Outdoor backpack enthusiasts, and just about everyone else knows that a lion is king of the jungle. Zion National Park is one of the “king” hiking places in the country located in southwestern Utah. This area may not be close to where you live, but it is more than worthy of a special trip to witness this expansive canyon. The hiking opportunities are boundless in Utah’s first National Park that is rich with the history of natives and pioneers with massive scenic cliffs of pink and red sandstone. Here are 5 exceptional hiking spots to experience in Zion Park ranging from easy to strenuous. Time to pack your hiking backpack.
Hikers Can Enjoy The Grotto Trail
This trail is for beginner hikers or those just wanting to experience scenic views without difficult navigation. The Grotto Trail connects the Zion Lodge to the Grotto. The lodge is the southern entrance to the Zion Canyon in the National Park which has parking and lodging for your vacation or hiking trip. The Grotto is a short half mile trail with a picnic area with loads of beautiful wildflowers. It’s level canyon floor makes it easy for hikers with small children or seniors. It winds through a beautiful wooded meadow and is in full sun in the afternoon, so pack sunscreen in your hiking bag.
You’ll see a historic stone building built in 1924, which served as the very first museum until it later became an artist’s residence building. You will find this an easy wooded hike for any skill level. You can choose to end your hike here and have lunch or continue onto the Weeping Rock Trail.
Backpack Hikers; Check Out The Weeping Rock Trail
Outdoor backpack hikers who can navigate some steep areas with minor drop-offs will find this half hour hike mildly challenging. The view is absolutely worth the incline. You can see trail-side exhibits here and an alcove with dripping springs from the Navajo Sandstone which is very serene and relaxing at the end of the trail. This trail is only 0.3 miles with a gorgeous view down canyon of Zion’s signature landmark, The Great White Throne, which is a popular attraction for mountain climbers. Bird lovers will enjoy this trail, especially in Fall when the maple trees have brilliantly colored leaves.
An Incredible Hiking Experience; The Narrows
This area is one of the premier hikes in Zion National Park. This hike is considerably more challenging and tiring because it is 16 miles long, and requires a permit. This river hike is best hiked in the morning when crowds are less and afternoon thunderstorms aren’t a threat. Always check weather conditions before a hike of this nature due to the potential for flash flooding. As you trek further upstream, it is less populated. You’ll find spectacular scenery as you actually wade through the river as your trail.
This hike should only be attempted by experienced hikers. There is a current in the river that can make for slippery footing. The water is cold, even in summer, which would require you to have appropriate clothing and footwear. It’s advisable to carry extra socks and shoes in your hiking pack for when your feet get soaked. When you reach the area called “Wall Street”, the canyon walls get very close together with incredible views. Check out this video of The Narrows; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwZQQ52fOOs
Trail Hiking Riverside With Scenic Views
If hiking in the river is not appealing to you, you can choose the Riverside walk instead. The trail is paved and you can view the Virgin River as you hike. This area has lush vegetation with surrounding tall weeping canyon walls. This is a leisurely hike for inexperienced hikers and children that is approximately 2 miles long. Several spots along this trail give easy access if you want to head down to the river and wade in the cool water. You can choose to hike up the river a bit, or turn back if you are not comfortable. Generally speaking, this hike is perfect for a serene nature walk with the sounds of the flowing water. It is especially popular in late afternoon when the sun is not directly on the canyon, making it a bit cooler to navigate.
Day Hikers Love The Emerald Pools
Outdoor backpack trekkers have several hiking options in this area ranging from short and sweet to strenuous and steep. This hike is three miles round trip if you hike the entire trail. Elevation changes range between 70 feet to 350 feet, depending on how far you hike. The lower trail follows the canyon bottom where you’ll find the Lower Emerald Pool at the base of the cliff. If you like streams, you’ll love how two of them spread across the cliff and trickle into the pools. During spring thawing, those trickles become powerful waterfalls.
At the Middle Trail you can ascend the ridge to multiple gorgeous viewpoints above the lower pool. From this point, you can climb a steep and sandy trail leading to the Upper Pool, which is larger. Here you will witness the splendor of a dramatic high waterfall from a towering cliff. The intensity of this waterfall also becomes more evident with runoff from melting snow in Spring. All trails are clearly marked allowing you to choose how much further you want to attempt this hike.
Outdoor Backpack Trekking Offers Choices
If ever there was a sport that had freedom of choice, this is the best one. Hiking is a non-demanding flexible hobby that is great exercise that doesn’t feel monotonous. It allows you to decide how far and how long you hike when you hit the trail. That means that regardless of your physical ability to endure miles and miles of a hike, you can make it casual and short if you prefer.
You can enjoy nature and spend the time as you please with a destination goal or a simple one mile hike to observe the beauty around you as you live in the moment. Nature Trail Backpacks wants everyone to enjoy this fabulous sport with a quality and durable backpack to help your trip be a success. Help newcomers to the hiking world by leaving a comment below regarding your favorite hiking tip or visit to Zion National Park. Wherever you go, we wish you happy hiking!