If you’re looking for a breathtaking trip in the American Southwest, Zion National Park has to be on your list. From majestic mountains and rock walls to heart-pounding hiking trails and adventures, Zion is an outdoor paradise. Just one visit to the area and you’ll see why it’s a top travel destination—especially in a campervan!
In this post, we’ll explain several reasons why Zion should be your next vacation destination. We’ll talk about where to stop on the drive over, the exciting outdoor attractions in the region, some helpful travel tips, and more!
About Zion National Park
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah, near the borders of Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. It’s a very popular outdoor destination with nearly five million visitors yearly.
The magic of Zion National Park is all made possible by its massive canyon, called Zion Canyon. With an average depth of 2,000 feet, the canyon offers plenty of room to explore. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing, or just relaxing by the river, Zion checks all the boxes.
Where to Stop Along the Way
As you’re traveling to Zion in your campervan or RV, adventure is always right outside your window. That said, be sure to make a few stops on the way over! Depending on where you start, check out our favorite stopping points below:
If you’re driving in the northern direction into Zion, consider stopping in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon National Park, which are both a few short hours away. Also, you can’t pass up Sedona, Arizona, featuring magical red rock and loads of hiking trails.
Headed west? If so, plan some time for adventures in Utah and Colorado. Bryce Canyon is a must-see, which is a little over an hour from Zion. You should also stop in Capitol Reef National Park and Glen Canyon. These locations offer gorgeous canyon views, crazy hiking trails, and relaxing spots by the river. If you find yourself in southwestern Colorado, consider stopping in the cool towns of Durango, Telluride, and Pagosa Springs.
When driving south, Utah has several awesome stops to make the most of your trip. If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, there are some amazing ski resorts in the Salt Lake City area. A few popular options include Park City, Snowbird, and Alta. If you’re coming from further north, consider stopping in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
If you’re headed east, make your road trip unforgettable by making some stops in central California. Some of our favorite outdoor destinations in this area include Sequoia National Park, Mammoth Lakes, and Kings Canyon National Park. If you want a grueling hike, you could even summit the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States—Mount Whitney!
Zion—Unbeatable Outdoor Adventure
Zion is a place people dream about. With so many outdoor activities in this red-rock paradise, you could spend weeks here and never get bored.
Here are some of the top outdoor adventures and attractions in Zion National Park:
Nothing beats a good scenic drive. If you’re ready to see Zion and all of its glory, there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities to experience. One such opportunity is called the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This scenic drive runs right through Zion Canyon, providing impeccable views in all directions. However, keep in mind this drive is only accessible by a park shuttle or on a bike. For another mesmerizing scenic drive, where you can ride your own vehicle, check out the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway!
Hiking is by far the number one activity in Zion National Park. Whether you’re searching for a strenuous trail up a mountain or a peaceful stroll along a creek, Zion is the place for you. One of the most popular trails in the park is called Angel’s Landing. Towering thousands of feet above Zion Canyon, this route is said to be one of the most “scary” treks in the entire country. Angel’s Landing is a 5.4-mile roundtrip featuring an elevation change of 1,488 feet. The last section of the trail runs along a steep, narrow incline where hikers hold onto a chain railing for support.
Another hike you’ve probably heard about is The Narrows, which takes you through a shallow river as you gaze up the 1,000-foot rock walls. This is a unique, stunning hike you’ll probably never forget!
Looking to hop on two wheels? With tons of room to take your bicycle, Zion is a great place for a breathtaking ride. However, keep in mind that bikes are only allowed on park roadways and the Pa’rus Trail. They are prohibited in all other areas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the time of your life on a bicycle! Riding along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is an experience like no other, and you can also take your bike on a park shuttle if you get tired.
While driving into Zion can sometimes be a pain, why not stay within the park? If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind camping experience, Zion has three awesome campgrounds; South Campground, Watchman Campground, and Lava Point Campground. While South Campground and Watchman Campground are right next to the park’s south entrance, Lava Point Campground is about a 1-hour drive from Zion Canyon. Also, if you’re looking for a cooler camping experience with more shade, Lava Point will be your best option.
Zion is always a remarkable place to visit. However, there are some travel tips to keep in mind, which include:
- Prepare for the weather: Summer temps can exceed 95 degrees, so plan accordingly.
- Book camping reservations early: Spots can fill up very quickly
- Know the park rules: Make sure you understand the park’s policies.
- Follow the camping guidelines: Two vehicles are allowed per site, including six people and two tents.
- Consider hiring a guide: If you want to go rock climbing, river rafting, or on another adventure, consider hiring a professional guide.
- Avoid the crowds: Start your activities early or late in the day to see fewer people. Also, avoid Zion’s busy season, which runs from March through November.
Follow the tips above to have an incredible, stress-free experience in Zion!
Here are some more details about the area’s top attractions and activities:
- Pa’rus Trail: Accessible right next to South Campground
- Grotto Trail: Starts behind the shuttle stop at Zion Lodge
- Angels Landing via West Rim Trail: Across the footbridge at The Grotto shuttle stop
- The Narrows via Riverside Walk: Found at the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop
- Northgate Peaks Trail: Starts at Wildcat Canyon Trailhead on Kolob Terrace Road
- Coalpits Wash Trail: Begins near Rockville, Utah
- Pa’rus Trail: Trailhead found near South Campground
- Watchman Campground: Located near the Zion Canyon Visitor Center
- Lava Point Campground: 25 miles north of Virgin, Utah, off Lava Point Road
- South Campground: Found close to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center
As we’ve mentioned, Zion can get busy. To avoid the crowds, check out the following hidden gems in the area:
- Try canyoneering in Echo Canyon
- See the insane views at the less popular Observation Point
- Experience the secret waterfall in Pine Creek Canyon
- For a kid-friendly, peaceful hike, try Canyon Overlook Trail
- Check out sweet petroglyphs in Petroglyph Canyon
The options above feature fewer crowds, peaceful vibes, and astonishing scenery!
Prepare for Your Adventure with Rec Van!
If you’re looking to get this Zion adventure started, Rec Van is here to make this dream a reality. With our full line of exceptional campervans, our vehicles are equipped for any outdoor journey! Whether you’re planning to stay a few days or several, our vans offer the comfort and dependability you can trust.
View our available campervans today, and give us a call if you have any questions!