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7 Easy Hikes in Zion to Experience the Red Rocks

7 Easy Hikes in Zion to Experience the Red Rocks

Hiking in Zion is an adventurer’s dream. Those that have been to Zion will tell you that the Zion Valley is almost unexplainable and a place everyone should visit at least once. While you can drive through the park, hiking in Zion is arguably the best way to see it. Today we will look at some easy hikes in Zion the whole family can enjoy. 

About Zion National Park

Zion National Park is found in southern Utah, not far from the city of Springdale. The park encompasses 229 square miles and has many popular geological features.

One of the most prominent features in the park is Zion Canyon, a 15-mile canyon that is over 2600 feet deep. The park sees about 3.5 million visitors a year, mainly during the peak summer months and when schools are on breaks. 


How Difficult Are Hikes in Zion National Park?

When it comes to hikes, Zion has something for everyone. Some hikes require substantial effort and skill, while others are little more than a stroll.

Also, some hikes may require specialized safety equipment (like the Narrows) and could be dangerous depending on the current conditions and abilities of the hiker. Young children and those in wheelchairs can find several hikes to enjoy.

You can find whatever difficulty level you are looking for in a hike at Zion National Park. If an easy hike in Zion is what you want, you’ll find it. If you are looking for a challenge, you can find it.  

zion valley and virgin river
Hike through Zion to check out all the stunning red rocks.

7 Easy & Leisurely Hikes in Zion National Park

If you find yourself in a group of people looking for an easy but worthwhile hike in Zion, you aren’t alone. You won’t be disappointed in what Zion has to offer. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite easy hikes in Zion, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

1. The Watchman

About This Hike: The Watchman hike is 3.1 miles out and back and is rated easy to moderate. This hike is perfect for those looking for a little bit of adventure but still keeping it relatively easy. There are a few rocky climbs, but hikers will find themselves on solid, hard-packed ground for the most part. Throughout the hike’s 3.1 miles, there is an elevation change of around 636 feet. This hike can be completed in under two hours. 

How to Get to the Trailhead: The Watchman trailhead is located within Zion National Park. You can access the trailhead from near the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, and across the street from the shuttle stop. There is a sign that marks the start of the trail. 

Don’t Miss: The valley views from this hike are phenomenal given the effort required. You’ll get views of the valley that are normally reserved for tougher hikes. Keep your eyes peeled for big horned sheep!

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out on your hike for amazing wildlife! Don’t know what to look for? We put together The Traveler’s Guide to Zion National Park Wildlife.

2. Northgate Peaks

About This Hike: The Northgate Peaks hike is a 6-mile loop, making it great for those looking for a longer hike while still keeping it relatively simple. This hike tends to take most people around three hours to complete.

A few rocky areas require hikers to be sure-footed, but much of the trail is gradual in its incline and firm sandy conditions. There is 1100 feet in elevation change throughout the 6 miles. 

How to Get to the Trailhead: The Northgate Peaks trailhead is most easily accessed via the coordinates 37°20’23.4″N 113°04’32.3″W. You can access the trail off of Kolob Terrace Road in the northern area of Zion National Park. 

Don’t Miss: Both the wildlife and wildflowers are plentiful on this hike, depending on the year. Be on the lookout for deer, as some hikers have reported seeing large groups of them on this hike. If you have the energy to climb the peak at the end, you will be rewarded with even better views. 

From novices to experts Zion has a hike for everyone!

3. Water Canyon

About This Hike: This 3.3-mile round trip hike lies just outside Zion National Park to the south but features many of the same great views and landscape. The Water Canyon hike should take you just under two hours to complete. If hiking The Narrows isn’t in the cards for you, but you are hoping for a similar experience, hiking Water Canyon could be a great alternative. The Water Canyon hike is a single dirt track. 

How to Get to the Trailhead: From I-15 North, take UT-9 E/W State St and UT-59 S to Utah Avenue Hildale. Continue until reaching Water Canyon Rd.

Don’t Miss: There is a beautiful waterfall found just shy of a mile from the trailhead. Hiking along the river through the canyon gives you great views of Utah’s famous red rocks. 

4. West Bank of the Virgin River

About This Hike: West Bank of the Virgin River provides a 5.7 mile out and back hike. This hike is very easy when it comes to skill, and while it is on the longer side, it is great for all ages. The trail is shared between hikers and horses. Expect to spend around two to two and a half hours hiking this trail. There is just over a 500-foot elevation change throughout the 5.7 miles, making inclines barely noticeable.

