11 Easy Hikes in Zion National Park – Short, Family Friendly Walks

Easy Hikes in Zion for all Fitness Levels and Family Friendly Walks

Zion Easy Hikes: Are you looking for easy hikes in Zion National Park? Don’t worry, there are plenty of easy hikes at Zion National Park – kid friendly hikes as well.

Looking Toward The Back Of Zion Canyon From Sand Bench Trail on sunny winter day

Everyone thinks you need to hike Angels Landing to see the beautiful views at Zion when you can do the one mile Canyon Overlook Trail – one of the best short hikes in Zion.

This list of easy trails in zion and short zion hikes has the length of each hike and the approximate length of time it takes to complete the hike to help you plan your day.

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To visit any of the National Parks in the USA, I recommend buying a National Park Pass. The America the Beautiful Pass is valid for one year and costs $80. Plus 10% of sale proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.

11 Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park for the Best Views of the Park

Riverside Walk – One of the Best Zion Hikes for Families

Length: 2.2 miles

Duration: 1-2 hours

Riverside Walk is a family-friendly hike with a paved, easy-to-follow path above the river and little elevation change.

zion national park in january

Zion National Park’s natural beauty shines through, making it a popular day trip for park visitors. Towering eroded monoliths may be viewed on all sides, as well as a peek of the Zion Narrows.

The Sinawava Temple is the starting point for the Riverside Walk. Since this area is a zoo, it’s advisable to begin your hike as early as possible.

The first part of the trail is wheelchair accessible, with a slight climb on a paved path. As the Virgin River spills out of the Narrows, the trail runs alongside it. The canyon walls around you narrow as you follow the river. You can get off and walk down to the riverbed along the way.

The trail becomes steeper in the second half and is not wheelchair accessible, but it is still paved. As you hug the canyon walls, you’ll pass through vulnerable plant habitats. Finally, the hike comes to a close at the start of the Narrows, where you can turn around and head back the way you came.

Along the Riverside Walk, you can stop and look at the displays in the information kiosks, which describe the variety of plant life in the area. Take in the beautiful pools, hanging gardens, and wildlife that calls this place home.

Canyon Overlook Trail – one of Zion kid friendly hikes

Length: 1 mile

Duration: 1 hour

If you’re looking for a short and easy hike in Zion National Park, this is the trail for you. It’s a hiking trail in Zion National Park that’s also one of the most popular among first-time visitors and one of the best zion hikes for families.

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If you have a car, go Route 9 east to the famous Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel and enjoy the ride through the Upper East Canyon’s spectacular Slickrock. One of the few official trails in the upper East Canyon is the Canyon Overlook Trail, which begins just east of the tunnel and ends at a beautiful viewpoint looking into the main canyon.

It’s a short but delightful hike on a well-kept trail that begins just east of the tunnel and ends at a fantastic vantage point overlooking the main canyon. There are some great views down into the Pine Creek slot canyon below, as well as a cool shaded alcove with thick ferns coming out of the rocks. 

Halfway to the viewpoint, the trail leads to a lovely little sheltered alcove with a seep and lush ferns growing out of the sandstone walls; this area provides welcome reprieve during the warm months.

The trail’s finish provides some of the best views of the national park, and it’s a great site for some photography. Keep in mind that, while this is a great Zion family hike, there are a few exposed spots to be aware of.

Arrive early since the parking area near the tunnel quickly fills up. If you’re visiting Zion for the first time, this hike is a must-do.

Lower Emerald Pools

Length: 1 mile

Duration: 1 hour

When you’re looking for easy hikes in Zion, the Emerald Pools Trail is perfect. It’s a well-known trail that feels like an oasis in the desert.

easy hikes in zion

This path is made up of several smaller trails that wind through a lush environment. It’s one of the most popular Zion family hikes, so arrive early.

Lower Emerald Pool contains a weeping wall and pools at the base, similar to Weeping Rock. The site is reached via a paved trail that begins at the Zion Lodge shuttle bus stop #5.

The trail begins near the Zion Lodge and leads to a lushly vegetated stream. There is no better place to spend a couple of hours in Zion with your family if you only have a couple of hours.

The trail enters a steep alcove beneath two tall waterfalls and the pools below in less than half a mile, where the forest thickens and the trail makes its way through a steep alcove beneath two tall waterfalls and the pools below. Even the elderly and parents using strollers will have no trouble getting to this.

