Zion Canyon information
Spring to fall, the mandatory shuttle stops at all major trailheads along Zion Canyon Scenic Dr, allowing one-way hikes. In low season you can park at these stops, but you'll have to hike back to your car.
Of the easy-to-moderate trails, the paved, mile-long Riverside Walk (1 mile) at the end of the road is a good place to start. When the trail ends, you can continue along in the Virgin River for 5 miles to Big Springs ; this is the bottom portion of the Narrows – a difficult backpacking trip. Yes, you'll be hiking in the water (June through October), so be prepared.
A steep, but paved, half-mile trail leads to the lower of the Emerald Pools . Here water tumbles from above a steep overhang, creating a desert varnish that resembles rock art. It's worth your while to hike a mile further up the gravel to the more secluded Upper Pool. Note: you will have to scramble up (and back down) some stairlike rocks. The quarter-mile-long Weeping Rock Trail climbs 100ft to hanging gardens.
Hidden Canyon Trail has sheer drop-offs and an 850ft elevation change in just over a mile before you reach the narrow, shady canyon. Think of it as an easier test of your fear of heights.
The most work (2150ft elevation change) is rewarded with the best views – at the top of Observation Point Trail (4 miles). From here you look down on Angels Landing – heck, the whole park really. A backcountry shortcut leads here with much less legwork – the East Mesa Trail.
The paved Pa'rus Trail parallels the scenic drive from Watchman Campground to the main park junction (about 2 miles). It's the only trail that allows bicycles and dogs.
The only marked trail along Hwy 9 in east Zion is Canyon Overlook Trail , a moderately easy half-mile walk, yielding thrilling views 1000ft down into Zion Canyon. But you can also stop at Hwy 9 pullouts where there are some interesting narrow canyon hikes and slickrock scrabbles. In summer, locals park at one turnout, climb down, cross under the road and follow a wash to the river for a cool dip…happy searching! Just be aware of your surroundings, and stay in the wash or on the rock to avoid damaging the desert ecology.