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The Perfect 2 Days in Zion Itinerary

Spending 2 days in Zion National Park? Here are all the best hikes, views, and travel tips to help you plan the perfect Zion itinerary!

Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. With its tall red cliffs, stunning canyon views, and turquoise waters of the Virgin River, the park is absolutely stunning.

While the park is relatively small in size (only about 15 miles long), there is so much incredible scenery and plenty of unique hiking opportunities. Because of this, it’s the third most visited National Park in the United States, drawing over 5 million visitors a year.

Zion is one of the best stops along a Utah National Parks road trip. It’s also located near several state and National Parks, including Bryce Canyon.

Utah’s oldest National Park has much to offer, and spending 2 days in Zion will help you see an experience the best of it all. You won’t get to see everything, but it will help you fall in love enough that you’ll be planning your return visit ASAP.

I first visited Zion when my friends asked me to run the Zion Half Marathon with them, and I completely fell in love! So much that I had to make a return visit. Each time, I’ve never failed to be blown away by the jaw-dropping views that can be seen throughout the park. It’s just that beautiful!

If you’re looking for the perfect 2 day Zion National Park itinerary, keep on reading! I’ve included the best hikes, the most awe-inspiring views, and plenty of helpful travel tips to help you plan a epic trip.

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Things to Know Before Your 2 Days in Zion National Park

  • Entrance Fees: It costs $35 per vehicle to enter Zion National Park. Your entry is good for up to 7 days. If you’re on a Utah road trip and plan to visit other National Parks, I highly recommend purchasing the America the Beautiful pass. This annual pass costs $80 and includes access to all National Parks and Recreation Areas (minus a few exceptions), so if you’re planning to visit at least 3 parks in the next 12 months, it is a fantastic deal!
  • Is a reservation needed? In 2024, there are no reservations needed to enter Zion National Park or access the park shuttle.
  • Zion shuttle: Do note that the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles for most of the year. From March 3-December 1 in 2024, park goers must use the Zion shuttle in order to access most of the park. One shuttle line runs within the park, and another also makes stops in the neighboring town of Springdale. Shuttles run every 5-15 minutes. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the first stop (Zion Visitors Center) to the last (Temple of SInawava), so allow extra time to get around when planning your Zion itinerary and be sure you don’t miss the last shuttle. More info about the shuttle system later in this article.
  • Prepare to hike: Zion is one of those parks where you have to work for the view. You’ll have to hike a bit to see many of the park’s highlights. This 2 day Zion itinerary includes a lot of hiking, so be prepared!
  • Permits: If you plan on hiking Angels Landing, you will need to secure a permit to go past Scout’s Landing (aka the part with the chains). There is a seasonal lottery, as well as a day-before lottery. More info below. Also note that permits are required to do the upstream hike on the Narrows and the Subway, although you will likely not have enough time to do these when you only have 2 days in Zion National Park.
  • Start early: This is one of the most popular National Parks so it gets super busy. Get an early start to avoid the crowds. This is especially helpful on the park’s most popular trails. The parking lot near the visitors center and the first shuttle stop also fills up quickly too, so starting early is even more important.
  • Weather and water flow: Zion is prone to flash floods and thunderstorms, especially in the summer. Be sure to check current conditions before you embark on a hike! Do not attempt to hike if there is a storm. Conditions can change rapidly and things can become dangerous very quickly. This is especially true for trails that are near the river. Also note that the Narrows sometimes closes when water levels are too high.
  • Check current conditions: Between water levels, cyanobacteria, and rockfall, be advised that there can sometimes be trail closures in the park. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check trail conditions in advance of your visit.
  • Cell reception is spotty: I found that there was hardly any reception, aside from near the visitors center. Be sure to download offline maps before you arrive in the park.
  • Bring food + snacks: Food service in the park is limited, and is available at Zion Lodge. So you aren’t wasting time trying to find food, I suggest bringing your own food and snacks to take with you on your hikes. There are many places where you can grab food right outside of the park.
  • Water: Be sure to carry plenty of water! This is especially true in the summer months, when temperatures can be near 100 degrees. The park does not sell plastic water bottles, so bring your own refillable bottle or bladder and fill up at the water stations.
  • The nearest town in Springdale: This is the nearest place to find services such as gas and food. You can pick up lunch in town to bring with you on your hikes. You’ll also find places to rent bikes and equipment for the Narrows.
  • Leave no trace: Please, please, PLEASE pack out what you pack in, and pick up your trash. Also stay on trail, don’t damage any plants, keep wildlife wild, and don’t vandalize any rocks. Keep the park pristine so future generations can enjoy it as well! 

