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Statistically, The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

Statistically, The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

If you have a bucket list of national parks, a visit to Zion National Park has likely made its way onto it. As one of Utah’s “Mighty Five,” it is one of the more popular national parks in the nation.

Today we are looking at why a trip to Zion National Park is one you will never forget and when you should plan to visit.

Let’s get started!

About Zion National Park

Zion National Park was initially named Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1919 the park went through a name change to Zion National Park as many felt the name Mukuntuweap National Monument would deter people from visiting if they could not pronounce it. Zion sits in southwest Utah.

Around 3.6 million people visit Zion National Park every year, making it the third most visited national park. The park comprises 229 square miles. The park’s most prominent feature is the Zion Canyon. T

he canyon runs 15 miles long and up to 2,640 feet deep, it’s not the Grand Canyon, but it’s impressive nonetheless. The highest point in the park is Horse Ranch Mountain at 8726 feet, and the lowest is Coalpits Wash at 3666 feet. The Virgin River runs through the canyon. 

Hike in Zion National Park. Man walk on the trail  in Zion National Park, Utah.
One of Utah’s many national parks, Zion National Park is high on many peoples bucket lists.

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Zion for the Best Weather? 

When you visit Zion National Park in the spring and fall, you get to experience the best weather. While early spring can be chilly, the temperatures are beginning to rise to bring warm afternoons.

Late spring will yield the best weather along with beautiful spring flowers. The fall months are warm with cool evenings. Those waiting to visit until fall will also experience fewer crowds than spring and summer. 

Statistically, When Do Most Crowds Visit Zion National Park? 

Zion is a very busy park all year long, with it being such a popular park. The crowds tend to swell at Zion National Park when school is out and on holidays.

The busiest of months is July, when the monthly visitors top 550,000. June comes in at a close second, with over 500,000 visited in June.  

Aerial view of Zion National Park.
Consider exploring Zion during off season months for fewer tourists and foot traffic.

Best Time of Year to Visit Zion to Avoid Crowds

While there isn’t really a downtime at Zion National Park, you can still avoid the height of the crowds. January sees the fewest visitors, with only 91,562 entering the park throughout the month.

January only sees 2% of the annual visitors to the park. February and December each see just over 100,000 visitors. By visiting during the off-seasons times, you can save yourself time and the stress of battling crowds on the trails, roads, and at many popular attractions.

What is the Best Time of Day to Visit Zion National Park? 

By visiting Zion National Park in the morning, you can experience the lowest amount of crowd levels. There is a saying that hiking an hour earlier and a mile farther to enjoy a lightly traveled trail.

Hitting the park’s most popular trails and attractions in the morning won’t guarantee zero crowds, but it will lessen your odds of having to weave around large crowds. The parking lots are often filled by 9 AM, even during the lowest visited months.

If waking up before the sun is unobtainable for you, wait until after the bulk of visitors have headed out to eat dinner. 

How Many Days Do You Need in Zion National Park? 

While you can hit up a few major highlights in a single day at Zion, we suggest sticking around for longer. Those who explore the park for three days will have the opportunity to do several major hikes and many smaller park activities.

Even though you can see much of the park in three days, we think you can stay a week and still not find yourself bored. 

Scenic view of mountain valley in Zion national park, Utah, USA
Parking lots fill up by 9 AM in Zion, so arrive when the sun does.

How Early Do Zion Parking Lots Fill Up? 

Parking often fills up by 9 AM at Zion National Park. Those wanting to get a prime parking spot within the park’s boundaries will need to arrive well before 9 AM.

If parking is full when you arrive, you can park in the nearby town of Springdale and from there use the town shuttle to enter the park. However, parking in the town of Springdale will come with a fee. 

Pro Tip: Busy parking lots won’t be your only problem if you are taking your RV to Zion National Park. Make sure to keep these in mind when RVing through Zion: The Don’ts of Zion National Park RV Camping.

Best Things to Do in Zion National Park

Zion National Park has many exciting things to do. Most of the popular activities can be reached by taking Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.

Those feeling adventurous have plenty of options for hiking in Zion. Angel’s Landing and The Narrows are two of the most popular hikes.

Both hikes are strenuous, and hikers should be ready for the trek ahead. Consider the Riverside Walk, Weeping Rock trail, or Lower Emerald Pools trai for a gentler hike. 

If you’d rather take it slow and easy, there are some great scenic drives through the park. The Zion Canyon scenic drive will take you through the most dramatic landscape views of Zion.

You’ll get a view of Angel’s Landing while taking this drive. At the end of the road, you’ll find yourself at the start of the Narrows. 

Another great scenic drive is the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. This drive takes you up, giving you amazing views of the canyon below. It is on this road that you will go through the famous one-mile tunnel. Be careful of this narrow tunnel; somee RVs are unable to pass through. 

Pro Trip: Road tripping through Zion? Follow our route: Zion National Park Road Trip Guide.

Hike in Zion National Park. Man walk on the trail  in Zion National park,Utah. Back turned no face visible.
Zion National Park offers hikes for both experienced and beginner hikers.

Put Zion at the Top of Your Bucket List

It is no secret that Zion National Park is a well-loved and highly visited park. Those who have had the opportunity to explore the park can understand why so many people put Zion on their national park bucket list.

Have you had the chance to visit Zion? What are some of your must-do activities for visitors? 

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