Best Hikes to Do in Zion: A Comprehensive Family Friendly Guide

Best Hikes to Do in Zion: A Comprehensive Family Friendly Guide

Nestled among the stunning red rock formations of southern Utah, Zion National Park offers some of the most breathtaking hikes in the United States. From easy walks along the Virgin River to challenging climbs up iron-spiked trails, Zion provides experiences for hikers of all ages and abilities. Before you lace up your boots, it’s important to understand the park’s permit system, the essential gear you’ll need, and the best times to visit to avoid seasonal road closures.

Understanding Zion’s Permit System

Not all trails in Zion require permits, but for those that do, such as the infamous Angels Landing, it’s crucial to plan ahead. Permits are issued by the park to manage crowd sizes and ensure the safety and preservation of the natural environment. For the most current information on which trails require permits and how to obtain them, visiting the official Zion National Park permits page is a must.

Essential Hiking Gear for Zion

Proper preparation is key to enjoying Zion’s rugged landscapes safely. Essential gear includes sturdy hiking boots, a hydration system, sun protection, and a reliable map or GPS device. Weather in Zion can vary dramatically, so dressing in layers and packing waterproof gear is also advisable.

Seasonal Road Closures and Shuttle System

Zion implements a shuttle system during the peak visitor seasons to reduce traffic and protect the environment. Many roads are closed to personal vehicles during these times, making the shuttle the best way to access certain parts of the park. Planning your visit around these closures can help ensure a smoother, more enjoyable experience. Be sure to check the Zion NPS website, click here.

Top Hikes in Zion with Family-Friendly Ratings

tourists hiking the riverside walk in the beautiful Zion National Park

1. Riverside Walk (Family-Friendly Rating: 5/5): This easy, paved trail is perfect for families, winding along the Virgin River to the mouth of the stunning Narrows. It’s accessible and provides plenty of scenic spots to relax and enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

Gorgeous seasonal waterfall on the emerald pools trail in Zion

2. Emerald Pools Trail (Family-Friendly Rating: 4/5): Offering a slightly more challenging route, this trail features beautiful waterfalls and lush vegetation. While generally suitable for families, the trail does include some steep sections.

stunning shot of angels landing hiking trail in Zion national park

3. Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout (Family-Friendly Rating: 1/5): Known for its breathtaking views, this strenuous hike is not recommended for young children due to its steep drop-offs and the final challenging section that requires a permit.

powerful shot of watchman hiking trail in Zion national park

4. Watchman Trail (Family-Friendly Rating: 3/5): Ideal for families with older children, this trail offers excellent views with less elevation gain than more strenuous hikes, making it a great option for a half-day trek.

visitors hiking in the narrows of Zion


5. The Narrows (Family-Friendly Rating: 2/5): This unique river hike can be challenging but rewarding. Suitable for teens and adults, it requires wading and sometimes swimming through the Virgin River. Water shoes and waterproof gear are essential.


Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering a range of trails that promise unforgettable adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a family looking to explore nature, preparation is key. Deciding which is the best hike in Zion National Park, is surely subjective. However, choosing the right trail, understanding the permit requirements, and packing the appropriate gear will ensure that your visit to Zion is both safe and enjoyable.

Time to PACK!

Ready to explore the majestic trails of Zion and need a comfortable, convenient place to stay? Vintage Vacations provides luxurious accommodations just a short drive from Zion National Park. Book your stay with us today and turn your hiking adventure into a memorable vacation.


Leave your reply