Visiting Zion National Park? Here’s what you need to know
This Zion National Park information will make your trip easier
Visit the park in spring and fall to avoid high temperatures
If you plan to hike, make basic preparations beforehand
Highlights of a visit include The Narrows and The Emerald Pools Trail
Southwest Utah’s Zion National Park has some of the most beautiful natural cliffs, rock formations, waterfalls, and sandstone arches in the world. If you’re planning to go there and you haven’t visited before, there are some things you should know to make the most out of your trip.
When to go
Because the park is in Utah’s desert region, and the Southwestern United States can get pretty hot, spring and fall can be better times to plan to visit. In the summer, park temps can get extremely high during the middle of the day, making it hard to explore without risking severe sunburn, heatstroke, and more. If you have to go during this time of year, try to do sightseeing early or late in the day, and rest when it is sweltering.
What to see
As you’d expect, there are plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities to keep you busy while in the park. One of many visitors’ favorite stops is known as the narrows. It is a gorge with walls a thousand feet tall on either side framing the Virgin River, which most hikers who are visiting The Narrows will wade through.
Other areas to visit include making the steep hike to Angels Landing or heading out to the Emerald Pools Trail. If you’re looking for a place to relax after your explorations, consider a stop at the Zion National Park Lodge, which is beautiful to see and offers guest accommodations for park visitors.
Tips to make the most out of your day
If you plan to hike, make sure you bring plenty of the typical hiking essentials. We’re talking sturdy shoes, a walking stick, plenty of water, and some hiking snacks. You also may want to bring a reliable map and a compass so that you know where you are at all times. And, consider starting your hike earlier in the day than you’d expect. You won’t mind the extra time on the trail and, if things get too hot, you’ll have more time for a well-earned break.
How to get there
Under almost any circumstances, plan to arrive at the park entrance gates by car. Most of the time, visitors arrive at the park as part of a more extensive road trip experience that includes nearby Bryce, Canyonlands, or Capitol Reef National Parks. Even if you’re traveling into the area from a distance, you’re likely to fly into McCarran National Airport in Las Vegas, which is about two and a half hours away and would require a car to finish the trip.
Plan to arrive at the park entrance gates by car
Once you’re at the park, you’re likely going to find yourself on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway. This road runs through the park’s gateway towns of Springdale and Mt. Carmel and passes by miles of gorgeous scenery and wildlife. One highlight that you don’t want to miss is the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, an engineering feat that is more than a mile long. Take note, however, that other than this main highway, there aren’t too many other options for drivers who want to use their car to get around.
Consider the shuttle
The best way to get around the park is the shuttle. It is reliable, easy to use, and gets to the best spots in the park.
Because of the large amounts of traffic that are present in the park, the Park Service offers a shuttle bus that works exceptionally well. There are easy to access shuttle stops both from the town of Springdale into the park, and from the visitor’s center to the most popular park locations. The shuttle will also get you into a lot of areas that just aren’t accessible by car and, if you’re so inclined, its a great way to start to get to know other tourists.
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