The Best Time To Visit Zion National Park – Summer is the most popular time to visit because the kids are out of school and the weather is pleasant. However, it is not the best time to visit Zion National Park at this time.
People prefer to avoid visiting the park in the winter, but if you’re searching for peace, keep in mind that on an average winter day, just about 3,000 people arrive.
During the rest of the year, known as the “shoulder months,” the number of visitors ranges from 7,000 to 15,000 a day on average. As a result, the best times to visit Zion National Park and escape the crowds are in the spring and fall.
There are some parts of the United States that are a little more jaw-dropping than the others, with landscapes that make us reach for our phones and environments that support species not found anywhere else.
Zion National Park is one of these wonderful places. Zion National Park is Utah’s first and oldest national park, covering 232 square miles of desert-like landscape with narrow sandstone canyons, soaring red cliffs, and patches of lush vegetation.
The terrain is varied, offering something for everyone, including professional rock climbers and easy day hikers, thanks to the park’s 5,000 feet of elevation fluctuation from Coalpits Wash at 3,666 feet to Horse Ranch Mountain at 8,726 feet.
One of the most amazing places on the planet is Zion National Park. Every year, millions of people visit Utah’s oldest national park. The red sheer sandstone cliffs of Zion Canyon, narrow riverside walkways, deep pools, waterfalls, hanging gardens, and meadows of wildflowers all entice them.
The elevation shift creates fantastic hiking and rock climbing terrain. But it also means that the weather varies from season to season and from moment to moment. You could have searing sun one minute and torrential downpour the next.
In the winter, the peaks are covered in snow, and there are times when it is too cold to camp under the stars.
Humans have lived in the area where the park now stands for the past 8,000 years. Various Native American tribes, including the semi-nomadic Basketmaker Anasazi, the Virgin Anasazi, the Parowan Fremont group Basketmakers, and subsequently the Parrusits and other Southern Paiute sub-tribes, passed through or called it home.
Best Time To Visit Zion National Park
The best time to visit Zion National Park depends on your preference, so I’ve catagorized the best times for you on following basis :
Table of Contents
• For Hiking
Hiking is the greatest way to explore the park, which means visiting in the fall. The majority of routes are open, and the Virgin River is not in risk of flooding, as it is in the spring.
As the school year begins and parents must return home, crowds thin out in the fall. Always check the trail conditions in the wilderness to learn about any potential route closures.
There are other popular hiking trails in the park, but Angels Landing is one of the most popular. This five-and-a-half-mile hike is truly fantastic, cut into solid vividly coloured rock and surrounded by 1,488-foot-tall cliffs.
Avoid going during the summer, especially in July and August, when the heat can contribute to tiredness and violent summer storms can occur. Also, avoid the trail becoming slick due to frigid winter temperatures.
Between March and June, or September and October, is the best time to confront Angels Landing.
• To Avoid Crowds
Although Zion National Park is open all year, the months of April through September see the highest number of tourists. If you have the time, visiting the park during its off-season, from October to March, will ensure that you encounter fewer view-blocking selfie sticks and congested hiking routes.
If you really want to get away from the throng, January is the best time to go. The park, which receives 557,200 visitors during its busiest month of July, has typically only seen 91,562 visitors during this quiet winter month. And, despite the fact that it is the dead of winter, everyday temperatures regularly reach 52 degrees, making it ideal for exploring the trails in a light jacket.
• For Camping
Staying overnight at Zion National Park is recommended if you wish to spend more than a day there and enjoy the beautiful night sky and breathtaking sunsets.
There are three campgrounds to choose from: Lava Point, Watchman, and South. Watchman is open all year. In the spring, summer, and fall, South and Lava Point are open.
The months of April to May and September to October are ideal for camping in Zion National Park.
The campgrounds fill up quickly, so make your reservations as soon as possible.
• For Canyoneering
Canyoneering is a sport that you’ve probably never heard of. In Zion National Park, you’ll be scrambling, walking, climbing, jumping, swimming, and abseiling your way through the canyons.
Zion National Park is a perfect place for canyoneering, with its small canyons and numerous waterways, and it is today one of the most popular destinations for canyoneering enthusiasts.
If you’re a beginner, keep it real and join one of the guided trips that will take you to the Narrows’ lower end. The Orderville or Subway Canyons are usually visited by more experienced hikers.
Canyoneering in Zion is possible all year, but park officials may block some routes at certain times.
Summer is the most popular time to go canyoneering because the water is warmer and the activity necessitates numerous dunks.
