7 Top Things to Do in Zion National Park

This gorgeous national park offers breathtaking views, lodging and great educational stops. Here are our top seven.
Author:
Publish date:

1. Zion Human History Museum

Reading the interpretive signs outside the Human History Museum in Zion National Park

Reading the interpretive signs outside the Human History Museum

Located .5 miles north of the South Entrance in Springdale, this museum features permanent displays on the area’s Native American culture and pioneer settlements. A permanent exhibit on water explains its importance to the ancient people of the area and how it created the unique landforms that define Zion.

Temporary exhibits have included replicas of Union Pacific Railroad lodging, Civilian Conservation Corps diaries, park ranger photos and more. A free 22-minute video shown every half hour provides a general overview to the park. Books, maps, posters and films are available for purchase and rangers are on hand to answer questions.

2. Court of the Patriarchs

Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park

Court of the Patriarchs

A short walk from the shuttle stop of the same name yields expansive views of one of the park’s most identifiable landmarks. Named for the Bible’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, these three craggy peaks of banded sandstone tower above the surrounding landscape. Take the 3.5-mile Sand Bench Trail (round-trip) for a closer look.

3. Zion Lodge

The Spearhead rock formation over Zion Lodge

The Spearhead rock formation over Zion Lodge

The only lodging located within park boundaries, this hotel has been a part of Zion since the 1920s. After being destroyed by a fire in 1966, the lodge was rebuilt in 100 days; its exterior was remodeled in 1990 to restore the original rustic appearance.

Today, the Zion Lodge offers a variety of accommodations, including cabins, hotel rooms and suites. Cabins come equipped with a gas fireplace, private porch and full bath. Hotel rooms feature similar amenities, in addition to a flatscreen television with satellite. Air conditioning and complimentary wireless internet are also provided.

The Red Rock Grill is the lodge’s signature dining room, with indoor and terrace seating. The menu features American cuisine with Southwestern-inspired dishes. Reservations required; zionlodge.com.

4. The Grotto

From The Grotto, the Kayenta Trail climbs 150 feet and offers beautiful views of Zion Canyon.

From The Grotto, the Kayenta Trail climbs 150 feet and offers beautiful views of Zion Canyon.

Enjoy a picnic in this cottonwood grove while enjoying views of the Virgin River and Angels Landing. Restrooms and water are available; many trails leave from here.

5. Angels Landing

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Depart from the Grotto shuttle stop for one of the country’s most memorable and harrowing hikes. This 5,790-foot sandstone prow towers above the Virgin River, offering the best views in Zion. The trail is steep—it gains 1,500-plus feet in 2.4 miles—and terrifying if slick (or if you have vertigo). Cables provide sure grips on the exposed fin that leads to 360-degree vistas. 

There have been fatalities here, so it is not for young kids, those with a fear of heights or those with unsure footing.

6. Weeping Rock

Waterfall on Weeping Rock in Zion National Park

Waterfall on Weeping Rock

Water drips down sandstone rock—reminiscent of tears—and creates hanging gardens. Participate in ranger programs, walk one of the many trails leaving from this area or peer up at Angels Landing and Big Bend.

7. Temple of Sinawava

Falls at the Temple of Sinawava

Falls at the Temple of Sinawava

The shuttle ends at this 3,000-foot natural red-rock amphitheater forming the northern end of Zion Canyon. Named for a powerful Paiute deity known as the Coyote God, this formation is the gateway to The Narrows, a canyon that requires special gear, hiking experience and endurance via the 1-mile Riverside Walk. 

Related