Top Things to Do in Zion: 2-Day Adventure Guide
You can get a taste of what Zion has to offer if you plan to stick around for at least 2-days. This guide is structured to provide super fun outdoor things to do in Zion National Park and includes the best day hikes, where to stay or camp, and guidance on the best time of year to visit.
We have visited Zion National Park many times living out west, and we are sharing all the best hikes and things to do with you to plan an awesome adventure!
This post contains affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a commission if you purchase through our links at no extra cost to you. This allows us to continue publishing free travel and gear guides. Please read our full disclosure for more information.
Introduction to Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the many wonders of the world and a prized gem of the U.S. The massive high desert, red rock mountains, and canyons against the blue sky will make you think you have been transported to another world.
Zion National Park is notably famous for hiking, rock climbing, camping, white water kayaking, sightseeing, and canyoneering.
Visiting should most definitely be on your life bucket list, which is why you are here!
Let us help you plan an incredible two days packed full of outdoor adventures that don’t require any backcountry permits.
☀️ Get your annual national park pass here!
Best Things to Do in Zion: A 2-Day Adventure Guide
This guide is structured with the best things to see and do in two days.
The information below primarily focuses on hiking activities.
We have visited the park many times, so you are in for a treat!
The Perfect Outdoor Getaway Zion National Park
The first day you are here, you’ll want to explore.
There are many hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous and difficult.
This article will include a few options for you to pick from in the main Zion Canyon area.
2022 Shuttle Update: You do not need a permit, ticket, or reservation to ride the Zion Shuttle.
Here’s a quick summary of the best things to see and do:
- Hike Angels Landing
- Take the shuttle and check out the Lower Section of the Narrows
- Explore the visitor center
- Check out Springdale, Utah
- Hike Canyon Overlook Trail
- Check out some other easy hikes in Zion
- Sight-see from the shuttle
- Explore Springdale, Utah
- Enjoy camping or your accommodations
- Stargazing at night
Day One in Zion National Park
Angels Landing Hike
This iconic hike is sure to bring out the explorer in you. It is a great way to have an excellent adventure, as well as see Zion.
When to Hike Angels Landing
We recommend hiking Angels Landing first thing in the morning. It is an excellent hike to do in late spring, summer, and fall. Depending on weather conditions, we wouldn’t recommend hiking when it is wet or there is snow.
Starting in April 2022, a permit is required to hike Angels Landing!
Angels Landing Hike Details
- Rating: Strenuous and difficult rating with heights and rock scrambling (chain to assist)
- Elevation Gain: 1,488 ft elevation change
- Shuttle Stop: #6 The Grotto
- Distance: 5.4 miles round trip
- Estimated time to hike: 4 hours
Angels Landing has incredible views. You don’t have to do the chain-link rock scrambling section if you don’t want to towards the end. But, if you are up for an adventure, go for it! Just know your limits. Your safety is your responsibility.
How to Get to the Trailhead
Parking can get scarce at the visitor center, so the earlier you arrive at the visitor center, the better. Zion National Park has a shuttle service that will take you close to the trailhead. Get off the shuttle at stop #6, The Grotto. After you hike Angels Landing, if you’re up for more adventure, get back on the shuttle and head to the lower section of the Narrows via Riverside Walk.
Hike the Lower Section of the Narrows via Riverside Walk
A lot of people see incredible photos of people hiking the infamous Narrows down the Virgin River.
When to Hike the Narrows via Riverside Walk
We recommend hiking the Narrows via Riverside Walk in the summer or early fall when it is still warm. The high canyon walls make for a shaded journey, so if you are wet, you don’t want to get cold. Bring a wetsuit!
Springtime has high water levels, and this area is often closed in the spring due to high water levels. Zion National Park is also known for flash floods. Be sure to be in the know for storms and flash floods for your safety.
How to Get to the Trailhead
Get off the shuttle at stop #9, Temple of Sinawava. The Narrows bus shuttle area has bathrooms. You’ll see the paved trail along the river. You can walk the trail until it stops and keep going upstream if you wish.
