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We’ve been fortunate enough to visit Zion National Park a number of times, including Zion with kids and in all 4 seasons. It’s always magical! We love finding the best easy hikes in Zion with kids or just that are great for those looking for short trails in southern Utah.
Here are our favorite easy hiking trails in Zion National Park that are perfect for all ages and a variety of experience levels. I’d love to hear if you’ve done any of these Zion National Park hiking trails!
WHERE TO STAY NEAR ZION NATIONAL PARK
There are a number of truly fantastic places to stay near Zion National Park. Here are some of our favorite Zion National Park hotels!
The Marriott Springhill Suites (reviews here) in Springdale is a perfect Zion hotel for families. It’s just outsidethe park (only 5 minutes from the entrance) and has clean and modern rooms. It has a great hot breakfast each morning that’s very helpful for fuel before heading off on some hikes (and there’s an incredible view from the breakfast area). It’s one of our favorite places to stay with kids in Zion National Park!
Zion Ponderosa might be our new favorite of the kid-friendly hotels near Zion National Park. There’s so much to do there that I would recommend staying a minimum of 2 nights, and spending at least one full day doing activities at the resort. This family-friendly Zion hotel has everything from mini golf to a zip line and climbing wall to organized rapelling and horseback riding activities. It’s truly incredible and a perfect place to stay with kids near Zion.
The Zion Lodge Cabins (reviews here) inside the park are also great family accommodations in Zion National Park. We stayed there in the middle of a snowstorm in the winter and it was so snug and cozy. We loved the little fireplace, and it’s only a few minutes to the Zion Lodge. It’s a wonderful option for family accommodations in Zion National Park.
WHAT TO PACK WHEN HIKING IN ZION NATIONAL PARK
You don’t need any specialty gear in order to hike in Zion. However, there are a few things I would recommend bringing along:
Hiking Shoes. While hiking shoes are certainly not necessary, I strongly prefer them to sneakers. The red rock of Zion can be slippery with sand, and so I recommend hiking shoes with traction over regular sneakers. These are the hiking shoes we really like for men, women, boys (or these), and girls.
Water. Zion is, after all, in a desert, so tends to be very dry. It’s easy to get dehydrated, so bring plenty of water, especially in warm weather and on any hikes with elevation gain. These are our very favorite kids hydration backpacks. They fit great on our 10, 8, and 6 year olds, and it makes it so they can go much farther hiking without constantly stopping to take a drink. (You can find them direct or on Amazon or Backcountry.)
Of all the easy hiking trails in Zion, Canyon Overlook is the one not to miss. At just under a mile, it’s very short but the payoff is much like that of a much more difficult hike. In fact, the view is one of the best in the entire park. Not bad for a hike that only takes about an hour round trip, including taking in the view at the end!
Despite being short, the hike does have a few moderately tricky passages and steep drop offs. Especially when hiking in Zion with kids, be very careful to keep a close eye/hand on little ones. If hiking with a toddler, I would highly recommend wearing the child in a child hiking carrier or baby carrier.
Emerald Pools Zion Trail
Distance: 1.2 miles to lower, 2.0 miles to middle, 3.0 miles to upper Elevation: 620 ft (69 ft to Lower Emerald Pools)
Emerald Pools is one of the most classic Zion hikes, so it’s nice that it’s both short and easy to access (right across from the Zion Lodge). While the Upper Pools are more strenuous to access, the Lower Pools are short with little elevation gain. You’ll be rewarded with glittering pools and falls that are stunning in a variety of seasons. It’s top of the list of great and easy hikes at Zion National Park and one of our favorite Zion hikes with kids. (Please note that swimming is never allowed in the Zion Emerald Pools.)
Pa’rus Trail Zion National Park
Distance: 3.5 miles Elevation: 50 ft
While the entire trail is 3.5 miles, it’s easy to just walk part of this paved path. It’s a perfect one to take in the views of Zion Canyon with very little effort. Little ones have lots of room to run, and the path also allows bicycles and leashed pets. It’s a wonderful, accessible experience for the entire family.
