Zion National Park. Autumn - 4K Nature Documentary Film
How to Enjoy Zion National Park
Located near the town of Mt. Carmel Junction, Zion National Park in Utah showcases a variety of the Earth’s natural wonders. You can enjoy the park by learning about the experiences available for park-goers and planning out which you're going to do, while making the right preparations for visiting based on how you'll be travelling there. It's also important knowing which fees and permits you'll need to pay for what you plan to do at the park.
Knowing Costs and Planning Logistics
Read information about Zion National Park online.The U.S. National Park Service web site has pages devoted to each of its national parks, including Zion. The site contains maps, guides, and information on each of its major attractions, what activities or hikes require what permits or reservations, information about campgrounds, lodging, eating, and nearby attractions in the area.
- The Zion National Park home page is
- You can obtain PDF brochures about various facets of the park at
Make any necessary reservations for overnight stays.While not required, reservations are recommended if you wish to stay at Zion Lodge, take a guided tour on horseback, or obtain a backcountry permit. Reservations for a permit are able to made 2 months in advance online, starting from the 5th day of any month, for a fee in addition to the cost for the size of the group.
- If you intend to camp in multiple locations, you will need to make a separate reservation for each location.
Find out if you need a backcountry permit.Through hikes of the Virgin River and Tributaries, Kolob Creek, and the Left Fork of North Creek require backcountry permits, as do all overnight stays in the backcountry, and hikes through any canyons requiring special descending equipment to navigate.
- Backcountry permits increase in cost based on group size. For groups of 1-2 people: . For groups of 3-7: . For groups of 8-12: .
- Certain permits are unavailable through the reservation system on Zion’s website, and are only obtainable through walk-in reservations at the park’s visitor centers made the day before, or the day of your trip.
Get to the park by vehicle.Most people visit Zion National Park by car, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle, taking either Interstate 15 to reach the west entrance, or U.S. Highway 89 to approach from the east. Either connects with State Highway 9, which traverses the park as the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.
- If you choose to fly in, you'll need to land at either the airport in St. George, 46 miles (74 kilometers) away, or Las Vegas International Airport 150 miles (240 kilometers) away, and rent a vehicle.
Pack and dress right for the weather on your trip.Check the weather reports before you leave for your trip, as Zion National Park offers a wide range of weather conditions depending on the time of year you go.
- Spring offers a number of stormy, wet days, requiring waterproof covers for packs, rain gear, and umbrellas.
- Summer temperatures can reach 95 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (35 to 43 degrees Celsius) during the day. Make sure to dress lightly, wear sunscreen, and keep hydrated while in the park during these months.
- Fall and winter are fairly mild, with light snow in the lower elevations and heavier snow in the upper elevations. Winter temperatures may get as low as 60 degrees (16 degrees Celsius), requiring you to dress in layers and wear heavier winter coats.
Pay the entrance fee when you arrive.Each person or group who enters Zion National Park has to pay an entrance fee good for 7-days, with rates varying according to the vehicle you enter the park with. The cost per standalone person on bicycle or motorcycle is , while a vehicle or RV will be .
- Annual passes are available for , allowing the pass holder and a vehicle of up to 14 passengers entry into the park for 12 months, and allows the holder and 3 guests into areas within the park which cost an additional fee per person.
- Lifetime passes are available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 and over for , or annually for . Citizens or residents with permanent disabilities can also receive free lifetime passes.
- If you can time your visit to the 3rd week in September, you can enter the park for free, as fees are waived then in recognition of National Public Lands Day.
Find out if your vehicle requires a tunnel escort.The escort will cost an additional on top of the entrance fee, and is required for larger sized vehicles travelling through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. The escort pass is good for 2 uses on the same vehicle during a 7-day period.
- The escort is required for all vehicles and trailers 7' 10" (2.4 m) in width and/or 11' 4" (3.4 m) in height or larger.
Relaxing at the Park
Stay at Zion Lodge if you prefer hotel amenities while enjoying the park.The lodge will provide you amenities on site such as air conditioning, showers, televisions, internet access, and easy access to food and water through the restaurant.
- Rooms range in cost from 6-0 a night, for each additional person, and for each rollaway bed.
- Checkout time is at 11:00 AM.
Stay at one of the nearby towns for access to more commodities.The nearby towns of Springdale, Rockville, and Mt. Carmel Junction will provide additional lodging, pay showers, markets, laundromats, clinics, and restaurants. A free shuttle between Springdale and the canyon campgrounds runs between February and late November, but it can also be reached by bicycle or on foot.
