10 Things to Do in Zion National Park Other Than Hike
Zion National Park is well-known for thrilling hiking trails, like Angels Landing, but there are many more ways to experience the grandeur of this national park that don’t involve hiking boots.
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Our national parks are among the best places in the country to see the awe-inspiring night sky, and Zion National Park is no exception. Zion has even gone so far as to install night-friendly lighting at buildings inside the park, including Zion Lodge and Zion Canyon Visitor Center, to help keep the skies optimal for night sky viewing. In summer, look for ranger-led programs, astronomy lessons and telescopes so visitors can see stars, planets, even the Milky Way when optimal conditions allow for a celestial celebration.
Restore Your Body With Yoga
Begin your day with a renewing morning yoga class surrounded by the majestic beauty of Zion National Park. Or, recharge with a flow yoga class after a day spent hiking on the park trails. Book a private or group yoga session with Zion Canyon Yoga to engage in calming movements and mindful yoga poses. Alternatively, pair hiking and yoga at the start of the day with a 2.5-hour class with Zion Guru for a hike along the Watchman or Pa’rus Trails followed by restorative yoga movements.
Ride a Bike
The paved 3.5-mile (one-way) Pa’rus Trail is the only trail inside Zion National Park that allows bicycles, but the delightful views of towering monoliths will inspire any cyclist to go back and forth along the trail multiple times. Rent a bike just outside the park entrance from Zion Outfitter and walk your bike into the park. The trail starts just past the park shuttle bus line and skirts the Virgin River through lower Zion Canyon. You can also cycle Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, but be ready for a steep climb alongside park shuttle buses up to Temple of Sinawava.
Dine on Inspiring Cuisine
Springdale, Utah may be a national park town, but it’s also home to cuisine more likely to be found in the likes of Chicago or San Francisco. King’s Landing, for one, boasts a creative menu with dishes like Charred Spanish Octopus and Bison Carpaccio. For dessert, a scoop of Praline Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Yes, please. Another treat is Park House Café for Shrimp Ceviche and Watermelon Salad. Finish off your meal with a Tropical Banana Split with toasted coconut, caramel sauce and slivered almonds.
Run a Race
Beyond hiking, running in or near Zion National Park is an incredible way to experience the rugged landscape and geology of southern Utah on foot. The Zion Half Marathon is a popular race that runs adjacent to the park, offering stellar views of iconic red rocks and imposing sandstone cliffs with every step. For a shorter run, try the Butch Cassidy Race in Springdale, which boasts equally inspiring views over a 5K or 10K distance.
See the Park From Up Above
Enjoy breathtaking views of Zion National Park and beyond from high up in the sky with Zion Helicopters. Take flight for up to 60 minutes for panoramic views of Zion’s steep red rock cliffs, flowing rivers, verdant valleys and massive sandstone monoliths. While park regulations keep helicopters from flying directly over the park, you’ll get so close that the pilot will be able to point out notable park landmarks, like Angels Landing and Kolob Terrace, from the sky.
Go Rock Climbing
You can’t get much closer to the landscape of Zion National Park than from the safety of a climbing rope. Zion Rock & Mountain Guides offers guided rock climbing and canyoneering trips for all skill levels to enable participants to not only learn to climb but to experience the red rocks and cliffs from a new perspective on the ascent. The spring and fall are the best times for climbing when the air is cool and the sandstone is strong and dry.
Enjoy a Scenic Drive
There are two spectacularly scenic drives at Zion National Park that are available to park-goers year-round. The first is the 25-mile Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which zig-zags east from Canyon Junction and includes a 1.1-mile drive through Mount Carmel Tunnel. After the tunnel, make time for a quick hike along the Canyon Overlook Trail. The second drive is the five-mile Kolob Canyons Road, which takes view-seekers from the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center up 1,000 feet to see soaring peaks and red, sandstone canyons from the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint.
Take an Off-Road Tour
Climb into a Jeep or ATV for the ride of your life across the rugged landscape of southern Utah. Feel every thrilling bump and bounce along the rocky off-road trails as you explore the geology and wildlife. Zion Country Off-Road Tours show riders the vistas, mesas, flora and terrain they may not be able to experience from a hike across the park alone. The four-hour tours take guests far from the hundreds of hikers elbowing each other on the most popular trails, offering up views that rival anything that can be seen inside Zion National Park.
Watch the Sunrise or Sunset
It’s hard to beat a colorful sunrise or sunset from within one of our national parks, but you need to know where to go. In the evening, the Zion Human History Museum is a favorite spot, at least among park rangers. It’s also far less-crowded than ever-popular Canyon Junction. In the morning, the sunrise from Canyon Overlook is delightful, though you’ll need to hike out (and up) about a half-mile to the lookout point, so plan ahead. However, many hotels with east facing rooms, like the SpringHill Suites Springdale, offer up pretty amazing sunrise views too.