Canyoneering necessitates the acquisition of a permit. You can order it up to three months ahead of time online.
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• For Sightseeing
There are beautiful things to see all around you whether you’re hiking, backpacking, driving, or paddling around Zion National Park. In the spring, the Virgin River’s rapid waters cascade down high cliffs into deep pools, surrounded by lush flora.
Cooler temperatures in the fall make searching for the greatest views and climbing steep rocks more enjoyable. Aspens are becoming golden and cottonwoods are reflecting in the peaceful river waters.
The best time to see wildflowers blooming along most routes is in late spring and early summer. In the winter, the evergreens are covered in white powder at high elevation, and the peaceful routes allow you to enjoy all of this splendour to yourself.
• For Climbing
Rock climbers drool just staring at the 2,000-foot red sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park. These rocky outcroppings are difficult for the faint of heart, and certainly not for beginner climbers. The sandstone is fragile and brittle, and the rocks are virtually vertical.
The months of March and May, as well as September and early November, are ideal for climbing in Zion National Park.
Summer is not the best time to go rock climbing. Even where the walls are shaded, the heat may be extreme, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. Summer is also known for its sudden torrential rainstorms.
When the rains get the desert sandstone in Zion wet, it is greatly weakened. After a rainfall, avoid climbing. Remember that it takes two or more days for rocks to dry sufficiently for climbing safely and without your holds breaking, causing these routes to be damaged for other climbers. You also run the danger of significant damage if your climbing protection fails.
Topos reported by other climbers are accessible at the Wilderness Desk at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. When you’ve finished your climb, send your topo to the park’s Wilderness Center so that other climbers can benefit.
Before visiting the park, check for seasonal closures.
• For Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
Driving along Zion Canyon Road is by far the most convenient method to visit Zion National Park. Fortunately, Zion Canyon Road is only open to private vehicles in January and February, and in December before the holidays, when the park shuttle isn’t running, or the park would be swamped in cars and car emissions.
During the rest of the year, take advantage of the park shuttles‘ convenience. From April through late November, they run every day.
• For Visiting Zion Narrows
The Narrows, the park’s most popular hike, is spectacular and somewhat dangerous, which is certainly part of its allure. You begin by wading into the Virgin River, which carves a 1,000-foot-deep gorge and forms the walls of Zion Canyon. You can see the area from the paved Riverside Walk if you don’t want to get wet.
Walking upriver through the Narrows takes you deeper and deeper into the canyon. You have no chance of escaping if you undertake this climb at the wrong time, such as when rapid summer rains cause flash floods.
When this happens, entire groups are tragically lost and their bodies are discovered days later. Before attempting to hike the Narrows, make sure to check the weather forecast.
When the river level rises quickly and dramatically owing to snowmelt in the spring, the Narrows is frequently closed.
As you can expect, the water gets very cold in the fall and winter, thus relatively few people visit the Narrows when the weather turns chilly.
Late spring is the finest season to hike the Narrows because the water warms up, the river level stabilises, and the summer storms haven’t arrived yet.
• For Swimming
Nothing beats a refreshing dip in a natural lake on a hot summer day after a long hike in Zion Canyon. All you have to do is locate Pine Creek Waterfall, one of the park’s best-kept secrets.
The trailhead for the quarter-mile hike to the pool is near Canyon Junction, on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel’s south side, at the Pine Creek Bridge.
Between May and September, when the water is pleasantly warm, is the greatest time to swim in the pool. However, because there is no requirement for a permit to swim there, you can go at any time of year.
If the water is too cold to swim, the hike is still worth it just to see the breathtaking splendour of this unique location.
Pine Creek is in a high-risk flood zone. If it is pouring or has been raining for a long time, do not undertake this hike. In the summer, flash floods are widespread and can occur quickly and unexpectedly. Before travelling to the canyon, always check the weather.
• For Backpacking
The majority of tourists to Zion National Park are satisfied with the park’s short day treks. Backpacking is the best method to get a full sense of the park’s nature and seclusion. It’s your chance to gaze up at the star-studded night sky, see the sunrise and sunset over the canyon, and spot some of the canyon’s elusive wildlife.
The La Verkin Creek Trail and the West Rim Trail are the most popular two-day trails. The “Trans-Zion Trek,” also known as the “Zion Traverse,” is a 47-mile journey that connects various paths and is becoming increasingly popular.
Backpacking in the park requires a permit. Permits guarantee you a spot at a specified wilderness camp. The number of persons allowed in each camp is limited, and you are not permitted to camp in campgrounds where you do not have a permission.
