Updated: Jul 24, 2022
I went to Zion Nat'l Park this past July for the first time ever, and boy I was not disappointed! Throughout 2020, I visited 4 National Parks, and Zion was definitely a top contender for my favorite. I only spent one day in the park, although I can't wait to go back sometime and explore more of the park in the future. In this post, I'm going to talk through some of the trails that I did during my single day Zion visit, as well as a few other recommended trails that could definitely be completed in a days trip!
We arrived at the park around 8:00am and since the shuttle system was not active due to COVID-19 restrictions, we drove throughout the park along Route 9, hoping each stop we would find parking. Surprisingly, most of the time, we really didn't have too much trouble finding parking, so I definitely recommend getting their early if you decide to drive through Zion. We wanted to see as much of the park as we could in the little time we had there, so we decided to do a combination of driving and hiking. We started off driving on Route 9 leading throughout the upper east part of the canyon. The drive offered several different viewpoints throughout that had easy pullover spots, allowing us to get out, walk around, and take pictures of the different views.
After spending some time on Route 9, we headed to the Visitor's Center by the main canyon area. After stocking up on stickers and other souvenirs, we decided to walk along the Pa'rus Trail. The Pa'rus Trail is an extremely accessible trail as it is primarily flat, and paved and is used for both biking and walking. This is also the only trail throughout the park that allows pets. While on this trail, we were able to get close to The Virgin River as well. The Virgin River offered beautiful green-blue water, although at the time we went was full of bacteria, so we unfortunately could not actually go into the water, but it still offered beautiful scenery. The trail total is a 3.4 out and back trail, and is a pretty quick trail that still offers some awesome views of different parts of the main canyon.
When we finished the Pa'rus trail, we then decided to do an actual hike in order to gain some elevation, and really take in as much of the park as we could. Since the weather was starting to become iffy as the day went on, we decided to keep the overlook trail a short one and opted for the Canyon Overlook Trail, and I can definitely say I was not disappointed by the views
of this trail! This trail was only a 1-mile moderate out and back trail, although it definitely felt longer due to the variety of terrain. The view from the top of this viewpoint were absolutely amazing, and I'm glad we reached it when we did because it started to storm on our way back out of the trail.
While I would have liked to spend a little bit more time exploring Zion Nat'l Park, I am definitely happy with all that I was able to see, considering I was only able to spend 1 day there. Two other very popular trails in Zion that can also be completed in a day trip (although they are longer, so you might not have as much time to see other parts of the park) are Angel's Landing Trail (This is on my bucket list for next visit!) - a 5-mile out and back difficult trail and Observation Point via East Rim and East Mesa Trail- a 7.1 mile out and back difficult trail. (Observation Point via East Rim and East Mesa Trail is currently closed).
Obviously the most important thing to do when planning a day trip to Zion Nat'l Park is to figure out which trails / overlooks are must sees, and determining the rest of the day based on those. Everybody goes to Zion for different reasons, but I felt that the itinerary of our one-day visit at Zion was a good combination of a few different things!
Thanks for reading, and if you ever get the opportunity to visit Zion, definitely take advantage of it!! Make sure to check out all of my Zion photo gallery as well! Remember, there's always more to be explored! :)