The Perfect 2 Day Zion Itinerary

Zion National Park Itinerary DAY 1 (Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, Canyon Overlook)

Angels Landing

Start off your first day in Zion with what  is perhaps *the* most famous hike in the park. To get to Angels Landing, you’ll need to scale up a narrow ridge, with 1000 foot drop-offs on either side. 

To be honest, I originally hadn’t planned on hiking Angels Landing because it seemed kinda scary and I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype. I ended up doing it because our original hiking plans fell through. And I have to say that I was really glad I did it because it was such a unique hike!

It is not for the faint of heart! But should you decide to conquer Angels Landing, you’ll be rewarded with a thrilling hike that leads you to a view so beautiful that “only angels could land here” (hence the name). 

However, you do need to be aware that this is a dangerous hike and you need to be prepared for it. Over a dozen people have died here, so it is important that you not underestimate the hike.

The hike isn’t for everyone – and that’s okay! I would avoid it if you’re afraid of heights. My two friends that I came to Zion with decided not to complete the entire hike because of this (I ended up making some friends on the trail who accompanied me to the top, thankfully). 

Even if you choose not to go to the top (or if you can’t get a permit), I suggest at least hiking to Scouts Landing, from where you’ll get a fantastic view of Angels Landing and the canyon floor. You’ll also get to see people making their way up the chains. My friend said she watched me go the entire way up, which was pretty cool!

I recommend getting an early start, as it can get busy here! It can also get hot, so you want to start early if you can. Also be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as well.

When applying for your permits, try to select the earlier time slots on the day. Which brings us to…

Getting a permit for Angels Landing

Due to the popularity of Angels Landing and the resulting crowding, the park started requiring a permit in 2022. 

FYI, you only need a permit for the section with the chains from Scouts Landing to the summit. If you’re only planning to go to Scout’s Landing, then you don’t need to apply for a permit.

Personally, I think this is the right call because I remember just how congested it was on the top and this felt a bit sketchy.

However, now you’ll have to do a bit of advance planning if you’re planning to hike to Angels Landing on your Zion itinerary. You can apply for a permit on and there are two options:

Seasonal permit: These permits have a lottery a few months ahead of your visit. The deadline to apply for the lottery depends on when you plan to visit Zion. Here is a table from the NPS website that has the 2024 dates:

There is a $6 nonrefundable application fee, which covers up to 6 people. When applying, you choose up to 7 ranked dates and times that you want to do the hike.

If you’re successful in getting a permit, you also get charged $3 per person. If you end up canceling your permit, you’ll get this amount refunded back to you.

Day before permit: If you don’t get a permit through the seasonal lottery, then you still have one more chance to try for one.

You can apply 12:01 am to 3pm MST the day before you plan to hike. The results for the lottery will be announced at 4pm MST.

As with the seasonal permit, there is a $6 non-refundable application fee covering up to 6 people, and you will pay $3 per person if successful.

After securing a permit: Be sure to screenshot or print a copy of your permit and bring it with you to your hike. You will need to be ready to show it to a ranger at any time if asked. The start time on your permit is at the Grotto.

More information on permits and Angel’s Landing is available on the Zion park website.

Angels Landing: At-A-Glance

Distance: 5.4 miles, roundtrip (3-5 hours)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation Gain: 1488 feet
Shuttle Stop: The Grotto (#6)

Hiking to Scout’s Landing

The Angels Landing hike starts at the Grotto Trailhead (shuttle stop #6). You’ll cross a footbridge over the Virgin River, with pretty views down the river. 

