The Best Hiking and Backpacking in Zion National Park

By Michael Lanza

Even in the Southwest, a region where the extraordinary becomes ordinary, Zion National Park stands out. Other places have natural arches, spires, and ancient cliff dwellings, but no place really matches Zion’s grandeur: cliffs up to 2,000 feet tall stretching for miles, the rock’s purity of white and deep burgundy, and patterns of striations rippling across a span of stone that dwarfs Man’s greatest buildings and monuments. Perhaps that’s why it was Utah’s first national park, designated in the same year, 1919, as Grand Canyon and Acadia.

As the photos below demonstrate, Zion harbors some of America’s best dayhiking and backpacking.

Zion deserves the attention of every avid and casual hiker, backpacker, and parent wanting to raise a child with a love for America’s greatest natural heritage: our national parks. The good news is that Zion offers hikes ranging from short and easy to multi-day backpacking, including a classic north-south traverse of the entire park. Then there’s the technical canyoneering possibilities in Zion, which open up an entirely new world.

Scroll through the photo gallery below for a sense of the hiking and backpacking opportunities in Zion, then see the links below the photo gallery to my stories about hiking and backpacking in Zion.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside, which has made several top outdoors blog lists. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Subscribe now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip. Please follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.


Ready to see the best of Zion? See “Insider Tips: The 10 Best Hikes in Zion National Park,” my feature stories about backpacking The Narrows, a family backpacking trip, a 50-mile dayhike across the park, and hiking Zion’s Subway, and this photo gallery from hiking in Zion’s Kolob Canyons, and a menu of all of my stories about Zion National Park.


Tell me what you think.

I spent a lot of time writing this story, so if you enjoyed it, please consider giving it a share using one of the buttons below, and leave a comment or question at the bottom of this story. I’d really appreciate it.


See also my story “The 10 Best Backpacking Trips in the Southwest” and all of my stories about national park adventures, hiking and backpacking in southern Utah, and family adventures at The Big Outside.


You live for the outdoors. The Big Outside helps you get out there. Don’t miss any stories. Subscribe now!


Review: Outdoor Research Refuge Hooded Jacket

Gear Review: Black Diamond Magnum 20 Daypack


Leave a Comment

10 thoughts on “The Best Hiking and Backpacking in Zion National Park”

    • To be honest, Luke, on a hike like Angels Landing, which is not exactly in remote wilderness, I’m not all that bothered by people creating something like this. And cairns marking trails in the wilderness certainly have important value, too.

  1. I overnighted on the East Rim Trail last year with my son. It was right before Memorial Day, so the main Canyon Road area was packed, but the trail was quiet and free of crowds. One of the best days ever. Your pictures remind me of it.

  2. I just discovered your blog and I am so pumped to use it while researching family trips – we love hiking and exploring national parks! just started a teeny tiny blog myself. thank you for compiling your advice and stories and tips!!

  3. There is just something magical about Zion! I’ve only had a few days there each time (as part of a larger trip) but would love to backpack there someday.

    • Zion is so very unlogistic for a day hiker from Virginia. I’m past the days of driving the “all day miles” to reach a place like Zion from a major airport, & few reasonable group trips get one close to Zion’s backcountry. – Kelly