Preparing for Zion National Park

Going to Zion National Park was one of my favorite trips I took this year.  The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and there is so much to do and see.  The last time I went to Zion was probably 10 years ago and definitely is different than the other parks I have been to this year.   Next time I go I will definitely be more prepared, I wasted a lot of time during the day trying to figure out where to go and how to get to the Narrows.

The Narrows is a long 17 mile trail in the park where you walk the entire trip in the water with amazing rock walls on either side of you.  We knew we didn’t have time to hike the whole trail (there are some places along the trail that have dry banks where you can sit, eat, or camp) so we only went two hours in and turned around to head back.  Again, we wasted so much time before getting to the Narrows, here are some tips for your next Zion’s trip to go smoothly.


The Zion’s entrance fee is $25/car and can be used over a few days.   We went to this park on our last day in town (our main reason for going to Southern Utah was a family trip in St. George) and were bummed that we couldn’t be in town to use it for another day.

One of the most important things that we didn’t realize, until getting in the park, is that we couldn’t drive our cars to any of the main sites in the park. You enter Zion National Park and the Narrows is only about 5 miles away so we thought it would be a quick drive to get to the base.   Nope, you have to take one of the park’s shuttles to get to the main park attractions.  It took us about 40 minutes to just get from the main parking lot in the park to the base of the Narrows.

What to wear:

Even though I did not prepared well for our trip to Zion, I did dress well for the Narrows hike.  I wore my swimsuit underneath a shirt and shorts and also wore tennis shoes and socks.  I didn’t bring/purchase a walking stick, there were walking sticks all over the park (especially at the base of the Narrows trail) for my group to use.  I put on sunscreen in the car and left it there.  At first I didn’t know what to do with my car key, my husband who came with me decided to put the key ring through the mesh part of his swimsuit pocket which was perfect and we never had to worry about losing it.

What to bring:

Water, water, and water.  Yes you will be walking in cold water up to your knees, but you need fresh water to drink because it is going to be hot and a lot of exercise.  So, that was pretty much the only thing we brought with us.  When I hike the Narrows again I will take a camelbak for water, and in the pouches I will bring snacks, cheap camera wrapped in a few plastic baggies.

The main reason we turned around is because we were so hungry.  We were not expecting the 40 minutes to get to the beginning of the Narrows  and once we decided to turn around and head back, we knew it would take another 2-3 hours to get back to our cars to eat something.  We would have kept going for a long time, every corner we turned it was another breathtaking view.

We were so sad because we didn’t take any pictures.  We only had the cameras on our phones and we did NOT want to drop those in the water, especially since we had nothing to carry them with.  We saw so many incredible sites and were not able to capture them in a picture.  Definitely bring a camera when you go.

Lastly, we brought towels and extra shoes in the car which was a smart idea.  We still were wet when we got to the car and were glad we had something to sit on.  Our feet had been wet for hours so having a pair of flip flops in the car was perfect.

epearson (17 Posts)

Elise loves travelling and experiencing new cultures and activities. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in the West for 8 years and loves the mountains, outdoor activities, and of course skiing. Elise works in the Marketing Department of Mountain Reservations as a SEO and Social Media coordinator. Connect to epearson: Google+ | LinkedIn

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