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  • Payal

Payal’s awe-inspiring trip to Zion National Park, Utah!

Written by: Payal

I am typically not your “outdoorsy,” type, my vacations usually includes shopping, relaxing, and lots of wine & dine. That’s why my husband was surprised when I mentioned that I wanted to go camping (what I meant was “glamping”) and hiking as our next vacation, particularly at Zion! There was something about the towering red canyons and complete isolation from city life that sparked the “little adventurer,” side of me! Let me be honest, this was hands-down the best place we have visited. The majesty and infinite beauty of this park is unmatched and pictures can not do it justice. That being said- you should put the Zion National Park on your bucket list!

I am not an avid or experienced hiker so it was important for me to find hikes that were easy yet did not compromise any views. It was difficult to plan out an itinerary for this unfamiliar giant park in the middle of the desert. Lucky for you, I have done the hard work and put together a complete guide to Zion National Park to make your planning super duper easy! I am so excited to share this incredible trip with you all and hope you find this guide useful!

Quick glimpse at our itinerary:

What to Pack:

I tend to be an over-packer and I was especially excited to pack all the snacks!! First off, we had a seven hour drive from our home base in Orange county to Zion. I used the Whole Food’s insulated tote bag and lined it with reusable ice pack sheets. I really liked the reusable ice pack sheets I ordered from amazon, it was easy to cut and adjust to the size we wanted and it lasted about 28 hours!

I made my classic JAB sandwiches (Strawberry jam, almond butter, banana), they came handy on our drive there as well as the hike, the bananas stayed well since it was in the insulated bag. Also packed Tosi bars (these kept us fueled), cliff bars, trail mix (since we were going on hiking trails), haberno Snap Peas and other dry snacks.

Absolute MUST: (Everything in picture above and the following):

Insulated water bottle (we used Bubba 40 oz)

Sunscreen (face/body/lips)

Bug repellant

Gym odor bag to keep our sweaty hiking clothes in

Wet wipes/hand sanitizer

Sunglasses/hat/ extra clothes in waterproof backpack

Waterproof phone pouch

Hiking shoes - Mine: Merrel Waterproof from Nordstrom & His: Adidas Terrex

How to get there:

We drove from Orange county which was about a seven hour drive. We heard that Las Vegas is the best airport to fly into and often the cheapest, it is a two-three hour drive from there to Zion.

Where to stay:

I speak for both my husband and I when I say, hands down, the best spot to stay is UnderCanvas! Imagine a bunch of beautiful white tents amidst the towering red rocks of Zion. We stayed in the deluxe tent with an ensuite bathroom. The main reception tent had a small restaurant, offered S’mores every night, beer & wine, and board games! We ordered a few meals and they were delicious (especially the mushroom/pesto ravioli!) The whole set up left us in awe, they have done an amazing job to blend luxury tents nestled in the canyon and still respecting nature! There wasn’t any electricity in the private tents, they had battery operated lamps, external charger, and battery powered fans. I will never forget looking up at millions of stars while making s'mores, and watching the sunrise from behind the canyons (it will be one of my favorite memories)!! I did get scared of the bugs that snuck into the tents but my brave husband was able to get them out of the tent (you should not be surprised by this, after all, you are in nature)!

If glamping in tents is not for you, we saw some nice hotels in Springsdale, which is the town center near Zion!

Alright, let’s get to the hiking part of the trip!

After all the research we did, we decided that our top two hikes would be: The Narrows and Zion Canyon Overlook. The Emerald Pool and Observational Point as our bonus hikes (we did not make it to these, I guess we have to save something for the next time we visit). We decided to skip Angel’s Landing due to the 1000 feet drop off and were not about that hype! If you decide to do this hike, go very early in the morning when there is a smaller crowd and it is not as hot!

There are not enough wonderful words that I can say about Zion National Park! The whole park is spotless and strive to follow the Leave No Trace national program. It is truly amazing how they have preserved the park for millions of visitors to enjoy! The shuttle system is fast and efficient. There are also park rangers at the entrance of all the trails.


