Top 5 Things to See at Zion National Park
It’s highly unlikely that any of you have not heard of the Narrows, but there is obviously a reason for that. It’s one of the most well-known and oft-visited hikes in any national park. It really is a canyon, not a trail. The Narrows gets its water from the Virgin River, and the majority of the hike involves trekking through that water. It is incredible and anyone who you know who has done this hike will attest to that fact. Anyone with even the slightest interest in the outdoors – and I’m assuming you do if you’re reading this article – needs to put this on their bucket list. If you trek the whole thing, it’s right around 10 miles through and back again. There are alternate routes through the Narrows that are shorter as well. Note: if you need gear, you can easily get it from one of the multiple adventure outfitting organizations in Springdale that are likely right next to some of the Zion national park hotels in the area.
Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway
This is the main drag (so to speak) that goes through the heart of Springdale, UT where the entrance to the park is located as well as many Zion National Park hotels. If this is the first time you’ve driven on this stretch of road, get ready to be astounded. The beauty of Zion is unmatched and this is one way that you can experience it comfortably without tightening up the laces on your hiking boots or getting your feet wet wading through rivers. This long and winding road will take you passed some of the most amazing scenery that you have ever seen, as well as through many neat tunnels constructed into the mountainside. While you are cruising, be alert so that you don’t pass up all of the small scenic stops that are placed along the way. They come up on you pretty fast and U-turns are just about impossible. These little rest stops provide some breathtaking views that you will likely want to snap some photos of and just bask in the glory of the natural world. Some of the side-road stops also have short little trails that you can walk and then easily come back to your car. One thing to remember, however, is that there are no bathrooms on the approximately 12 mile stretch of road so make sure you use the restroom before you head out, and make sure you’ve got snacks.
Our second recommendation is a specific pull-off on Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway as mentioned above. It’s called Checkerboard Mesa. It shouldn’t be too difficult to spot even as you are coming up on it because it’s a got a gray color that really stands out against the orange sandstone around it. Also look for the natural checkerboard pattern, hence the name. You really can’t pass this one up on your drive. I’m not even going to say anymore because I don’t want to spoil if for you. Just do not forget your camera, whatever you do.
A lot of the Zion National Park hotels are conveniently located near shuttle stations so it makes it easy to get to the next spot. You’ll find yourself at the beginning of a very easy and mostly flat trail that leads to a place called Riverside Walk. Don’t let the easiness factor of this little trail deceive you. Riverside Walk is one of the most visited locations inside the park and for good reason. The path meanders parallel to the Virgin River and you are welcome to use one of the many small walkways that lead down to the river and get your feet wet. Bring the kids; they’ll love this little hike. I shouldn’t even call it a hike because it really is just a walk. It’s so peaceful, relaxing, and short. Surely this is one of the most visually appealing sections of Zion National Park.
This is another place you can get to by taking one of the park shuttles and getting off at a particular stop; in this case, stop 7. This trail will lead you straight to an amazing place called Weeping Rock. This little hike, much like Riverside Walk, is short and relatively easy. However, this one does have a couple short, steep climbs, just so you are aware. A perpetual flow of spring water to this spot creates a rich, green area with lots of hanging plants and fresh moisture. It’s just lovely, and we know you’ll love it.