Best Activities in Zion National Park: Weekend Warrior Itinerary
Did you know that over 5 million people a year visit Zion National Park? Zion is one of the most popular national parks in the country and it’s the most visited in Utah. It caters to every type of traveler: whether you’re looking for some epic, star filled camping, challenging hikes through knee-high water or relaxing strolls along the Virgin River. There are endless activities in the Zion area.
Max and I spent 2 days in Zion, which seems short. We could have explored the canyon for days and we’re definitely planning on returning. We did, however, have the opportunity to try several activities and hike one of the area’s most famous trails: The Narrows. We wanted to share some of our favorite activities and experiences in Zion for your next adventure, even if you’re a weekend warrior like us.
Day 1: Do an epic adventure activity
I’d break up the weekend in two parts: “guided adventure” and “do it yourself”. This way, you get the full experience of having an adventure guide to explore a part of Zion you’d never go to on your own and you’ll get to experience the majestic park on your own terms after.
If you’re looking for a great adventure guide, look no further than Zion Guide Hub. We did a canyoneering excursion with the owner of the company, Scott, who took us through some spectacularly narrow and stunning canyons to repel, hike and learn about the surrounding area.
The company’s emphasis on protecting our world and enjoying the experience in nature was amazing and made me appreciate the experience that much more.
So what is Canyoneering, you ask? Canyoneering includes repelling, climbing, hiking and often, hiking through water. On our adventure, we explored a narrow canyon near Zion for three hours. Canyoneering is an amazing opportunity for any skill level since it offers such a diverse range of adventure.
After three hours of incredible adventure, make sure you explore Springdale (the town where Zion is located). The town of Springdale is just so cute. Grab a bite to eat at Deep Creek Coffee. This adorable cafe has gourmet eats and delicious coffee. You can sit out on the patio area overlooking the stunning canyons that make up Zion.
Day 2: Do it yourself
The next day, I’d recommend exploring the park on your own! Something we did not realize until after the fact was that if you bike Zion, you can skip all the lines! Note that there is a $12 fee per person when riding a bike, and it’s good for 7 days. One of the perks with a bike is that parking was really difficult with a car and the line was way longer than we wanted to wait.
I can imagine that the car line is almost unbearable on any given weekend. Biking is a great way to see the sights and get around the gnarly traffic.
You can rent a bike through Zion Cycles or join a guided tour with the company. If you’re spending multiple days in Zion, this is a great, stress-free way to explore the scenery.
Once you rent your bikes, head into the park and explore the wide stretches of road that lead you through the canyon walls. The only vehicles allowed in Zion are the shuttles and they are not allowed to pass bikers, making it very safe. There are clear directions everywhere so you can never get lost.
Our recommendation is to bike along the river (where the shuttle goes) until you get to the Narrows hike entrance. You can leave your bike parked at the shuttle stops as you explore the hikes.
You will then hike about a mile along a flat path to access The Narrows. The Narrows is a very different type of hiking experience. You can go as far or as not-far into the canyons as you want, all the while hiking through water.
The water height ranges from a few inches to several feet and proper footwear is definitely recommended. The deeper into the canyon you go, the less crowded it becomes and the narrower it becomes.
We hiked about 2 hours in to explore as much as we could and it was well worth it.
Pro tip: time yourself as you enter the hike so you can give yourself ample time to return back. Also, the water is not that warm so bring a sweater in your backpack.
While the temptation to hike another trail was seriously overwhelming, we were really happy with our choice on The Narrows. It was the perfect amount of time to really explore the beautiful surroundings and experience Zion to the fullest. The Narrows is all the way at the end of the shuttle line, so the bike ride there or the bus ride (whichever you take) is stunning.
Whether you’re staying locally at one of the inns, Under Canvas Zion, or rocking it in your tent, there are endless activities in Zion. There’s no wonder over 5 million people flock to this epic national park every year. You can’t go wrong with the adventure, regardless of your skill level and even with just two days, you can experience the absolute beauty that is Zion National Park.
Have you been to Zion National Park? What were your favorite activities?