by Angie Lucas
5 Heavenly Hikes in Zion National Park
Spend a long weekend in Utah's first and most popular park
Three days, two nights, five hikes. Spend a long weekend staring in awe at Zion’s heavenly views with this handy—and only 20% harrowing—hiking itinerary. Get acquainted with a few of Zion’s 3 million annual visitors as you zoom from one trailhead and scenic overlook to the next aboard the Zion Canyon Shuttle, designed to keep the park pristine, tranquil and
pollution-free. Hop off as often as you’d like to traverse a deep, narrow canyon or climb a majestic, multi-colored cliff; another eco-friendly bus will be by in six minutes.
Your 3-Day Itinerary
Take it easy after your 2½ hour drive from Las Vegas (4½ hours from Salt Lake City) as you take in a movie, “Zion Canyon Treasure of the Gods”, at the theater outside the park entrance. Once inside the gates, hang a right and follow Hwy 9 to Checkerboard Mesa, about 24 scenic miles round trip. Unless you want to spend the entire day in a seated position, stop at the Canyon Overlook Trail for a 1-mile hike that’s sensational at sunset. Dine and lodge in Springdale.
Ditch the gas-guzzler and catch the bus back to the park entrance, where you can either shuttle some more or pedal to the Temple of Sinawava by bike. Along the way, make time for three short, unforgettable hikes to Emerald Pools (three pools, three waterfalls, unbelievable views), Weeping Rock (you might too) and Riverside Walk (paved trail, hanging gardens, a river you can hike in). Dine in Springdale once again.
Yesterday’s hikes? Mere walks in the park. Today you’ll conquer Angels Landing: 5 miles of sheer drop offs and razor-edge trails leading to once-in-a-lifetime views. (If you’re feeling woozy after Walters Wiggles, turn around at Scout Lookout.) If you continue on, expect to wait your turn on the final ½ mile, single file, with a chain to grasp for safety. Stand victorious atop Angels Landing, surging with enough adrenaline to carry you back to the shuttle, the other shuttle, your car, and all the way to your front door.