• Elaine Ho

Two day itinerary at Zion National Park

Updated: Jul 7, 2021



Zion National Park is one of the most visited parks in the country. Even with Covid-19 restrictions, the park still got over 3 million visitors. I'm excited to see you are thinking about going too. Here is a 2-day itinerary to see the top highlights of Zion National Park. If you saw my 1-day itinerary already, feel free to skip day 1 and go directly to day 2.


Day 1:


Early morning

Angel’s Landing


Start your morning by hiking Angel’s Landing, the most popular and thrilling hike at Zion National Park. It is a moderate hike that is not for the faint-hearted because it can be dangerous if you are not careful. It starts off easy and then hits you with inclining switchbacks with amazing views. Towards the last mile, the path begins to narrow and the only thing to support your path are the jagged rocks and a suspended chain. You’ll soon find yourself walking on the ledge of the mountain so be careful of where you step. Once you reach the top, take a break and enjoy the rewarding view. Come as early as you can because it is a heavily trafficked hike with one way to the top and the same way back.

  • Length: 5 miles

  • Difficulty rating: moderate

  • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

  • Shuttle stop: #6 The Grotto

Pro Tip: Get in moderate shape for this hike and wear plenty of sunscreen because there is no shade on this trail.


Noon

Lower Emerald Pool Trail


Emerald’s Pool Trail is an easy family stroll conveniently next to Angel’s Landing, so I recommend doing this after you finish Angel’s Landing. Emerald’s Pool branches off into three different trails: lower, middle, and upper. Lower Emerald Pool has scenic views with the ability to walk behind a waterfall. The water and pool are roped and gated to protect the landscape from the heavy traffic of visitors that walks the trail, so swimming is not permitted.

  • Length: 1.4 miles

  • Difficulty rating: easy

  • Season: year-round; Spring and Fall recommended

  • Shuttle stop: #5 Zion Lodge or #6 The Grotto

Pro tip: Emerald Pool Trail can be accessed from Angel’s Landing so no need to hop on the shuttle. Middle Emerald Pool Trail connects to the lower trail, so you’re able to do both.


Afternoon

Relax and enjoy lunch at The Zion Lodge

Grab lunch at The Zion Lodge and relax on the shaded lawn outside the food and souvenir shop. The Zion Lodge is a prime shuttle stop for visitors to order hot food and buy souvenirs.

  • Season: Year-round

  • Shuttle stop: #5 Zion Lodge

 

Day 2


Early morning

Hike The Narrows

In mid-October when weather was 35 degrees in the morning and 75 degrees in the afternoon. Water was so cold!

Another popular hike where you are hiking through a river. I personally think it is one activity that will take at least half a day. The full hike is a 16-miles round trip, but most people hike for a couple of hours and turn back. Make sure to monitor the weather before attempting the hike because the temperature can fluctuate by 20-30 degrees depending on the time of day and the season you go. I went mid-October 2020 and it was 40 degrees in the morning and 75 degrees by the time I finished in the afternoon.

Make sure to check the official Zion National Park site for the latest updates on hiking conditions.


Pro tip: Proper gear to hike The Narrows is recommended. I went to Zion Outfitters to rent water-resistant pants, hiking shoes, neoprene socks, and a hiking stick for $50.


  • Length: 16 miles RT, but most people hike a few miles and turn back

  • Difficulty rating: moderate/difficult (depending on how far you go)

  • Season: late Spring, Summer, and Fall

  • Shuttle stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava



Alternative activities


The Riverwalk


If hiking in a river is not your thing, The Riverwalk is a family-friendly, paved walk offering amazing views of the valley and the river. It is the same route all adventure thrillers take to hike The Narrows, so you’ll be able to witness hikers descend into the river before turning back.

  • Length: 2 miles

  • Difficulty rating: easy

  • Season: year-round, but check for weather conditions during the Winter.

  • Shuttle stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava (the last shuttle stop)


The Watchman Trail

Another popular trail that features more breathtaking views of the river and the valley. There is no shade on the trail so be sure to check the weather and wear plenty of sunscreen.

  • Length: 3.1 miles

  • Difficulty rating: moderate

  • Season: year-round

  • Shuttle stop: Zion Canyon Visitor Center


Afternoon

Drive Zion-Mount Carmel Highway



A great way to explore the park in your car is to take a drive through Zion-Mount Carmel Highway for beautiful vista views to pull over and take some photos. The drive can take longer if you end up behind an RV or slow car. You can also take this route to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park.


Final tip: Get familiar with Zion Canyon's shuttle system because private vehicles are not allowed on the scenic route.


Drop a comment if you found this useful or if you have any additional questions.


Related resources:

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Elaine is a California Bay Area native working full time as a marketing project manager by day and a travel blogger.

Elaine created PureTrips for adventurers who have an appetite for travel, hiking, and enjoy connected experiences.

Keep exploring.