Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Kelly
Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Not only does it draw thrill-seekers for some of its most challenging hikes, but a lot of families also come to the park to enjoy its attractions. Did you know that there are trails within Zion National Park that are not only kid-friendly, but that are also stroller-friendly? In this post we share 3 trails within Zion National Park that you can complete with a stroller!
We are sharing these hikes because we spent 3 weeks on an epic road trip with our toddler, and we can say with confidence that we really appreciated the days when we didn’t need to carry her around all day. After visiting 5 national parks, we did our fair share of carrying her on our backs! We did a lot of research on hikes at Zion, and we were happy to find that there were some that allowed us to use our stroller. We are sharing all of our tips below!
3 Stroller-Friendly Hikes at Zion National Park
1. Riverside Walk
To reach the trailhead, take the shuttle to the final stop (Temple of Sinawava). The Riverside Walk is a paved trail that leads to the entrance of The Narrows hike, so it is a very popular trail. Expect to see lots of people on this one! If you want to avoid the crowds, try to get there first thing in the morning when the shuttle opens.
The Riverside Walk trail is paved, so it is wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly. Even though it was very hot when we visited Zion (100 degrees most days), this hike was notably cooler. The trail follows the Virgin River through the canyon. Due to the cool air coming off the river and the canyon walls shading us from the sun, it was the most comfortable hike we completed at Zion.
The hike is 1.9 miles roundtrip. It takes most people one to two hours to complete, depending on how long you want to spend by the river.
When you reach the end of the trailhead, you’ll see plenty of hikers gearing up to hike up the river. (In our opinion, we would not recommend that you carry babies or toddlers on The Narrows portion of the hike.)
Your toddler will probably love the people-watching on this trail and playing with rocks by the river. Just be sure to supervise your toddler carefully anytime they are near water. (When we were visiting, there was toxic algae in the river, so we avoided it altogether.)
2. Lower Emerald Pools
To reach the Lower Emerald Pools trailhead, take the park shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop. You’ll find the trailhead across from the lodge after crossing a small bridge.
This hike is actually linked to two others (Middle Emerald Pools and Upper Emerald Pools), but only the Lower Emerald Pools portion is stroller-friendly.
This is not a paved trail. The trail is 1.4 miles roundtrip. We used our jogger stroller and found we could easily complete the hike, but I don’t think it would have worked as well with an umbrella-style stroller.
There are some minor drop-offs along this route, so we kept our toddler in the stroller for the duration of this hike.
We really liked this hike because it had stunning views of the canyon, it led to a beautiful pool, and we even got to hike behind a “waterfall”. (Although when we went in the summer, it was mostly just a trickle of water!)
3. Pa’rus Trail
We especially loved the Pa’rus Trail because we didn’t have to use the shuttle! We visited Zion during peak season, and even though we got to the shuttle at 6am, we still had to wait an hour in line to board the shuttle due to the crowds. (That’s hard to do with a toddler!) What we liked about the Pa’rus trail is that it’s located near the park entrance, so no shuttle is needed. We just followed the path past the visitor center to reach the trailhead.
The Pa’rus trail is 3.4 miles roundtrip and goes up the middle of the canyon. You can complete as little or as much of this trail as you have time for. We probably went up half the trail before we decided to turn back.
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The trail is paved which makes it very easy to complete with a stroller. There is not much shade, so we recommend that you bring a sunshade for your stroller to keep your little one safe from the sun.
One thing to keep in mind is that because the trail is paved, many bikers choose to ride this trail. If you let your toddler out of the stroller, just be wary about bikers whizzing by. We completed this trail early in the morning, so thankfully it was pretty quiet.
Even though it’s not much of a “hike” since it’s a mostly flat trail, we still enjoyed this trail because it had some pretty phenomenal views!
Stroller Information for Zion National Park
Before we share the specific hikes that are stroller-friendly, we’ll share our thoughts about what stroller to bring and how to get it on the shuttle. Two of the hikes below use paved paths, and one of them is not a paved path.