How to Get to the Trailhead: When headed north from the Visitor Center on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, make a left onto Service Road across from the View of The Patriarchs. The trailhead will be about a tenth of a mile down this road. 

Don’t Miss: Those looking for red rocky cliff sides won’t be disappointed on this hike. Hikers will enjoy hiking along the river and gazing up at the tall multicolored rocks. Look out for the Lower Emerald Pool, which can be found along the trail.

5. Riverside Walk

About This Hike: The Riverside Walk is a must-do. If you can only do one hike while in Zion, make this the one you do. This 1.9-mile hike is a bit more of a stroll, making it easy to focus on enjoying the landscape around you. The hike is a paved trail with less than a 200-foot elevation change. Most people can complete it in less than an hour. 

How to Get to the Trailhead: Hikers can access the trailhead by parking at the Temple of Sinawava inside Zion National Park. 

Don’t Miss: Be on the lookout for an alternative sandy path that follows along the trail. You can choose to stay on the paved trail or make it feel a bit more like a hike by following the sandy path that follows the river. 

Caitlin from Mortons on the Move hiking in Zion.
Avoid the crowds by hiking on more off-the-beaten path trails in Zion.

6. Lower Emerald Pool

About This Hike: The Lower Emerald Pool hike is a 1.4 mile out and back trail that is good for all ages and abilities. Most people can expect to spend less than 45 minutes completing this easy Zion hike.

The paved hike requires little to no skills and is great for all ages and abilities. Many hikers enjoy bird watching from the trail. There are no major inclines as the change in elevation is only around 127 feet. 

How to Get to the Trailhead: The Lower Emerald Pool trailhead can be easily accessed from the Zion Lodge inside Zion National Park. 

Don’t Miss: A waterfall is visible from the Lower Emerald Pool trail. If visiting in the rainy season, the waterfall will be fully flowing, though it does go to a trickle in the dry season. You can walk under the waterfall, which can be a unique experience. 

Pro Tip: Want to go off the beaten path on your next hike? Check out these 11 National Parks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

7. Timber Creek Overlook Trail

About This Hike: Timber Creek Overlook Trail is a short 1.1 mile out and back hike that is good for all ages and abilities. You can finish this trail in under 30 minutes. Timber Creek Overlook Trail is perfect for families with young children as there are very little elevation changes and plenty of great scenery. 

There are plenty of opportunities to view wildflowers and wildlife, depending on the time of year. This hike is also doable when there is snow on the ground, whereas other nearby trails can be inaccessible during the winter months.  

How To Get To The Trailhead: Timber Creek Overlook Trail can be found in the northern section of Zion National Park called the Kolob section. The trailhead is located at the very end of Kolob Canyon Road. 

Don’t Miss: This trail provides great views of the Zion Valley without the crowds. While this is still considered a moderately trafficked trail, far fewer people make their way here. 

Exploring Zion National Park | 7 Favorite Hikes & 12 Tips for Visiting

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Difficult is the Angel’s Landing Hike?

While Angel’s Landing hike is beautiful and worthwhile, it deserves to be classified as difficult. The trail can take up to five hours to complete. This 4.4-mile trail has over 1600 feet in elevation gain and isn’t for those who cannot handle heights. The rocky elevation gains and steep drop-offs make this trail difficult for many people.

There are several switchbacks and narrow rocky paths that only the surefooted should navigate. Possibly the most difficult portion of the hike includes that area featuring chains.

Hikers must hold on to the chains as they ascend for safety. Those who have trouble keeping their balance should consider an alternative trail.

Up for a challenge? Try hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion.

How Difficult Is Hiking the Narrows?

The difficulty of hiking The Narrows depends a lot on how much of the trail you choose to do. If you want to hike a mile in during the dry season, you likely will be able to complete your journey without much effort.

If you’d like to hike the entire 15.5-mile duration of the hike in the rainy season, it will take considerably more effort and skill. Those hiking the full duration will likely encounter waist-deep water, strong currents, and wildlife. It is not advised to complete the full hike alone, and you should be well prepared. 

hiking the narrows in zion national park

Put Zion National Park on Your List

Zion National Park is full of amazing adventures, whether you are hoping for a strenuous multi-day hike or what would be considered an easy hike in Zion. The views are hard to beat regardless of how you choose to explore this park.

Have you had a chance to hike in this park? What would you suggest as being one of the best easy hikes in Zion? Drop a comment below!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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