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Zion National Park, Utah USA

Top 5 Must-See Attractions
Zion National Park was the first natural reserve established in Utah back in 1919. Located on the southwest side of the state, Zion Canyon covers over 148,000 acres of land. This national park has gained some serious recognition over the last decade. Today the park receives 4.3 million yearly visitors from all around the world.

Zion has dozens of scenic attractions that make it the fourth most popular national park in the United states. Whether you’re a newcomer or a returning visitor it can be a challenge to pick which destinations to explore. To make the process simple, here is a list of the top 5 must-see attractions at Zion National Park.

1. Angels Landing

Angels landing is a 1,488-foot tall rock formation with a hiking trail cut out of solid rock leading to the top. The trail has a gradual ascent that follows the Virgin River along the west rim trail. Angels Landing is a five mile hike round trip.

The Yosemite Decimal System rates Angels Landing as a class 3 difficulty because the last half mile has steep incline with big drop offs. Overall, anyone in average physical condition should be able to safely make the five mile trek to the top.

At the top of Angels Landing you get a legendary view overlooking Zion Canyon. The best time to hike Angels Landing is from March to October. From spring through fall the weather at Zion National Park is warm and hiking trails are free of ice and snow.

2. Hidden Canyon Trail

Hidden Canyon Trail is a bit of a hidden gem within Zion National Park. Usually only experienced hikers try to tackle the short but strenuous trail.

You can find Hidden Canyon Trail by following the East Rim Trail until you reach their junction. At this point the Hidden Canyon trail will take you on a three mile loop which follows along a cliff face. There are chains located around the cliff for stabilization.

Needless to say, this hike isn't for anyone whose afraid of heights. But if you enjoy a little adrenaline rush and are up for a challenge you should plan a trip out to Hidden Canyon Trail.

3. Emerald Pool Trails

Emerald Pools is a desert oasis easily accessible to visitors from a number of short trails. This family friendly hike takes you on a leisurely stroll past lush vegetation streams that roll the cliffs and form into small pools.

There are three emerald pools: the lower pool, middle pool, and upper pool. The upper emerald pool is the most popular of all three as it opens up at the base of a 300-foot cliff. The tiring last quarter mile trek to the upper pool is definitely worth enjoying the shade and unreal views.

Emerald Pool trails are a great attraction for anybody who wants a simple day hike that isn't strenuous. The hike is accessible year round however expect large crowds in the summertime. The pools have the best water levels during the spring and fall when the falls are stronger.

4. The Narrows

The Narrows is a popular hike through the North Fork of the Virgin River. The name comes from the high and narrow rock formations surrounding the trail's path.

Beautiful water flows along the trail and creates stunning reflections. For hikers who want to capture long exposure pictures of the river, I recommend purchasing a neutral density filter for your iPhone. This will allow you to control exposure and shutter speed for more dynamic photography.

There are three options for hiking the Narrows. The most favored option is the bottom up day hike. This hike is valued for its simplicity and only moderate physical demands. However, advanced hikers can choose to do a one or two day thru hike which covers 16 miles of trail.

5. Zion Observation Point

The upper plateau of Observation Point stands 2,100-feet tall in elevation and offers 270° views of Zion Canyon. Along the way to the top hikers get a peek into the mysterious dark slots and white cliffs of Echo Canyon.

The trail to Zion Observation Point starts at Weeping Rock Trailhead and is an eight mile hike round trip. Unlike Angels Landing, the trail up to Observation Point gains elevation quickly and shortly into the hike you'll be able to see Angels Landing across the valley.

On the way up to Observation Point there are many notable trails that you can venture into including the Hidden Canyon and East Rim Trail. However, to get the full experience it's important to plan plenty of time for any detours.

Resources

For more information on United States National Parks check out our article 5 Tips for Hiking Yosemite