Best Hikes in Zion National Park, Utah (For Families)

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It’s a difficult task to zero in on the best hikes in Zion National Park, Utah. This park is visited by a whopping 4 million visitors each year for good reason. The place is breathtaking, and famous not only for its stunning rock formations and soaring sandstone cliffs, but also for hikes that make the hearts of adrenaline junkies everywhere beat a touch faster (Angel’s Landing, we’re pointing way, WAY up there at you right now, you beautiful, scary hike, you).

But the purpose of our site is to provide families with helpful information about visits to the national parks. And in keeping with that goal, our hiking tips and trail recommendations will necessarily NOT include some of this park’s most notable and famous hikes, particularly those with narrow pathways alongside sheer drops that make this mom nervous to even write about.

That said, there are plenty of hiking opportunities in Zion that won’t require mom or dad to pop a Xanax before seting out for a day in the park. And THOSE are the hikes we’ll be talking about here. The best hikes in Zion National Park for families.

three kids next to the Zion National Park Kolob Canyon sign in UtahPin
my three kiddos in front of the Kolob Canyons sign at Zion NP

Zion NP – Background Information

Before it became Utah’s first national park, Zion started as a National Monument. It is located in Southern Utah, near the Arizona and Nevada borders, making it easily accessible to people in the Southwestern states.

Zion is broken into six distinct areas, each with their own unique characteristics. In this article, we’ll be focused mainly on hiking opportunities in three of these areas, the Zion Narrows, the main Zion Canyon area, and Kolob Canyons.

When planning to hike with your family, it is always important to do your research, but that is especially true in parks like this one (Canyonlands NP also comes to mind) that have abundant opportunity for danger.

Again, our goal is to include only hikes we feel are safe for families, however everyone has a different comfort level. Even our list has a few hikes that have some areas with exposed edges and so-forth, so please read the descriptions carefully, and consult with a park ranger before committing to a trail.

Zion National Park Shuttle Information

When discussing locations for trailheads, we’ll be referring to shuttle stops. During “high season” (late spring through summer) cars aren’t allowed to drive on the Canyon Scenic Drive, so any Zion Canyon trails will only be accessible by using the shuttle.

Note: The numbered shuttle bus stops go along out state route 9. If you are driving, you will reach them in order from #1 (Zion Visitor Center) to #9 (Temple of Sinawava).

Zion National Park shuttle bus at a stop in the parkPin
Zion NP shuttle

Zion Narrows

Distance: 16 miles one-way (but most people only hike a small portion, then return the way they came)

Difficulty: Flat, but will require getting wet/hiking through the Virgin River; conditions can vary widely and are highly weather dependent

Location: Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop, the final stop of the Zion Shuttle.

“The Narrows”, found in Zion Canyon, is one of the favorite, and most famous hikes in the park. You hike on the floor of the canyon and in many places it is only 20 – 30 feet wide, hence the name “The Narrows”.

couple hiking the Narrows, Zion National Park UtahPin
Tib and I hiking the Narrows in August

While hiking through these narrow canyons is exciting and fun, we debated whether it should make our list of the top recommended hikes for families.

This hike is done through the Virgin River, so it requires getting wet. Depending on the water levels, you will be wading through water as shallow as a few inches, to being nearly submerged in several feet of water, requiring you to walk in deeper water and/or swim.

And the conditions can vary day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour.

two couples standing in ankle deep water hiking the Narrows in Zion CanyonPin
The water depth can vary greatly throughout the Narrows hike; if you decide to try it, you can go as far as you’re comfortable, and then turn around

This hike is truly incredible, but since there are a lot of variables that change frequently, it may cause this trek to be either amazing for your family, or a bit, well…harrowing.

Our best advice on hiking the Narrows is to check in with the rangers at the visitor center when you arrive at the park, and ask about current conditions. Talk to them about your family, ages of your kids, etc. and get their two-cents on whether or not the Narrows would be a good hike for you when you’re there.

The Narrows, Zion National ParkPin
The Narrows is VERY popular, and can be very crowded during the summer, but very cold in the off-season

I personally WOULD have taken my family on this hike during our Zion trip, but it was closed because of either a cyanobacteria issue, or a toxic algae bloom in the water at the time (pretty sure it was the latter since I snapped the pic below), which was a huge bummer.

harmful algae in the water warning sign in Zion National Park circa 2020Pin
You win some, you lose some when dealing with hiking and nature! The Narrows was closed on our most recent Zion NP trip because of a toxic algae bloom.

