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A Travel Guide to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Updated: Feb 11


zion national park stream red rocks peak cliff
Zion National Park

From towering red rock peaks to otherworldly hoodoos, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks offer some of the most unique attractions in the world. Whether you’re an adventure-seeker looking to climb Zion National Park’s 2000-ft. sandstone walls or simply wanting to enjoy a more leisurely visit, these neighboring parks are abundant in activities and sights for every type of traveler. This travel guide will detail everything you need to know to plan a visit to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.


Quick Facts About Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park

Established: November 19, 1919

Size: 146,597 acres

Average annual visitors: 4 million


Bryce Canyon National Park

Established: February 25, 1928

Size: 35,835 acres

Average annual visitors: 2.5 million



Fees in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Park passes are required to enter Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and are valid for seven consecutive days each. You’ll need to purchase a separate pass for each park. and can purchase a pass at any park entrance station. Below are the fees:

• $35 per vehicle: Non-commercial car, pickup truck, RV, or van with 15 or fewer passenger seats

• $30: Motorcycle

• $20 per person age 16 or older: People entering by foot, bicycle, horse, or non-commercial bus or van

Tip: If you plan to visit multiple national parks within a single year, I recommend purchasing the America the Beautiful Pass. This pass covers entrance fees at all U.S. national parks, and is valid for one year from the month of purchase. Click here for more details.


Where to Stay in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park

Staying near Zion National Park: If you’re on a budget, I recommend staying in an Airbnb in one of these communities nearby the park:


• Hurricane: Airbnbs located roughly 22 miles from the park

• Washington: Airbnbs located roughly 29 miles from the park

• St. George: Airbnbs located roughly 33 miles from the park


Staying in Zion National Park: If you're seeking convenience, there are several lodging options in and neighboring the park, including hotelsAirbnbs, and campsites.


Bryce Canyon National Park

Staying near Bryce Canyon National Park: If you’re on a budget, I recommend staying in an Airbnb in one of these communities nearby the park:


• Tropic: Airbnbs located roughly 10 miles from the park

• Panguitch: Airbnbs located roughly 23 miles from the park

• Antimony: Airbnbs located roughly 40 miles from the park


Staying in Bryce Canyon National Park: If you're seeking convenience, there are several lodging options in and neighboring the park, including hotelsAirbnbs, and campsites.


canyon overlook trail zion national park valley red rock peak cliff
Canyon Overlook Trail

Getting Around in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

The best way to get around the park is by driving a car as you can access more areas at your own pace. However, during peak season, I recommend taking advantage of both parks' free shuttle service as trailhead parking lots fill up quickly. Note that during the shuttle season, you won't be allowed to drive a personal vehicle on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.


Click here for Zion National Park shuttle service information, and here for Bryce Canyon National Park shuttle service information.


When to Visit Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park

Spring (March-May): Expect mild weather during the day and chilly weather at night. During spring, wildflowers are in full bloom and you might be able to spot seasonal waterfalls. However, note that water levels in the canyons during this time of year may rise due to snowmelt from winter—check to make sure hiking trails you want to visit are accessible.

Summer (June-September): Expect hot weather during the day and night. Avoid visiting during summer as it's considered peak season, and temperatures can easily rise above 100°F. The park also experiences monsoon season from July to September, resulting in an increased risk of flash floods.

Fall (October-November): Expect cool weather during the day and night. Fall is the most optimal time to visit as the weather begins to cool and water levels are at their lowest.

Winter (December-February): Expect snowy and cold weather. Wintertime offers access to activities including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing... and you can see the canyons blanketed in snow! Note that some roads will be closed due to snow.


Bryce Canyon National Park

Spring (March-May): Expect mild weather during the day and chilly weather at night. During spring, you'll find snow still lingering on the park’s hoodoos and wildflowers beginning to bloom.

Summer (June-September): Expect warm weather during the day and cool weather at night. The park’s high elevation offers relatively cooler temperatures compared to Zion National Park. However, the park also experiences monsoon season between July and August.

Fall (October-November): Expect mild weather during the day and chilly weather at night. Fall is considered shoulder season. While you can expect pleasant weather during this time of year, snowstorms beginning October are not unusual.

Winter (December-February): Expect snowy and cold weather. Similar to its neighbor Zion National Park, wintertime offers access to activities including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Note that some roads will be closed due to snow.


zion national park green trees red rock peak cliff views
Zion National Park

Things to Do in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park

Canyon Overlook Trail: Canyon Overlook Trail is a short hike with a big payoff—it’s the best alternative to Angels Landing if you’re seeking a less strenuous hike. This 1-mile out-and-back trail ends with an overlook giving you a bird’s-eye view of Zion Canyon.


canyon overlook trail zion national park red rock peak cliff valley views
Canyon Overlook Trail

The Narrows: The Narrows is famous for its unique hiking experience which allows you to trek waist-deep through a river lying between steep canyon walls. The trail measures 10 miles round-trip, but most visitors hike for around 1 to 2 miles before turning back around. Remember to check the weather for any chance of rain as flash floods in the canyon can be deadly.


the narrows zion national park hike trail stream cliffs walls
The Narrows

Emerald Pools Trail: Emerald Pools Trail is a family-friendly, 3-mile loop trail that runs alongside a stream, offering canyon views from the valley floor.


Weeping Rock Trail: Weeping Rock Trail is a short, steep walk that takes you to a moss-covered alcove where you can see water falling from the cliff above (hence its name), as well as canyon and valley views.


weeping rock trail overlook zion national park
Weeping Rock Trail

Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunset Point: Hoodoos... what are they? Nicknamed “fairy chimneys,” these unique spires of rocks draw over 2 million visitors a year. Visit Sunset Point for the best view of the park’s hoodoos.


sunset point sunrise point bryce canyon national park hoodoos amphitheatre
Sunset Point

Navajo Loop: While I didn't get to complete this hike, the Navajo Loop is the most popular trail in the park, and with good reason—it features a slot canyon and an opportunity to view hoodoos up-close.


Natural Bridge: Stop by Natural Bridge to see its dramatic, 85-ft. arch formation.


natural bridge arch bryce canyon national park red rock
Natural Bridge

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