Grotto Trail in Zion
Distance: 1 mile Elevation: 35 ft
If viewing wildlife is your priority, the Grotto Trail is perfect for all skill levels and is also accessible in all seasons. It goes along the floor of the canyon through a meadow and is a nice and pleasant stroll. It’s a good addition to other day hikes in Zion National Park.
Riverside Walk Zion Trail
Distance: 2.2 miles Elevation: 57 ft
While the Narrows is an incredible hike through the Virgin River as it goes through a narrow Zion canyon, it’s not the most accessible for young children and for all skill levels. The water is extremely cold even in summer, and requires a great deal of balance and skill. Not exactly one for the list of easy trails in Zion National Park!
A wonderful alternative is hiking the Riverside Walk trail, which takes you to the mouth of the Narrows. The trail itself is almost entirely flat and filled with stunning views. The trail ends right at the river, at which point you can turn around and head back instead of heading up river. It’s one of our favorite easy Zion hikes!
Timber Creek Overlook Zion Trail
Distance: 1.0 mile Elevation: 100 ft
The Kolob Canyons section of the park is much less frequented than other parts of the park, but with no less stunning views. Kolob Canyons occasionally closes in winter but is especially wonderful in spring and summer with wildflowers. The elevation is much higher in this area of the park and the weather tends to be cooler, and is perfect for exploring during hot summer months.
Secret Petroglyphs Zion Trail
Distance: 0.6 miles
Many of the short hikes in Zion National Park are pretty popular, so it’s nice to find few lesser known ones. About 1.3 miles east of the 2nd Zion tunnel you’ll find parking next to the only wooden fence on the east side of Zion National Park. You can stop there in order to get to a short trail to these hidden gem petroglyphs. It’s a great and kid friendly Zion hike for little and big explorers.
Scout Lookout Zion Hike
Distance: 3.9 miles Elevation: 1,115 ft
While not exactly one of the short Zion hikes, Scout Lookout is so rewarding that I had to include it in this list. It’s not terribly long, but does include a steep elevation gain. The trail follows the same path as the one up to Angels Landing, but stops short of the dangerous chains section.
Though it is steep and has some steep dropoffs (especially at the end), the trail itself is doable for a variety of skill levels. Many kids find it enjoyable and doable, especially with breaks along the mostly wide path. And the view at the top is definitely worth the effort! A great one to add to a list of slightly more strenuous but still kid friendly Zion day hikes.
Have you hiked on any of these Zion National Park easy hikes? I’d love to hear your favorites, too!
Frequently Asked Questions About Easy Hikes in Zion National Park
Are there easy hikes in Zion National Park?
Yes! There are a number of easy Zion hikes that are wonderful for a variety of ages and skill levels. Some of our favorites are the Canyon Overlook, Riverside Walk, and Secret Petroglyph Trails.
Can you hike in Zion without taking the shuttle?
If you can’t or don’t want to take the Zion Canyon shuttle, there are still a number of easy Zion hiking trails that are beautiful and worthwhile. The east side of Zion has many areas to hike and recreate, including near Checkerboard Mesa. The Kolob Canyons area of the park, along with the area near the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, also have a number of easy hikes that you can access without taking the shuttle.
Can you just drive through Zion National Park?
If you can’t or don’t want to go hiking in Zion National Park, you can drive through the park for some spectacular views. While the main canyon is only accessible to private vehicles a couple months of the year, visitors can always drive through to the east side via the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, and also to the Kolob Canyons area of the park.
What is the best month to visit Zion National Park?
Honestly, any month! We have visited in all four seasons and they’re each magical in their own way. Winter has the contrast of red rock with white snow. Spring brings desert wildflowers. Summer brings weather warm enough for water play and long hours of sunlight. And fall boasts perfect weather with bright sunshine.
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