Zion National Park draws hikers, canyoneering enthusiasts, and wildlife lovers from all corners of the world. From the iconic Narrows hike to unparalleled wildlife viewing experiences, Zion really does have something for everyone.
What makes Zion so memorable, though, is the hiking throughout the park. Zion National Park hikes take visitors through scenery that’s just not found anywhere else in the world.
Five of those hikes stand out as truly the most epic. The views are ones you can’t afford to miss. They’re the type of vistas you’ll take hundreds of pictures of. These five best hikes in Zion are what hiking in this national park is all about.
What Makes It Epic: Incredible views of the park without the usual crowds, in addition to sheer drop-offs akin to Angel’s Landing. Hikers also get access to arches and flooded canyons.
Length: 2.2 miles round trip from the Weeping Rock trailhead to the mouth of Hidden Canyon
Difficulty: Strenuous. The 1,000-foot elevation gain, sheer drops, and steep switchbacks make this hike only to be attempted by those with serious hiking cred.
Hidden Canyon is, well, “hidden.” It’s a neat little gem tucked away off one of the park’s busiest trails, and it allows hikers a completely different – and rarely photographed – view of Angel’s Landing, Cable Mountain, and The Great White Throne.
The canyon itself is a narrow slot-like affair with pools full of water, hidden arches, and giant boulders. It’s absolutely one of the park’s most scenic spots, and the hike to get there is akin to Angel’s Landing.
You’ll start this Zion National Park hike at the Weeping Rock trailhead as if you’re headed to Observation Point. However, when that trail reaches the top of Big Bend and the beginning of the East Rim Trail, you’ll take a far less-traveled side trail pointing you to Hidden Canyon.
That’s where the real fun begins. After the turnoff to Hidden Canyon you climb 1,000 feet up steep switchbacks, which boast their fair share of sheer drop-offs. Chains are placed in the rock to provide security for climbers.
What Makes It Epic: Arguably the most famous hike in Zion National Park. Sheer drops of up to 1,000 feet on either side of a narrow sandstone trail make it a must for adrenaline junkies.
Length: 4.8 miles round trip from the trailhead to the top of Angel’s Landing, 1,500 feet above the canyon floor
Difficulty: Extremely strenuous. Long, steep switchbacks, sheer drop-offs, and slippery sandstone make this a hike only those with good physical shape should attempt.
If you’re brave enough to climb to the top of Angel’s Landing, you’ll see a view of the canyon from 1,500 feet above the canyon floor.
Like mentioned, the climb exposes hikers to sheer drop-offs that reach up to 1,500 feet, and the narrowest part of the trail is about 3 feet in width. It’s definitely a trail for those with nerves of steel. An “alternate” to hiking to the top is available by stopping at Scout’s Lookout. This is the area of the trail where the switchbacks end and the trail continues along the spine of Angel’s Landing. Scout’s Lookout still gives you a great view of the canyon – but not like the top.
This Zion National Park hike starts at the Grotto, where you jump on the West Rim Trail until reaching Refrigerator Canyon. Once in the canyon, you’ll start up the famous switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles. After surmounting the switchbacks, you can stop at Scout’s Lookout or continue on to the top of Angel’s Landing.
What Makes It Epic: This is one of the true backcountry hikes in Zion. It’s located outside of the main canyon, in a slick rock canyon full of gorgeous waterfalls. A lottery system for permits limits crowds.
Length: 6.5 miles round trip (when doing the hike from the bottom-up)
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
The Subway is one of the most visually striking canyons in Zion National Park – and it’s notably less crowded than The Narrows. The Subway is a slick-rock canyon with emerald green water and black rock – including a section carved by eons of water that looks like a subway tunnel.
The Subway can only be hiked with a backcountry permit, and these permits are awarded on a lottery system. Crowds are sparse, making the hiking experience that much more incredible.
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Hiking from the top of the canyon down is most popular, though it requires technical rappelling knowledge and skill. Hiking from the bottom-up starts at the Left Fork Trailhead, which is just over 8 miles from the town of Virgin, Utah.
The bottom-up hike starts and ends in the same spot – it’s an out-and-back hike – but you’ll need to plan for a full day of hiking. It doesn’t require any backpacking or overnight trips, but you want enough time to complete and enjoy this Zion National Park hike.
What Makes It Epic: Two historic cabin sites and the Double Arch Alcove. It’s not a feat of physical strength like Angel’s Landing, but it’s satisfying in its own right.
Length: 4.4 miles round trip
Taylor Creek is a really easy hike – you only gain 500 feet of elevation throughout the entire thing – but it passes some historically significant cabins built in the 1930s, before this area of the park was added to Zion’s boundaries.
The hike begins at the Taylor Creek Trailhead and goes for 2.2 miles until you reach the pinnacle of the hike – Double Arch Alcove. It’s a sight that words can’t describe, and one you have to see for yourself.
What Makes It Epic: The slot canyon of The Narrows where the Virgin River carves its way through the landscape is arguably one of the best hikes in Zion National Park as it’s the most visited hike in the park. It’s world-famous with unmatched scenery anywhere on the planet.
Length: 9 miles round trip
The Narrows puts you right in the middle of what made Zion National Park – the Virgin River. After leaving the Riverwalk trail, you’ll walk in the river through the section known as Wall Street, up to Big Springs and the junction with Orderville Canyon. This is the most popular section of the Narrows and is done as a bottom-up hike.
The Narrows hike starts at the Temple of Sinawava, following a paved trail for a mile before it dumps you into the river and you’re left to enjoy the majesty of Zion National Park’s crown jewel.
Zion National Park has enough hikes to keep the most avid adventurer busy for quite a while, but these five Zion hikes will imprint themselves on your memory every time you think back on your adventures in this majestic national park.