The Narrows via Riverside Walk Hike Details
- Rating: Strenuous and difficult rating walking in a river + wading in water
- Shuttle Stop: #9 Temple of Sinawava
- Distance: up to 9.4 miles (before needing a canyoneering backcountry permit)
- Estimated time to hike: 1 to 8 hours (before needing a permit)
You do NOT need a permit to hike the lower section of the Narrows.
A wilderness backcountry permit is required to hike the Narrows top-down (but that isn’t the section we are writing about now).
Visitors can walk the lower section of the Narrows, where the shuttles drop everyone off via Riverside Walk, shuttle stop #9, Temple of Sinawava. From here, you are allowed to hike from the bottom up, but that is it.
Since you are walking and wading upstream, it is fun to check out for a while, maybe a quarter mile or so, but not something we recommend really spending all day going that far upstream.
Upstream travel past Big Spring and Orderville Canyon is not allowed without a backcountry wilderness permit. That is why distance and time are stated as “up to.”
Pssst… Want to do an epic backcountry canyoneering adventure in Zion? Read more about the Orderville Canyon hike!
It is still great to see this lower section! Take pictures. Have fun in the water.
Watch the cliffs and rock walls. You will probably be able to see rock climbers.
Explore the Visitor Center
After hiking all day, head back to the visitor center and mosey around. There is quite a bit to see.
When you are ready, head into Springdale, Utah. Springdale is the town near the south entrance to Zion.
Walk around Springdale, grab a bite to eat, enjoy your hotel or campsite for the rest of the evening.
Day Two in Zion National Park
Hike Canyon Overlook Trail to Observation Point
When to Hike Canyon Overlook Trail
Go early in the morning. If you do the entire 8 miles round trip, it will take you about 6 hours. Try to beat the crowds and the heat. There is shade at the beginning of the hike, but there is not much shade towards the top.
It is a great hike to do later in the spring, early summer, and late fall. Depending on weather conditions, we wouldn’t recommend hiking when it is wet or there is snow.
Canyon Overlook Trail to Observation Point Hike Details
- Rating: Strenuous and difficult rating with heights and rock scrambling
- Elevation Gain: 2,148 ft elevation change
- Shuttle Stop: #7 Weeping Rock
- Distance: 8 miles round trip
- Estimated time to hike: 6 hours
How to Get to the Trailhead
From the shuttle stop, head to the East Rim Trailhead. You have to walk over the bridge adjacent to the shuttle parking lot. The Observation Point Trail will branch off the East Rim Trail 2.5 miles into the hike. The trails are marked well since you are in the National Park.
Other Easy Day Hike Options
Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. With trails of all difficulty levels, there’s something for everyone who loves to explore the great outdoors. So, if you’re planning a trip to Zion, be sure to check out some of these other popular hikes.
Sight-seeing from the Shuttle
Be sure to take the opportunity to sight-see on the shuttle. Sight-seeing from the shuttle is an excellent activity after hiking all day.
Explore Springdale or Enjoy Camping
After a fantastic hike, shuttle back to the visitor center, relax in Springdale or enjoy your campsite.
There are a few options for camping within the park boundaries.
Don’t forget to watch the skies at night in Zion, especially if you are camping at Lava Point. There is unforgettable stargazing.
Where to Stay During a Getaway in Zion National Park
Where We Have Stayed
Depending on how outdoorsy you feel like being, there are a few options.
Lava Point is about an hour to an hour and a half drive from the visitor center and is located at a much higher elevation. Temperatures will be slightly cooler in the summertime, making it a great camping retreat.
If you’d like to get away from the crowds to enjoy some primitive camping, we highly recommend Lava Point. Be sure to check out campground conditions before planning a trip. Lava Point Campground is only open seasonally.
The La Quinta is right in Springdale. They have a nice continental breakfast, pool, and spectacular views!
We like walking around Springdale to explore and eat. Staying at the hotel is a luxurious reprieve from hiking all day, depending on your level of adventure.
