The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park: A Comprehensive Guide
Millions of tourists visit Zion National Park every summer to trek some of the best trails in the nation. However, now isn’t the ideal time to explore Zion National Park!
You may enjoy the beauty year-round, from the springtime wildflower blooms to the autumnal yellow aspens. The weather, crowds, and your hobbies all play a role in determining the ideal time to visit Zion National Park.
Please continue reading to learn when it is ideal to visit Zion National Park and learn about the best times to go hiking, camping, enjoying the best weather, avoiding crowds, and more.
In Zion Canyon, spring is typically a great time for cycling and hiking because of the mild temperatures and sunshine. Nevertheless, the evenings can get chilly, so pack plenty of warm clothing. You won’t be able to visit some areas of the park, especially those at higher elevations, without the necessary snow gear until the snow melts.
When the snow melts, the Virgin River rises, resulting in spectacular waterfalls only visible in the spring and wildflowers blooming in mid-April. Although more people are there starting in late April, it’s still considerably quieter than in the summer.
The busiest months are May through September when up to 500,000 people visit each month. Nevertheless, you can benefit from all available facilities, such as the Zion Canyon Shuttle, daily ranger-led activities, and plenty of daylight for exploration. Be ready for heavy rain, thunder, and lightning when the monsoon season begins mid-July and lasts through September (more on that in a moment).
Bring enough water, pack appropriate sun protection, and keep up with park updates and weather forecasts. If you plan hiking in Zion during the summer, try to leave as early as possible to beat the heat of the day and lower your chance of becoming sunburned or experiencing heat exhaustion.
After the hordes of summer visitors have returned home, autumn is quieter and calmer. The sweltering summer heat also begins to cool off, making this the ideal season for hiking. The temperature drop softens the blow and makes it simpler to complete some of the more challenging trails. Zion is graced with stunning hues in autumn when the aspen and cottonwood trees’ leaves turn yellow, crimson, and burnt orange.
The quietest season is winter. Snowfall has forced the closure of some hiking paths, but there is still more to do. Typically, the canyon’s higher elevations are covered in snow in late November or early December. When snow falls at lower elevations, it usually melts within a few hours; however, you should watch out for ice on the hiking routes and make sure your footwear has good traction.
A dry suit is necessary for hiking the Narrows because the water is chilly. With a good winter coat and many warm layers, Zion isn’t as cold in the winter as other US national parks, making it a lovely time to wander alone.
Avoiding Crowds In Zion National Park
Despite being open all year round, a staggering 70% of visitors come between April and September to Zion National Park if you can; try to travel to the park between October and March, when it is less popular, to avoid the view-blocking selfie sticks and congested hiking routes.
The ideal time to avoid the crowds is in January if you’re genuinely searching for a quiet getaway. The park typically only receives about 90,000 visitors during this dull winter month, compared to its high of over 500,000 tourists in July. Furthermore, even though it is the middle of winter, the daily highs regularly reach 54 degrees, which is ideal for hiking in a light jacket.
The ideal time of year to walk the Narrows at Zion National Park
With its 1,000-foot-tall walls and a coursing river slicing them in half, The Narrows is undoubtedly one of the park’s most well-known excursions. If you want to truly experience the Narrows, wear waterproof shoes and hike up the Virgin River, which takes you deeper into the canyon. You may taste the location by strolling along the paved and wheelchair-accessible Riverside Walk.
The Narrows are frequently blocked in the spring when snowmelt increases the river significantly since you’ll be walking up the river. The water can also be chilly in the late autumn and winter.
As a result, during the summer and early autumn, when the water is milder and at its lowest point, people commonly walk the Narrows. However, regardless of the season, be aware of flash flooding as it has already caused tragic incidents.
The ideal time to go camping in Zion National Park
Camping is probably one of the most well-liked activities in Zion National Park since there is nothing like waking up in the park’s splendor. Despite this, you should book your campsite as soon as possible because there are only three easily accessible campgrounds in Zion: South, Watchman, and Lava Point.
Watchman Campground in Zion Canyon often remains open all year, while South is only closed during the winter. Open from May through September, Lava Point Campground is a more rustic camping location off Kolob Terrace Road. You can visit anytime during that window if you have the necessary camping gear (or a camper or RV), though those who wish to avoid the heat may choose to prevent July.
When to Avoid Visiting Zion National Park
If you want to avoid crowds, skip a vacation in June or July when over 500,000 people visit each month. On the other hand, you may discover seclusion throughout the winter, but you may also encounter snow, below-freezing evenings, and restricted park access.
What month is best to go to Zion National Park?
Between the months of April and November, when the park’s free shuttles are operating and the weather is pleasant, is the ideal time to visit Zion National Park.
How many days do you need at Zion National?
For your visit to Zion National Park, we advise that you schedule at least 5-7 days. If you enjoy hiking a lot, take your time exploring popular (and challenging) day hikes including Observation Point Trail, Angels Landing, and Zion Narrows Day Hike. Before you leave, make sure to bring enough water and food to prevent hunger and dehydration.
What months is Zion National Park open?
Zion National Park is open all around the year. The seasons affect the facility’s open hours and shuttle arrangements.
What is the best way to see Zion?
The ideal way to explore Zion is to spend a week there, starting with the exhibits and programs at the visitor center, then riding the shuttle bus along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and progressively working your way up from short hikes and walks to full-day and overnight expeditions into the wilderness.