Backpacking in Zion National Park

Zion's Subway

Backpacking in Zion National Park is an experience few will forget. Forge into the vertical world of Zion's magnificent monoliths, plunge into the waters of the Zion Narrows and explore the spectacular East and West Rims of the park.

Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park







Permits - Within Zion’s park boundaries permits are required for all overnight and technical trips. Open fires, firearms, and pets are not allowed in the backcountry. Special transports to and from hikes that end far from where hikes begin are available for a fee from private commercial business. For information on transports and rock climbing contact the backcountry desk.
Zion’s backcountry desk: 1.435.772.0170

West Rim - This 14.4 mile backpack begins at Lava Point in Zion's Kolob Terrace and ends in Zion Canyon. A car shuttle will be required or you will have to double the mileage by returning back to where you started. The one-way hike ends in Zion Canyon where shuttle service runs late March to early-November. The hike begins to get interesting about a mile into the second day as the trail descends into Zion Canyon. The path edges Phantom Valley, and travels another 3.5 miles to Cabin Spring. Make sure to take the spur out to Angels Landing.

Parunuweap Canyon
East Fork Virgin River
- Park at one of the small pullouts just south of the Checkerboard Mesa view point. Much of the hike is wading through the East Fork of the Virgin River. Stay overnight and explore the side canyons. No backcountry permit is required for this backpack since camping is outside the park boundaries.

Zion Narrows - This impressive route begins at Chamberlains Ranch in East Zion and ends at the Temple of Sinawava in Zion Canyon. If you arrange your own drop-off, it is a good idea to have a 4WD to make it through the often muddy dirt road to Chamberlains Ranch. A car shuttle will be required.

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Grand Canyon North Rim Map Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map East Rim - This is a spectacular trail that can be done as a rushed day hike, or combined with Cable Mountain and Deertrap for a wonderful overnight backpack. Begin at the trailhead near the park's east entrance and end at the Observation Point Trailhead in Zion Canyon.  

Cable Mountain - A great viewpoint waits at the end of this 15.8 mile, round-trip, backpack, that begins on the East Rim Trail. The first part of the trail is hot so if hiking in the summer begin early in the day. Hike back the way you came or arrange a shuttle and end in Zion Canyon.

Deertrap Mountain - This is 8.8 miles (17.6 miles round-trip) from the East Rim Trailhead to the rim at Deertrap Mountain. Begin near Zion's east entrance. The first 5.5 miles of the hike shares the trail with the East Rim Trail. Turn around and exit the way you came or continue to Zion Canyon.

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. See restrictions for RV's

Zion National Park Maps
Backpacking Zion National Park

Zion Photo: Zion Veteran Search and Rescue team member Bo Beck, standing at Scout Lookout and pausing to take in the breath taking view of Angels Landing from the West Rim Trail. Angels Landing is a spectacular adventure that anyone going to Zion should look into doing


Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.


Chinle Trail - It is 16.4 miles for the round-trip along a low desert dirt path located south of the popular section of Zion. It ends at a nice waterfall near Coalpits Spring and is best hiked in the cooler months of the year. Visitors to the park wanting to backpack in the winter often find the West and East Rims impassable and end up doing this hike. The trails in the southern part of Zion, near Springdale do not compare to those in the main section of the park, but few places can compare Zion Canyon and the East side of Zion. It's nice to have a winter option you can do in the park.

Coalpits Trail - This Southwest hike is a 14-mile, round-trip path that follows the low desert terrain of the south section of Zion just outside the popular part of the park. This makes a good winter hike since it is the lowest point in the park at 3666 feet. It traverses a pinyon-juniper desertscape along the Coalpits drainage near the base of the Cougar Mountain wilderness area and ends in a canyon with a backdoor view of Bishopric, Towers of the Virgin and the Altar of Sacrifice.

Southwest Utah backpacking - Backpacking in Zion Park and beyond.


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Mileage from
Mt. Carmel Jct.

Zion National Park 12
Bryce Canyon 60
Grand Canyon 85
Cedar Breaks 45
Grand Staircase 9
Dixie Forest 22
Sand Dunes 11
Coyote Butte 57
Red Canyon 47
Tuweep 90

Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.

Site Map
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Zion Hiking
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Zion Hiking Adv.

Zion Canyoneering
Kolob Hiking

Greater Zion Area

Southwest Utah Backpacking
Zion and Beyond


The Desert Rat Outdoor Store - St. George, Utah

Bogley - The Utah Outdoors Group

Hiking Gear
A sturdy pair of shoes are recommend for many of the trails in Zion National Park. Many quality shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury. Experienced hikers and canyoneers like the Sportiva Exum Ridge. This shoe is great for hiking, bouldering and canyoneering.

This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

Zion History
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Zion Geology III
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