Check out our blog for more information about Zion, from animals to things to do near the park!

Zion is one of the most Family Friendly National Parks to visit. Why? Simply because there is an endless amount of things to do here! From hiking, swimming, camping and many other activities, its hard to NOT keep the kiddos busy while staying here. On top of all the other benefits for getting outdoors, they will be having the time of their lives!

Alissa 2
Photo Credit: cwillayne on flickr

For those of you who have never been to Zion and aren’t sure what to expect while you’ve got the littles with you, here are some good tips and fun activities to try:

Easy-Peasy Paved

One of the things that separates Zion from the rest is the amount of paved, or low-impact hikes the park has. Which means pushing a stroller, or hiking with really young children can be a lot easier than you’d think. These hikes are perfect for those who have to push strollers, or keep tiny legs going. There are several hikes to choose from including; River Walk, which is a fully paved trail and absolutely beautiful, not to mention river swimming in the summer months! Emerald Pools, depending on how far you want to go you can choose to take a stroller to the waterfall and turn back, or hike with the little ones for the entire time, its actually a fairly short hike. Weeping Rock, this is a fully paved trail, and is very short, however it is a little steep, so be careful!

Junior Ranger Program

This is great fun for kids! Let them learn and explore on a ranger led activity, where they can accomplish tasks and receive a cool god badge at the end! Zion offers the kids a fun little workbook that keeps them busy on the shuttle and they can take it on the hikes with them to complete.

Swimming… Rivers?

That’s right! Some areas of the Virgin river in Zion you are allowed to swim in! So make sure that you and the littles have some extra clothes or a swimsuit to wear!

Snacks, Snacks, SNACKS!

Make sure you bring plenty of snacks and treats for the little ones to keep their energy up while hiking around. It also helps to pack a lunch as well while you’re out so you can stop and take a break under a shady tree to eat.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your kids on your next Zion trip! If you are staying in a hotel with kids, check out these tips to make your stay a breeze!

As you hike starting from Weeping Rock Trailhead up to the Observation Point, the trail is recognized as a Zion classic. The trail has a viewpoint as you finish the trail and it provides an iconic image of the Zion National Park. It is estimated that the trail is about an 8 miles (round trip) hike that may take about 4 to 6 hours depending on your speed. There is a steep uphill walk on the hard paved trail. Through this trail, the hikers can have a glimpse of the mysterious and dark Echo Canyon with the amazing slickrock formations as well as the White Cliffs. Though the Observation Point Trail hike is not as fearful as the Angels Landing, it still provides a good workout as it has an elevation of above 2,100 feet.

img src=”” width=”640″ height=”427″ alt=”Observation Point – Zion”>
Photo Credit: Bill Church on flickr

Right from the start at Weeping Rock Trailhead, the Observation Point Trail is inclined but is snakes its way up those eastern walls of the Zion Canyon. Within no time, you will be several feet high from the canyon floor and a good view to the Weeping Rock and Angel Landing. Halfway up the trail is a diversion trail up to the Hidden Canyon. This can provide a good diversion on your way Observation point but you will still reach. The only problem is that you will not have enough time to explore the area.

As you continue with the trail and in a steep incline, you will reach the Echo Canyon. This is a huge side canyon pantheon that is about 1000 feet high from the valley floor. The place is surrounded with canyon walls and has cooler temperatures as the visitors get a glimpse into the dark slot canyons of the Echo Canyon. There is a dry stream bed to cross over to the other canyon’s side. After a mile in the Echo Canyon, you will come across a junction to East Rim Trail, less defined but more difficult.

Past this junction, you will resume with the Observation Point Trail which is still characterized with its snaky steep ascents to the White Cliff formations. After 2100 feet of height, you will be on the rim of a sandy plateau. From there, the land is relatively level and you will come across one more junction with East Mesa Trail and then continue with the journey. Soon enough, you will be standing at Observation Point, a place full of trees and sandstone and a great place to enjoy lunch.

Zion National Park is located in Southern Utah which is considered “desert landscape” meaning that the temperatures tend to be a bit warmer than the more northern parts of the state. However, there are still chances of rainfall in the winter causing icy trails and roads, and sometimes when temperatures get low enough, snowfall happens. With that said, here are a few tips to keep you safe while you are adventuring in Zion this winter.

Zion Winter
Photo Credit: Richard Susanto on flickr

Safety Tips

  • Stay on open trails only! During the colder weather, some trails and roads may be closed due to the weather. Do not attempt to hike these trails or travel these roads, they are closed for a reason.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Thermals and snowsuits aren’t always necessary in Zion as it is a bit warmer climate, but heavier jackets, pants, boots, gloves and beanies are recommended to stay warm. If there has been recent snow or rainfall, be sure to use gear that aids in traction as well as shoes with good traction.
  • If camping, be sure you’ve packed the appropriate gear to stay warm, especially at night. Temperatures in the desert drop dramatically at night year round, this is especially true during the winter seasons. There is potential for hypothermia, frostbite or even freezing in your sleep, so make sure you are wearing the right clothing and have good thermal-type sleeping gear to avoid those dangers.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, or check with the visitors center to see what the weather is going to look like during your trip. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Days can go from warm to snowfall or rainfall very quickly, make sure you have a heads up of what to expect so you do not get trapped on a trail or in the backcountry.
  • Make sure to have a first-aid kit on hand at all times.
  • NEVER HIKE ALONE. This is very important, in cases where someone is injured it is important to have someone else there to help with wounds, keeping warm and or retrieving help.
  • Stay out of the river, (we know this seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised). Swimming during the winter can result in hypothermia, frostbite and potentially death.

