Experiencing Zion National Park in just 1 Day
To be honest, one day isn’t enough time to enjoy the incredibly beautiful soaring red, pink, and cream-colored cliffs of Zion National Park. One could spend a lifetime exploring Zion’s majestic canyons, unique plants, and abundant wildlife. In today’s fast paced lifestyle however, many a traveler’s plans only allow for single day in this spectacular destination.
So if you find yourself with only 24 hours to explore Utah’s first national park , make the most of your one day with this great introductory tour of Zion’s Top 5 attractions.
Sometimes the most well-known parts of a park should be avoided if time is limited due to heavy foot traffic. Angels Landing however isn’t one of those. This 1,488-foot tall rock formation is Zion’s most popular hike, and with good reason with its zig-zagging paths leading to stunning drop-offs. Listen to the pacifying sounds of the Virgin River as you climb up the pink-hued sandstone cliffs, taking in the amazing 360-degree view of the park from the summit. This hike will provide you with some incredible photography that will make your friends back home jealous.
It’s a 5-mile round trip hike and typically takes about five hours to complete, but Angels Landing is well worth a few hours of your day. Morning is the best time to go, and once you reach the top, reward yourself with a little picnic lunch on the flat and wide summit before making your descent. for those An incredible hike for those who aren’t faint of heart or don’t have a fear of heights.
A shorter hike, but still just as beautiful, Riverside Walk takes you on an easy 2-mile round trip hike along the Virgin River to the mouth of The Narrows. The trail is paved and can hardly be considered a climb, making it perfect for those of every age and hiking skill level. It’s the perfect place to cool down after hiking the challenging Angels Landing.
Towering cliff walls and trees provide plenty of shade along your leisurely stroll on the paved trail. It’s the perfect place to cool off during the hot summer months with several river access points. Simply dip your feet in or fully submerge yourself in this gorgeous river.
Not very often will you see pools and gardens full of vibrant green vegetation in the middle of a desert—but you will at Zion National Park. Emerald Pools is a must-visit, especially during a warm day.
Best of all is the fact the area offers many options depending on how much time you have to explore its wonders. Hikes can take you to Lower, Middle and Upper Pools. When time is short, many visitors spend an hour walking on the Lower Trail through cottonwood, fir, oak and maple trees that lead to a hanging garden and waterfall that spills into the clear Lower Pool. If you choose to ascend to the Middle or Upper Pools, plan on spending another half hour to an hour hiking on a dirt and rocky path that ranges from moderate to difficult. Seeing the rushing waterfall plunging over the red cliff walls into the glistening pool is most definitely worth it.
If you want to see with your own eyes how massive Zion National Park really is, take the short and fairly easy hike amongst wildflowers to Canyon Overlook. The trail curves along Pine Creek Canyon and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. After about a half mile the trail places you on the edge of a cliff so you can gaze upon Zion’s well-known switchbacks, Towers of the Virgin, the Streaked Wall, and other striking views of Zion.
The Canyon Overlook Trail is a Zion classic, whose trailhead begins just east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
A semi-strenuous, 2-mile hike, Watchman Trail is a rather underrated trail at Zion. Being close to the park’s entrance, it’s a great trail to tackle just before leaving the park. The loop trail’s highlight is watching the sunset from its many stunning lookout points, each providing gorgeous panoramic views over Zion National Park.
The trail consists of steep climbs and rocky terrain, and will take around two hours to complete the round trip. Watchman Trail is the perfect unforgettable ending to your exciting day exploring Zion.
Zion can be tackled in just a single day so don’t let limited time prevent you from experiencing one of America’s greatest National Parks.