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Places to Visit After Zion National Park

After an exciting visit to Zion National Park, you have several options for where to travel to next to extend your trip! 

  • Las Vegas – Only 150 miles outside of Zion National Park lies Las Vegas. A hub for gambling, partying, upscale hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs, Las Vegas can make for a fun contrast to your time spent backpacking in Zion.
  • Springdale – Just outside the south entrance to Zion National Park is Springdale, the closest town to the park. Here you’ll find lodging accommodations and services to care for park visitors.
  • Arches National Park – Arches National Park is 309 miles outside of Zion and is an excellent choice for your next stop. A gorgeous park brimming with colorful sandstone arches, you’ll be glad you checked this one out.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park – Only 72 miles from Zion, Bryce Canyon National Park is a great option for where to go next after your visit. Characterized by vibrantly colored eroded pillars against a dramatic landscape, you’re sure to love Bryce Canyon.
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument – Just north of Zion lies the Cedar Breaks National Monument. Make a quick pit stop here after your visit to Zion for some breathtaking views.
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park – View Zion National Park from a new angle when you explore the sand dunes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. This unique natural landscape is well worth a visit.

Points of Interest in Zion National Park

One of the most breathtaking US national parks, Zion National Park has plenty of incredible sites to explore. This wildly popular national park is situated in southern Utah and is defined by colorful rock formations, rivers, and gorgeous sandstone cliffs. If it’s your first visit to Zion, there are a few points of interest you certainly won’t want to miss!

The Narrows

One of Zion National Park’s most famous hikes, The Narrows is the slenderest section of the Zion Canyon. Look up for spectacular views of the striking orange canyon, and pack waterproof clothes and footwear as the footpath on this hike eventually turns into the Virgin River.

Angels Landing

Ascend 1,488 feet to glorious Angels Landing. This five-mile round trip hike will reward you with spectacular views, but those who are afraid of heights should beware! The hike is quite challenging, so make sure you’re prepared before heading out.

Kolob Canyons

These gorgeous canyons are one of Zion National Park’s main attractions, offering a variety of scenic viewpoints. Characterized by intense colors and diverse landscapes, you won’t want to miss checking out the Kolob Canyons.

Observation Point

Head to Observation Point for phenomenal panoramic views of the majority of Zion National Park’s major attractions. This trail is an eight-mile round trip hike ascending 2,000 feet, so make sure you’re up to the challenge before embarking!

Canyon Overlook Trail

A short and easy hike with stunning views of the canyon below, Canyon Overlook Trail can get quite crowded. Just one mile round trip with breathtaking views, there’s no question why this is one of the most photographed trails in Zion National Park.

Watchman Trail

The iconic Watchman Trail offers incredible views of the enormous Watchman Spire and the lovely desert valley below. A great hike for beginners, Watchman Trail is only three miles round trip.

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Staying Safe at Zion National Park

One of the country’s most beautiful national parks, Zion National Park is also among the most popular in the US. Located in southern Utah, the park is characterized by a variety of breathtaking sandstone cliffs and unique rock formations. Before heading to Zion, there are some safety precautions you should take note of.

Weather 

As Zion is in the heart of the desert, weather conditions can be extreme. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are very real, so be sure to bring plenty of water with you and keep yourself hydrated during your visit. 

Flash floods can happen suddenly and without warning, so if there are signs of a storm make sure to avoid slot canyons and seek higher ground. Flooding can be intense and dangerous and has been known to wipe humans off trails. Lightning is a huge safety concern at Zion National Park so keep yourself safe during a storm by avoiding wide open spaces, staying out of the water, finding shelter, and avoiding tall trees.

Wildlife

There are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities throughout Zion National Park, but it’s important to keep a safe distance from any animals you see. Never feed the park animals or approach them, as animal transmitted diseases could be fatal.

Other Concerns

Be wary of steep cliffs at Zion National Park and stay well away from the edge which can be dangerous and unstable. Always hike and climb with caution and watch your footing, as pebbles and gravel can be slippery. Some trails are more hazardous than others, and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. Beware of falling rocks, especially near cliff edges. If rocks begin to fall, take shelter and cover your head with your backpack.

