Best of Zion National Park
Zion Canyon Visitor Center: It’s always a good idea to drop by a park’s visitor center, and this one is an especially interesting place to explore. The highlights are the outdoor exhibits, the excellent bookstore, and a shuttle bus strop that will ferry you up the canyon.
Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint: Hop off the shuttle bus to spend a few moments trying to fit all three mountains into your camera’s viewfinder. The Patriarchs, along with the Great White Throne, are emblematic of Zion’s massive sandstone rocks.
Emerald Pools Trails: A little bit like in the Three Bears story, there’s an Emerald Pool Trail that’s right for just about everyone. The trail to the lower pool is paved (though nonelectric wheelchair users may need a push), the trail to the middle pool offers a good short hike, and the trail to the upper pool will make most hikers break a sweat. All three pools are, indeed, emerald green, and the trails are lined with wildflowers.
West Rim Trail to Angels Landing: If you want to do one vigorous day hike, this is a classic. Be prepared for spectacular views and some tenuous footing along the way—not for acrophobes or children.
Hidden Canyon Trail: Hike up the East Rim Trail to the turnoff for Hidden Canyon. After a chain-assisted traverse of a cliff face, you’ll pop into a shady, steep-walled narrow canyon with caves, pools, a small arch, and moisture-loving plants.
Riverside Walk: If you’re a die-hard hiker, don’t count this level paved path as a hiking trail—save it for an after-dinner stroll. But for those who aren’t up to steep trails, this walk along the Virgin River is a good way to see the water, the plantlife, and the soaring canyon walls. At the end of the trail you can watch hikers set off up The Narrows.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition