Hiking is one of the best ways to explore Zion National Park. We were able to spend two glorious weeks in Zion National Park so we did a lot of hiking! Our site in Watchman Campground was walking distance of the park’s shuttle so it was super easy to get to most trails. Perfect for after work exploring!
There was a rock slide three days before we got to the park so a lot of the trails were closed. Here are the trails we did:
Lower Emerald Pool
The first hike we did was Lower Emerald Pool. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go to the Middle or Upper Pool – the trail was closed as a result of a rock slide last year. This is a really easy hike – it was only 1.78 miles and took us well under an hour to hike. It was a little rainy, but that’s ok because we saw a rainbow! The shuttle stop for the trailhead is Zion Lodge so we were able to check that out too.
Pa’rus Trail Walking
I wouldn’t really call this a hike, but there is a trail that goes through the park and right by the campground. On the few days we didn’t hike, it was really nice to be able to hop on this trail and go for a walk along the river for a little exercise.
The Watchman Trail starts right at the visitor center which means you don’t have to worry about getting on the shuttle. It’s a fairly steep climb up and has an amazing view of the valley once you get up there. Our total mileage was 4.22 when we did this one. This is a great trail to hike at sunset! When we were up there we actually saw couple get engaged! The hike took us about an hour and a half and we hung out at the top to enjoy the view for a while. It was a perfect hike for after work!
Subway Bottom Up
If you want to visit the Subway, you have to have a permit. There are two permit options: top down or bottom up. The top down route is a more technical route for climbers. Since we don’t have climbing gear, we did the bottom up route. We didn’t have a permit in advance and were super lucky to get one the day before we hiked. I went to the visitor center probably 15 times over two days to try to get one! It is a 9 mile hike so we tried to get going super early in the morning. We had some Jeep trouble that delayed us a bit, but we still made it! You are hiking through the water pretty much the whole time and it is beautiful. We enjoyed the whole hike, but the Subway is absolutely incredible. I highly recommend this hike if you are able to get a permit! The rangers were checking the permits on the trail and at the trailhead so don’t bend the rules!
Pine Creek Waterfall
This is another hike we did one day after work. It wasn’t on the official Zion map we got, but we saw it in the app we use to find trails – Hiking Project. We left from the campground and took the shuttle back and it was a little over 4 miles. The trail was a little hard to find in areas and there is some shuffling along big rocks involved at the end, but you are rewarded with a nice little waterfall. Hikes are always more fun when there is something fun like a summit or waterfall waiting for you!
This is THE hike to do if you are in Zion. However, it isn’t for those with a fear of heights! It’s only 5.64 miles, but you are hiking on a little bit of rock with super steep drop offs. You have chains to hold onto though. Also, it can get really crowded. We talked to a lot of people that had to wait in lines to hike out to the point. A lot of people wake up early and try to get on the first shuttle of the day to hike it. We went after work one day and lucked out – we were out there with only one other couple. It was a little stormy so I think that scared the crowds away. It was absolutely amazing! This really is a dangerous hike so make sure you are prepared and able before attempting this.
The first hike we did once our friends arrived was Observation Point. Due to the recent rock slide, the Weeping Rock shuttle stop was closed. This is where you would typically start this hike. Instead, we drove through the park and started the hike at the East Mesa Trailhead. This was nice too since it would be the only time that our friends would see this side of the park! The hike ended up around 7.5 miles and the view of the Valley at the end was beautiful. You are looking out over the Valley and have an amazing view of Angels Landing.
We saved one of the best for last. It seems that everyone that comes to Zion hikes The Narrows. It was absolutely gorgeous and we had a great time hiking through the water and checking out the amazing scenery! You can hike in as far as you would like before turning around to come out. You are hiking through the water the whole way. Luckily it wasn’t too cold when we were there. We ended up hiking in for about 2.5 hours before turning around and coming back out.
Hiking Zion is the best way to see the park. There are plenty of options to keep you busy too! I hope you had as much fun reading about our hikes as we did hiking!