The good thing about the Narrows is if you hike it “bottom to top” meaning starting at the area closest to the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop and heading upstream, you can hike as long or as little as you want, and simply turn around whenever it’s best for your family to do so.

Even if you just want to get your feet wet, and splash around at the very beginning of the trail, it will still be a really incredible experience.

On the flip side, if there’s a park closure in the Narrows during your trip for any number of reasons, or if your family decides the Narrows is just not for you, do not worry! There are still many phenomenal hikes and spectacular views available to you in Zion Canyon. Read on for my list of the best hikes for a family!

Hikes in Zion Canyon

Home to the most popular hikes in the park, Zion Canyon averages a depth of 2,000 feet. All waste must be packed in and out on any of these hikes.

Family – Friendly Hikes in Zion Canyon

These are hiking trails you can use to do a day hike with the entire family, young and old. They are either easy enough for a toddler to walk or they are paved and wide enough to use a stroller.

1. Riverside Walk

Distance: 2.2 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: This trail is at the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop, the final stop of the Zion Shuttle.

The Riverside Walk is an easy 2.2 mile round trip path that is flat and paved. This is stroller and walking-toddler friendly, which is a perk for young families.

Older kids will enjoy this too for the scenery and the places along the river to dip their toes in! Walking along the river’s edge with the canyon walls towering on either side of you is quite an experience! Your kid will be in amazement looking up, up, up to the top of the walls.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, it sounds great to many people and can get very busy as the day goes on to where you feel like you’re just moving along with a crowd. To avoid this, get an early start! The best time to do this walk is early morning!

This trail will lead out to the beginning of “The Narrows” so you’ll get to see people starting off on that track, and get a firsthand look at conditions on that trek, but if you aren’t planning to hike any of the Narrows, you can turn around at this point.

view at the end of the Riverside Walk in Zion National Park, UtahPin
view at the end of the Riverside Walk

2. Pa’rus Trail

Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Trail Starts near the Zion Canyon Visitor Center (shuttle stop 1). This is near the south entrance of the park on State Route 9 in Springdale, Utah. Walk up the canyon and across the bridge near South Campground to the trailhead. You could also access this trail from Shuttle stop 3 at Canyon Junction.

The start of this 3.5 mile round trip trail is at Zion Canyon Visitor Center. It is always a benefit to stop in at a visitor center as it is a great place to learn tips about the area as well as any closures you should know about. While you’re there, I highly recommend this easy trail for families.

This is a flat, paved easy trail with stunning views that the whole family can enjoy. With this length, it feels like you got some exercise, but it isn’t too strenuous for your littlest family members.

trailhead sign for the Pa' Rus trail in Zion National ParkPin

Since it is paved, this trail is also used for biking. It is also the only dog friendly hike in Zion National Park. You can push a stroller on the paved trail but if it is busy that might be inconvenient and you may prefer a backpack carrier.

This is a very fun trail for the kids. It follows alongside the Virgin River (not where the show was filmed!), crossing over bridges and through meadows as it goes. Lots of opportunity is there to take breaks to jump on rocks, search for frogs and enjoy what is around you.

This easy hike offers great views of the Zion Canyon Scenery. You can see the Watchman and the Towers of the Virgin from this hike.

If I was recommending one trail to younger families, this one would be it. Easy to navigate, easy to get to, fun for kids and unbeatable views.

boardwalk along the Pa' Rus trail in Zion National Park, UtahPin
View along the Pa’Rus trail

3. Grotto Trail

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: You can use the Zion Lodge or Grotto Shuttle Stops. At Zion Lodge, the trailhead is behind the lodge. At Grotto stop, you walk down canyon and will find the trailhead behind the stone building.

While this is not the most exciting trail you can do in Zion National Park, it is still a nice way to stretch your legs and also, the Zion Lodge has ice cream!

Zion National Park Lodge in UtahPin
Zion Lodge

This trail connects the Zion Park Lodge to the next shuttle stop about .6 miles away. You could get off the shuttle at the Lodge, hike to the next stop and back and then get some ice cream! Or if you aren’t feeling like much walking, you could get dropped off at the Grotto shuttle stop, walk to the lodge for ice cream and hop back on the shuttle here.

This wide and flat path goes through a meadow along the valley floor and passes by a lake. This is a perfect place for your toddlers and preschoolers!

If you are only doing one hike in Zion, this would not be my suggestion. However if you are staying for a few days, this is a good one for your little hikers!

You could even connect this trail to the Emerald Pool Trails if you want to do the Grotto Trail but make it longer.

grotto trail in zion national park, utahPin
Grotto Trail

4. Emerald Pool Trails

This group of three trails is harder to categorize as there are many choices of the way you do the trail system which all have different levels of difficulty as well as length. Think of these trails kind of like a triangle. Lower and Middle come together to form the point and the Upper Trail juts off of that point.

