You’ve waited all year to visit Zion so you could skip the summer crowds. You have three days. How can you maximize your time in Zion? Check out this three-day fall itinerary to make the most of Zion in fall!
Day 1: Arriving at Zion
Chances are, even if you live in Utah, you’ve had to do a bit of traveling to get here. Luckily, Zion is easily accessible by car, and from a few nearby airports. Salt Lake City International Airport is about four to five hours north of Zion Ponderosa, and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is only a three-hour drive. Both options offer a pretty drive through southern Utah to reach Zion. So hop in your rental car, and head to Zion!
When you arrive at Zion Ponderosa, visit our front desk for check-in, and we’ll get you settled in your accommodations. We recommend spending Day 1 getting settled in your vacation home, cabin suite, cowboy cabin, western wagon, or campsite, and getting to know our property. Depending on what time you arrive, check out our mini golf course, zip line, climbing wall, or trampoline bungee, and be sure to make a reservation for an exciting activity such as canyoneering or ATVing if you haven’t already. Grab dinner in our restaurant, then head outside and stargaze. If the weather is right, you can relax under the stars in the hot tub.
Day 2: Exploring Zion National Park
You’re here to see Zion, so today’s the day to head to Zion National Park. The drive from Zion Ponderosa to the east side as you head to the main canyon is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever take. Then you can catch the park shuttle to Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is in operation daily through the end of October, and on weekends in November.
Access points to major viewpoints and trailheads to many hikes can be reached from Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, a 6.5-mile stretch of road with stunning views of Zion Canyon. Major scenic stops along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive include Court of the Patriarchs, Zion Lodge (access to Emerald Pools trailhead), The Grotto, Weeping Rock, Big Bend, Temple of Sinawava (the starting point for the Riverside Walk to the mouth of The Narrows). Visitors can simply sightsee at each stop, or get out and hike. Here are a few hiking suggestions in the main canyon, based on time and skill.
Easy to Moderate
Riverside Walk, 2 miles, 60-foot elevation gain (1 hour)
Weeping Rock, .5 mile, 100-foot elevation gain (30 minutes)
Pa’rus Trail, 1.3 miles, flat (1.5 hours)
Emerald Pools Trail, 2 to 3 miles round trip, 400-foot elevation gain to Upper Pool (1 to 3 hours)
Moderate to Strenuous
Angel’s Landing, 2.4 miles each way, 1500-feet elevation gain (3 to 5 hours)
Hidden Canyon Trail, 1.1 miles each way, 970-foot elevation gain (3 to 4 hours)
Watchman Trail, 3.5 miles round trip, 370-foot elevation gain (2 hours)
Keep in mind hiking times as you plan your day. If you plan to hike part of The Narrows, you will need an early start and a permit from the visitor center.
Day 3: Explore Zion Ponderosa
Now that you’ve seen Zion National Park from the canyon floor, did you know you can also see it from Zion Ponderosa? Our 4,000-acre private ranch resort sits at 6,500 feet elevation, with stunning views of the eastern edge of Zion and miles of trails. One of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park is Observation Point. From inside the park, it’s a challenging 4-mile ascent with a 2,148-foot elevation gain from Weeping Rock…but we have a better way! You can also reach Observation Point—called Utah’s best view by Backpacker magazine—by hiking across our property. The hike is 3.5 miles with minimal elevation gain, and can be completed in 3-4 hours depending on your group’s hiking level.
Day 3 of the fall itinerary is also time to experience Zion Ponderosa’s plethora of on-property activities. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime canyoneering adventure, venture into the forest on horseback to scenic overlooks, step off the platform and zoom across our meadow on a 400-foot zip line, join a guided quad ATV tour to scenic overlooks, or rent a side-by-side ATV to explore on your own. Truthfully, we offer more on-property activities than you’ll have time to experience in one short visit. That’s a good reason to come back again!
Recreation vouchers add excitement to your stay. Purchase 10 in advance, and get two free!