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Over the course of one day, we’ll guide you through a series of adventures highlighting Zion’s remarkable attractions.

Your journey in Zion starts by exploring the Narrows, and walking through the Virgin River while being surrounded by towering canyon walls. Following that, you’ll tackle the Angel’s Landing hike for panoramic views from great heights.

Next, you’ll enjoy the tranquility of the Emerald Pools, where waterfalls and greenery offer a peaceful oasis. Wrap up your day with the magnificent vistas of the Canyon Overlook Trail, capturing Zion’s beauty.

Ready to embark on a day filled with adventure in Zion? Let’s begin.

Zion National Park At-A-Glance

Before diving in, here are a few Zion National Park highlights to help you plan your trip:

  • Best Time to Visit Zion National Park: Zion National Park is open year-round, 24/7, offering great experiences regardless of the season. Due to mild temperatures and fewer crowds, April, May, September, and October are my preferred times. Summer sees peak visitation with hot temperatures and crowded trails, while winter offers solitude and mild temperatures.
  • Where to Stay When Visiting Zion National Park: Staying inside Zion National Park is ideal, but accommodations are limited and require reservations up to a year in advance. The only hotel inside the park is Zion Lodge, offering cabins, hotel rooms, and suites year-round. There are three campgrounds: South and Watchman Campgrounds are in Zion Canyon, while Lava Point Campground is about an hour’s drive away on Kolob Terrace Road. Reservations are necessary for South and Watchman Campgrounds.

If everything is booked inside the park, then check out my post 6 Towns And Cities Near Zion National Park (with Best Places to Stay and Eat) to get more ideas.

  • How to Get to Zion National Park: The closest International Airports to Zion National Park that you can fly into are located in Las Vegas (LAS), Nevada, and Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah. There are smaller Regional Airports in St. George (SGU), Utah, and Cedar City (CDC), Utah.
  • How to Get Around in Zion National Park: From March to November, Zion National Park requires visitors to use the shuttle service; private vehicles aren’t permitted. The shuttle fee is included in your recreational use pass, allowing you to hop on and off at any shuttle stop.
  • How Much Does It Cost to Visit Zion National Park: To visit Zion National Park, you need to purchase a recreational day-use pass, which costs $35 per vehicle and is good for 7 consecutive days. You can purchase the pass right at the entrance to the park.

If you are visiting several national parks then make sure to get America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites!

  • Check the Zion National Park Website for Trail Closures and Changes to Shuttle Operations: It is important that you check the Zion National Park Website for any trail or road closures (usually due to rock slides) prior to going to the park. You can check for updates HERE.

Morning: The Riverside Walk and The Narrows

Kickstart your day in Zion National Park with a stroll along the Riverside Walk, which will take you to the Narrows.

This is an easy, about 1-mile long, paved trail that winds alongside the Virgin River and offers a peaceful and picturesque introduction to the park’s beauty.

GOOD TO KNOW:  Riverside Walk Trailhead is located at the Temple of Sinawava, which is Zion shuttle stop number 9.

Riverside Walk in Zion

Views Along Riverside Walk Leading to the Narrows

Historically, Riverside Walk was called Gateway to the Narrows. And, this is right here where the legendary hike called Zion Narrows starts!

Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you venture into The Narrows? This world-renowned slot canyon hike is a bucket-list experience that will leave you awestruck.

To access The Narrows, you will wade through the Virgin River itself, with towering sandstone walls rising dramatically on either side.

The Narrows in Zion

Zion Narrows Hike

As you step into the river, you will quickly realize why The Narrows is a must-do in Zion. The beauty lies in the ever-changing scenery, as each twist and turn reveals new wonders.

At times, the canyon walls can tower over a thousand feet above you, creating an awe-inspiring sense of insignificance in the face of nature’s grandeur!

The Narrows in Zion

The Narrows / One Day in Zion

While you may not have the luxury of traversing the entire 16-mile route, fear not! Even a brief immersion in this awe-inspiring wonderland will make your day in Zion National Park unforgettable.


  • It’s important to note that hiking The Narrows requires proper preparation and equipment. Renting or bringing appropriate gear, such as sturdy footwear, neoprene socks, and a hiking pole, is highly recommended to ensure your safety and enhance your experience.
  • Check the weather and river conditions before setting out, as flash floods can occur and make the hike dangerous or even impossible.

