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Zion National Park sits on the southwestern corner of Utah and combines the iconic red cliffs, deeply carved river canyons, and patchy yet lush foliage that’s presented throughout the state. Various pools and rivers create a stunning combination of landscape, with hues of deep blue and dusty red melting together. Zion is one of the best parks in the state, offering countless ways to enjoy the surroundings. Whether a traditional adventure like horseback riding or something like river tubing, Zion delivers tons of excitement.
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What Is It? Floating the Virgin River proves to be one of the cooler ways to relax in Zion National Park during the summer.
Why Do It? The approximately two-hour float will require some physical exertion when navigating through rocks or shallow water (participants must at least be 12), but its a great way to see the park from a new perspective.
Good to Know: The window for this splish-splashing activity ranges from around May to July, and depends on river flow. Tube rentals can be booked through Zion Outfitter, and every penny will be well spent.
What Is It? A secret swimming spot at Pine Creek Waterfall.
Why Do It? The watery hole is perfect from around May to September, for a cooling dip and a few hours of chill time.
Good to Know: While the route to reach the oasis is a relatively short 1/4 mile hike, rocks can be slippery and a little dicey. Proceed with caution. Experts urge people to avoid the swimming hole when it is raining as flash floods are very possible.
What Is It? Want to see a lot of Zion but have little time? Take flight in a helicopter.
Why Do It? Zion Helicopters takes passengers up for as little as $70, but more elaborate rides are on the table. A perspective can be seen from the sky, that cannot be found on the ground. Sweeping landscapes can be captured in a glance, versus several hours traversing on foot.
Good to Know: Traveling with a loved one? Helicopter rides are also an extremely romantic excursion.
What Is It? Jeeps can get to difficult access spots within and just beyond Zion National Park.
Why Do It? What could take days during a backpacking trip can be accomplished in a few hours aboard a 4×4. Navigate up to scenic overlooks and go far beyond typical points of exploration.
Good to Know: Private tours come in around $300 for 1-3 passengers at Zion Jeep Tours, then an additional $100 per extra person.
What Is It? Would you enjoy racing around in an open-air vehicle, that drives more thrilling, such as a go-cart?
Why Do It? An ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tour might be what hits the spot. At ATV Adventures, folks don’t have to be experienced. Great guides help beginners adjust to handing their vehicle and working through the rocky terrain, whether that be for a half-day, or along a sunset drive.
Good to Know: Expect to drop around $200 for the experience.
What Is It? Canyoneering is far more involved than climbing alone.
Why Do It? Although, rock-climbing has its own intricacies. But when canyoneering, you’ll be splashing through water, working your way into crevices, and engaging with various other obstacles.
Good to Know: Keep in mind that this can be a serious business, and beginners should always go with a guide. The Narrows above the Temple of Sinawava can be good for those starting out.
What Is It? Keep it basic with good old fashioned rock climbing.
Why Do It? Maybe canyoneering just isn’t your thing, and the thought of going into small cracks is claustrophobia-inducing. We get it. Rock climbing is classic, offering thrill and some of the most unreal views of your life.
Good to Know: You can take in the incomparable rock terrain of Zion National Park while getting in one heck of a work out. A win-win!
What Is It? Bicycling is a widely practiced activity in Zion.
Why Do It? All of the park roads are open to cyclists, who must cycle single file in groups no more than six. So instead of riding the shuttle along the scenic drives, travelers can bike them! Most trails are off-limits for bikes, but there is one that can be traversed.
Good to Know: The Pa’rus Trail boasts a scenic route full of exciting curves and bridges. It is not uncommon to see different native wildlife, just be sure to keep a safe distance, to protect yourself and the animals.
What Is It? Hiking is of course an obvious way to experience this majestic park.
Why Do It? Most folks head to Zion Canyon, which is the most popular and most visited part of the entire park. One of the most scenic hikes in the United States is Angel’s Landing, which is about 5.4 miles round trip.
Good to Know: Hikers are advised by the National Park Service to extensively plan for their trips, no matter how short or long, because the terrain can be complex and difficult at times. There are backpacking options for the ultimate overnight adventure, but you’ll have to get a permit.
What Is It? Zion National Park scenic drives are an absolute can’t miss experience.
Why Do It? Driving adds that bit of ease and relaxation to your visit. So if you’ve done a lot of hiking or other physically exerting activities, this is a welcomed treat. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway are two popular picks that provide stunning overviews of the park.
Good to Know: Guests can also board the shuttle when it is operating, so they can just sit back and relax without the worry of driving.
What Is It? The Sandbench Trail, Three Patriarchs, the Beehives and striking cacti gardens are just some of the sites riders see when horseback riding with Canyon Trail Rides.
Why Do It? There’s something nostalgic about trotting through Zion’s natural foliage, rather than zipping through on a car or bike. Maybe it’s the connection with the animals, or perhaps the slower pace, but we truly love this activity in Zion.
Good to Know: During the main season, tour operators typically provide horseback rides right in Zion Canyon. Right outside the park, horseback riding excursions are available year-round.