Soon after, you’ll come to your first set of switchbacks. Almost immediately, you’ll begin to climb, and you’ll just keep climbing from here on out. It’s pretty steep – the first half of the hike is a merciless, leg-burning 1100 foot climb. 

I definitely had to stop and catch my breath a bunch of times – but there are some awesome views that get better as you go up.

It then levels out for a bit as you go through Refrigerator Canyon, which is a welcome reprieve both because you get a break from the climb and also for the shade. After this section though, you’ll come to Walter’s Wiggles, a section of 21 sharp, steep switchbacks carved straight into the mountain.

For me, this was by far the hardest part of the hike. The climb seemed relentless and never-ending. I was definitely out of breath and my legs were jello, and they had me questioning why I ever bothered to do the hike.

After you survive this section, you’ll come to the Scout’s Lookout viewpoint. From here, you can catch an awesome view of the narrow ridge leading up to Angels Landing, and observe the hikers going up on the chains. You can also see down the canyon in both directions.

Take a second here to catch your breath, have a snack, and use the restroom. If you didn’t get a permit or don’t want to make the final ascent to the summit (many people decided to turn back after seeing the view from Scout’s Landing), this is where you’ll turn back.

Scout’s Landing to Angels Landing

The last 0.5 miles of the hike to Angels Landing is quite an experience. You’ll climb up a thin mountain ridge, which at times is only about 4-5 feet wide. It is steep, narrow, and well, very high up.

It is definitely an exhilarating experience, but not for everyone. I would not attempt this section if you’re scared of heights. And I definitely would not recommend it if there’s any inclement weather, or if it’s recently rained as the trail can get slippery. 

You will definitely want to wear solid hiking shoes with plenty of grip. This is very, very important! Also watch where you are going. There are some chains and barricades to hold on to, but for the most part it’s just you and the sheer 1000 foot drop-offs on either side. 

You’ll also do a fair amount of scrambling on this section, so you need to make sure you have solid footing before making your next move. One missed step and it can end very badly for you. 

Whatever you do, don’t look down! I was so focused on where to step next that I didn’t have time to look around me. I think that was probably a good thing, because I would’ve definitely freaked out if I saw how high up I was.

It can also get crowded here (although the permits make it less crowded than before), so be patient. The ridge is so narrow that it’s essentially a single file. People are generally nice here though, and they’ll wait for you to pass through. Be sure to do the same for them.

After climbing for a bit, you’ll finally come to the summit. The elevation at the top is 5790 feet, and the views are spectacular! You’ll catch a breathtaking panoramic view of Zion’s towering canyons and the valley floor. 

The view is expansive, and the canyons seem to go on forever and ever. You can really see why it’s known to have one of the best views in the park. 

You might also like: 8 Epic Hikes in Zion National Park

Emerald Pools

After hiking to Scout’s Landing or Angels Landing, head back to the Grotto. The next hike of the day also starts from here.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed with Emerald Pools, but it’s one of the most iconic hikes in the park and it shares the same trailhead as Angels Landing, so this is a good time to do it. 

I think a big reason for why I was unimpressed by the Emerald Pools was because I visited the park during a dry year, so there was hardly any water. It is supposed to be spectacular if you visit in the spring or fall of a wetter year. I’ve seen photos and the water actually does look emerald – and you’ll see waterfalls from the cliffs above!

The hike from the Grotto leads directly to the Upper Emerald Pools via the Kayenta Trail, skipping the lower pool. If you want to see Lower Emerald Pools, you’ll have to hop back on the shuttle for one stop and get off at Zion Lodge (#5). However, I thought the lower pools were underwhelming, so I’d be okay skipping it.

Even in a dry year, you could actually see the green water in the Upper Emerald Pools, even if it was only a small amount. There was a trickle of water falling from the 300 foot cliffs above. After a wetter year, this becomes a gushing waterfall, which would be so cool to see!

You’ll get a sense of how high the cliffs are, because it was difficult to capture them in one photo. Bring a wide angle lens to capture as much of the scene as you can!

The cliffs and boulders here provide a nice bit of shade, so it’s a great spot to take a break for a late lunch or snack.

