A National Park Still Not Famous Enough: Zion, Utah

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Utah? Since last October, it’s Zion National Park for us.

We’ve never even heard about it when we lived in Europe and after visiting it, I really don’t understand why it is not as famous as Grand Canyon or Yosemite.

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

But probably it’s for the best, because this small park (I mean small compared to other national parks in the US, of course :)) got very busy in the last couple of years as it’s getting more and more popular among Americans.

What is so special about it?

Breathtaking panoramas, giant red cliffs, roaring river with a strong blue-green color in Zion Canyon make this place a real wonderland! We spent two amazing days in Zion, walking and hiking all day long. We just couldn’t get enough of these wonderful, wild sceneries…

Best panorama: Angels Landing

Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Our favorite panorama is the view from the top of Angels Landing. It was also the most challenging trail with the last section on a steep, narrow ridge to the summit, holding onto chains almost all the way.

You don’t have to be professional or have any special equipments to do this hike (we don’t consider proper shoes a special equipment, you just can’t hike in flip-flops – period), just be careful, use your common sense and enjoy this unique experience!

Highest peak: Observation Point

Observation Point, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

The highest peak we reached was Observation Point where we looked down to Zion Canyon and Angels Landing while we were resting and having some snacks at the summit. This panorama wasn’t bad either. 🙂

Be careful with the suspiciously friendly chipmunks though. On all of our hikes so far we’ve been attacked by a wild animal only once and that was at Observation Point where Csaba was bitten by a chipmunk. 😀 (No, we didn’t give food to it or tried to play with it.)

Best walk: Riverside Walk

Virgin River, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

The most charming walk was the Riverside Walk along Virgin River. It’s short and easy, I won’t even call it a hike, but you will be rewarded with gorgeous views of this clear, greenish blue river and the huge canyon walls.

Where to stay?

There’s a lodge in the heart of Zion Canyon which is the best location however it’s expensive and overbooked. We stayed in a smaller town called Hurricane which is just 35 minutes drive from Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

Best time to visit

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Best time to visit Zion is September-October when summer thunderstorms are over, weather is still sunny and dry and temperature is not too cool yet. Oh, and fall colors are beautiful!

All essential info about Zion

I highly recommend to check out the official page of National Park Service about Zion if you plan to visit, because it has the latest information about weather, road and trail conditions, entrance fee, park shuttle bus schedule and you can also download detailed trail maps there.

National Park Annual Pass

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

If you plan to visit more national parks in the US within one year, you should consider buying an annual pass which covers entrance fees at national parks, national wildlife refuges and national forests – and it covers the fee not only for the driver, but for all passengers in a personal vehicle.

However, it doesn’t cover entrance fee for state parks, that’s good to keep in mind.

You can purchase it at any national park entrance. It’s absolutely worth it if you visit 4-5 US national parks in the duration of one year – which you should do if you have a chance, because they are so beautiful! 🙂

Our favorite hikes summary

Short & easy hikes Steep hikes
  • Lower and Upper Emerald Pool Trail loop with Kayenta Trail
  • Riverside Walk
  • Weeping Rock Trail
  • Angels Landing via West Rim Trail
  • Observation Point via East Rim Trail
  • Hidden Canyon Trail

Do you have a favorite ‘hidden treasure’ national park? What do you like about it?

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By Beata Urmos

Bea is the co-founder of Our Wanders. She’s the writer and the trip organizer, and she’d love to help you plan your own amazing trips! She likes hiking, good novels and chocolate, as well. Her motto is: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd)

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