Packing the right gear makes a significant difference in the overall experience, so knowing what weather to expect and how to come prepared is an essential aspect to any great vacation.
Zion is a tough park to pack for. It can be oppressively hot if you're bearing the full brunt of the desert sun. Then, turning a corner in one of the famously tight canyons, a breeze can come off the water that chills you to the bone. In other words, come prepared for almost anything.
Layers, layers, layers! Instead of wearing a heavy parka and a t-shirt, bring a few items of different weights so that if you get hot or cold, there's an intermediate step instead of a giant leap that leaves you either too hot or too cold.
Take a look at the activities you're planning on, and adjust your packing based on that. Unless you're just driving through, you'll at least need a backpack or fanny pack to carry water, snacks and sunscreen.
Hiking shoes should certainly be considered, depending on the trails, and if heading into the backcountry, make sure to bring all the necessary gear, including a first-aid kit.
Temperatures - Normal Highs / Lows
- Jan - 52°F / 29°F
- April - 73°F / 43°F
- Jul - 100°F / 68°F
- Oct - 78°F / 49°F
What to bring in Summer
Summer days can be scorchers, reaching 110°F at times. Protection from the sun and dehydration are primary concerns at this point, so visitors should have a brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen on them at all times, as well as plenty of water.
A loose, long-sleeve shirt with a collar also will do wonders to keep a body cool, as will a summer dress, though watch out for mosquitoes in the evenings.
Although rare, afternoon showers do happen later in summer, particularly August. A light raincoat will help keep you dry during these times, but nothing will keep you dry if you're caught in a flash flood, so keep an eye out for weather alerts as well.
What to bring in Winter
Layers are essential items in winter. While hiking the paths, bodies exert more energy, thereby heating up, but then cooling down quickly in the cold weather. This makes packing difficult, but not impossible. Just make sure you have a water-wicking shirt, a long-sleeve, a shell or heavier layer, and a hat.
Here's an insider's tip. Pack a layer of long underwear. It folds up quite small and you can forget about it in the bottom of your backpack. But... if you're caught in a cold snap, it could be the difference between a long, shivering night without sleep or a comfortable rest.
The sun goes down early in winter, especially with the high canyon walls, so flashlights, headlamps and electric lamps are essential items after sundown.
What to bring in Spring/Fall
Spring is generally characterized by its unpredictability, so be prepared for beautiful spring days, but expect some wet ones as well. Raincoats are nice, but often a water-resistant shell will suffice, if you don't mind getting slightly damp.
Fall is mild, generally not too hot or cold, just right in the middle. Autumn colors tend to peak during the middle of October, so if you're planning on visiting then, bring a variety of layers to cover the range of weather possibilities.