It’s a relatively quick hike to the Upper Emerald Pools via the Kayenta Trail, so it’s worth a stop on your 2 day Zion National Park itinerary. The hike is 2.3 miles, with around 300 feet elevation gain, and should take about an hour to complete.

Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway

After hiking to Emerald Pools, hop back onto the shuttle back to your car. Your next stop is along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, which is inaccessible by the Zion shuttle.

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway connects the visitors center with the east entrance of the park, and has plenty of scenic views along the way (there are plenty of pull-outs for pictures as well). You’ll see tons of cool rock formations, and stunning red canyon views!

As you drive up from the visitors center, you’ll climb up a series of steep switchbacks up the mountain. On the left, you’ll spot the Great Arch. If you look closely, you’ll see people standing on top of it. This is where the Canyon Overlook viewpoint is – the next stop on your 2 days in Zion National Park itinerary.

You’ll then drive through the Mount Carmel Tunnel. The tunnel is completely dark, except for the headlights of other cars and some light coming through from a few tiny windows carved into the tunnel. We actually had no idea it was going to be this dark and were a bit freaked out the first time we drove through it, haha.

Because the tunnel is narrow and dark, they only let one side of traffic in at a time when there’s an oversized vehicle inside. Apparently this happens quite often, because every time I’ve been in the tunnel, this has been the case and I thought it was all the time! 

Sunset at Canyon Overlook

After you exit the tunnel, you’ll come across the trailhead for Canyon Overlook. As soon as you exit, you’ll see a small parking lot on your right. The lot fills up quickly, but there’s also some overflow parking further down the road.

Canyon Overlook was one of my favorite spots in Zion because it’s one of those low-effort, high-reward views. The view from here is absolutely stunning, especially at sunset, when you’ll see the red rocks become bathed in a layer of golden light. 

The hike is only 1 mile round-trip, with a 163 foot elevation gain. You’ll climb up some steps carved into the rock, but the trail flattens out the rest of the way. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes because you’ll be walking on bare slickrock much of the way (I wore Tom’s my first time here and wtf was I thinking?!). There are some exposed tree roots and loose rocks, so watch your step as well.

At the end of the trail, you’ll come to a viewpoint that offers sweeping views of the canyon floor and surrounding rock formations. To me, the view from Canyon Overlook is like a poor man’s version of Angels Landing. It’s got a similarly dramatic view of the canyon, but with much less effort. I did think that the view from Angels Landing was far more expansive, but the one from Canyon Overlook is still pretty magical!

You’ll see all the switchbacks that you just drove over, and they look pretty crazy from the top (you’ll likely be glad that you didn’t actually have to hike up those, ha!).

The hike back is short enough that you can watch the sunset and still make it back to your car before it gets too dark. However, I still recommend bringing a flashlight or lantern (here’s the collapsible lantern I like) so you don’t trip over anything

Dinner at Meme’s Cafe

After a full day of hiking, you’re likely hungry! You can stop in Springdale for dinner on your way out of the park. You’ll find plenty of options, but one of my recommendations is MeMe’s Cafe

We ended up coming here multiple times because we loved the delicious food and super friendly service! They’re also open until 9pm, which is ideal after staying for sunset.

The menu is  full of yummy burgers, sandwiches, and crepes. They also have a great selection of local beers (and wine), which hits the spot after a long day of hiking!

Zion National Park Itinerary DAY 2 (The Narrows, Watchman Trail, Pa’rus Trail)

Riverside Walk + The Narrows

The Narrows is another one of Zion’s most iconic hikes. You’ll get the unique experience of hiking in the North Fork of the Virgin River through the narrowest section of the Zion Canyon. That’s right – you get to actually hike *IN* the river!

Keep in mind that the Narrows is not accessible at all times of the year. They shut down the Narrows when the water levels rise above 150 CFS. It’s also prone to flash floods, so do not attempt the Narrows when there is rain in the forecast. It is very important to check current conditions!

The Narrows is also susceptible to toxic cyanobacteria, so be sure to not drink the water (even if filtered) or dunk your head in the water. The park also monitors the levels, and does shut down the Narrows when they are too high. As I mentioned before, be sure to check the current conditions.