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Watching Wildlife at Zion National Park

Regarded as one of the most unique climates, habitats, and earthly formations in all of the United States, Zion National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in our country today. Home to more than 68 species of mammals, ranging from the porcupine to the bighorn sheep, Zion National Park is quickly becoming an wildlife viewing favorite for many of the country’s animal lovers.

Since Zion sits at the boundaries and meeting points of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, the Basin and Range, and the Mojave Desert physio-geographic zones, animal life in this region is vast and varied.

Zion National Park’s Top Animals

  • Mule Deer
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Rock Squirrels
  • Coyotes
  • Gray Foxes
  • Ringtails
  • Mountain Lions
  • Bobcats
  • Beavers
  • Porcupines
    • This unique rodent is common in higher elevation forests, and is found also in lower elevation riparian zones and even deserts. That’s why the porcupine is fond of Zion National Park. Known for being a slow moving, short-legged creature covered in long black hair and barbed quills, the American Porcupine is something to behold – but not touch.
  • Mexican Spotted Owl
    • This owl is listed as threatened at a federal level, which is why Zion National Park is a critical location for their survival.
  • Mojave Desert Tortoises
    • Also endangered, a small population of Mojave Desert tortoises is being monitored by park staff today.
  • California Condor

Viewing Locations

Canyon Floor: By day, you are much more likely to see mule deer, rock squirrels, foxes, etc. on the canyon floor, where they will go to find respite from the hot sunny temperatures.
Rocky Terrain: To spot rock squirrels and big horn sheep, look towards the canyon walls and riparian waterways.
Riverside Walk: Rock squirrels
Virgin River: Mule deer
Angels Landing Trail: Mule deer, eagles, and lizards
Weeping Rock Area: Falcons, wrens, and white-throated swifts

When Should You Go?

The most popular times to visit Zion National Park are between the months of May and November when temperatures are moderate to hot and the park’s free shuttles are running. The park does receive snowfall and can be the host of very low temperatures in the winter season, so you should pack for a varied climate.

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Hidden Gems in Zion National Park

One of the country’s most beautiful National Parks, it’s clear why Zion National Park is also among the most visited. Situated in southern Utah, the colorful canyons and sandstone cliffs make this a spectacular US destination. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds during your trip, you’ll want to check out the park’s off the beaten path destinations.

Mystery Canyon

A lesser-known alternative to the iconic Zion Narrows, Mystery Canyon offers an equally as impressive opportunity for technical canyoneering. Note that Mystery Canyon isn’t for the faint hearted as Zion’s slot canyons attract thrill seekers from around the world!

Observation Point

Due to the difficulty of this strenuous trail, Observation Point is one of the lesser-visited places in Zion to take in phenomenal views of the vast landscape. An 8-mile round-trip trail that ascends more than 2,000 feet, the views at Observation Point will certainly pay off if you’re adventurous enough to make the trek!

Secret Waterfall

Head to Pine Creek Canyon for Zion National Park’s best hidden treasure! This stunning 15-foot waterfall and swimming hole are well worth the effort it takes to get there. A short but rigorous hike is required to visit Secret Waterfall. 

Petroglyph Canyon

With special permission from the Zion National Park Visitor Center, visitors to Zion are able to access Petroglyph Canyon, a lesser-known hidden gem in the park. Explore cave drawings created by the region’s ancient cultures which have been preserved on the red sandstone walls of Zion for thousands of years.

Kolob Arch

Located inside a small remote canyon is Kolob Arch, one of the world’s largest free-standing arches. This gorgeous sandstone arch is a true feat of nature and is worth a visit to experience Zion away from all the crowds.

Watchman Trail

Often overlooked by visitors to Zion, Watchman Trail is a 3-mile trek leading to a lovely viewpoint offering scenic vistas of Watchman Peak. The Watchman Trail is a solid alternative to the more-trafficked Angel’s Landing trail.