- Make sure to check the official site for park information, often times some part of Zion and some hike trails are closed due to rock fall or damage. Check this link

- If you are thinking of hiking The Narrows, please be safe and get the special shoes/socks from nearby rental shops. We reserved shoes, socks, hiking pole and pants from the Zion Adventure Company. The staff there were super helpful and answered all our questions!

- Get to the park as early as possible! Parking becomes a very big issue, parking is free at the park. We got there at 6AM and were on the first shuttle out! (You have to take the shuttle to some parts of the park)! When we came back from our first hike around 11:30 AM, there was a 3 hour wait to get on the shuttle. If you can’t find parking at the Zion National park, you can park in Springsdale and take the shuttle to the entrance of Zion then wait for the second shuttle to take you to your hiking destination! Here is the link for transportation information

- STAY HYDRATED and bring snacks, there is only one food spot in the giant park

Bring a change of clothes, you may want to change after hiking through the wet Narrows

The Narrows

Before you enter the Narrows, you hike along the serene Riverside Walk trail which leads you into the river. The Narrows is a hike along the Virgin River and there are parts were the water is knee high. The water level range from shallow and deep so be prepared! The river is also full of slippery different size rocks on the bottom of the river so it is helpful to have the hiking pole to navigate your steps. The flowing current can work against you and sometimes it's hard to keep your balance, so just take your time! We saw all ages in the Narrows and everyone was having a great time! You can travel as far as your heart desires or turn back when you are satisfied. The entire hike up the river is 9.5 miles and can take almost 8 hours to do the round trip. This hike was on whole another level, hiking in the river between the tall canyon slots, stopping frequently to gaze at the beauty all around us! We stopped to take a million pictures but no pictures do it justice- it is one of those places you have to experience!

The Narrows

Zion Canyon Overlook

True story: for some reason, we thought this trail was outside of Zion National Park! We did not see it on any of the stops for the shuttle and many other blogs said you can park next to the highway :/ We actually drove out of the park and realized that we had to go back in :( and we had to wait in line to enter the park (aprox. 20 mins)! Don’t make the mistake we did haha We almost decided to skip it because we did not want to wait, but glad we ended up going!

**There are parts of the park which you can drive through and it is an absolute breathtaking drive as you go higher and higher on the canyons! There is a part of the drive where you go through a long tunnel, right where the tunnel ends is where you will find the parking for the Canyon Overlook trail**

The Canyon Overlook hike has a small parking lot, but usually you will find parking as it is a short hike and people are in & out fairly quick! We did not have to wait! This hike under rated and the best secret! The hike is a quick mile round trip, safe for all ages and ability levels and you do not sacrifice any views! The trail was actually a ton of fun with hidden caves, rocks, stonewalls, fallen trees to climb over and NO 1000 FOOT DROPS!! I would love to do this hike again and again!

Added bonus is the drive to the trail, it is indescribable!


We were in Utah for two and half days and two nights, we planned to get two days in Zion but ended up doing our hikes in one day, we were satisfied with the hikes we went on! It was hot (around 100F) and the heat exhausted us! We thought we had enough time to enjoy our glamping site at UnderCanvas and The Zion National Park! If you wanted to do more hikes, I would suggest to stay three days, as you may want to do the hikes early in the morning to avoid the heat!

We also went on a sunset ATV tour! We enjoyed the guided and adventorous tour riding through the dirt to an elevation of 3,500 ft with amazing views of lakes and mountain ranges! It was so much fun zipping through the sand dunes on the ATV! Our guide was awesome, he gave us background history and made sure we were staying hydrated!! It was spectacular to watch the sunset along the sand dunes!! Thank you to ATV & Jeep Adventrue Tours for letting us play in the desert on the ATV!

Springsdale is a gem of a town with no fast food restaurants (besides Subway) but there were a handful of local restaurants! Hurricane is a little further away town which has more food options, it has TACO BELL (for all the Tbell lovers out there)!

So what are you waiting for! Strap on your hiking shoes and explore this breathtaking giant national park!


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