Looking for the Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park? You have come to the right place!
Zion National Park is a miraculous destination chock-full of grandeur and geographic rarity. The monumental rock formations, sensational viewpoints, and tranquil meandering trails will leave you no short of ‘blissed out’.
It is no wonder that it is a place that sits high on the bucket list of most if not all, outdoor enthusiasts. What better way to experience Zion, than to immerse yourself into the incredibly diverse terrain and take on some of the beloved Zion trails that flaunt so much earthly magnificence?
I am sure that if you are reading this already, you are already aware of Zion’s novelties. As well, if you are reading this article, it is likely that:
- You are on your way or currently in gorgeous southern Utah, among some of the most famous geologic structures in North America, and are a bit paralyzed by all of the many routes and trails that Zion has to offer.
- You are planning your Zion travels, and need some advice navigating the the skill levels, preparing for your trip, and planning your days.
- You are curious about what Zion National Park offers and wonder if it is worth adding to your travel bucket list.
Whatever your motive, whether you have plans to visit this wondrous place or not, this article is your key to the BEST hikes in Zion National Park, that are suited for all skill levels and everyone in the family! Some of the absolute best National park hiking.
This guide is specifically for those less keen to take on steep cliffs, and particularly strenuous routes, like the infamous Angels Landing.
Even if you are one for challenging pursuits, the trails below are worth a nosey as they present views, sites, and adventures that rival those of the more physically demanding trails.
11 Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park (Great for Kids!)
1. Northgate Peaks Trail
Let’s start with the northernmost trail on this list of Zion easy hikes, and work our way down. The Northgate Peaks trail is located in the Kolob Terrace (the northern part of Zion) and is a local family favorite partly due to the unfathomable beauty of the viewpoint that overlooks Northgate Peaks, North Guardian Angel Three, and North Creek.
It is also a favorite due to the lack of crowds and serene desert silence. It is a relatively easy hike that totals 4 miles roundtrip, with little elevation change. The average hiker takes about three hours to complete the trail. Due to its remoteness, it is one that you cannot access by the Zion shuttle.
If you are staying in the Springdale area and have your means of transportation, you will head back towards the town of Virgin. You will turn onto Kolob Road, and after about 15 miles you will find yourself at the beginnings of the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.
It is important to stay en route, as this trail also marks the beginning of the famous Subway hikes and a few other routes that are a bit more strenuous than the Northgate viewpoint itself. First, you will start the trail, and continue past the intersecting Connector Trail which is about one mile into your journey. You will then head towards Lava Point, where you will find yourself veering to a slight left. Continue on the main trail despite the signs pointing off-trail to the subway routes, and you will undoubtedly find your way!
This hike is perfect if you have littles, as there is little exposure to steep drop-offs. So you can let your little explorer roam and ramble along the meandering path, as you relax and take in the awe of the towering pinion trees and lush forest desert landscape.
HOW TO ACCESS: To access Wildcat Canyon Trailhead location, turn onto Kolob Terrace Road, in the town of Virgin. The trailhead is located 15 miles onwards.
2. Pa’rus Trail
If you are looking for a riverside leisurely stroll, either by foot or via peddle, look no further than the distinguished Pa’rus route. Pa’rus is a trail genuinely suited for the whole family. It is the only fully paved trail in Zion, accommodating wheelchairs, allowing for your leashed furry friends, and making the perfect bike and trike trail.
The trail name directly translates to ‘rushing water’ in the Native American, Paiute Tribe dialect, because it borders the spirited Virgin River. Depending on the time of year, snow melt, rainfall, and flooding, the roaring Virgin River alone is enough to draw those to the Pa’rus trail.
The path is also accommodating for even the busiest of times, as it is paved, wide, and extends a full 1.8 miles distance, from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, all the way to Canyon Junction. Another Pa’rus perk is that you can take the beginning and lower canyon views of Zion at your leisure, as opposed to immediately hopping on the tram and rushing off onto the sometimes crowded trails.
In summary, Pa’rus is more or less the most inclusive trail in the park, is conveniently located at the visitor centers parking lot, and is perfect for river devotees. One of the best Zion National Park easy trails.
