The great thing about exploring the Grand Canyon’s isolated North Rim is that it leaves room for more adventure. While on the northern edge, make plans to journey across the Kaibab Plateau to explore another natural wonder- the Zion National Park.
Zion Canyon is a tiny (by comparison) version of the Grand Canyon, stretching 15 miles (24 km) across the southwestern United States and digging about half a mile into the earth.
This park is a gorgeous clash of environments made possible by its location along three desert regions, the Great Basin, the Mojave Desert, and the Colorado Plateau.
Things to do at Zion National Park
The unique geological makeup of Zion National Park means that an astounding variety of animal and geographic combinations can exist within the park, meaning that visitors have countless options for entertainment.
Whether you want to absorb the scenery on foot, explore the park’s 289 species of birds, or canyoneer through the narrows, there are plenty of adventure opportunities waiting for you. Listed below are only a few of the most popular activities.
Emerald Pools Trail
Emerald Pools Trail is to Zion National Park what Bright Angel’s Trail is to the Grand Canyon. An accessible trail with a generous endowment of natural scenery.
While all the waterfalls at the Grand Canyon are hidden away in the Havasupai Reservation, Emerald Pools Trail got its name from the gorgeous waterfalls and pools.
The Emerald Pools Trail is composed of three different sections; the lower pool, the middle pool, and the upper pool. Each pool begins a new trailhead, offering you the opportunity to explore further and providing the convenience of three enter and exit routes- customize to your preference.
In addition to the promise of beautiful emerald waterfalls and lazy pools, the moisture along this trail feeds a gorgeous array of lush gardens, mosses, and flowers. Offering up plenty of shade and even terrain, it is a hiker’s paradise.
Narrows of the Virgin River
Talk about the ultimate hike- Venetian style.
Certainly one of the most unique hikes you’ll ever experience, the Zion Narrows offer a trail unlike any other and provide a new kind of challenge.
Stretching 16 miles (26 km) through the canyon, this hike takes you directly through the Virgin River. Surrounded by imposing canyon walls hung with lush gardens and wading waist-deep in water at some points, it is no wonder this trail attracts so many hikers.
Allow yourself two days to complete the hike by camping out at the bottom of the canyon and enjoying the ethereal moonlit perspective of the canyon.
Aptly named, Angel’s Landing is a heavenly perch indeed. That being said, there is a certain devilish forbidding regarding the trail itself; located atop a treacherously narrow path with sheer drop-offs at both extremes, it is not a trail for the faint of heart.
At a mere 5 miles (8 km) in length, Angel’s Landing trail offers impressive views all the way along, with the most outstanding being an expansive view of Zion Canyon. The perch itself offers a clear view of the Virgin River, the Organ, Cathedral Mountain, the Big Bend, and other signature Zion landmarks.