Adrenaline-Filled Activities in Greater Zion
When you’re in Greater Zion, the adventures call to you. The adventures are plentiful, and provide a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the land, geology and history – to whatever extent you wish.
With the adventures below, fill up your agenda. Plop one excursion on each day, or get creative and try to squeeze multiple in a 24-hour slot. You’ll be taking home memories that last a lifetime.
Insider tips: if these adventures require a guide, book before you arrive. Many guides and outfitters fill up weeks in advance. Be prepared too.
Attention adrenaline junkies! This adventure brings a day packed with scaling vertical mountain walls using iron rungs and safety cables. Greater Zion is one of the few areas in America where you can experience this adventure and the best part … there’s relatively no experience required. The guides and outfitters of Greater Zion will educate you on the technical and physical requirements and provide you with the necessary safety equipment. When finished with the climb, be sure to refuel at the nearest restaurant and put a check on that ol’ bucket list.
One day in one of America’s top-visited National Parks is doable with the right planning. Start your morning with sunrise at the Zion Human History Museum, watching the cliffs light up to a fiery red hue. Next, venture to the Visitor Center to catch the Zion Canyon Shuttle onto Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Once inside the canyon, you’ll have your choice of trails. Thrill seekers will gravitate toward Angels Landing, one of the world’s most epic hikes with unforgettable views and steep drop-offs. Hikers will enjoy The Narrows, which guides you through towering canyon walls, hiking the cool waters of the Virgin River. Or, take one of two trails beginning from the Visitor Center, The Pa’rus or The Watchman Trails. The Pa’rus is a paved, easy hike, running along the Virgin River. The Watchman, often overlooked by visitors, takes you along desert greenery and evergreen trees to a beautiful valley overlook. Head up the switchbacks along Mount Carmel Highway and take in the views on your way to the distinctly different East side of the park. On your way, do the Canyon Overlook Trail for a quick out-and-back that looks back on canyon you were exploring earlier. Stay past dark and take in the magical night sky of this International Dark Sky Park.
The ten trails comprising the Hurricane Cliffs Trail system traverse 31 miles of plateaus, drop-offs and sweeping desert views. Found between Gooseberry Mesa, the Virgin River and Hurricane Cliffs, this trail system includes a variety of trails with varying levels of difficulty. Generally, the trails are flowy with technical sections that are short and easily traversed. Smack dab in the middle of Greater Zion, it’s easy to jet into Hurricane or La Verkin for a bite to eat and get back to the trails. And, of course, finish the day with a hearty meal at a local steakhouse or rib shack.
Many visitors to Greater Zion make a stop in Zion’s scenic canyon and its Kolob Canyon, but most never explore the Kolob Terrace area. This hidden gem begins at the Kolob Terrace Road turn-off in Virgin, and continues up a winding canyon road, to around 8,100 feet in elevation. The cooler temperatures bring a scenic array of pine trees, rolling meadows, natural wildlife, classic Zion Canyon walls and a sparkling reservoir. Spend the day kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing or hike along one of the lesser explored local trails like the Hop Valley, West Rim and Lambs Knoll trails. Oh! And be sure to stop into the Kolob Marketplace and Grill for a delicious meal or snacks.
Giddy up! Seeing Greater Zion via horseback offers a unique opportunity to bond with nature the way cowboys and pioneers did. Experienced guides will pair you with a horse that reflects your riding ability and personality, allowing you the chance at spectacular views of red slick rock, dramatic expanses of towering sandstone cliffs and fields of black basalt lava flows. A handful of outfitters will take you to various destinations often not seen on two legs.
One of the lesser-visited and more amazing viewpoints in Zion National Park, Kolob Arch flaunts its curves above the park, high on an exposed cliff. It’s the second longest arch in the world, but its remoteness makes it a little less traversed. The trail is an out-and-back trail encompassing around 15 miles. The arch itself is off-limits to hikers, but the views along the trail and of the arch are spectacular. Heft those water- and snack-filled backpacks for a day trip that will leave you inspired.
A hidden gem canyon located in Hildale, Water Canyon makes a great beginner technical canyoneering adventure. The hike up has visitors weaving into tall canyon walls along a cool running stream to a waterfall and slot canyon where canyoneering outfitters will guide you up and into beautiful canyon rappels. The canyon sits just outside of Zion National Park, so no permit is needed, but it’s a Zion-like experience. Start early to see the sun rise over the gorgeous canyon walls. Guides across Greater Zion will assist with instruction and gear for this canyoneering adventure and/or many others.
Knowledgeable guides know Greater Zion better than the locals! Take advantage of this intelligence and go to places many don’t get to see. Book an off-road, backcountry adventure tour to experience dinosaur tracks, Native American petroglyphs and glittery gypsum mines, all within the valleys, mountains and dry washes of Greater Zion. You can even opt to pilot your own ATV or side-by-side. Many of the guides and outfitters offer add-ons and customizations, like a rappelling and zip line experiences, meals, a helicopter tour and more. All the options are perfect option for families and groups. Thrills shared are thrills multiplied.
These adventures are just a start. Explore more things to see and do as you plan out your time in Greater Zion. Work in something more relaxing like a visit to an art gallery or spa treatment or take in a leisurely round of golf. Everything pairs great with adventure.
The Land of adventure is calling … rise to it.