The most famous waterfalls inside Zion are found along the Emerald Pool trails, considered by many to be the most popular trails for families inside the park. However, don’t expect massive, rushing falls like you will see at other national parks. Depending on the season you visit, you may experience a trickle or a waterfall. The pools and falls are mostly dried up in summer, making spring the peak season to visit. Fall is beautiful as well.

Emerald Falls, Zion National Park, UtahPin
Emerald Falls

At one time, visitors were allowed to wade and swim in the Emerald Pools, however that is just not true anymore despite what you may see others doing. This is an essential source of water for the animals that live inside the park and it’s important to teach our kids to respect that! So no swimming allowed in these pools.

These trails will be the favorite of most children as it feels more like a real hike, especially if you go past just the lower emerald pool trail which is paved. Parents will enjoy it as well to see their kids having fun and adventuring without being too dangerous.

Zion National Park caution when hiking signPin
Sign at beginning of Emerald Pool trails: “Falls from cliffs on this trail have resulted in death.” Yikes! We’re smiling here, but for real, be cautious on trails in Zion. There are a lot of potential dangers, even on the family-friendly trails!

I am going to break this down differently than the others as there are so many options. Each of the 3 pools have their own trail, however the upper can’t be reached on its own. There are also different ways to access this set of trails that make the length vary.

map of the emerald pool trails in Zion National ParkPin
map for Emerald Pool trails: U.S. National Park Service, restoration/cleanup by Matt Holly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A. Lower Emerald Pool Trail only

Distance: 1.2 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Across from Zion Lodge at shuttle stop 5

This is the easiest and safest of the three trails. The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is flat, wide, paved and accessible for strollers, although even young children can walk it.

During peak season, this trail can get busy as to where you feel like you are just moving along with the crowd. To avoid this, go early in the morning.

This trail begins across from the Zion Lodge. There is a footbridge to cross to bring you to the trails and you stay right to take the lower pools trail.

Hike to Lower Emerald Pool, Zion National Park, UtahPin
hike to the lower Emerald Pool

When you reach the end of this section of the trails, you will be at the first pool which is a stream fed by small waterfalls from the middle pool.

There is a little trail that goes behind the falls and leads to the Upper Emerald Pools trail. This is a fun feature, especially when there is more water running in the spring. On a warm day, this feels so nice and the spray can cool you off.

This feels like a special little surprise at the halfway point for the kids. Who doesn’t love walking behind the water! I don’t know why, but that just feels so fun! This is a must do if you are there in the spring. Your kids will talk about this for a long time.

If you want to keep to the easy trail, turn around here and go back to the trailhead the way you came.

trail to the lower emerald pool, zion national park, utahPin
trail to lower Emerald Pool
B. Lower and Middle Pool Trails starting at Zion Lodge

Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Location: Across from Zion Lodge at shuttle stop 5

To do this combination of trails, begin the same way discussed above, by crossing the footbridge across from Zion Lodge to get to the start of the trail. Again, stay to the right and go out to the lower pool.

When you reach the lower pool, go behind the waterfalls and up the stairs. When you reach the top, you don’t go onto the upper pool trail but instead just go to the middle pool trail. It goes back relatively parallel to the lower pool trail but is more challenging and with better views.

water falling into the lower emerald pool from the middle pool in Zion National Park, UtahPin
Water falling in this shot is headed from the middle emerald pool into the lower pool. The trail goes right behind the falls in this image: inkknife_2000, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Middle Emerald Pools Trail is a dirt pathway with more elevation gain and also some steep spots. On this trail you will walk across the top of the cliff that you just walked under on the lower pool trail. You get to walk past where those falls into the lower pool are starting. The middle pools are the two streams that flow to make the waterfalls.

Again, water flow will depend on time of year.

emerald pool falls Zion National Park, UtahPin
another shot of the Emerald Pool falls

The steepest part of the trail is climbing up the ascent to get to the top of the falls to walk along the sandstone ledge. From here you have the best views of the stunning Zion Canyon and the lodge area.

There are steep drop-offs but in most places there are chain fences along the edge (full disclosure: still makes this mama nervous).

Along the rest of the dirt trail back to the trail head, there are some unprotected edges of the trail making this one not for your youngest children unless they are in a carrier. However the scenery here is the best of all 3 trails if you feel comfortable with it (my hand is not raised ;).

