Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Kelly
Zion National Park is famous for its extreme hikes, but there are plenty of easy hikes that are just as breathtaking! We visited Zion National Park with our toddler, and we were thrilled there were so many hikes that were accessible to us. We did a lot of research on which hikes were short, sweet, and relatively safe. We were excited to find many easy hikes that had epic views of the canyon, waterfalls, and the Virgin River. In this post, we’ll share 8 easy hikes in Zion National Park.
8 Easy Hikes in Zion National Park
1. Lower Emerald Pool
Directions: Take the shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop. Once you disembark, the trailhead is directly across from the lodge.
Distance: 1.4 miles roundtrip
We were able to take our stroller for this hike to Lower Emerald Pool, which made it much easier with a toddler. There were some minor drop offs along the paved route, but we kept our daughter in her stroller for the hike so it wasn’t an issue. This hike gave us stunning views of the canyon and took us straight to the lowest emerald pool. We also got to hike behind a waterfall, which was a unique experience! This area of the park felt like an oasis. There was lots of green and we were surrounded by red rock.
If you want, you can also continue to the Middle Emerald Pool. However, the paved portion of the trail ends at that point, so this is where we decided to turn back.
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An easy way to see Zion National Park is to take a guided tour! This half-day tour of Zion will take you to some excellent sites!
2. Riverside Walk
Directions: Take the shuttle to the final shuttle stop, Temple of Sinawava.
Distance: 1.9 miles roundtrip
The Riverside Walk is also a paved trail so we were able to bring our stroller. We went later in the morning and it was very hot outside, but it still felt nice and cool hiking alongside the river. The canyon walls blocked out a lot of the sun, so we were able to hike mostly in the shade.
This was a very pleasant hike. It was heavily trafficked, but it was still peaceful. There are some portions of the hike where you can walk alongside the river off the main path, and that’s a good way to get some space from the crowds.
This is the hike that leads to the famous Narrows (hiking up the river itself through the canyon), but the Riverside Walk portion is very easy and manageable. We enjoyed sitting on the rocks and looking at the river. We didn’t hike the Narrows with our young toddler. After seeing the entrance to the Narrows at the end of this trail, we personally would not recommend hiking with very young children up to the Narrows. Instead, just complete the Riverside Walk portion.
3. Pa’rus Trail
Directions: Once you enter the park, you can follow the sign directions to the entrance of the Pa’rus Trail. (Located just past the campground.) You do not need to take the shuttle to access this trailhead. (This is a major bonus if there is a shuttle line!)
Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
The Pa’rus Trail is a paved trail that will take you directly through the center of the canyon. The trail is named after a Paiute word which means “bubbling, tumbling water.” The name definitely fits, because you’ll follow the Virgin River as you walk along the trail.
Because it is a paved trail, there can be a lot of bike traffic. We went early in the morning and found that we beat a lot of the crowds. Our toddler was able to walk around a bit on her own. (Although we were still cautious for bikes zooming up the trail).
If you’d like to bike this trail, you can bring your own bike or rent one while in Springdale.
|Pro Tip: If you want to beat the crowds at the park entrance waiting for the shuttle, you can hike along the Pa’rus Trail to start your morning until you reach the Canyon Junction shuttle stop. There, you can hop on the shuttle and there will not be as long of a line. It might not save you a lot of time, but I’d personally rather be going for a beautiful walk than standing still in line!
4. Grotto Trail
Directions: Take the shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop
Distance: .6 miles one-way
The Grotto Trail is a very flat trail that is short and sweet. There is a rocky section, so it’s best not to take a stroller on this hike. This trail is particularly known for viewing wildlife.
5. Watchman Trail
Directions: You can walk to this trailhead just a half mile from the park entrance (no shuttle needed!)
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
The Watchman Trail has only 400 feet of elevation gain, but it gives you a spectacular view of the valley. There is limited shade for this hike, so be sure to take the weather into account and bring lots of water.
6. Archeology Trail
Directions: Located near the Visitor Center at the park entrance
Distance: .3 miles
The Archeology Trail is a very short hike that will take you to an Ancestral Puebloan food storage shelter which is located at the top of a hill. This area was used by the Ancestral Puebloan people from AD 700 to 950.
7. Timber Creek Overlook Trail
Directions: Drive to this hike in the Kolob Canyons. (This hike is not in the area of the park where the shuttle is required.)
Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
The Timber Creek Overlook Trail will take you to a viewpoint where you can see Shuntavi Butte and Red Butte. There is only 150 feet of elevation gain. This is not a paved trail, so if you have young children, be sure to bring your baby carrier or harness.
8. Weeping Rock Trail
Directions: Take the shuttle to Shuttle Stop #7.
Distance: .4 miles out-and back
The Weeping Rock trail in Zion National Park was recently re-opened. (It was previously closed due to rockfall.) The Weeping Rock trail is the shortest hike in Zion National Park, and it’s an accessible trail for wheelchairs and strollers. Due to the porous nature of the rock walls, water constantly drips from the wall leaving the impression that it is “weeping.”
Summary: Easy Hikes at Zion National Park
We were excited to visit Zion National Park after our six-week trip to Europe in 2020 was canceled due to covid, and then canceled again in 2021. We wanted to plan an epic road trip within the United States. We decided to travel to Utah and Arizona to visit some of the country’s most famous national parks. Hiking in Zion National Park was the first thing we added to our list! Zion National Park contained many hikes that we found to be at an easy difficulty level. We definitely enjoyed our visit to Zion National Park, and we hope you’re inspired to take your own trip to Zion!
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