December 7, 2023

What You Need to Know to Visit Zion Like a Local

Millions of people make their way to Zion National Park each year. But despite many visitors hiking the same trails and making the same stops throughout the park, there’s plenty of opportunity for each and every guest to have their own unique experience in Zion.

With a little pre-planning, it’s easy to customize your next visit to our Zion hotel. Whether you want to spend more time relaxing at Cliffrose Lodge, enjoying our luxurious amenities like our on-site spa or our beautiful grounds, or want to hike some challenging, uncrowded trails, there’s truly something for everyone.

If you’re planning a visit to Zion National Park in 2024, keep reading. We’re bringing you some expert tips that can help you experience Zion like a local during your next trip.

Rethink When You Visit

It likely comes as no surprise that the majority of Zion’s annual visitors make their way to the park during the summer months. After all, this is when most people choose to take their vacations, and kids are often off of school. Unfortunately, this means that this season can get very busy. Particularly during June and July and around the weekends, you can expect crowds to descend on Zion. This can result in lines to ride the shuttle buses and crowding on popular trails.

If this is the only time that you can squeeze in a getaway, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy an incredible visit to the park. However, if you do have some flexibility in when you can travel, consider booking a visit during the off-season.

Ask any local, and they’ll no doubt tell you that late fall to early spring are some of the best times to visit the park. You’ll find fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, and no less fun. While days may be shorter, you’ll get more done when you aren’t facing crowded trails. Many hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals offer discounted rates and deals this time of year as well. While some business hours may be shortened, most tour companies still offer daily excursions and adventures. 

Winter in Zion is often referred to as the park’s Secret Season. With the least number of visitors entering the park and the shuttles ceasing operations this season, it’s a great time to hike some popular trails or otherwise enjoy the park with fewer crowds.

Don’t Let a Little Weather Scare You Away

Another tip on how to visit Zion like a local is to never let a little rain or a cooler day scare you away from visiting the park!

Winters in Zion are fairly mild. The coldest month of the year is January, with average daily highs in the 40s and daily average lows in the 20s. Southern Utah doesn’t see a lot of annual precipitation. February sees the most rain and snow, averaging just over an inch throughout the month.

But if you happen to find yourself facing a particularly cool or wet day in Zion, don’t assume this means that you’ll be stuck in your hotel room. If you don’t mind getting a little wet and have the right gear, you can still enjoy an amazing visit to the park. The locals know that the less-than-ideal days in the park are also the least crowded. If you bundle up against the cold or throw on a rain jacket, you might just have some of the park’s most popular trails or overlooks all to yourself!

And if you find that the weather is too cool or wet for you to want to venture into the park, don’t fret. You can always spend the day relaxing in your luxurious room at our Zion hotel. Or, spend the day enjoying a little pampering at our on-site spa, Five Petals Spa.

Arrive at the Park Early and Stay Late

Because most guests are tied to the Zion Canyon Shuttle schedule, you’ll see more visitors in the park during the middle of the day. 

No matter what time of year you plan to visit Zion, getting to the park as early as possible and leaving late can help you beat out some crowds on popular trails and overlooks. 

Staying close to the park’s entrance is one great way to make the most of your time in the park. Cliffrose Lodge is just a short walk, drive, or shuttle ride to the park’s East Entrance. This makes it easy to get to the park before most guests, and stay late. 

Get Off the Beaten Path

Don’t take this tip literally—it’s important to never wander off of designated trails and walkways. What this means, instead, is that locals know that while Zion’s most popular trails are special, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Many of these overlooked trails offer equally stunning views but with far fewer crowds.

For instance, if you don’t get a permit for Angels Landing or want another challenging trail that sees few crowds, Cable Mountain is a great option. The park has plenty of other overlooked trails that are far less crowded than popular trails in the park’s Lower Canyon. Kolob Canyons is one great spot to get away from the crowds, even in the middle of summer.

Planning a Visit to Our Zion Hotel

If you’re looking to experience Zion National Park like a local, these tips are a great spot to start. So is booking a stay at Cliffrose Lodge

With our great location close to the park’s entrance, it’s easy to maximize your time in the park. While we may be located in the middle of the action, our quiet, garden-covered grounds feel as though you’re worlds away, making it easy to relax and unwind even during the busiest times of year in Southern Utah.

Ready to start planning your next visit? Book your stay at Cliffrose Lodge today!

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