Biking in Zion National Park


Biking is a terrific way to get exercise and get moving in the outdoors. Whether you want to slowly work your way through the park or take a fast, adrenaline pumping ride, biking is a great activity. Biking in Zion National Park is a great way to see the beautiful scenery up close and personal.

Zion offers a lot of different options for biking as well. There are flat rides and hill climbs that will suit even the most advanced bikers. If you decide you would like to bike in Zion after you get here, you can rent a bicycle from many different companies as well. Whether you rent a bike or ride your own, biking is a great way to make your way through the park by covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Types of biking

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking can range from being a slow-paced climb to a fast and strenuous journey. Mountain bikes have knobby tires and can grip the terrain, unlike other bicycles. Mountain biking in Zion National Park and its surrounding areas can be physically demanding and dangerous. However, if you are up to the challenge, you will have a fantastic and unforgettable time.

Road Cycling

Road cycling requires the rider to keep a steady pace and ride along with traffic in a safe manner. Road cycling can be dangerous so it should only be done by people with experience. In Zion National Park, many of the roadways are quite busy. Cars with tourists and shuttle buses use the narrow areas of the park so always take precautions when road cycling.

Family Rides

If you are traveling to Zion National Park with your family, a family bike ride could be an exciting experience for all of you. You can take a guided tour or head out on your own on one of the trails that allow cyclists. By sticking to the less strenuous trails, you can make sure that everyone in your group, young and older, has a great time on their journey. Make an afternoon of your family biking in Zion by packing a light lunch and stopping off for a break.

Areas to ride

Inside of Zion National Park, the areas to ride are limited. However, the areas there are to ride have a lot to offer. Trails that are not designated for biking are off-limits to any type of biking. Also, the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel cannot be passed through by bike. To go through the tunnel, you will need to get a ride by car or shuttle. Most shuttles have an available bike rack so you can safely get you, and your bike, to the other side. In the park, your riding options include Pa’rus trail and all other open roadways. These routes should not be missed if you are visiting Zion on a biking adventure.

Pa’rus Trail

Pa’rus trail is the one trail in Zion National Park that is approved for bicycling. This trail consists of a very well-maintained pathway that is wide and spacious. By riding on this premade trail, you can avoid the harsh terrain and sharp plant life that can damage your bicycle. This trail is perfect for families or single riders.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a roadway that winds along the Zion Canyon. Rather than a trail designated for bikes, this is a roadway that is open to all traffic. It is a nine-mile long road that offers incredible views of the canyon formation. It is important to remember that this road is a popular one and often experiences heavy traffic. It is advised that you ride at less busy times of the day and take extra care to be aware of your surroundings.

Outside of Zion National Park

The area surrounding Zion National Park has a lot of great biking opportunities as well. Biking near Zion gives you the chance to ride on a wide variety of routes no matter how experienced a biker you are. The following are some of the most popular biking areas near Zion.

Gooseberry Mesa

Gooseberry Mesa is an area outside of Zion National Park that is very well-known by avid bike riders. It is a tabletop formation with a lot of flexibility for riding the obstacles you choose. This area is great for broadening and improving your biking skills in a low-risk, but fun, area. This is a slightly more technical mountain bike ride so you will want to already have some riding experience under your belt. Gooseberry Mesa is made up of slick rock and dirt which provides a fun ride but also a decent amount of grip. The trail is not a very physically strenuous one but some areas will require some skill. If you’re looking for a customizable excursion while visiting Zion, don’t pass up Gooseberry Mesa.

JEM Trail

JEM Trail is every adrenaline craving riders dream. The deliberately carved trail provides a fast paced and exciting ride. While the trail is not very technical, it can be quite strenuous in some areas. You will pump your way along this trail picking up as much speed as you like. This makes for an incredible ride! Your journey on the JEM Trail will take you on a cliff-side ride. This gives you a little bit of danger and a lot of amazing views. The trail is very well marked and usually doesn’t require a riding route guide. If you follow the signs on this clearly marked trail you will have a great, worry-free time as you take in the fresh air and amazing sights.

Navajo Lake

Navajo Lake is a beautiful body of water surrounded by towering alpines and various flora and fauna. This trail is a 12-mile-long loop that takes you along the perimeter of the lake. The temperature is usually cool and comfortable no matter the time of year. This ride is slightly more technical than others so it would not be an enjoyable ride for a novice. For an intermediate biker or above, this ride is worth checking out. You will not find Navajo Lake to be very physically challenging. The toughest climb is the first 1.5 miles which it a minor uphill slope. Once you get past that small climb, you will descend onto a fun and winding slope. This slope allows you to pick up speed and focus on the bends. It is a very fun ride that would be a shame to miss while you’re near Zion.

Zion and surrounding areas are becoming known for great biking. One of the hottest spots to bike in the west. There is a huge variety of challenges and so much fun to be had. When visiting Zion National Park, don’t miss out on the action. Go on a heart-racing adventure as you bike through and near Zion.

What you’ll need

If you have come to Zion National Park specifically for biking, you will probably have all the gear you need to have planned. However, if you decide you’d like to take a bike ride once you get to Zion, you can rent all the equipment you need. Many local cycle shops are happy to outfit you with the perfect bike and necessary gear to help you get the most out of your biking excursion. Your needs will change depending on the type of riding you will be doing, but this is a general idea of what equipment you will need. Be sure to ask one of the local experts if you have any questions or concerns about the gear you will need.

Bike

The type of bike you will need will depend on your personal preference and the rides you want to go one. Generally, a mountain bike is suitable for most biking in Zion National Park and the surrounding areas.

Helmet

if you are under 18 a helmet is required. While people over 18 are not required to wear a helmet, it is a good idea to have one no matter your age. Even the most experienced riders will take the occasional spill so wear a helmet to avoid serious injury and keep yourself out on the trails.

Biking Guide

Before heading out on the bike trails, you will want a riding guide so that you don’t get lost. This is especially important to avoid areas that are too technical for your capabilities. It also helps to keep you from getting turned around and getting lost which could quickly turn into a dangerous situation.

Water

You will want plenty of water before you head out on your ride. This is especially important for riding during hot weather. A water bladder that you wear is great for longer rides while a water bottle in the bike’s bottle holder will do well for shorter rides.

When to ride

Spring, summer, and fall are all great times to go biking in Zion. The trails are all available to ride during these times and offer different views depending on the time of year. For the best trip, you may want to avoid the wetter seasons so that your biking trip doesn’t get rained out. Check out the ‘weather in Zion’ page to help you plan the best time to go biking in Zion.

Pedal your way to adventure

The sooner you get out on the trails, the sooner you will feel how true exhilaration and freedom feel. Biking is an incredible way to get exercise while taking in the sights and sounds up close and personal. By biking through Zion, you will be able to cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time. This is great if you only have a few days to spend in the area. Plan your next biking trip in Zion National Park to understand why so many riders are raving about this area.