This is just the beginning of a day filled with breathtaking beauty and exhilarating experiences in Zion National Park!

The Narrows Trail in Zion

The Narrows Trail in Zion 

Mid-Morning: Angel's Landing

Next get ready to conquer one of Zion National Park’s most iconic and thrilling hikes: Angel’s Landing. This exhilarating adventure will take you to new heights and reward you with awe-inspiring panoramic views.

GOOD TO KNOW: Angel’s Landing Trail is 2.5 miles one way and takes about 3 hours to complete. The total elevation change is 1,490 feet. The journey to Angel’s Landing begins at the Grotto Trailhead (shuttle stop number 6).

Map of Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park

Map of Angel’s Landing Trail / One Day in Zion 

At first, the trail remains at an easy grade, however, pretty you will begin a series of switchbacks. Although the switchbacks are wiggly, these are not the famous Walter’s Wiggles yet. You will reach them later on. The switchbacks will take you to the top of the ridge above Refrigerator Canyon.

Angels Landing Trail in Zion

Angel’s Landing Trail 

Next, the trail gradually climbs up the canyon and pretty soon you will get to the famous 1930s CCC engineering section called Water’s Wiggles. Each wiggle is a short switchback. There are a total of 21 wiggles!

Angels Landing Trail in Zion

Walter’s Wiggles Along Angel’s Landing Trail 

As you climb higher, you will notice the landscape transforming beneath your feet, with rugged cliffs and sweeping valleys stretching as far as the eye can see.

But the real challenge and reward await you at the final section of the hike. A narrow and exposed ridgeline, equipped with chains for assistance, will lead you to the summit of Angel’s Landing.

This thrilling section is not for the faint of heart but is well worth the effort for those seeking an adrenaline rush and unparalleled views!

Angels Landing Hike in Zion

The last Section of the Angel’s Landing Trail 

As you navigate the exposed sections you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping vistas of Zion Canyon, the Virgin River, winding through the canyon floor, and the towering red and white cliffs of Zion’s unique landscape.

Once you reach the summit of Angel’s Landing, take a moment to soak in the sense of accomplishment and the beauty that surrounds you.

View from Angel's Landing

The View from Angel’s Landing 

GOOD TO KNOW: As of the latest update, the National Park Service has implemented a reservation system for accessing the trail, aimed at managing the number of hikers and ensuring a safe experience for all.

To secure your spot, you are required to participate in a lottery system. Register for the lottery HERE. Reservations can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons, so it’s advisable to plan ahead and check for availability as early as possible.

Lunch Break: Zion Lodge Area

It is time to take a well-deserved break and refuel for the rest of your day in Zion National Park.

Head to the Zion Lodge Area. It is like a serene oasis offering a perfect spot to relax and enjoy a delicious lunch.

The Zion Lodge, located at the heart of the park (shuttle stop number 5), provides a range of dining options. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal, a quick snack, or a refreshing beverage, you will find something to satisfy your cravings.

The Red Rock Grill offers a diverse menu with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy a hearty burger, a crisp salad, or a flavorful sandwich while taking in the picturesque views of the surrounding cliffs and greenery.

For a lighter meal or a quick bite, the Castle Dome Café is a convenient option. Grab a sandwich, salad, or one of their famous homemade desserts to enjoy on their outdoor patio, soaking in the tranquil ambiance of the lodge area.

GOOD TO KNOW: If you prefer to bring your lunch, there are picnic areas available near the lodge.

Afternoon: Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock

After lunch, it’s time to continue your exploration of Zion National Park with a visit to Emerald Pools and the Weeping Rock.

Emerald Pools Trailhead is located right across from Zion Lodge. Follow the well-marked signs that guide you along the trail.

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Map of Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park / One Day in Zion

The Emerald Pools Trail consists of a series of interconnected paths, including the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, the Middle Emerald Pool Trail, and the Upper Emerald Pool Trail. Each section offers a unique experience.

As you ascend the trail, you will be treated to breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls, wildflowers, and pools that lend their name to this area.

Emerald Pools Trail in Zion

Emerald Pools Trail 

What is cool is that this trail takes you under an alcove with the waterfall spilling over it.