HOW TO ACCESS: Park at the Zion National Park Visitor Center parking lot. From here, you can immediately embark on your Pa’rus Pursuit!
3. Weeping Rock Trail
Due to the fairly easy skill level of this Zion National Park trail, and due to how quickly this expedition is completed, Weeping Rock is an absolute must during your time in Zion!
Whether you are squeezing this in just before or after one of your more lengthy hikes, it’s a site not to be missed. It is mostly paved (although a bit more narrow and more weathered than that of the Pa’rus trail, for reference), and only a quick 0.4 miles round trip!
Yes, you read that right, making it the shortest trailhead in the entire park. Although it is a brief ramble, it is important to mind the elevation. The 0.2-mile trek has a total elevation of 100 feet. So this hasty hike will surely give your legs a fleeting fire! Thus, it is perfect for families and kids, but not advised for wheelchair users.
On average, you can expect to spend about 25 minutes on the trail round trip, but you might be longer, depending on how long you have to take in the staggering view.
At the viewpoint platform, you will be oo-ing, awe-ing, and admiring the stoic Great White Throne structure, as you will be situated under overhanging boulders that are adorned with verdant green hanging gardens.
The surrounding rocks are sights to behold, comprising two contrasting sandstones with water seeping through from the upper canyons. It is the perfect hike to cool off and dance between the weeping rock ‘tears’.
For sure one of the best short hikes in Zion.
HOW TO ACCESS: Jump on the shuttle and exit at shuttle stop seven, and you will find that the trail has its very own stop!
4. The Grotto Trail
The Grotto trail is another noteworthy and popular trail situated at the beginning of Zion National Park. The route is brief, totaling a one-mile round trip, with little to no elevation change.
At the end of the route, you will find yourself at Zions Lodge, the perfect resting point to munch, nourish, and replenish your bodies, and water bottles! The picnic area is perhaps the most popular in the park, and is even visited by some of Zion’s most beloved locals, Deer! It must be noted that the Grotto trail isn’t often completed by itself.
It is connected to other routes, such as the Lower Emerald Pools Trail and the Kayenta Trail. That said, the short and sweet trail, in and of itself, is a perfect way to take in the scenery, and steep canyons, and to have a stroll with the Lodge at the end to facilitate a relaxing afternoon.
HOW TO ACCESS: This trail can be accessed by its own designated shuttle stop (titled The Grotto Picnic Area).
5. Lower Emerald Pool Trail
Still looking for easy Zion hikes? The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is another short, sweet, and unmissable trail to complete while you are visiting Zion National Park. It is connected to the above-mentioned Grotto Trail and is the perfect pursuit when the desert summer sun is beating down on Zion’s Visitors. The path is mostly paved, shaded, and blessed with cool drizzles from the accompanying waterfalls.
It is one of the most known trails in the park, and rightfully so due to the grandiose three-tiered waterfall. The Lower Emerald Pool Trail, as the name suggests, only leads to the lower pools. Many are satisfied with the Lower Pool Route, which is about a 1.2-mile round trip and an average of 60 minutes to complete.
The reward of a view is two giant waterfalls, both spilling from the ‘middle pool’ into the ‘lower pool’. If you have more time, you might like to venture further to the middle emerald pools and the upper emerald pools.
One of the best Zion National Park trails and a “must do” if you only have 2 days in Zion National Park.
If your curiosity gets the best of you, you can continue your hike to the middle pools. To do so, you will continue (under the falls and beyond) to a slightly narrower and steeper route. Once you zig-zag along and make your way up to the middle pools (via the sandstone stairs), you will be awarded the stunning scenes of the middle pools that are brimming with water from the upper pools.
If you decide your emerald pool excursion ends here, you can count on your journey to be a short and worthwhile two-mile round trip. If you continue to the upper pools, your entire hike will be a total of 2.5 miles round trip. Note that the upper pool trail can also be accessed via the Kayenta Trail.
The intersecting trails are a bit puzzling but have a peek at the handy map provided to you upon entering the park, and you will see that the Grotto, Kayenta, and all three of the Emerald Pool trails merge in a neat and tidy interconnected triangle!
