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While most people will opt to hike Angel’s Landing, there are actually many Zion National Park easy hikes worth checking out. These are especially a great option if you just want more of a leisurely stroll that still allows you to witness the beauty that Zion is most well known for.
Located in southwestern Utah, Zion National Park is one of the best national parks in the USA to visit because of its incredible landscape. It will genuinely make you feel like you’re in another world, and there’s no better way to experience it than by going on one of the easy hikes in Zion.
Read on to learn all about the best Zion National Park easy hikes!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
Tips for Hiking in Zion National Park
Before you start your hike, it’s important to keep in mind some of these Zion tips to ensure that you get everything you can out of your visit to the park, even if it’s just for one day.
Start the Day Early
Utah is hot, especially in the summer, so you’re going to want to start the day as early as possible. Not only will this allow you to beat the heat, but you can often experience the park with fewer crowds than you’d have later in the day.
Starting a hike around mid-day is one of the worst things you can do in Zion. Not only is this the busiest time of day in the park, but it’s also the hottest.
Bring Lots of Water
Because it’s so hot, make sure you bring lots of water. Consider purchasing a backpack so you can carry water around. You’re going to want it! Be sure also to put lots of ice in the water bottle, or you may honestly regret it.
Wear Hiking Boots
Skip out on wearing your running sneakers and invest in a nice pair of hiking boots. These can be purchased relatively affordable, especially if you shop at an outlet. They don’t have to be anything fancy; they just have to have better traction and ankle support than your sneakers!
Visit in the Off-Season or Rely on the Shuttle
If you are visiting during most of the year (basically anytime besides winter), then you have to take the Zion shuttle to get around the park. It’s completely free to take, and it’s required during most of the year because the roads are closed to cars.
So, you’ll have to park right at the visitor center to get on the shuttle. Parking there can be scarce if you start your day too late; another reason to start the day early!
If you don’t want to rely on the shuttle, then visit in the off-season. If you visit in winter, though, make sure to bring spikes to put on the bottom of your hiking boots because the trails can get icy, which most people don’t prepare for.
Where to Stay Near Zion National Park
There are so many great hotels in and near Zion. Check out the map below for some excellent suggestions!
Length: 1.9 miles
First up is one of the best short hikes in Zion National Park, the Riverside Walk. This is located right near the Narrows, which is one of the best slot canyons in Utah, so it’s one that you won’t want to miss out on.
If you are looking for a short and easy day hike, the Riverside Walk in Zion National Park may be just what you need. This scenic trail offers visitors to Zion National Park amazing views of the Virgin River and the mountains.
At just under two miles and only about 200 feet of elevation, you can’t go wrong with this hike, which is honestly quite leisurely. It’s partially paved and kid-friendly, but dogs are not allowed on the hike. Compared to other hikes in the park, this one isn’t usually as busy.
Timber Creek Overlook Trail
Length: 1.1 miles
Next is the Timber Creek Overlook Trail, another of the best easy hikes in Zion National Park. It’s pretty short at only 1.1 miles long but does have around 250 feet of elevation. The hike is out and back but is kid-friendly, offering excellent views of Zion.
The hike begins and follows a ridge with views of Pine Valley and Kolob Canyons before descending to Timber Creek. You’ll even get great views of the Kolob Terrace. Once you make it to the end of the trail, you may even be able to see Mt. Trumbull on a clear day which is near the Grand Canyon.
The first few miles are largely shaded and include a picnic area, restrooms, and an information board with detailed information on the trail. For an excellent trip, consider packing a picnic to have at the trailhead once you are done with your hike.
Lower Emerald Pool
Length: 1.4 miles
One of the best short hikes in Zion is the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, an out and back trail that’s kid-friendly and partially paved. The hike features an incredible waterfall that will genuinely take your breath away. Plus, it’s not located far from the lodge in Zion, where you can eat at the restaurant!
Lower Emerald Pool Trail is a 1.1-mile loop trail that takes you past a series of waterfalls and pools. Near the beginning of the trail, hikers will find a footbridge that crosses Pine Creek, leading to a smaller waterfall before ascending to the larger waterfall. In early spring, the area is alive, with wildflowers blooming and other plants and trees.
If you want to make the hike longer, you can also hike onto the Middle Emerald Pools, as the Lower Emerald Pool trail connects to it. For an easy way to see one of the most beautiful parts of the park, consider doing this hike!
Taylor Creek Trail
Length: 5 miles
Taylor Creek Trail is easily one of the best easy hikes in Zion. It starts at the Taylor Creek Trailhead on the Kolob Canyons Road and is a bit longer than other trails on this list. However, it only takes about 3 hours total to do the entire hike.
Along the way, you’ll be able to hike into a box canyon that leads in the direction of the Double Arch Alcove. The views will genuinely take your breath away. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love that you’ll even be able to pass a few old cabins from the early 20th century on the way!
Hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the canyon and an opportunity to see up close two sections of the creek that have created narrow slots in the canyon walls. There are several other hikes on this trail, too, ranging from level to more challenging.
Canyon Overlook Trail
Length: 1 mile
Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park is one of the best ways to get a fantastic view of the park. The hike can be challenging at times, but it’s worth it when you get to the overlook at the end! Despite having some parts that may be a little difficult, it’s still one of the easiest hikes in Zion National Park.
