Introducing Zion National Park
The soaring red-and-white cliffs of Zion Canyon, one of southern Utah's most dramatic natural wonders, rise high over the Virgin River. Hiking downriver through the Narrows or peering beyond Angels Landing after a 1400ft ascent is indeed amazing. But, for all its awe-inspiring majesty, the park also holds more delicate beauties: weeping rocks, tiny grottoes, hanging gardens and meadows of mesa-top wildflowers. Lush vegetation and low elevation give the magnificent rock formations here a whole different feel from the barren parks in the east.
Most of the 2.7 million annual visitors enter the park along Zion Canyon floor; even the most challenging hikes become congested May through September (shuttle required). But you have other options. Up- country, on the mesa tops (7000ft), it's easy to escape the crowds – and the heat. And the Kolob Canyons section, 40 miles northwest by car, sees one-tenth of the visitors year-round.
Summers are hot (100°F, or 38°C, is common); summer nighttime temperatures drop into the 70s (low 20s in Celsius). Beware of sudden cloudbursts from July to September. Winter brings some snow, but daytime temperatures can reach up to 50°F (10°C). Wildflowers bloom in May, as do the bugs; bring repellant.
Zion National Park destination guides
Top 10 US National Parks travel experiences
The moment you roll up to a national park kiosk you feel it. You're entering someplace special. Maybe it's the mountain air or the smell of trees. Most likely it's because you're about to see something big. Something indescribable. A canyon so deep you can see two billion years of geological history in its walls.
Best of the West
Explore the national parks of western USA including the Grand Canyon
3-Day National Parks Tour from Las Vegas: Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon
See the desert landscapes of the Western United States! On this three-day tour, depart from Las Vegas to see Arizona’s Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, and Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Discover the natural beauty of these canyon rock formations and the surrounding bodies of water as you tour the scenic areas with your expert guide.
Lonely Planet's top 10 USA fall trips
Roadtripping in Autumn can be an especially photogenic time, and the US affords some lush landscape to motor through. Here are 10 trips for fall across the USA from Lonely Planet's USA's Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries Across America: 1.