Zion is one of the absolute best places in the world to get married in! It is also one of the best places for hiking, rock climbing, canyoneering, backpacking, and more! There are endless trails to explore and choose from! I am constantly in Zion, and every time I find a new hiking trail.There are different sections of Zion, and each one provides a different experience. I’ve listed my favorite hikes in a few of the different sections, to give you some good options!
Kolob Canyon is my 2nd favorite area of Zion. I love the variety of the views, activities to participate in (like rock climbing, backpacking, and hiking). Plus it’s not nearly as crowded as the main canyon. Kolob Canyon is off of I-15 about 40 miles/50 minutes away from the main part of Zion (visitor center to visit center). The road that goes through Kolob Canyon is only about 10 miles long. So the front-country area of Kolob is much smaller than the rest of the park, but the views are just as amazing!
The trails in Kolob Canyon greatly vary in difficulty and length. With a smaller section of hikes than the rest of the park, there are incredible views to be seen if you are willing to work for them! 2 hikes that I always find myself on in Kolob Canyon are very different from each other, both in trail conditions and the end view, but both are so worth it!
Timber Creek Overlook Trail, 1.1 Mile, ~250ft Elevation Gain
This is one of the more heavily trafficked trails in Kolob, but still not packed with hikers. The trail is clear to follow and is filled with rocks to step-up on throughout. The near 360° viewpoint opens up to see towers cliffs to the east, and rolling greenery filled mountains to the west. None of the other viewpoints give you such diversity within one hike.
I suggest going at Sunrise and watching the sun peak up from behind the towering cliffs and watch the sun pour into the valley. There are picnic tables at the trailhead (still with amazing views), where I have cooked many meals on my propane stove! Highly recommend it!
South Fork Taylor Creek Trail, 2.7 Miles, ~1000ft Elevation Gain
Unlike the Timber Creek Overlook where you are looking over the towering cliffs from a distance, this time you’re at the bottom of them looking up. This trail is sandy at times and rocky at the others. It leads to some amazing rock climbing walls. At times the trail can be unclear, but can easily be found with a downloaded offline map. The further you get into the canyon, the narrower it gets. At the very end it gets narrow enough to touch each side of the canyon walls with your arms spread, but its fairly wide through most of the hike.
Each time I’ve hiked this trail, I’ve never seen more than a handful people. I suggest going in the early afternoon in the spring & summer months. By that time of day, the south wall creates shade for the later half of the hike.
At the trailhead there are latrine restrooms and a parking lot across the street. Most people go for the hikes with a big grand overlook where you’re looking down, but on this hike there are so many beautiful views to look up at!
East Zion is my absolute favorite part of Zion! This part of Zion isn’t dependent on the shuttle system and there are SO many incredible hidden gems!
Lower Pine Creek Waterfall Trail, ¾ Mile, <100ft Elevation Gain
Don’t let the length and lack of elevation gain fool you! The end of the trail takes you to a beautiful waterfall. There are several points where you must cross the creek. At times you’ll need to do some light rock scrambling and climbing over rocks to get across the creek. You’ll definitely want to wear shoes with good grip. Since there is lots of sand on this trail, it makes the rocks slicker than normal. Be aware of the weather and water levels, since this trail is one of the lowest points in all of Zion. At the trailhead there are a few parking spots available and some more down the road.
Zion Canyon Overlook Trail, 1 Mile, ~200ft Elevation Gain
This is one of the most popular hikes in Zion, so I highly suggest going around sunrise or sunset. There are a few parking spots near the trailhead, but most people have to parallel park on the road and walk to the trailhead. If you are afraid of heights, this trail is not for you. There are points where a walking platform is bolted to the side of a rock wall and the trail is only wide enough for one person at a time. Most of the elevation gain is within the first 1/10th mile. At the end, near the incredible viewpoint there are some rocks to climb over. Be cautious at the viewpoint, since most of the cliff edge is not protected by any guard rail or fencing.
The viewpoint truly is incredible and faces west (the perfect point to watch the sunset). It opens up beautifully to see many parts of Zion. I normally don’t love going on highly trafficked “iconic” trails, but this is a good one! I try going on this trail during the off-season to limit the number of other visitors.
Zion Main Canyon
This is the part that most people think of when they think of Zion! During the most popular times of the year, the main Canyon of Zion can only be accessed through the free park shuttle. During the off-season, you can drive your car down this canyon, but they regulate how many cars can go in the canyon at once.
Even though this Canyon is incredibly huge and long and beautiful, it is the most narrow of the easily accessible canyons of Zion. In most of the other parts of zion, you get to look at incredible views from the top down. But in this part of Zion you are mostly looking up at incredible canyon walls.
Emerald Pools Trail, 3 Miles, ~600ft Elevation Gain
This trail is incredibly well marked and easy to follow, it is a loop hike, but you are able to do it as an out and back hike. Each pool looks different and provides a different view. The pools are spread out throughout the trail so there is constantly something new to see! If you’re naturally drawn to the water, like me, this hike is perfect for that!
Narrows, 11 Miles, ~900ft Elevation Gain
This is one of my favorite hikes, mainly because it is almost entirely in water. You will have to take the Narrows Riverside Walk at the Temple of Sinanwa to get to the base trail for the Narrows. This hike is best in the late summer and the fall. If you go any earlier, the water levels will be too high and too fast from snow run off in the higher elevations. This hike is out & back so you are able to go as far as you want!
You will need closed toes shoes that are stable and provide enough grip strength for you to walk on the rocks under the water. Hiking poles are highly suggested to help you keep your balance. A wet or dry suit is recommended since all the water is from melted snow.
Observation Point, 6.8 Miles, ~2700ft OR ~750ft Elevation Gain (depending on route)
This is one of my all time favorite views in the world. There are several different trailheads to access Observation Point, both about 6.8miles in length, but vary greatly in elevation change. This is definitely a view you have to work for, but it is oh-so worth it! The trail conditions vary depending on which trail you take. Currently one of the trails is closed due to a rock slide in the late summer of 2019.
The weather in Zion is hot in the summer and a bit chilly in the winter, but rare that it snows on the canyon floor. Zion is beautiful all year round! But there are a few weather-related dangers to be aware of.
Zion is made up of rock and shallow sand and dirt, so if there is any rain within the past 48 hours, or even the slightest chance, I would not recommend going to Zion that day. Although it is Southern Utah, and rain is pretty rare, there can be sudden storms that come through. When any rain comes into Zion or near it, it makes it incredibly dangerous to be at the bottom of any of the canyons. All the water floods right to the bottom of the canyons, and most of the time there are very few places to go when flash flooding occurs.
If you are planning on visiting, check the weather, prepare with back-up options and listen to the rangers at the park!
Hiking Elopement in Zion
With so many hidden treasures and different views, Zion is the perfect place to get married & have your elopement. We can hike near or far throughout your elopement day to craft a day that is one of a kind.
If you are wanting to get married in Zion, reach out and we’ll start planning your day! I know Zion better than back of my hand and can help you find the BEST locations!
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