3 Stroller-Friendly Hikes at Zion for Babies and Young Children

Last Updated on December 24, 2022 by admin

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. Zion National Park is known for famous hikes such as The Narrows (hiking up the Virgin River itself) or Angel’s Landing (hiking to a precipitous view of the entire canyon). However, those hikes aren’t recommended for young children. But 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 planned our itinerary so that we only needed to bring the stroller onto the park shuttle for one day. We are sharing all of our tips below!

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toddler at Zion National Park

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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.

Choosing a Stroller to Bring to Zion National Park

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 below! 

If you have a baby or a young toddler, we’d recommend the Doona stroller for ease of getting around. We recommend that you use the Doona just for the paved trails.

Bringing Your Stroller on the 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 find all the information you need about Zion’s shuttle system here

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, 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.

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.) 

Riverside Walk

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!)

Lower Emerald Pools at Zion National Park
Proof we took the stroller on this hike!


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. 

Pa'rus Trail at Zion National Park

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!

Hikes in Zion National Park

Where to Stay in Zion

We recommend staying in a hotel within walking distance to the park entrance. That will save you from having to take the city shuttle to the park entrance. 

  1. Zion National Park Lodge: This is the only hotel within the park itself. If you’re lucky enough to stay here, you’ll bypass a lot of the crowds. I would recommend this option if you are able, as it’s definitely the most convenient!
  2. Cable Mountain Lodge: Located 500 feet (2 minute walk) from the park entrance.
  3. Cliffrose Lodge: Located .3 miles (6 minute walk) from the park entrance.
  4. Desert Pearl Inn: Located .8 miles (16 minute walk) from the park entrance.
  5. Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn and Suites: Located .9 miles (18 minute walk) from the park entrance.

We personally stayed at the Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn and Suites. It was easy for us to just walk to the park in the morning. Plus, we really enjoyed the nice pool and free breakfast. Their pool had a shallow area with an umbrella that was perfect for our toddler to enjoy pool time without us having to worry about too much sun exposure. 

For a full list of hotels in Springdale, Utah, click here.


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.)

If you want more information on these restaurants, we wrote a full review on restaurants in Springdale here

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.

Guided Tours

One excellent way to see Zion National Park and other sights in Utah is to take a guided tour. You won’t have to worry about planning the travel details, and your guide will be knowledgeable about the local history and geology. For example, this half-day tour will take you Zion National Park and Kolob. It’s a great way to see sights that most tourists don’t see because they are off-the-beaten path.



What to Bring to Zion

Here’s some of our recommendations on what to bring for your trip to Zion National Park:

We also recommend that you check out our post on our Favorite Baby Travel Products and our post on the 10 Essentials for Hiking Safety!

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)
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