Camp at one of the parks 3 campgrounds if you prefer relaxing outdoors.South and Watchmen campgrounds are located within Zion Canyon, while the Lava Point Campground is about an hour’s drive away. The campgrounds will be nearly full every night for most of the year, so make reservations in advance if you want to guarantee a site.
- You can book a reservation at the campsite here:
- Dress appropriately for the desert like climate of South and Watchmen campgrounds, and be sure to use sunscreen. Be careful during summer months, as there is very limited shade at these campsites.
Know the vehicle, person, and tent limits, as well as the campsite rules.Each campsite can have a maximum of 6 people and 3 tents. You are also allowed to have 2 vehicles parked, but only 1 RV. Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Quiet hours are 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM.
- Hammocks are also allowed on campsites.
Keep in mind how long you’re allowed to stay at the campground.For all campgrounds, you are allowed to stay at a campsite for 14 nights from March to mid-November. For the rest of the year, you are given an additional 30 nights.
- When you check out, be sure to do it by 11:00 AM.
Seeing the Sights of the Park
Go visit Zion Canyon.Zion Canyon (or Zion Narrows) is a slot canyon with 3000-foot-tall (914-meter-tall) walls carved by the Virgin River. You can drive or take a shuttle from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or hike the 16-mile-long (25.6-kilometer-long) Zion Narrows Trail.
- Adjacent to this canyon is Orderville Canyon, with a prominent series of waterfalls. Experienced climbers can climb their way into Orderville from the top or tackle the 2,000-foot (609-meter) cliff walls found elsewhere in the park.
Hike one of the various trails in the park.Other trails besides Zion Narrows Trail include Angels Landing, Weeping Rock Trail, and Riverside Walk. The Pa'rus Trail is a paved trail designed for both bicyclists and visitors who wish to walk with their pets; it passes near Zion Canyon. Guided horseback trips are also available between the months of March and October.
Take part in a ranger-led activity to learn about the park.Park rangers lead shuttle tours and guided hikes, and give talks at Watchman Campground, Zion Nature Center, and Zion Lodge about the natural and human history of the park. Youth programs for children and their families are offered intermittently from March to Labor Day weekend, and take place throughout the park.
- An adult must accompany a child on the youth program hike.
Bike around the park if you want to take a lot of it in.Riding a bike is allowed on all the roads in the park, as well as Pa’rus trail. Groups are limited to 6 or less bicyclists at a time, and if you split into smaller groups, you must separate by a quarter mile. You cannot bike through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and must obtain a ride, but a park ranger cannot give you one.
- Make sure to bike on the right side of the road, adhere to all traffic laws, and always wear a helmet!
- Motorized or electrically assisted bikes are not allowed.
Go canyoneering or climbing for a tour of the canyons.All technical canyoneering trips require a permit, but none are required for day climbs, unless they include the use of an overnight bivouac. Canyoneering is a great way to see the slot canyons of Zion, such as a trip through the lower end of The Narrows, and The Subway for those with canyoneering background.
- Climbing routes may sometimes be closed for the sake of not disturbing the wildlife. Currently several cliffs are closed to accommodate for the nesting grounds of peregrine falcons during their breeding season. Check climbing closures here:
Try a river trip if you have the expertise.You can go kayaking through The Narrows with a permit, but it’s a highly elite class V whitewater course where you’ll be on your own for multiple days. Permits must be obtained the day before, and will not be issued the day of.
- You must have your own personal flotation device.
Keep in mind closures that may occur during your trip.Zion National Park is open year-round, but closures to certain parts of the park occur on a regular basis. In addition to weather conditions or construction shutting down sections of the park, the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon Visitor Centers are closed Christmas Day, and the Zion Canyon Shuttle operates only from late March through late November.
- You can view a schedule of events at
QuestionAre there any easy to moderate hikes in Zion?Top AnswererThere are many hikes of all degrees of difficulty.Thanks!
- Pass and use fees are part of the Federal Recreation Lands Enhancement Act. Zion keeps 80 percent of the fees it collects to maintain and update its facilities, while the other 20 percent goes to an account covering parks that don't charge fees.
- Zion National Park is not a place for inexperienced climbers. Always check the potential for flash flooding before hiking in a canyon. Zion's narrow canyons are particularly susceptible to flash floods, especially during March and mid-July through mid-September, which are periods of peak precipitation. The park's visitor centers post daily reports from the National Weather Service; it's your responsibility to check them before your hike.
- Apart from Pa'rus Trail, pets are not allowed on the park trails and must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet (1.8 meters) in places where they are allowed. Kennel facilities are available near the park's south entrance in Rockville, as well as in the nearby communities of St. George, Cedar City and Kanab, all within 60 miles (96 kilometers) of the park.
Video: Landscape Photography - The Narrows, Zion National Park. When to use a Polarizer Filter
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