Springdale has plenty of budget options for visiting. There are big chain hotels to choose from.
If visiting in the high seasons, such as summer and early fall, plan to pay high season rates for any place you stay. However, if you visit in the off-season and shoulder seasons like winter and early spring, rates will be way less.
We recommend booking your stay well ahead of time. With millions of people visiting Zion National Park annually, these hotels fill up quickly!
Getting Around During A Zion National Park Getaway
Getting to and from Zion National Park requires you to have your own car or rental car, depending on where you are coming from.
Once you get to the park, find parking at the visitor center or in Springdale.
Most of the hikes and sight-seeing require being shuttled from the visitor center to the hike and sight-seeing drop-offs.
Read more about how the shuttle works.
Zion National Park Map
Check out the Zion Wilderness Map for an overview of the park, places, and hikes mentioned in this post.
Is Zion Dog Friendly?
Depending on what you plan on doing, Zion can be dog friendly. For example, if you want to drive the scenic drive and walk the Pa’rus Trail, you can make your trip dog friendly.
The Pa’rus Trail starts at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.
Dogs are not allowed on any other trails, buildings, or the shuttle. So, you will be limited with the types of activities you can do if you’re traveling with your pet.
Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
Since Zion National Park is in the Southwest, it tends to be dry and have lots of sunshine, making it fun to visit almost all year.
As we said earlier, Zion National Park has extremely high visitation. Millions of people visit the park every year.
It’s best not to visit Zion National Park during a national holiday weekend unless you don’t mind waiting in long lines or risking your chance of not being able to truly see the park.
When we would go, we would avoid weekends.
Summer is peak season in Zion, with Americans on summer break and international tourists coming from all over. June, July, and August are great times to visit but keep the desert heat in mind. It can easily be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll want to hike earlier in the day.
Early summer is one of our favorite times to visit.
Fall is another peak season since it is not as hot (as summer). Temperatures start to get cooler, including the nights. Still pack lots of layers.
Late fall is another one of our favorite times to visit.
December is quieter. Zion does get snow, and it can get pretty cold. Pack lots of layers. However, you are sure to beat the crowds.
Spring is still cold, but fewer people are visiting the park. The crowds tend to pick up some in late February and March, depending on the weather.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Zion in 2 Days
Zion National Park offers hikers a wealth of trails to explore, from easy walks to strenuous hikes. No matter your ability level or what you’re looking for in a hike, Zion has something perfect for you. If you haven’t had the chance to visit this amazing park yet, put it on your list—you won’t be disappointed!
Snag your annual national park pass if you haven’t already!
We hope you have a great trip and find this Zion travel guide helpful.
Thanks for reading.
Ashlee & Pablo
Shop Hiking Gear
Below are some of our favorite hiking products.
Where are you headed next?
Planning an epic road trip in Utah? You might also like our other articles for these national parks close by:
- Zion National Park: Orderville Canyon Hike: A Great Alternative to the Subway
- North Rim Grand Canyon: Best Things to do North Rim Grand Canyon
- Bryce Canyon National Park: How to Visit Bryce Canyon in One Day
Save this article on Pinterest!
We’d love to hear from you!
Have you been to Zion?
Do you have any questions about hiking in Zion and exploring?
Don’t forget to buy the annual national park pass!
You might also enjoy…
- Capitol Reef National Park: Best Guide to Visiting Capitol Reef National Park
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Best Shoreline Camping at Lake Powell
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: How to Visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument
- Arches and Canyonlands National Parks: Best Arches and Canyonlands Itinerary in One Day
- Moab: Moab Summer Road Trip Ultimate 3 Day Guide
- Moab: Things to Do in Moab Fun Outdoors Adventures
- Utah: Adventurous Outdoor Things to See in Utah
- Utah Camping: Primitive Camping on BLM Land: Camp for Free!
- Camping Gear: 25 Best Amazon Camping Gear Must-Haves
- Solo Female Travel Inspiration: Going Off the Grid – 7 Powerful Life Lessons Learned