However, I need to mention that if you are visiting during the summer months, there might not be very many waterfalls, they probably will be reduced to just a mere trickle.

Yet, something to keep in mind is that late summer is a monsoon season and it brings quite a few downpours. So, if there is a chance of rain, you will be amazed at how beautiful this place is after the rain.

Emerald Pools Trail in Zion

Emerald Pools Trail  

Next, make your way to the nearby Weeping Rock Trailhead located along the park’s main Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (shuttle stop number 7).

Scenic Drive in Zion National Park

Map of Weeping Rock Trail in Zion National Park / One Day in Zion

The Weeping Rock hike is short but steep. The trail is paved and well-maintained.

This geological wonder features a natural alcove where water seeps through the sandstone and falls from the cliff above, creating a captivating “weeping” effect.

Weeping Rock Trail in Zion

Weeping Rock Trail 

PRO TIP: Be on the lookout for the hanging Columbine. It is endemic to Zion. There are two species of Columbine in the park – the golden one, which has yellow flowers, and the western one, which has red and yellow flowers.

Late Afternoon: Canyon Overlook Trail

As the day begins to wind down, treat yourself to one final adventure in Zion National Park: the captivating Canyon Overlook Trail that offers breathtaking vistas of the Zion Canyon.

GOOD TO KNOW: To reach the trailhead, drive along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, also known as Highway 9, until you spot the parking area for the Canyon Overlook Trail. The Canyon Overlook Trail is a moderately easy hike that spans approximately 1-mile roundtrip.

The Canyon Overlook Trail offers a perfect ending to your one day in Zion, providing a memorable experience!

Canyon Overlook in Zion

Zion Canyon Overlook 

Intrepid Scout's Tips for One Day in Zion

Here are a few tips to ensure a memorable and enjoyable visit:

  • Plan ahead: With only one day to explore, it’s essential to plan your itinerary in advance. Research the trails, check for any closures or restrictions, and make necessary reservations to optimize your time.
  • Start early: Maximizing your day starts with an early start. Arrive at the park with plenty of time to secure parking and begin your first adventure.
  • Stay hydrated and nourished: Carry sufficient water and snacks throughout the day to stay energized and hydrated. Remember to pack out any trash and leave no trace behind.
  • Dress appropriately: Zion’s weather can vary, so wear comfortable and layered clothing suitable for the season. Don’t forget sturdy hiking shoes, sunscreen, and a hat.
  • Respect nature: Zion National Park is a precious ecosystem. Stay on designated trails, follow park regulations, and treat the environment with care and respect.

Read All the Posts About National Parks in Utah: 

Utah Travel Guide


Read All the Posts About the United States of America in: 

United States Travel Guide

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Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning your trip to Zion National Park?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

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6 thoughts on “One Day in Zion National Park (4 Things You Can’t Miss)


Fantastic information and gorgeous photos…thanks for sharing!!


    Hi Pamela,
    Thank you so much for visiting my website! I appreciate your comment!


I looooved Zion National Park! I’ve been there 5 years ago with friends and we’ve hiked Angels Landing, which was absolutely fabulous!
This year I’ve been in Zion again and wanted to do the Narrows, but in April it wasn’t possible to hike there and almost all of the other trails had been closed because of the hard winter and land slides.

we’ve ended up doing a fantastic trip in the Kalop Canyons section of the park which was supernice as we hadn’t had the time to visit that area the previous time.
Still a little sad that we didn’t have the chance to hike the Narrows! Maybe we gotta come back once more 😉

All the Best,
Christina from


    Hey Christina!
    Angels Landing is a great hike! I love it.
    Sorry about the Narrows. My daughter is still waiting to get to do this hike. It all depends on the weather. I have no doubt you will experience the Narrows one day!


Thank you for the quick summary of the places to hike in Zion. We plan to go in July and only have one day to hike. Some of us don’t care to hike through the water even though Narrows is so beautiful. And we can’t do Angels Landing due to two little kids with us. What do you recommend for the perfect hiking trail or trails on a hot summer day? Thank you in advance for any tips!


    Hi Catherine,
    There are so many family friendly hikes in Zion.
    Check out my post: 10 Staggeringly Cool Hikes in Zion National Park. You will find some great hikes that the entire family can enjoy! I give detailed descriptions of each hike, so you will be well prepared.

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