The best time to do the Canyon Overlook Trail is in the morning for sunrise, so you can see all of the beautiful colors of the sky right over Zion. It will genuinely take your breath away!
Keep in mind that this trail is located in the Upper East Canyon, so the shuttle doesn’t go to the trailhead here. Instead, you will have to use your car to get to the trailhead. Parts of the trail are relatively shaded, and the park is pretty flat along the way.
If you don’t like heights, this may be a hike you’ll have to miss out on because there are some drop-offs. However, there are guard rails; just be careful during your hike! Once you get to the end, you’ll be able to see all the most popular parts of the park, including the Great Arch and the East Temple.
Sand Bench Trail
Length: 5.6 miles
Next is another of the easy hikes at Zion, Sand Bench Trail. It’s about 5.6 miles long and is a loop trail, so you will get different views the entire time you’re hiking. It is one of the more difficult easy hikes in the park because it has more elevation at around 700 feet.
On average, most people need about two hours to do this hike, so overall it’s not super long. To get there, you’ll want to start at the Court of the Patriarchs Trailhead. If you’re taking the shuttle, this is usually the fourth stop on the route.
One of the best things to see along the way is the Court of the Patriarchs, which also happens to be one of the most popular spots to see in the entire park. Keep in mind that the trail is named “sand bench” because it does feature a lot of sand, which you hike on most of the way. This can make it a bit more challenging to hike than other trails in the park.
Length: 3.4 miles
For one of the more beautiful easy trails in Zion National Park, consider checking out the Pa’rus Trail! This hike offers a fantastic view and is right along the Virgin River. The trail is 3.4 miles, and it’s out and back. The best time to hike this trail is in the spring, when flowers are blooming in full force.
If you’re staying in the Watchman Campground instead of a nearby Utah cabin, then you may find yourself frequenting this trail often. Parts of the trail are well shaded, and you can always dip your toes into the water if you get heated during your hike.
The Pa’rus Trail is perfect for families with small children or those with dogs (it’s the only dog-friendly trail in the park). There are two junctions on the trail where hikers can turn around if they find themselves too fatigued to continue. The National Forest Service recommends Pa’rus Trail for those who are looking for an easy hike in Zion’s forested hillsides.
Length: 3.1 miles
Hiking in Zion National Park can be a great way to spend time with friends and family, as well as unwind from the stresses of everyday life. The Hidden Canyon Trail is one such option that will offer you an immersive experience as you marvel over the canyon’s beauty. This trail is located just outside the main section of the park and offers great trekking through desert-like terrain filled with colors and textures.
Often overlooked, this trail is a must-do for hikers who are looking for an escape from the crowds of the main trails. It winds about 8 miles through beautiful wildflowers, shady pine forests, and back into the canyons that are full of tall red rocks. Along the way, you will be rewarded with some of the most viscerally powerful waterfalls in Utah.
Many people who frequent Ziion say that this is their favorite trail of all times. Even though it’s one of the easier hikes in the park, note that there are some parts that many past hikers say can be just as scary as Angel’s Landing if you don’t like hikes.
Please note that as of January 2022, this trail is currently closed due to rock slides. This post will be updated as soon as it (hopefully) reopens.
Length: 6 miles
Despite being one of the Zion National Park easy hikes, this hike is a bit longer at 6 miles. However, iti’s still kid friendly and offers incredible views of the forest, the canyon, and more. There is an elevation gain of about 1000 feet.
This hike can be completed by most fitness levels and should take about 2 hours. Along the way, hikers will be able to spot rock formations, cool waterfalls, and wildlife. Because the trail is a loop, you won’t have to trek back the same way that you came.
Because of the trail’s location, parts of the trail can get pretty windy, especially in the fall. Make sure that you dress appropriately for your hike depending on the time of the year that you plan on visiting Zion National Park.
The Watchman Trail
Length: 3.1 miiles
The Watchman Trail in Zion National Park is an easier hike in Zion, though the first section of the trail has some steep grades. The Watchman Trail was created to access the summit of Watchman Peak, which offers beautiful views of the surrounding forest and canyon and panoramic views over the valley below. The last ladder scramble leading to the peak can be difficult for those without lots of hiking experience and can be skipped if necessary.
The trail begins at a picnic area and leads to a series of viewpoints overlooking Zion Canyon, including Weeping Rock and the Big Bend. From here, hikers can continue on or head back down the trail. Most people take a few hours to complete this hike.
Because of the trail’s popularity, it is pretty well maintained. If you’re visiting during a time that it recently rained, this trail is known to get pretty muddy, so definitely don’t plan on wearing your favorite pair of shoes. The majority of the hike isn’t shaded at all, so hike early in the morning to avoid the sun.
Length: 10 miles
If you’re looking for a hike that’s slightly more on the moderate side, especially due to elevation gain of 1200 feet and a length of five miles each way, then consider checking out the Water Canyon Trail in Zion National Park.
The Water Canyon Trail in Zion National Park is an excellent hike for those looking to test their endurance while taking in the beauty of nature. The trail follows a clear, blue river which provides a refreshing drink to keep you going. Along the way, there are many opportunities to take pictures and enjoy the scenic views.
Most of the hike isn’t shaded at all, so you’ll expect to be right in the sun if you start the hike later in the day. There is also a slight flash flood risk that comes with hiking here, so be sure to check the weather before you decide to do this hike during your trip to Zion.
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