennifer! The level of detail is just.. wow
    I am planning on visiting Zion as well and I will probably use your itinerary, if that is ok. Thank you!

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