If you are fortunate enough to visit Zion when the Narrows are open, then it is an absolute must-do! It is truly unforgettable, and I think it may just have been my favorite hike. It’s such a unique experience to be able to hike in the river itself, and the views were absolutely incredible throughout. 

To get here, take the shuttle all the way to the last stop (#9 – Temple of Sinawava). You’ll start by going along the river on the Riverside Walk. Even if the Narrows are closed, I still recommend doing the Riverside Walk, which is a short, flat, and paved 1 mile trail. You’ll get some really pretty views, with lush vegetation and hanging gardens along the canyon walls.

At the end, you’ll come to a point where the canyon is so narrow that there are no land banks on either side of the river. This is where the Narrows start. In the summer, you’ll also see people swimming in the river. It’s a great spot to cool off from the heat, and take a little break.

From here on out, you’ll be hiking in the river. It gets slippery and there are tons of loose rocks in the river, so I *HIGHLY* recommend getting a walking stick and water shoes. You can rent these items (along with a wet bag) from Zion Outfitter on the way into the park.

At the beginning of the hike, the water is about ankle deep. It gets progressively deeper as you continue through the canyon. Most of the hike was done in knee high water, but got to about waist level at its highest. This, however, varies depending on the time of year and the amount of rainfall. I’ve heard about people doing it and having the water come up to their armpits at the deepest!

The scenery gets more dramatic as you go deeper into the canyon. I definitely could not stop oooh-ing and aah-ing and took so many photos along the way! 

The best thing about the Narrows is that you can make it as short or long a hike as you want. While you can hike up to 9 miles on the downstream day hike, most hikers aim to reach Wall Street, about 2 miles in. 

This is where the canyon is at its narrowest, at about 20 feet wide. The surrounding canyon walls also tower about 1500 feet high. I recommend aiming to reach this point between 10am-3pm, as the light streaming through the canyon walls made it extra magical.

Most people will turn back here, us included. It took us around 6 hours to hike to Wall Street and back. If you have extra time or want more of a challenge, you can continue on to Orderville Canyon, which is the end of the hike.

You might also like: A Complete Guide to Hiking the Narrows

Watchman Trail

Depending on when you get finished with the Narrows, you may or may not have time for this. But if you’re looking to add another short hike to your day, then the Watchman is a perfect choice.

One thing to note is that you’re not going to actually climb to the top of the Watchman, which is one of the most iconic rock formations in the park. Rather, you’ll hike to a viewpoint with some pretty awesome views of it. 

The trail starts from the Visitors Center. I didn’t find the start of the hike to be very scenic, but the views got better as you went further up. In the spring, you’ll also find some pretty wildflowers along the trail.

You’ll eventually reach a viewpoint that leads you above the first layer of cliffs, about 300 feet above the canyon floor. While the highlight here is the views of the Watchman, you’ll catch some beautiful views of several other rock formations, as well as the entire town of Springdale. There’s also another small loop trail that also has even more views to the south.

The Watchman isn’t a hard hike (it’s solidly moderate in difficulty), but be aware that the hike is in full sun. It gets HOT, especially in the summer! When we did it, the temperatures were nearly 100 degrees and I totally underestimated this one. We took it really slow and brought plenty of water, but I was still huffing and puffing the entire way up.

Pa’rus Trail and Canyon Junction Bridge for Sunset

The Pa’rus Trail is one of the most accessible hikes in Zion. The trail is about 3 miles long, and  is paved and flat. It should take about an hour to complete, making it a worthwhile way to end your 2 day Zion National Park itinerary.

It connects the visitors center to the Canyon Junction Bridge, which has some fantastic views, especially for sunset. I actually didn’t even know about the Pa’rus Trail originally – I just spotted the views from Canyon Junction while on the shuttle and knew that we’d have to make a stop on the way out of the park.

From here, you get a picture-perfect view of the Virgin River and greenery situated in front of the Watchman. It becomes extra magical when cast in a layer of golden light.

Do note that the Canyon Junction Bridge is an active road, and you’re technically allowed to stop on it. If you snap a photo from here, do it quickly. Otherwise, I suggest taking photos from the Pa’rus trail, or from one of the beaches on the banks of the river.

