A standard first visit to Zion National Park includes hiking three very popular trails: Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, and the Lower Narrows. These are spectacular hikes, and if you haven’t experienced them yet, you’re missing out. But this is only scratching the surface of the Park’s recreational opportunities. There are a myriad number of backcountry trails, views, and activities that are as equally spectacular. If you have already tried the above-mentioned popular hikes in Zion and are wondering what you missed, here are three activities that you should try during your next visit.
If hiking does not sound like it releases enough adrenaline, you may want to try canyoneering. Zion has awe-inspiring slot canyons that attract canyon-junkies from all over the world. Two canyons, Keyhole and Pine Creek, are popular routes that can usually be completed in one half-day. A wetsuit is a must, even on hot summer days, and as both canyons are within the park boundaries, a permit is required for either one.
If you have never been canyoneering, it is important that you take proper equipment and go with experienced and trained individuals. Luckily, guide services are available to take you through some exciting routes that will get you hooked on the sport.
This one should be obvious. Zion National Park is over 200 square miles, and the three hikes listed above leave you seeing maybe 10 of them. Zion’s backcountry trails will expose you to fantastic views of the park that are not as popular simply because they are not quite as convenient to reach.
If you aren’t sure which trails to do, consider starting with either the East Rim Trail or the West Rim Trail. While the West Rim Trail may be slightly more well-known, both are fantastic backcountry hikes that can be done in a day or two. Permits are required if you plan on spending the night at one of the various campsites along the trails.
Like canyoneering, Zion is chock-full of world-famous climbing routes. The Park has a reputation for long, dramatic routes suitable only for experienced climbers, but there are plenty of options available for the less experienced and even for beginners. Permits are not required for climbs that will be completed in one day. Remember, climbing, like canyoneering, is not something you want to do without appropriate training or equipment.
One of the reasons Zion is so popular is that you can always find another activity to be tried or trail to be explored. There are many more things to do, including jeep tours, horseback riding, rafting, and more. As you experience Zion again, don’t be surprised if more ideas come to mind of things you would like to do on your next visit.