For this reason, we recommend that you use a jogging stroller with good suspension. An umbrella stroller will probably do the trick for the wheelchair-accessible trails, but not for the gravely ones.
We brought our Thule Urban Glide jogging stroller and it did well on all of the hikes we discuss in this post!
Bringing Your Stroller on the Park’s Shuttle
The park shuttle is the primary way that you can get to all of the attractions in Zion Canyon. During peak season, the shuttle is the only vehicle allowed up the canyon. (The road is closed to private vehicles.) That means that you will likely need to plan your trip around the shuttle route.
You can definitely bring your stroller on the Zion Park Shuttle. The park website says that you will need to be able to put your stroller on the bike rack. However when we went to Zion, the drivers had us fold it up and bring it on the shuttle with us. Just make sure to have your stroller folded and ready to go when the shuttle arrives. Be sure to follow the shuttle driver’s directions and specifications.
I can’t tell you how many families stopped us in the park when they saw that we had our stroller and said, “Wow, I wish we had thought to bring ours!” or “We didn’t know we could take our stroller into the park!” In order to bring our stroller into the park, we made a careful plan for our day that only included the hikes that allowed a stroller. There’s nowhere to store a stroller and then come back for it.
If you only had one day in the park and wanted to do a non-stroller hike, then carrying your toddler in a harness would be the best option. This is the harness that we use, and so far we have liked it! If you have two days, we’d recommend using a stroller one day for the easy hikes, and then a harness the other day for the more challenging hikes.
Looking for a hotel near Zion? We stayed at the Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn and Suites and would recommend it to others! We found it to be a kid-friendly hotel because there was a shallow section in the swimming pool.
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Springdale, Utah
We recommend the following restaurants in Springdale:
- Zion Pizza & Noodle Co.: We had the best service here! Our server was so attentive to our toddler. She brought her lots of water and even shared her own markers when our toddler was getting fussy. The food was delicious. (Everyone loves pizza and pasta, right?) The wait time, though, can be long during peak season. We recommend getting there right when it opens so you can be seated right away. Otherwise the wait for a table was 45-60 minutes for us.
- Meme’s Cafe: This cafe focuses on crepes and fresh cooking. We found that it was an easy place to get a healthy breakfast!
- Whiptail Grill: Located near the park entrance, this is a good place to stop on your way home after a day at the park. We highly recommend their Famous Goat Cheese Chile Relleno!
- Sol Foods Market: This is our super secret tip. Because most of the restaurants consistently had long wait times, we would go to Sol Foods Market for dinner. Although it looks like a grocery store on the outside, they actually have a full-service deli in the back that also serves hot items. They served pizza, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Most nights we went there for dinner because it was so quick and easy. (We also were able to pick up fresh fruits and veggies at the store which helped us to eat more healthy on our road trip.)
Other Toddler Attractions in Springdale
I’ll be honest, there weren’t too many things to do in Springdale with our toddler besides going to Zion National Park. Because of covid, many things were closed. We highly recommend that you stay at a hotel with a pool, because during the afternoon we really couldn’t be outside with our toddler. It was just too hot! And since there weren’t any indoor activities nearby that were open (like museums), we had to spend a lot of time at the hotel. If you visit during the summer, make sure you have some good amenities at your hotel and you have some good toys to keep your little one busy until it cools down! (And don’t forget to bring lots of swim diapers!)
We really enjoyed taking our toddler to the Springdale Town Park. The park had a playground and lots of running space. We went there a couple of mornings before it got too hot out so our toddler could burn off some energy.
Another fun thing to do is to take a guided half-day tour of Zion!
We also recommend that you check out our post on our Favorite Baby Travel Products.
Summary: Kid-Friendly Hikes at Zion National Park
We hope this post was helpful for planning some stroller-friendly hikes at Zion National Park! We recommend the following stroller-friendly hikes at the park:
- Riverside Walk (paved trail)
- Lower Emerald Pool (unpaved trail)
- Pa’rus Trail (paved trail)
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.