Dinner at Oscar’s Cafe

End your two days in Zion with a yummy Mexican dinner at  Oscar’s Cafe.

Their portions are HUGE – which is probably good after a very busy itinerary full of hiking! I swear my burrito was as big as my arm. They have some tasty tamales and burgers as well.

If you get there early enough that there’s daylight, there’s a patio with a lovely view as well. You might consider grabbing dinner here before you do the Pa’rus Trail for sunset.

Alternate Activities for Your 2 Days in Zion National Park

If you encounter some trail closures, or if some of the above activities don’t appeal to you, here are some suggestions on other things to do in the Zion area:

  • Observation Point: This is a good alternative to Angels Landing. We originally intended to do Observation Point, but ended up not having enough time (which is how we ended up at Angels Landing). The hike is slightly longer, but far less dangerous. You also end up at a higher elevation than Angels Landing, which means that you get some incredible panoramic views, which some argue are better. (Note: the trailhead to Observation Point is currently closed due to rockfall damage at Weeping Rock. However, you can still access it from the East Mesa trail. Check current trail conditions for latest updates).
  • Hidden Canyon: Here is another alternative to Angels Landing. It’s a relatively short trail (2.5 miles), but is fairly steep (1000 foot elevation gain in a mile). As the name implies, you hike into a hidden canyon. I was a bit underwhelmed by the actual hidden canyon, *BUT* the views on the way up were absolutely gorgeous, which makes it worth doing the hike! There is a short section with chains, which is also good training in advance of Angels Landing. (Note: the trailhead to Hidden Canyon is currently closed due to rockfall damage at Weeping Rock. Check current trail conditions for latest updates).
  • Kolob Canyons: This is a whole separate part of Zion, located about 45 minutes northwest of the main canyon. It has a 5 mile scenic drive, along with more hiking trails, and some beautiful views! It’s also much quieter than the main part of the park. We made a quick stop here and it was gorgeous, but I’d love to return someday to explore this area further.
  • Scenic Helicopter Tour: This epic tour allows you to get a birds eye view of Zion from above. You can choose from a 10 or 20 minute helicopter flight, during which you’ll get a unique perspective of Zion, with breathtaking views that you can’t see from the ground.
  • East Zion Cliffs Sunset and Backcountry Off-road Jeep Tour: In this tour, you’ll get to explore a less frequented part of Zion. Hop on a 4×4 vehicle for an adventure as you go through the red rocks in the park’s backcountry. You’ll then get to catch the sunset from a secret viewpoint.
  • East Zion White Mountain Horseback Tour: Take a scenic ride on horseback to the mouth of a secluded slot canyon. From here, you’ll go on a short hike through the canyon itself, with towering sandstone walls and incredible scenery.

Where to Stay in Zion 

The greater Zion area has a range of places to stay, ranging from upscale hotels, glamping properties, camping, and everything in between. 

Do note that accommodations fill up quickly, especially during the peak months. This is especially so for accommodations within the park itself, which are limited.

Here are some options for where to stay when visiting Zion:

Accommodation options inside the park

  • Camping: Zion has three campgrounds. Two of them (the South Campground, Watchman Campground) are in the main park area. The third, Lava Point Campground is located in the Kolob Canyon area, about an hour away from the main park. You can make reservations on
  • Zion Lodge: This is the only lodging available inside the park. There are 75 rooms, 6 suites, and 40 cabins available. This is the most convenient accommodation option, as you are staying right inside the park, and as such, reservations book up fast! 

Where to stay in Springdale

If you can’t secure accommodations inside the park, then Springdale is the next best option. You can even hop on the Zion shuttle in town, making park access a breeze. Here are some of the top choices for accommodations in Springdale:

  • Desert Pearl Inn: Just 0.8 miles from the entrance of Zion National Park, this award-winning hotel is eco-friendly and features contemporary amenities. The furnishings and decor accents are handcrafted and reflect the Southwest. A heated pool (seasonal) and hot tub is also available.
  • Zion Park Motel: A great option for those seeking to stay close to the park but on a budget. Amenities include an in-room microwave and mini-fridge, a heated pool, a picnic area, a children’s playground, and a shaded sundeck.

