When to visit Zion
No matter when you go, Zion National Park is an amazing place. Around every corner, a new more beautiful view opens up. It is impossible to take a bad picture. Zion National Park is open year round, but some parts of the year are better times to visit than others. The consensus of past visitors is that the best times - weather wise – to visit, are spring and fall when temperatures range from 45°F at night to 80°F during the day. Spring in Zion brings out the wildflowers and the new buds on the vegetation. Fall is alive with the landscape accented with brilliant yellows and oranges. This is also a good time to avoid the crowds so often encountered in the summer months.
Using the Free Shuttle Bus
From April through October, one of the main roadways in the Park, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, is accessible by the Zion Shuttle Bus only. You can get on and off the shuttle at any of the designated stops and there is no time limit for riding the bus. However, many visitors like to have the ability to drive their own vehicle. This allows them to pull over at any time, walk to the river whenever they want, and possibly see things that they might have otherwise missed.
Hiking and Biking
The comfortable weather in the spring and fall is a great time to walk, hike and/or rent bikes. Renting a bike is an excellent way to get an intimate view of the park. The only part of the Park where pedestrians and bicycles are not allowed is on the one mile Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway Tunnel. If you plan to visit the park on both sides of the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel either walking or riding a bike, it will be necessary to arrange your own shuttle service through the tunnel.
Spring and fall weather is also an excellent time to do some hiking. The easier trails include - Weeping Rock (.5 miles), Riverside Walk (2 miles), or Emerald Pools (2.4 miles). For the more adventurous hikers there is Angels Landing (5 miles) and Observation Point (8 miles). If you want to hike the Zion Narrows, it would be better to plan that hike during the hottest part of the day. There is no maintained trail for the Zion Narrows; the route is the river. In addition, the majority of the hike may be spent wading, walking and perhaps even swimming in the stream, especially during the spring.
What to Pack
Regardless of the season, it is always a good idea to plan to dress in layers. You will need the warmth of additional layers during the early hours of the day and the later hours of the evening. During the 80°F temperatures of midday, you will want to have less clothing on. As it is also possible for an occasional rainstorm to occur, it is best to plan for potential rain. Bringing the appropriate clothing should also be based on your planned activity – hiking boots or shoes for walking/hiking, waterproof shoes for hiking in the Narrows, swimming and/or tubing and/or rafting the Virgin River, and bicycle helmets for biking through the Park.
Although, the best time to visit Zion National Park may be the spring and fall, if you cannot make it then, come to visit any time of year. The Park is open 365 days each year.
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