The pools will be a stunning green-blue tint depending on the time of year you visit. Take your time photographing one of Zion National Park’s renowned simple hikes.

Pa’rus Trail

Length: 3.5 miles

Duration: 2 hours

The Pa’rus Trail is one of Zion National Park’s newest and most accessible paths, named after the Paiute word for “bubbling water.”

zion national park in february

It’s the park’s only bike and pet-friendly trail, as well as one of the park’s few wheelchair-accessible trails. This is one of the best Zion National Park family hikes. The trail is also flat enough that you can proceed at your own pace depending on who is in your direct proximity.

This wide, paved trail runs along the Virgin River in the flat and open bottom area of Zion Canyon, beginning at the South Campground just north of the Visitor Center and ending at Canyon Junction.

Throughout the hike, the view is extremely pleasant, with many bridges across the river, various wildflowers, and mule deer frequently seen. The Pa’rus Trail is ideal for bird watching—or simply lounging under the shade of a beautiful cottonwood tree—thanks to the lush vegetation along the Virgin River’s banks.

Further, a significant monument is a historic diversion dam that was used to cut off water to Springdale. Near its northern endpoint, the route passes under Route 9 and ends at the Canyon Junction shuttle stop.

This easy hike in Zion can be done at any time of year. It’s especially lovely in the winter when all you want to do is take a nice leisurely stroll.

Weeping Rock Trail

Length:  0.4 miles

Duration: 30 minutes

Weeping Rock is a well-known Zion National Park landmark and a popular tourist destination. The lower layer of sandstone has eroded, creating a wide bowl-shaped alcove.

easy hikes in zion

Weeping Rock is a short hike deep in the heart of Zion Canyon that leads to a remarkable geologic formation with amazing views. Over 1,000 years ago, the water from the seeps and springs of Weeping Rock fell as rain and snow on the cliffs above: water that had been slowly descending through the sandstone formations reached an impermeable layer of rock and was forced out the side, resulting in the “weeping.” Since then, ancient precipitation has gently seeped down the cliffs, surfacing at Weeping Rock to nurture lush vegetation and beautiful wildflowers.

It is perched 100 feet above Zion Canyon’s floor and provides spectacular vistas. A wide vista of prominent Zion peaks, including the Great White Throne and Angels Landing, may be seen from the overlook.

If you don’t have a lot of time but yet want to get some exercise, this is a great short easy hike in Zion.

Timber Creek Overlook

Length: 1.1 miles

Duration: 1 hour

If you want to get away from the crowds in the main canyon and experience something different, the Kolob Canyons Road is a beautiful drive that takes you through several of the Kolob’s “finger canyons.”

Timber Creek Overlook Trail is a short hike in Zion National Park that rewards hikers with some of the park’s best views. Kolob Canyons, in the park’s remote northwest corner, attracts only a small percentage of the visitors who flock to Zion Canyon. Its sandstone canyons and cliffs, though, are as stunning. Timber Creek Overlook is one of the best places to take in the beauty of the Kolob Canyons.

The trail begins at the west end of the Kolob Canyon Viewpoint parking area in Zion National Park. It has a small ascent and is very straightforward. You’ll be at the top and admiring the view before you know it. On a clear day, you can even see the Grand Canyon from here! This hike is best done around sunset.

Taylor Creek

Length: 5 miles

Duration: 3.5 hours

Taylor Creek is a popular hike in Zion National Park due to its moderate length and lack of steep slopes.

Deep red and orange cliffs in narrow canyon along the Taylor Creek trail, Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah

The trail is known as the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek, and it is only 2 miles from Kolob Canyon’s entrance. This easy hike in Zion will lead you up the gorgeous canyon, which you’ll love.

The Taylor Creek Trail is a pleasant 5-mile (roundtrip) hike up one of the enchanting “finger” canyons and is one of the few official and popular trails in the Kolob Canyons section. The hike is moderately difficult, but the trail is rocky in places and there is some stream crossing.

Two historic old cabins from the early 1900s can be found along the way. The canyon walls narrow as the route progresses, and the trail finally comes to an end at the Double Arch Alcove, one of Zion’s most famous landmarks.

Because it is accessible all year, this is one of the best day hikes in Zion.

Hidden Canyon

Length: 3 miles

Duration: 2-3 hours

Hiking Hidden Canyon is a great choice for short hikes in Zion National Park that will get your legs moving.