Staying east of the park (Mt. Carmel Highway/Kanab)

These options are situated east of the park, along the Mt. Carmel Highway (Hwy 9). Staying on this side of the park is also a good option if you are planning to visit Bryce Canyon on the same visit

  • Zion Mountain Ranch: Sitting right outside the eastern entrance of Zion National Park, these upscale cabins feature Southwestern and/or Native American decor, private porches, and gas fireplaces. Some rooms even have an option for a sauna or massage rooms. The Zion Mountain Ranch is located on a ranch with its own buffalo herd, providing a unique accommodation setting.
  • Canyons Boutique Hotel: This boutique hotel has contemporary amenities with a Victorian flair. The rooms are charming, and are recently renovated. Some amenities include free breakfast and free bike rentals for exploring town.

Staying west of the park (La Verkin/Hurricane)

This is your best option for accommodations near Zion on a budget. Staying in this area puts you about 30 minutes away from the south entrance of a park, and the rates are affordable.

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites La Verkin: This modern hotel gives you beautiful views of the Pine View Mountains and Zion. The rooms are basic but have what you need. Amenities include a pool, complimentary breakfast, and a 24-hour gym.
  • Wingate by Wyndham Hurricane: This is a relatively new hotel to the area, and features modern amenities in a relaxed setting. Amenities include an outdoor pool, exercise room, and complimentary breakfast.

Glamping near Zion National Park

The next time I visit Zion, I’d love to stay in one of these properties! You’ll get a cool accommodation experience (such as in an airstream trailer or giant teepee), with unique amenities, as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area.

  • Under Canvas Zion: If you are interested in glamping in Zion, then check out Under Canvas. The permanent tents include wooden floors, private decks, and wood stoves. There are also fire pits, hammocks, and yoga classes.
  • AutoCamp Zion: Enjoy a unique glamping experience, nestled on the banks of the Virgin River. You can choose from an Airstream trailer, cabins, or a canvas tent. Each option includes a kitchenette, a spa-like shower, and luxury toiletries. You’ll be surrounded by nature and stunning views.

More Things to Know About Planning a Trip to Zion National Park

Getting to Zion National Park

From St. George: The nearest airport to Zion National Park is in neighboring St. George (SGU), about 40 miles away. However, it is a smaller, regional airport and direct flights are limited. 

From Las Vegas: Many visitors to Zion fly into Henry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, which is the closest major international airport, about 170 miles away. From here, you can connect to many destinations both in the United States and around the world.

The Las Vegas airport is served by many major car rental companies. I suggest renting a car on and picking up your car at the airport once you arrive. 

From here, it is about a 2.5 hour drive to reach Zion National Park via the I-15 N. You’ll then turn onto the UT-9 to continue to Springdale.

From Salt Lake City: Another option is to fly into Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), located about 300 miles away. As with LAS, you’ll find an array of rent car companies that service the airport. I suggest renting a vehicle on and then picking it up at the airport.

It is then about 4.5 hours to Zion via the I-15 S. You’ll then take the UT-9 for 26 miles to Springdale.

From Bryce Canyon: Bryce Canyon is located only 72 miles from Zion, so I would visit both parks in one visit if you can! Take the US-89 and UT-12, before taking the UT-9 to Springdale. It takes about an hour to drive between the parks.

Park Entrances

Zion National Park has three separate entrances. Which entrance you use will depend on which direction you’re coming from:

  • South Entrance: This is the most popular entrance into the park, connecting through Springdale. This is the best option if you’re coming from destinations south and west of the park (St. George, Hurricane, La Verkin, Las Vegas). You can also make use of the Springdale shuttle to use this entrance.
  • East Entrance: This entrance is along the Mt. Carmel Highway (Hwy 9), and connects to Kanab and Bryce Canyon.
  • Kolob Canyons: This is a whole separate part of the park, located about 45 minutes northwest of the main canyon. If you’re trying to see Zion in 2 days, you’ll likely not use this entrance.

