From a Paiute word meaning, “bubbling, tumbling water,” the Pa’rus Trail is a fun, paved trail that follows the Virgin River through lower Zion Canyon, on its way north from the park entrance. Not overly long itself, it reaches up as high as the junction of Utah Highway 9 and the Floor of the Valley Road, though it can be made part of a longer trip.
Popularly as a bike trail, this is also an excellent route to take if one desires a semi-long stroll through the sunny Zion landscape. It is wide enough to accommodate bicycle, wheelchair, and stroller traffic all at the same time, and connects the ranger station, park offices, campgrounds, the museum, and other sites. One can spend an entire afternoon on the path or a shorter time, going only as far as one wishes. Many people use the instead of relying on park shuttle buses. This gives visitors a unique experience, opening up more possibility for physical exertion and activity, and at the same time relieving them from the crowds that are normally waiting on the shuttle system.
Pa’rus Trailhead (South End)(37.201338, -112.988554)
The trailhead is located at the north end of the parking lot outside of the park’s tollbooth entrance. An entrance fee will still be required even for hikers and bikers. From there the trail skirts up alongside the South Campground, then passes the museum and park headquarters, before leaving the immediate Springdale/park entrance area behind and paralleling both the highway and the Virgin River into the canyon. Pa’rus Trail technically ends at the junction of the highway and the Floor of the Valley Road, though it is possible to continue a hike or a bicycle ride all the way up to the Temple of Sinawava, stopping to explore any of the famous sites on foot as desired.
Pa’rus Junction with the Floor of the Valley Road(37.217678, -112.974044)
At this junction, visitors can catch the shuttle or continue hiking or biking farther up the canyon. Continuing up to the Temple of Sinawava adds another 12.6 miles—roundtrip—to the trek, for a moderately strenuous total of 16.1 miles. That is just about perfect for experienced bikers who are accustomed to riding in the heat of southern Utah.
The trail connects park campgrounds with the town of Springdale, which has much to offer in the way of fine dining, lodging, shopping, bike rental, and entertainment. It is a small town that is very experienced with helping newcomers to enjoy their Zion experience to the maximum.