This hike is fairly strenuous, with many exposed sections, although there are also sections that are not as difficult. During your adventure, you’ll pass through ravines and gorgeous scenery.

The Weeping Rock Trailhead, which is also the 7th stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, is where the hike to Hidden Canyon begins. Hikers can get a taste of canyoneering by hiking through Hidden Canyon, which does not require any climbing or rappelling to complete. Hike up the same trail to Observation Point from the Weeping Rock trailhead, but take the side trail to Hidden Canyon instead. 

The trail leads to the mouth of Hidden Canyon, a magnificent narrow canyon “hidden” above the main canyon. The trail technically ends at the canyon’s mouth, although you can go back a long way.

Watchman Trail

Length: 3.3 miles

Duration: 2 hours

If you’re looking for a short hike in Zion, this is the trail for you. This trail, unlike others, has a low-key vibe to it. At times, it almost feels like a regular path rather than a hiking trail because the trail begins near the riverbanks and then passes through employee housing. 

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The Watchman Trail, which begins between the Visitor Center and the South Campground, is a short trail that leads to a viewpoint 300 feet above the canyon floor on top of the first layer of cliffs. While the trail does not lead to the summit of Watchman Mountain, it does provide a good view of the famous and photogenic peak to the south, as well as a bird’s eye view of the entire Visitor Center complex below.

This trail is entirely exposed to the sun, therefore it’s better to take it on a cloudy day or early in the morning while this side of the main canyon is still in the shade during the hot summer months.

Water Canyon

Length: 4.3 miles

Duration: 3-7 hours

Water Canyon is a fantastic half-day hike in the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, about an hour south of Zion. The Water Canyon Trail follows Water Creek up and through a lush finger canyon, arriving at some magnificent, deep narrows. It is named for its year-round water supply via a series of reliable springs. The trail then goes up along the canyon’s western wall’s rocky and sandy shelves, acquiring increasingly spectacular vistas.

Most people stop at the top of the trail, but those with more energy in their legs can continue north up dry washes to White Domes, where they can see over Canaan Mountain and into Zion Canyon.

Springdale is roughly an hour away from the trailhead. If you have a high-clearance vehicle, you can take a shortcut by turning left on Bridge Road in Rockville. Otherwise, follow Hwy 9 west to LaVerkin/Hurricane and turn left onto Hwy 59 to Hildale/Colorado City.

This trail is one of the most popular canyons in the Zion area, however, it is virtually entirely used by guided groups. Many of the rappels have multiple anchors, allowing for the polite passing of slower groups. If you’re unsure, ask the guide if you’ll be able to pass and how to do so.

Sand Bench Trail

Length: 5.6 miles

Duration: 3-4 hours

This trail is the most challenging on the list, although it does not require any particular training to hike.

easy hikes in zion
Looking Toward The Back Of Zion Canyon From Sand Bench Trail on sunny winter day

You’ll want to wear suitable hiking shoes for this Zion day hike since there’s a decent incline on mostly sand and rocky terrain.

Between the Court of the Patriarchs and Zion Lodge, the Sand Bench Trail is a loop hike that runs along the east and west banks of the Virgin River (a sandy side trail even extends to the Grotto). Some areas of the trail are heavily utilized by the Zion Lodge trail horses and may have deep sand, while others are pleasant to walk or run on.

You won’t get far from civilization since the trail is usually always visible from the main canyon drive. However, whenever you stroll along the river in Zion, you increase your chances of seeing vegetation and fauna. A horse-free walk on the Sand Bench early or late in the day, or any time during the winter off-season, will provide you with fun riverside delights.

Northgate Peaks Trail

Length: 4 miles

Duration: 2-4 hours

Try the Northgate Peaks Trail in the Kolob Terrace section for something a little more secluded and out of the main canyon. Northgate Peaks Trail is one of the best hikes in Zion National Park because it is less visited.

At 4 miles total, this hike is a bit longer, but the trail is mostly level and will reward you with some spectacular vistas. It’s also a good occasion to take a drive up the Kolob Terrace Road and view some remote beauty that most people don’t get to see. The view from the trail’s end is more “subtle” than those from the West Rim Trail or the main canyon, but it still provides a fascinating glimpse into the Great West Canyon.

This is a relatively easy hike in Zion National Park, but it isn’t near a shuttle stop, so you’ll have to drive yourself. You’ll like getting away from the crowds here, especially if you visit during peak season.

American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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