In 2022, more than 4.7 million people visited Zion National Park. Many of those visitors made their way to Southern Utah during the summer months.
From late May to August, Zion and much of the region experiences its busiest season. For many, summer means a break from school and a chance to get away. This season also sees the longest days and the warmest, driest weather.
As kids go back to school and days get shorter, fall arrives in Southern Utah. It brings with it cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and some stunning displays as the leaves change.
But just because summer is the busiest season in the park doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best time of year to visit. If you have some flexibility in when you travel, it’s time to experience Zion’s secret season. Keep reading to learn a few reasons why you should plan a visit to Cliffrose Lodge this fall.
Crowds are Beginning to Thin
The summer of 2021 brought some record-breaking crowds to Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks. As COVID travel restrictions began to end around the world and across the country, many people were eager to travel and flocked to national parks to get away while still doing some social distancing.
While visitor numbers have since dropped, summer is still the busiest season in the park, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists every month. Zion’s massive size does make it possible to get away from the crowded hot spots and still enjoy the park. But in the summer months, it isn’t unusual to see a line at popular shuttle bus stops or a heavy crowd at the visitor center or on popular trails.
But by the time Zion’s secret season arrives, school is back in session for many kids. Families are getting back into routines, and most adults are headed back to the office. While visitors may still flock to the park on weekends or around the holidays this fall, for the most part, this season is a great time to visit Zion and other local attractions without the summer crowds.
Whether you’re dreaming of hiking The Narrows or just want to take a relaxing ride into the park and maybe stop off at the Visitor Center or some other spots to take photos, this is a great time to do so. While the winter months see the fewest number of visitors to the area, fall is a good time to skip the lines while still enjoying great weather for hiking and other outdoor activities.
Summer Temperatures Have Come to an End
It’s not abnormal for temperatures to reach triple digits in Southern Utah in the middle of the summer. Zion National Park, in particular, is known for being a hot destination during the popular tourist season. This can make hiking to the top of Angels Landing or even waiting in line for the shuttle a drag.
Fall brings some welcome relief to the region. By September, the average daily high has dropped to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. In October, the daily average high is 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and by November, it’s 53 degrees. The cooler temperatures are great for enjoying some longer hikes, but not so cold that you’ll find yourself bundling up to spend time outdoors.
Plus, chilly fall mornings are perfect for enjoying a hot cup of coffee on your room’s private patio. Overnight temperatures can dip even cooler though, so be sure to bring a jacket or sweater for sitting outside on your deck at night to take in the stars!
The Leaves Put on a Big Display
Southern Utah is home to some beautiful desert landscapes. But what many summer visitors don’t realize is that the area does experience all four seasons.
After the heat of the summer subsides, many of the native trees in the region do begin to prepare for the colder months. This means that their leaves turn from green to a variety of shades of orange, yellow, and red. The region’s cottonwood trees, in particular, come alive in the fall in a vibrant display of bold yellow. This color is even more stunning when you see it against a backdrop of brilliant red rock cliffs.
Southern Utah features many different elevations. This means that different areas will experience fall colors at different times throughout Zion’s secret season. So if you don’t see a lot of color from the start of your visit, take a nice scenic drive and you might just get lucky!
There’s No Shortage of Activities to Enjoy
While the tourist season may be coming to a close, you won’t have to worry about running out of things to do. From off-road rentals to hiking to a variety of dining and shopping options, you can still enjoy every activity that you would during the summer season.
Even though the temperatures are cooler, you should still prepare yourself if you plan to do any hiking. Pack plenty of water, and give yourself breaks to cool down during a steep climb.
Visiting Our Springdale Resort During Zion’s Secret Season
Visiting our Springdale resort during Zion’s secret season is a great way to enjoy fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, and so much more!
If you’re thinking about planning a fall visit to Cliffrose Lodge, aim to visit between late September and mid-October. This period typically sees the best display of fall colors. But you can enjoy the other benefits on this list any time throughout the season!
Book your stay at one of the best Zion hotels today to see for yourself what makes fall Zion’s secret season!