The southernmost and most popular of the five national parks in Utah, Zion National Park is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest national parks. It protects a landscape dominated by deep canyons, steep rock walls, grottos, rivers and hanging gardens. This is a park that deserves a spot on everyone’s travel wish list. In this post, we’ll offer you an itinerary for two days in Zion National Park.
How to Spend Two Days in Zion National Park
Two days is what most visitors dedicate to a visit to Zion National Park. It’s just enough to get a feel of this stunning park, to explore its most beautiful areas and do an epic hike. Unlike other parks in Utah, or even in the American Southwest, Zion has a steady supply of water, which is clearly visible in the lushness of its valleys. Shady trees offer refuge from the sometimes scorching sun while weeping rocks are unique natural attractions.
Drawing in 2.7 million visitors every year, Zion National Park is busy. If you want to stay in or right outside the park, you’ll need to book your accommodation in advance or show up really early in the morning to secure a campsite.
Day 1: Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Watchman Trail
After pitching your tent or checking in at your pre-booked accommodation, head to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. This environment-friendly building is the best place to get to know the park. You can stock up on information, brochures and maps. If you have any questions at all, park rangers will be happy to answer them.
Then it’s time to head outside. Hop on the shuttle bus at the visitor center and go for a ride around the park. In the busy season, from April through October, cars aren’t allowed in the park so this will be your only option of getting around. It’s a convenient way to get your bearings, of course also allowing you to look around instead of watching the road.
The shuttle drives up and down Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, stopping at all trailheads and points of interest. Consider getting off to hike the 1.7-mile one-way Pa’rus Trail along the Virgin River and the half-mile trail to Weeping Rock. Other recommended stops include the Human History Museum and the Court of the Patriarchs. You can get lunch and snacks at Zion Lodge. Take your time for this jaw-droppingly scenic drive—you have all day to do this.
Make sure, though, to be back at the visitor center an hour before sunset. The Watchman Trail, which starts at the visitor center, is the park’s best sunset trail. It’s a 2.7-mile, two-hour roundtrip offering truly phenomenal views of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River. Don’t forget a flashlight for the way back!
Day 2: Angels Landing, Kayenta and Emerald Pools Trails
On the second and last of your two days in Zion National Park, get up early for the ultimate hike. Sometimes referred to as the best day hike in America, the Angels Landing Trail is a 5.4-mile roundtrip to Angels Landing, an unimaginably glorious viewpoint.
Make no mistake, though. This is a very challenging hike. It’s steep and sometimes frighteningly high. The views and the mere ability to say that you did this hike make it absolutely worth the effort.
The trailhead lies almost at the end of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, so, on the way back, you’ll have more opportunities to visit places that you missed the day before. Definitely consider exploring the Kayenta and Emerald Pools Trails. This network of short trails lets you create a hike of your preferred length.
Finish off your two days in Zion National Park with dinner and a locally brewed beer at the Bit & Spur Restaurant & Saloon in Springdale.
These Glorious Photos Will Make You Want to Visit Zion National Park