Planning a stay at your favorite Utah resort? Water Canyon Resort is located just an hour from Zion National Park, one of Southern Utah’s most popular natural attractions. This makes it a great basecamp for exploring the park for a day, or for several, during your visit.
Ready to start planning your own Zion adventure? Check out the best 5 hikes in the park to choose the right ones for your next Utah resort stay.
1. Angels Landing
When it comes to hiking trails, Angels Landing is by far the most popular option in all of Zion National Park. This iconic hike is known for its incredible views, challenging hike to the summit, and the dangerous stretch of trail that has hikers traversing a narrow ridgeline with steep drop-offs on either side — with only a metal chain link handrail to hold onto.
This hike isn’t a good choice for beginners. It’s over 5 miles roundtrip and climbs more than 1,500 feet in elevation from start to finish. The trail offers limited shade as well, which makes it even more difficult during the summer months when temperatures climb. But if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Zion’s Lower Canyon, and bragging rights for tackling one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the U.S — though you may want to plan a day of rest at your Utah resort afterward to help you recuperate!
The trail’s challenges haven’t stopped it from attracting more than 300,000 hikers each year. To mitigate growing crowds, the National Park Service has implemented a new Pilot Permit Program. Guests can enter two lotteries to get a permit to hike the trail on any given day. The Seasonal Lottery is held four times a year, and awards permits for dates in the following season. As the name suggests, the Day-before Lottery awards permits for hikes on the trail the following day. Without a permit, hikers can only hike as far as Scout Lookout.
2. Weeping Rock Trail
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Angels Landing is a trail that’s perfect for families or those looking for a relaxing walk. At just .4-miles, Weeping Rock Trail is the shortest trail in Zion National Park. It winds along a stream at the base of a towering canyon, with plenty of foliage hanging over top, offering shade and great views.
This trail also offers stunning views of one of Zion’s most famous peaks, the Great White Throne. Steps leading down into the stream are a great spot for kids to splash around and cool off on a hot day.
3. Canyon Overlook Trail
If you aren’t able to get a permit for Angels Landing or want a more accessible way to enjoy great views of Zion’s Lower Canyon, head to Canyon Overlook Trail. As the name suggests, the summit of this trail offers panoramic views of the canyon far below. But because the trail is located in the Upper Canyon, you won’t have to do any climbing to get there!
To get to Canyon Overlook Trail, you’ll first need to drive through the famous Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Soon after entering the Upper Canyon section of the park, you’ll spot this trailhead. Canyon Overlook Trail is just 1-mile round trip and is relatively flat. At the summit, look down and see if you can spot the Pine Creek Slot Canyon far below you.
4. Riverside Walk
Angels Landing is far from the only iconic trail in Zion. The Narrows is another popular, and challenging, hike. It’s located in the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and requires visitors to hike through the cool waters of the Virgin River. Hiking the entire length of The Narrows means covering more than 16 miles one-way. You’ll need a permit, the right gear, and will need to arrange transportation to and from the beginning and end of the trail.
But if you want to see The Narrows, and maybe even hike a short distance upstream, Riverside Walk is a great alternative. This short, paved trail is just 2.2-miles out-and-back and is mostly flat. At the end of the trail, before you turn around to hike back, you’ll find the start of The Narrows. You can walk down from the Riverside Walk trail to the edge of the Virgin River for a closer look, and even hike up a ways to get a taste for this unique hike. The rest of the Riverside Walk follows the river, and offers incredible views, with the cliff walls rising sharply on either side.
5. Emerald Pools
The historic Zion Lodge is a must-see during your visit to the park. When you hop off the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the Lodge, walk across the street to check out another popular trail. Emerald Pool Trail is divided into two sections: Upper Emerald Pool and Lower Emerald Pool. There’s also the Middle Emerald Pool, which marks the halfway point in between the two trails. You can hike the Lower Emerald Pool for an easy 1.5-mile hike, or hike the entire thing for a more challenging 3-mile hike. Both trails offer great views of the waterfalls that connect the 3 step pools.
Planning Your Next Utah Resort Adventure
Dreaming of hiking to the summit of Angels Landing? Or maybe the family-friendly trails on this list are more your speed? Either way, Water Canyon Resort is the perfect basecamp for your Zion National Park adventure. Our Utah resort offers the comforts of home with luxurious extras that help make your stay relaxing and comfortable. Book your stay today to start planning your next visit!