HOW TO ACCESS: The best way to directly start the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, is by exiting the shuttle at stop five and then crossing the lodge picnic area along paved pathway to the start of the trailhead.
6. Riverside Walk Trail
Okay, there are numerous literal riverside walks in Zion. However, rest assured, and do not get confused! There is a designated ‘Riverside Walk’ in the heart of Zion Canyon, that may or may not top the rest of the walks that literately rims the Virgin River.
If you manage to make it to the last shuttle stop while restraining yourself from jumping off and onto the first most thrilling trail in sight, you will find yourself at the amazing Temple of Sinawava (a natural and virgin-river-crafted amphitheater). This trail is 2 miles round trip and, while it has little elevation change, it can easily take a whopping two hours plus to complete.
You may want to schedule even more time than this, as the Riverside Walk is the perfect place to slow down, stroll along, and hunt for the perfect riverside picnic spot. The paved path has multiple spots where you can exit and explore closer to the river. Moreover, the trek will lure you in with its teeming with wildlife including chipmunks, wild turkeys, deer, blue herons, and squirrels.
NOTE: Although the chipmunks are experts at swooning even the most non-gullible tourists, do not give way to their begging! Feeding wildlife can cost you a hefty fine.
NOTE #2: This trail is also the gateway to the renowned Narrows Hike! The Narrows is more strenuous and often requires advanced equipment and local expertise to pursue, so check with local guides to ensure the river is calm and safe enough to hike if you wish to carry on.
HOW TO ACCESS: Hop off at shuttle stop eight, named the Temple of Sinawava, and follow the crowds as they scurry onto the riverside path.
7. Canyon Overlook Trail
Looking for even more enchanting views? Being that this is Zion we are dealing with, unworldly views, and enchantment is pretty much guaranteed, as long as you enter the park.
That said, the Canyon Overlook Trail gives the rest of the viewpoints a run for their money. This trek is the perfect easy hike that still manages to instill a bit of thrill, as you hike along a fenced sandstone cliff to the viewpoint. It is slightly more than a one-mile round trip and begins with its most challenging physical demand (which is just a few sandstone stairs).
The trail requires a bit more effort and scrambling than your paved trails with little elevation change. That said, it is doable and one still of the less physically demanding trails in the park. If you are hiking with littles, note that it is most definitely doable, but some steep edges are bordering the trail, so do not throw all caution to the wind!
As for the times of day to complete this hike, just about any time goes! It is fully shaded, thus protecting its visitors from the intense southern Utah sun. Sunrise and Sunset are breathtaking times to arrive at the overlook, due to fewer crowds and the cotton candy skies that illuminate the surrounding scenery. However, be sure to check with park rangers, as the road is sometimes closed to the public during the busy season.
HOW TO ACCESS: The shuttle does not access this part of the park, so you will need your own mode of transportation. If you are heading just east of the tunnel, you must take your first right into the parking lot, which you will find is quite limited!
8. Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint Trail
The Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint is more of a viewpoint than a hike. Only 0.6 miles round trip, it is likely you might spend more time admiring the view than you will spend trekking along the short path.
Thus, it is a perfect trail to squeeze in and add to your Zions bucket list. That said, the short trail is quite steep, might not be advised for wheelchair users, and is best completed with proper shoes (we are talking to you, you flip-flop fanatics!). Regarding the viewpoint itself, it is abounding in historic significance.
The three peaks are religiously named after biblical figures Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, three well-known patriarchs in the bible. Insight is also The Sentinel and Mount Moroni, making this view an indescribable range of sandstone cliffs that are also infused with a bit of southern Utah’s religious background.
In addition to the beauty and sacred significance, it is also the perfect place to snap a shot of the family, snag a selfie with a friend, or capture another perspective of Zion Canyon and its vivacious vistas.
PRO-TIP: Catch this quick trail at the end of the day on your way out of the park. As a last-minute mini-march, it is the ideal way to end the day and enjoy the golden hour glow.
HOW TO ACCESS: Exit the park shuttle at stop four, and you will find yourself right at the entrance.
