Summer vacation is in full swing and both the crowds and the temperatures are rising in Zion National Park. With more than 1.5 million visits in May alone, be prepared to exercise patience over the summer holiday weekends. Although it may be busy, there are many adventurous things to do in Zion National Park in July.
Here are 8 tips for visiting Zion July 4th weekend.
1. Arrive Early
Visitors to Zion National Park are encouraged to arrive early to find parking and avoid the largest crowds. The first shuttle bus leaves the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 6 a.m. so early birds can make the most of quiet mornings and cooler temperatures. The light is best early in the morning, and the chance of seeing wildlife is higher. Arrive just after sunrise and you’ll practically have the park to yourself, as most visitors don’t head into the park until around 9 a.m.
2. Hike Early
Plan your hikes early in the morning to avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. Zion National Park information officer John Marciano recommends listening to your body and knowing your personal limits. Wear sunscreen and rest in the shade when you need to. Avoid long hikes under the desert sun. Not only will you avoid the hot sun, but also large crowds. You’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery all by yourself while not overheating.
3. Cool off in The Narrows
The hike is perfect for casual hikers on a hot summer day. From the Temple of Sinewava, hike the shaded Riverside Walk trail to the mouth of The Narrows, then continue hiking up the river a bit. The length of the hike is up to you, as it’s out and back. During your time in the Narrows, you will find yourself surrounded by soaring canyon walls and beautiful geology. For the less adventurous, cool off in the Virgin River at the end of the Riverside Walk before heading back.
4. Visit the Kolob Section
If you want to visit the main canyon area, head out as early as you can. Then, plan on visiting Kolob Canyon later in the day. This remote section of the park is equally beautiful but seldom visited, making it quite enjoyable and crowd-free year round.
5. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. In Utah’s dry climate, sometimes you don’t even realize that you are losing water as sweat evaporates quickly. Hydrating with water is the best way to combat dehydration, as well as eating foods with high water content such as fruits and vegetables. Children and seniors are at higher risk for dehydration than others. So, make sure when planning out your day you bring enough water to last for your adventure.
6. Shuttle Tips
The Shuttle schedule will be operating on a holiday schedule to allow for more frequent pick-ups. Even so, expect to wait in line to board the shuttle, even first thing in the morning and leaving at the end of the day. The last shuttle bus departs Temple of Sinewava at 9:15 p.m., so be sure not to miss it.
Due to dry conditions, please leave the fireworks to the professionals. Setting off any type of fireworks is prohibited at all federal lands, including Zion National Park. For those wanting to catch a fireworks extravaganza, St. George is 1.5 hours drive from Zion Ponderosa and Kanab is about 45 minutes each way.
8. Celebrate at Zion Ponderosa
All of our activities will be in full swing! Check with our recreation center or front desk for information about special events and a July 4th BBQ. During the heat of the day, a dip in our two-tiered swimming pool surrounded by the majesty of East Zion is just what you need. At night, relax under Mother Nature’s fireworks with spectacular stargazing!
Happy Independence Day!