No matter the time of year it is, it is always important to make sure that you follow rules and regulations as well as prepare your own safety plans. Make sure you can enjoy your trip to the fullest without mishaps.

With all that you can do in Zion and near the park, one of the more favored activities is mountain biking. Especially here in southern Utah! There are so many fun trails to ride! If you are visiting Zion and want to take a really fun mountain bike ride, check out Gooseberry Mesa, this is by far one of the most popular rides for mountain bikers in the area.

Check out this cool video of a Gooseberry excursion:

Video Credit: Brandt Anderson on YouTube.

Gooseberry is a fun and exciting Mountain Bike trail with plenty of adrenaline pumping obstacles, this is definitely a trail for those who are a bit more experienced, but beginners (who are daring) can brave it as well.

Located just west of Zion National Park, the directions start at Smithsonian Butte Rd. from here you will go for about 2.8 miles until you reach Gooseberry Mesa Rd. This is an unmarked road, so you will need to keep your eye out for a fence on the left hand side. You will then turn left through the fence onto Gooseberry Rd. Pass the cattle gaurd, and keep going for about 3.6 miles. Soon you will come to a fork in the road, this is where the trail map and restrooms are located, turn left and keep going for about another 1.1 miles, there will soon be parking on the right side.

Once you have reached the trailhead, take off, be safe and ENJOY THE RIDE!

Grafton, UT
Photo Credit: Bingen Cortazar on flickr

Nearby Zion and off a tiny road in the small town of Rockville sits a spooky ghost town. In all reality it really isn’t that scary of a place, from what history tells us, nothing too terrible happened there. It really is just a cute little old town that was abandoned due to lack of farmland. Although it’s not something out of a horror film, it is one of the more fun places to visit while near Zion National Park.
To get there you will take a small, sort of hidden road in Rockville called Bridge Lane, you will come across and old rickety one lane iron bridge, drive across and keep going down the dirt road, you will first come across the graveyard, and if you continue onward you’ll reach the town. Make sure that you keep an eye on the road though as it is right next to a cliff with rocks that jut out, and the road can be very bumpy and has a lot of sharp turns, safety should always come first, drive with caution.
The Town of Grafton was built in 1859 as a cotton growing establishment. You will notice that there are several headstones that are marked with the same death dates, this is due to the life there that was harsh and frequent Indian attacks and floods caused a lot of grief for the early pioneers.
This ghost town is one of the more well preserved and isn’t a tourist trap, you won’t find an old building that has been refurbished and turned into a gift shop or just a bunch of broken down “buildings” (piles of rocks). That is what makes Grafton such a cool experience, there is a lot you can learn about the early settlers in this area from visiting the town, even the cemetery is very protected and maintained.
This is the perfect day trip for those just wanting to get away from the tourists, or if you want to spook your friends and family, visit in the late evening hours!

Want to go on a hike on a super-hot day in Zion National Park, but need something moderately easy with plenty of shade to keep you cool? Emerald Pools is a refreshing and beautifully scenic hike for those who need something a little less extreme. Only a .6 mile long hike this is the perfect hike for the entire family, including the really little ones!

emerald pools in zion

The start of the trail is paved making it feel like more of a stroll through the park, rather than a hike. Plenty of shade is provided due to the cottonwood and box elder trees that seem to line the trail. Alongside of you will be the beautiful Virgin River. As you make your way to the pools you will get random splashes of cool spring water that falls from and seeps out the sandstone cliffs along the trail.

Once you reach the pool be prepared to be blown away by its beauty. The pool sits in a circular canyon, with beautiful sandstone boulders and shrubbery that peeks out of the rock cliff.  This is where most of the hikers take a break to eat, play, and take in the lowers pools beauty. The rest of the hike is mostly paved trail where more water falls from the cliffs and provides a refreshing exit of the hike.

Lower Emerald Pools is definitely a favored hike in Zion, and is by far my favorite short hike in Zion. I have hiked it a handful of times during different seasons and it never ceases to blow me away with its magnificent views and relaxing aura. This really is the best hike for a day trip with the entire family. Be sure to pack some waterproof hiking shoes for the trip to the pools. You are bound to get wet here. Have fun and enjoy beautiful Lower Emerald Pools!

Water keeps you hydrated when you are hiking in places like Zion Canyon, it is one of the most essential items that you should carry when you are going hiking.  You need to carry a lot of water, which makes your back pack heavier, but sometimes it’s a better idea to carry small bottles instead on big ones that are too bulky.  Most hikers do this mistake, they try to bring big bottles and they get tired while carrying them on the trail. So get small bottles, easier to pack and easier to carry.