9. East Mesa Trail to Blew by Peak
The East Mesa Trail is a large trail with multiple subsections and sights to behold. The Blew by Peak is just one of the subsections of East Mesa, and if you are looking for an easier route, it is the one for you!
The trail did not earn its name from any of its prominent features, but rather, from the behavior of those who hike the East Mesa Trail. Apparently, those taking on East Mesa to pursue the more strenuous routes (such as Observation Point) tend to breeze or blow right past Blew by Peak, ignoring its beauty entirely.
But one doesn’t need to take on the most challenging routes at East Mesa to catch its most beautiful views. Blew by Peak is an easy hike due to the little elevation gain, and it is usually completed in about two hours or less. It is a 7 kilometers journey round trip atop a glorious plateau that is abundant with southern Utah wildlife, Zion terrain, and Springdale scenery.
At the start of the East Mesa Trailhead, continue on and be sure not to veer on to the Mystery Canyon path, as it is a much more difficult route. Rather, continue on until you reach the Blew-by Peak.
HOW TO ACCESS: Due to the limited parking and unmaintained terrain, it is recommended to take the Observation Point Shuttle to the trailhead. For booking details, times, and prices, visit Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort or inquire at Zion Guru (located in Springdale).
10. The Watchman Trail
The Watchman Trail is a local favorite because it is an underrated, less crowded trail that exposes hikers to the lovely views of both the southern parts of Zion and Springdale.
Compared to the other trails on this list, The Watchman Trail is probably one of the easiest to find and one of the longer ones to complete. You can access the trail from the Zion Visitors Center, and once you make it past the less impressive first bits of the trail, you will be continuously wow-ed with the increasingly impressive views.
You will begin the trail alongside the Virgin River and then veer away into the mountains and up a more challenging path. In total, this hike is around 3.3 miles round trip, and you can expect a slightly more strenuous elevation change. That said, it is still considered a family-friendly pursuit and perfect for first-time-around visitors!
HOW TO ACCESS: Enjoy are short and sweet shuttle ride, as you will be hopping off at the first stop, the Zion Visitors Centre. If you are happy to skip the shuttle (and the sometimes the patience-testing, and Disney Land-resembling lines) feel free to walk straight to the visitor center from the entrance! Then head towards the main road, where you will see “The Watchman Trail” trailhead sign.
11. Taylor Creek Trail
Are you looking to explore the outskirts of Zion? Taylor Creek is one of the top Zion National Park easy hikes to add to your list.
Taylor Creek Trail is located in the Kolob area of Zions National Park. Therefore, it is not accessible by shuttle and will require you to have your own means of transportation. This trail presents an easygoing and unhurried 5-mile round-trip excursion and takes an average of 3.5 hours to complete.
Throughout your stroll, you will enjoy and notice the trail snaking across and alongside Taylor Creek and exposing you to the famous ‘finger canyons’ that Kolob is so well known for. The trail is also adorned with a couple of historic treasures. Built almost one hundred years ago, before Zion was deemed a National Park, Larson Cabin and Fife Cabin were built, and still stand by Taylors Creek today!
Little crowds and the tranquil silence of the route might allow your mind to wonder what life would’ve been like back then. Maybe you are envious of the settlers and their humble homes surrounded by the untouched views. Maybe, you wonder how they survived without air-conditioning. Regardless, the cabins add a special touch to the meditative trail that is already such a treat to pursue!
HOW TO ACCESS: Once you enter the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park, you will continue for about two miles until you see the Taylor Creek Trailhead and designated parking area.
There you have it! Eleven Easy Trails that are sure to elevate your mood, eliminate your soul, and electrify your mind. Who knows! Maybe after crossing each of these easier trails off your Zion bucket list, you will be itching to take on more of the rigorous routes. Besides, one simply cannot get enough of Zions’ grandeur!
See more: Things to do near Zion National Park
That concludes our list of short Zion National Park day hikes. Do you have a question or did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
AUTHOR: Kayla Andra now a full time traveler and explorer was born and raised in St. George, Utah. There she spent the first 21 years of her life enjoying St George and the State of Utah.
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