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The Top Zion Hiking Trails

Jun 16, 2023 | 0 comments


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Located just 40 minutes from the entrance to Zion National Park, Gooseberry Lodges is a great base camp for exploring this famous national park. And one of the most popular ways to explore this park is by hiking.

Zion is home to some famous and truly unique hiking trails. Whether you’re wading through water in a narrow slot canyon or braving a narrow ridgeline with steep drop-offs on either side, many trails have a feature that makes them fun and unique.

If you’re planning to hit the trails during your next stay, keep reading as we bring you a few of the best Zion hiking trails.

Angels Landing

The most iconic view in all of Zion is only accessible on this 5.4-mile trail. If the length doesn’t scare you, the conditions might. This strenuous hike features switchbacks, steep climbs, and several narrow expanses with drop-offs on either side and only a chain-link railing to help you stay steady. But if you’re brave enough—and properly prepared—to make the climb, it’ll be well worth your efforts.

The climax of this stunning hike is a ridge at the top of a steep cliff face, and the ground more than 1,500 feet below you. Only experienced hikers with the proper gear should attempt this climb. In the summer, the hike’s difficulty coupled with the extreme heat can make it dangerous. Snowfall in the winter months can also make the rock faces slick.

This Zion hiking trail got a little more complicated to hike last year. Now, hikers wanting to hike past Scouts Landing need a permit in order to do so. Permits are available through two different lotteries, one opening the season before your chosen date, and the other opening the day before.

The Narrows

While Angels Landing might be the best view of the park, The Narrows is perhaps Zion’s most unique trail. That’s because it takes you through the national park’s signature geological feature, a stunning slot canyon carved into the rock by the Virgin River. Of course, to hike the trail, you will need to be prepared to get your feet wet, so water shoes or hiking boots with good drainage are a must in the summer, while waders are necessary during the colder months. 

Unlike Angels Landing, you can make your hike through The Narrows as short or as long as you’d like without sacrificing the experience. You’ll need a permit if you want to make the 16-mile downstream trip through the canyon. Otherwise, hop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, ride to the end, walk the Riverside Walk, and start hiking as far upstream as you’d like!

Riverside Walk

Not all of the top Zion hiking trails are lengthy or difficult. At the end of the Zion Canyon Shuttle Loop is the trailhead for this gentle hike, aptly called Riverside Walk. This paved, accessible trail is perfect for families, older visitors, those with mobility trouble, or anyone just looking to enjoy the park without the strain or sweat (unless, of course, you visit on one of those triple-digit heat days!). In short, it’s a must-see for every visitor!

At just 2.2 miles roundtrip, this hike winds along the gently flowing Virgin River, until just before it enters the slot canyon and The Narrows hike begins. You’ll walk side by side with stunning cliff faces, some of which have hanging gardens that fall picturesquely over the trail. This is also a great trail for spotting birds and other small wildlife.

Weeping Rock

Another easy walk everyone can enjoy is Weeping Rock. At just a half-mile round trip and a mostly flat walk, you can stroll through the canyon among trees until you reach the trail’s main feature. 

There you’ll find Weeping Rock, the sloping dome cliff that hangs out over the trail, with plants hanging from the rim. A set of stairs will take you up onto a platform where you can stand under the ledge and look out at the view of the mountains and the water dripping from the rocks above.

Emerald Pools

There are actually three pools that make up the Emerald Pools, all of which are located on this hike. Some visitors opt to hike only to the first pool, while others choose to hike the entire thing. Lower Emerald Pools is just 1.2 miles roundtrip from the trailhead, located at the Zion Lodge. This easy, paved section of the trail is ideal for families. The pool is at the base of a waterfall during the rainy season. But even when the waterfall isn’t flowing, the scene is still beautiful, with plants hanging over the cliff and forming a lush garden. From this first pool, you can also look down upon the valley, with views of the Virgin River.

Middle Emerald Pools is a 2-mile round trip hike that climbs about 150 feet in elevation. Another set of waterfalls can be found here, as well as equally stunning views.

The Upper Pools require a 3-mile round trip hike and 350 feet in elevation gain, but they are worth the extra effort. Powerful waterfalls rush over the edge and into the pools when there is a runoff in the Spring. You’ll also enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the valley far below.

Taking on the Top Zion Hiking Trails

Whether you’re looking for an easy walk or a strenuous trek, there are plenty of Zion hiking trails to choose from. The ones on this list are just a few of the most famous and popular trails in the park. But not only are there plenty of others.

Ready to take on Zion’s trails for yourself during your next visit? Now is a great time to book your next stay at Gooseberry Lodge. Surrounded by incredible natural landscapes, our cozy cabins are the perfect place to relax. Book your next stay today to see for yourself!

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