Not a commercial

A lot of trails in Zion will have drinking water available at the trailhead, but not all. So it is still a good idea to carry at least one or two liters to keep you safe depending on the hike you’re doing. Being hydrated is very important in hiking. You get tired easily, but when you keep drinking water it supplies you the required energy to keep up the pace. You’ll also need to eat some snacks to get instant energy.

Essential Water Needs For Hiking in Zion

Water is essential when hiking, each individual has a unique requirement for water and their unique metabolism. There is no theory or formula for exactly how much water is needed to keep you hydrated.   And also there are many other factors that modify the water needs for each individual.

Here you can find few basic needs of water:

  • Generally a person requires about ½ to ¾ quart of water per day to stay alive, and it is sufficient for thinner people. But if a man is around 175 pounds then the baseline is 3 quarters per day
  • A common analysis is that for every 4-5 miles of hiking, you need an extra one liter of water.

The fact is that you lose water from your bodies in 3 major ways:

  1. Breathing – When you breathe you will inhale air takes in the moisture in the lungs and when you exhale you will lose it.
  2. Sweating- moisture will come out through the skin, though you don’t see the sweat.
  3. Urinating- Whenever you go to nature calls, along with the waste, it also removes the moisture from your body.

how much water is needed for zion

Variables That Affect Water Needs While in Zion

On that baseline of water needed, additional water will be lost due to many physical and environmental factors. You may also lose water from your body due to environmental and physical factors like:

  • Humidity – Low humidity can evaporate sweat very quickly and cools your body.  This gives you nice feeling, but it also increases your water needs.
  • Wind – The air that moves away from your body, also takes the moisture with it which is why you feel thirsty quite often.
  • Temperature – if the weather in Zion National Park is hot, naturally it makes you sweat. When the air gets warmer, then you lose the more water from your body.
  • Elevation – When you are hiking at elevated region, the humidity gets lower and you may need more water due to lower temperature and humidity impact.
  • Energy Level – When you are hiking you are, in fact, making more muscle movements; which generates heat so to cool you off you need to drink more water. Limit your activity levels to lessen sweating and heavy breathing to save body water.
  • Acclimation – your body accumulates to different kinds of environment over a period of time and it controls itself more effectively. Accordingly, a person consumes more or less water while hiking.

 Technique to Save Water

The best way to save water is hike during the morning hours and evening hours especially during the summer. It helps you avoid the direct sunlight effect on your body.  And also you can more peaceful hiking.

Maintain a steady pace while hiking; go slow so that you may not breathe heavy and no sweating.  Wear a wide hat with a brim and use umbrella to avoid sunburn.  Check the map to find the water refill spots. Carry enough water to keep you safe or look into a water treatment system. Drink lot of water and hike safely. That way your experience hiking in Zion National Park will always been one you can look back on and smile.

Photo Credit: J.B. Hill on flickr

Did you know that Springdale has some of the prettiest city parks you’ll find anywhere? And one of them is tucked back a bit so 99% of people who visit Zion don’t even know it exists! Well, here’s the low down on two of them, with our favorite being the hidden gem of sorts.


This city park has one of the most picturesque sand volleyball courts you’ll find anywhere. Just look at that view! Playing a pick-up game of sand volleyball on those courts is something that you won’t soon forget. And lucky enough the mild winters in Springdale mean you can often play here even during the winter months. They take great care of the courts, in fact when this picture was taken last week there was an older gentleman who helped construct the courts years ago, out shoveling the sand to make sure the courts were in playable condition.

There’s more than just volleyball courts here too, in fact right behind the sand volleyball courts there are some tennis courts that have an equally astounding view of the canyons of Zion. And behind those there are some pickelball courts as well. So if it’s tennis or pickelball that fits your fancy this park has you covered both ways.

Next to the volleyball court in Zion there’s a children’s play area that is sure to keep the little ones entertained. And if that doesn’t there’s also a soccer/baseball field right next to both of them where you could set them free to run and play until their hearts are content.

And last but not least, there is a pavilion and picnic tables available as well. So if you’re looking to do some small bar-be-queuing then you’re in luck. All in all this is one of the best small town parks west of the Mississippi.

You’ll find this park right next to the Springdale town hall off of Lion Blvd. And here’s a map to it as well:

Springdale River Park

The other park is one that’s hard to miss as it’s right off of the main drive through Springdale heading into Zion. It has some picnic tables set up, bathrooms available, and a bridge over the virgin river that is incredibly scenic. You really can’t go wrong taking a quick break at this little park off of the main drive. Especially during the fall (the picture below was taken just a week ago), the falls come a little later here, and last a little longer than most places in southern Utah, so a late fall picnic to a place like the Springdale River Park is something you should definitely add to your list.


There are few things we love more than fall in Zion Canyon. The colors, the temperature, the views, the fun. Not to mention all of the events that are going on this fall. From the live music every weekend, to the 10k runs, to the bike races. There really is so much to see and do out here.

So come soon and come often to Zion Canyon, especially in the fall.

Virgin River Meandering through the Mountains of Z by Phil Bird LRPS CPAGB on