We've visited Zion quite a few times since moving to Utah. At about 5 hours from Salt Lake, it is totally doable to get many different views in just one day. 3 easy "hikes", Get behind a waterfall, get views of the canyon floor, and walk next to the Virgin River at the base of the canyon. If you are strapped for time, you can definitely do all three in about 4 hours. As much as I would love to do Angel's Landing, I know that my body was freeze up with panic and anxiety once I reached the narrow area with chains. We opted to hike a few shorter trails instead.
Canyon Overlook Trail- 1 mile roudtrip
We arrived at Zion about 1 pm. That meant we had 5 hours of daylight. We showed our parks pass and immediately headed for the Canyon Overlook Trail. If you are coming in from Springdale, take Mount Carmel Hwy through the tunnel. Once you exit the tunnel, the parking lot is on your right with the trailhead across the street. The first 5 minutes were icy, but after that it was dry, You will pass across a bridge, through a cave opening, and eventually to the slick rock. After climbing up on the rocks, you will be rewarded with view of the canyon. This trail is rated as moderate, but I would definitely say it was more on the easy side. Children should be watched carefully as some of the trail is narrow, slick, and a looooong tumble to the bottom. We spent a total of an hour on this trail and that includes all of the picture taking along the way.
Weeping Rock- .5 mile roundtrip
So this can even be considered a hike, I have seen in on Instagram and Pinterest so many times and couldn't miss it. The "trail" is paved and took us about 5 minutes to walk up. Once you are at the wall, you will take a few steps up and be directly behind the waterfall. It was beautiful, but very crowded since it was so accessible. However, you can't pass up the opportunity to walk behind a waterfall!
Riverside Walk - 2 miles roundtrip
Riverside walk is at the very end of Zion Scenic Drive. This hike takes you right next to the Virgin River. It is paved and wheelchairs and strollers could easy navigate the path. About halfway in, we encountered a "trail closed due to ice" sign. For one of the first times ever, I broke the rules and stepped over the chain. There were some patches of ice, but nothing my Chacos couldn't handle. The end of the trails puts you at the opening of the Narrows, which we are planning on returning to do. There were lots of places along this trail to step off the pavement and scale some boulders to the river. We even saw a ton of deer. I highly recommend this hike if you are not a hiker but want some incredible views.
We were planning on hiking the Emerald Pools but the trail was closed due to rock fall. We instead headed back into Springdale for dinner at the Zion Canyon Brew Pub. Since the weather was nice, we sat on the patio and enjoyed local brews. I had the Passionfruit Sour and a buffalo meatloaf burger. The views with dinner was A+!
What's your favorite trail in Zion? We can't wait to go back soon to hike the Narrows!