Utah is a state that is often flown over or passed by. If you are coming from the east coast and heading to Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, then you will most likely miss the beautiful state. The good news is that one of the most beautiful, most visited national parks in the state, Zion National Park, is within driving distance of these two popular destinations.
Make the time to visit the 229 square mile park that is comprised of cliff and canyon landscape that includes the world’s largest arch, Kolob Arch, which is a true site to see. When you are visiting the park, you will have a chance to see the wildlife that lives here in their natural habitat as well. Let’s take a look at some of the exciting things that you can do during your visit to Zion National Park.
Since this park has a lot of canyons and cliffs, it is only logical that canyoneering would be an activity offered in the park. The formations in the park vary greatly; some have extreme elevations while others are sloped at an angle that is better for beginners. The Narrows, which is a popular trail in the park, is known worldwide for the narrow canyon that you must wade through in some parts and is one of the highlight destinations that you can experience.
Depending on the trail you take, there may be locations where you’ll need to repel down through the canyon to a less traveled path. If you are unsure of your ability to repel down the canyon, then there are paths that are a little less strenuous that can take you there instead.
Some of the other canyons in the park that you may want to try are:
Any time that you are planning a canyoneering trip into the lower areas of the park, make sure that you always look out for flash floods.
If you are looking for an adventure that will get your adrenaline pumping, then rock climbing is also available for you to try at Zion. The park is full of deep canyons and cliffs that tower over everything else. If you are not looking for a full day of exploration in the canyons, you can still strap up and climb the face of any canyon or cliff that challenges your abilities. There are guided rock climbing tours offered, but you can also grab a rope and a harness and travel to one of the many places where there are ledges to climb. Make sure to check with a guide or a park ranger to verify where it is safe to climb in the park.
If you prefer a more relaxed walk through the park, then perhaps hiking is a good activity for you to try. There are trails at Zion National Park that are designed for both beginners and more advanced hikers. If you are capable of hiking a trail, you will love the sights, the wildlife, and the landscapes that you see along the way. This park is home to some of the most amazing trails in the world; be sure to decide whether you are looking for a short hike that lets you explore nature or a longer one that will take you to an elevation of over 2,000 feet.
If you are not up for walking through the park, you can take a horseback riding excursion, which is a great way to explore the area. You can take a short trip and return the horses in 30 minutes, or you can keep them out for half the day to explore more of the area. Horseback riding gives you more freedom to go deeper into the park than a car would allow, as you will be able to travel from location to location at a faster rate of time than you would by walking, which in the end, will lead to seeing more of the park.
One of the more popular horseback riding trips is a simple hour ride that follows the Virgin River. This takes you to the Court of the Patriarchs and back. Another area that is fun to explore is the Sand Bench Trail, which will take half a day to fully explore. This trail takes you over 500 feet up the canyon to give you a view that you will not soon forget.
Riding an ATV can be exhilarating, so why not spin some rubber(does anyone actually say this!?) at the sand dunes in Zion National Park. Sand Hollow is a great place to go and explore with an ATV because it gives you access to some of the most gorgeous views in the area. If you have an ATV of your own, you can use it if you wish, but if you have never ridden on an ATV before, there are guides who can teach you how to safely maneuver the ATV through the area and help you find all of the stunning views that may not be easy to locate.
Many of us have been biking since we were young; if you are looking for an excellent biking experience, Zion National Park provides some of the best in the world. There are over 40 different designated biking trails in the park, but the most popular ones that visitors like to enjoy are:
Each of these trails are gorgeous and offer breathtaking views that you may not see if you simply walk the trails. Some visitors prefer to bike up the canyon instead of taking the shuttle that is provided. It is a truly beautiful trip, but it is also a bit of a ride. Simply put, biking will get you where you want to explore much more quickly.
If you are looking for a unique look into the canyons, take to the skies with a helicopter tour. This gives you a different perspective of the park that lets you see the entire park, and if you book a longer helicopter tour, you will even be able to see the area surrounding Zion National Park as well. There are several different tours available. You can choose the smaller 45-mile tour that takes you over the park itself and focuses on the sites that Zion has to offer, or take a longer tour that will explore areas like the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, Kolob Canyon, Smith Mesa, the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, and more.
If you enjoy fishing, then don’t forget that the area near Zion National Park has plenty of streams, creeks, and lakes. Trout is one of the most likely fish to catch when fishing in this area, but you can also snag some other fish as well. If you catch a fish, make sure that you follow the regulations of the local area on whether you can keep the fish or you need to throw it back. To fish here, you will need a Utah fishing license, which can easily be purchased online. Once you have your license, cast your line.
Some of the most popular fishing spots in the area are:
If the cliffs and the canyons of the park are too much for you, then maybe you’d prefer a day of golfing. The views in the park are amazing, so if you enjoy a round on the green, bring your clubs along and try out one of the local courses. Sunbrook is a course that has a lot of trees and water features for you to enjoy. If you want to venture outside of Zion, Sand Hollow is a course that offers gorgeous views of the nearby cliffs and Sky Mountain is spectacular as well. Both of these courses are located mere miles from the park, but they have both been rated as one of the top five golf courses in all of Utah.