Getting Around in Zion National Park

To limit congestion and pollution, Zion has a shuttle system that makes stops within the canyon on the Zion Scenic Drive. There is a second shuttle that makes stops within the town of Springdale. This is the only way to get around the park during most of the year.

You can take the shuttle to most of the points of interest in the park, including most of the spots on this 2 day Zion itinerary. You do not need a reservation to ride the shuttle, and it is free to use.

There are 9 stops within the park. It takes around 45 minutes to get from the first stop to the last stop.

The frequency and hours of operation depend on the time of year. Here is the shuttle schedule for 2024:

Make a note of the shuttle schedule and look up when the last shuttle departs, otherwise you might have to make a very long trek back to your car after your hike! This may limit you a little bit in the summer, since the last shuttle departs before the sun actually sets.

Do note that the shuttle does not make stops along the Mount Carmel Highway (where Canyon Overlook is located).

When to Visit Zion National Park

Spring: Personally, I think that the best time to visit Zion is in late spring. This is when the weather is warm but not too hot. The water levels should also go down enough that the Narrows is open. 

Visiting in early spring may still be chilly, and water levels may still be high. However, you should be able to see some spectacular pools and waterfalls, especially on the Emerald Pools hike! 

Summer: This is the most popular time to visit Zion National Park. Most of the trails in the park should be open, and it’s a fantastic time to do the Narrows. However, do note that it gets HOT – it can sometimes get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Also know that the park is most prone to thunderstorms and flash flooding in the summer.

It is also the busiest time in the park. As such, accommodation prices are at their highest, and sell out quickly. If you come in the summer, book things in advance!

Fall: Fall is also a great time to visit, but the days are shorter and the temperatures are cooler – which is not necessarily a bad thing for most of these Zion hikes, except if you want to do the Narrows, then you will experience some cold water temps. 

Winter: Winter may be a beautiful time to visit Zion, and this is when you will basically have the park to yourself. However, you may experience ice on these Zion hikes – be careful! Ice and snow may also shut down some trails. I would also not recommend hiking Angels Landing in the winter, as the trail gets icy and it can be dangerous. 

What to Pack for Zion

  • A jacket: A packable wind/rain proof jacket is ideal for the warmer months, and a packable puffer is great for cooler weather.
  • Good hiking shoes: Sturdy hiking shoes with grip are absolutely essential, especially on trails the more treacherous such as Angels Landing! I’ve linked to my favorite pair from Columbia which are sturdy, comfortable, and affordable.
  • Day Pack: A backpack to hold all your gear, snacks, camera equipment, and more is a must. I’d also get something with a slot to hold your water bladder. I recently purchased this REI Trail Backpack and it’s perfect!
  • Water: And speaking of water…carry plenty of it! A water bladder is ideal for easy access while hiking.
  • Flashlight or Lantern: Especially if you plan to hike around sunset – you don’t want to be caught in complete darkness! My friend Christina brought along this handy collapsible lantern and I loved it so much that I had to get one for myself.
  • Trekking Poles: They will definitely help you on the harder Zion hikes, and are a necessity on the Narrows. Get a collapsible pair so they fold up easily into your luggage.
  • Water Shoes and Wet Bag: For the Narrows. Get something with good grip because the rocks can get super slippery! These shoes and this bag get great reviews (and come in a lot of sizes and colors).
  • Battery Pack: I never travel or hike without this battery pack. It can charge up to five times on one full charge!
  • First Aid Kit: Be prepared, just in case!
  • Snacks: I always have some protein bars on hand to fuel me up on a hike. Think bars are my favorite!
  • Sunglasses: It can get BRIGHT! I love my polarized pairs from Goodr, which are cute and affordable.
  • Sunscreen: On that note, be sure to bring some SPF – here’s my favorite sunscreen. This one is also my favorite face sunscreen (and a great top-off).

Have you ever been to Zion National Park? What would you include on your 2 days in Zion itinerary?

You might also like:
8 Epic Hikes in Zion
A Guide to the Narrows Hike
One Perfect Day in Bryce Canyon National Park
50 Fun Gifts for National Parks Lovers

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