Campgrounds for backpackers are rustic. You won’t be able to make a fire, and you’ll have to carry all of your trash with you. Others should be respected and their pleasure of the park should be respected.
Always check the weather before commencing a walk and have the Zion Wilderness Map with you.
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Weather In Zion National Park By Month
When it comes to determining the best time to visit Zion National Park, the weather is by far the most crucial aspect. Temperature and precipitation, which vary dramatically from month to month, have an impact on any activity you plan.
Summer is when the majority of visitors visit the park. Partly due to the fact that the kids are out of school, and partly due to the beautiful weather and high temperatures. Rangers also offer a variety of activities for both children and adults.
Summers in the park may be quite hot, with temperatures reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer is also monsoon season in the park, with over 15 thunderstorms expected in a single month.
Because these storms generate flash floods, hiking across small canyons is extremely risky.
If you do not make a reservation in advance, hotels in the nearby town of Springdale soon fill up. The same may be said for the campgrounds in the parks.
Despite this, the park attracts a large number of visitors during the summer, with around 40% of the park’s yearly visitors arriving between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Imagine sharing the park with 17,000 other people on any given day!
Peak season crowds can result in crowded trails and buses. By arriving early, you may be able to dodge the worst crowds. You’ll also get to see a stunning sunrise.
The most popular season to trek the Narrows is in the early summer. Snowmelt has ended, the river level has stabilised, and the water is warm. Wading through the Virgin River is a great way to cool off.
As the summer progresses, be cautious of the possibility of summer storms and flash flooding, so check the weather forecast before heading out.
The park’s winter temps are often a balmy 50 degrees during the day, making it suitable for daily hikes. It’s not ideal for camping or backpacking because the temperature can dip below freezing at night.
In the winter, snow can be seen at higher elevations, although it nearly never accumulates on the Zion Canyon floor. Snowshoeing is a fun activity to do when there is a little snow.
If you want to be alone, winter is the greatest time to visit Zion National Park. When winter arrives, the park loses more than half of its typical visitors. On any given day, instead of 17000 people, you will only have to share the trails with roughly 3000 people.
It means you can often have a route to yourself and actually appreciate the scenery. You might even see animals that is generally afraid of crowds.
During the winter, some of the most popular routes, such as Angels Landing, are more prone to suffer frost and snow, and may be closed at times. You may need to carry shoe spikes for other trails.
Only on holiday weekends does the park shuttle run. It means that accessing certain areas of the park is difficult.
When it snows, Kolob Canyon and other portions of the park at higher elevations are closed.
You might enjoy camping in the park in the winter if you have adequate winter camping gear because there are less people. Keep in mind that the only one open in the winter is Watchman Campground.
If you do not have children and do not need to travel during the school year, spring is the perfect season to visit Zion National Park. There aren’t many people, the weather is still beautiful, and there are wildflowers to be seen along the pathways.
Mornings are comfortable, and temperatures rarely rise above the mid-70s even at noon.
The winter snow begins to melt as the temperature in the canyon rises, flowing down the Virgin River through the park. Small waterfalls form when river water rushes down cliff faces, something you won’t see any other time of year.
Animals are waking up from their winter hibernation and beginning to search the park for food. Mule deer, foxes, bighorn sheep, and rock squirrels are all likely to be spotted. Mountain lions, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, porcupines, bats, and beavers are less common and only active at night.
All park services are available in the spring, and all campgrounds are open.
Spring Break is the worst time to visit since the people return with a vengeance.
Fall temperatures are pleasant in the morning and warm by noon, just as they are in the spring. Except on holiday weekends, the tourists are usually gone, and you can enjoy numerous trails to yourself.
Because September is still monsoon season, expect heavy rains and even flash floods.
Hiking the Narrows in the fall is very enjoyable because the water is still warm and the aspens and cottonwoods surrounding the canyon are turning golden.
In the fall, the Zion Canyon Shuttle runs on a regular schedule, making it convenient to go about the park.
If you’re going camping, bring some cold-weather clothes because temperatures might dip at night, and snow is a possibility.
Zion National Park Crowds By Month
Zion Park is a victim of its own magnificence and fame. Zion National Park is one of the country’s top five most visited parks, with 4.5 million people each year. In the summer, the park is overrun by 17,000 people on an average day.
The Worst Time to Visit Zion National Park
- If you want to avoid the crowds, avoid visiting in June or July, when over 500,000 people visit each month. During the winter months, on the other hand, you’ll find seclusion, but you’ll also likely encounter below-freezing nights, snow, and limited park access.