Safety Note: ABSOLUTELY DO NOT CROSS either of the streams during high flow water. It is NOT SAFE and you could be washed down over the edge.

C. Lower, Middle and Upper Pools Trails starting at Zion Lodge

Distance: 2.1 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Across from Zion Lodge at shuttle stop 5

Adding on the Upper Emerald Pools Trail is short, it only adds .5 miles round trip, however this is NOT one that I would do with my children. Some more adventurous families have done and enjoyed this but I would not.

If you did want to do this trail, or even if part of your party wanted to do this trail, you still begin at the Zion Lodge and hike out to the lower pool. From there, you go behind the small waterfalls and that leads to the Upper Emerald Pool Trail.

This trail is a little offshoot of the lower and middle pool loops.

You begin by going up some steep stone steps. There are some steep, narrow and (in my opinion) scary drop offs on this portion of the trails. No young children should attempt this trail!

The reward at the end is a watering hole that is fed by a waterfall at the base of 300 ft cliffs. (Remember that in summer this will just be a trickle!) Even when the water is dried up in summer, it is magnificent to stand and look up and see the towering sandstone cliffs.

When you get back from the Upper Emerald Pool Trail, you can head back on the Middle Emerald Pool Trail to make the full loop.

upper emerald pool, zion national parkPin
Upper Emerald Pool

5. Kayenta Trail to Emerald Pool Trails

Distance: 1.6 miles round trip (for just the Kayenta Trail)

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: the Grotto shuttle stop 6

If the access to Emerald Pool Trails from Zion Lodge is unavailable, or you want to extend the hike longer, you can add on the Kayenta Trail.

To begin here, take the shuttle one stop further to the Grotto shuttle stop 6.

You will see signs directing you to go left towards Angels Landing Trail (DO NOT DO THIS WITH CHILDREN) or right towards Kayenta Trail. This is a connector trail but actually has some of the best views in this area.

Following this dirt and stone trail will have you hiking above the canyons and looking over the Virgin River. There are some steep drop offs by times on this trail. Many families have done this with their kids but I would not say it is safe for young ones.

The park trail guide states this trail to have moderate drop offs. Personally, I would avoid this, but if your children are experienced hikers, you know them (and your own comfort level) best.

Kayenta trail, Zion National Park, UtahPin
Kayenta Trail – you can see a bit of the terrain here with the ropes and the rocky drop offs

There are slight inclines and declines along this trail but nothing drastic.

Kayenta Trail will bring you near where the three Emerald Pool Trails come to a point. This allows you to see any number of them that you wish to and do any of those 3 trails that you wish.

If it is open, you could take either the Lower or Middle trails back to the Zion Lodge and get on the shuttle at stop or head back the way you came on Kayenta to shuttle stop 6.

Kayenta trail, Zion National Park, UtahPin
view from Kayenta trail

A Hike for the Adventurous Family…Maybe? (But probably not).

While this is not a hike that I, personally, would take my kids on, it is one that is recommended on many family hiking blogs and is enjoyed by some families. For this reason I am mentioning it here but please be aware that I personally do not consider this to be family-friendly for my own clan. Just writing about it is making my palms sweat 😂.

I’m more of a “stay 15′ away from any cliff edge, hold hands when crossing the street even though you’re 10, don’t run with scissors kinda-mom…just want you to know that about me so you can gauge your own comfort level against that ;).

sign at trailhead for Canyon Overlook trail, Zion National Park, UtahPin
Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Canyon Overlook Trail

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: From the Visitor Center take Highway 9 northeast. Drive through the Mount Carmel Tunnel. The parking lot is immediately following the exit for the tunnel on the right. If it’s full there is an overflow parking lot not long past.

I would consider this hike to be one for adventurous families with older children who are sure on their feet, not scared of heights, and able to follow instructions to walk and stay away from the edge. So….NOT for ALL (or even most) families (including my own).

This hike is not accessible with the Zion shuttle and will require you to drive a vehicle. From the Visitor Center, take Highway 9 northeast. From this drive you will see the Great Arch over you. The top of that is where you will be going on the Canyon Overlook Trail!

beautiful scenery from the Canyon Overlook trail in Zion National Park, UtahPin
the scenery is certainly awe-inspiring from the Canyon Overlook trail

There is not much parking available for this trail so it is strongly suggested that you go as early in the morning as possible. This is a beautiful place to watch the sunrise, if you can get there in time.

While this is a short hike, it does rapidly gain elevation at the beginning. You begin by taking steep steps up from the highway to the trail. The trail, for most of it, is carved out of the sandstone so you will have the giant stone wall to one side and the view overlooking the canyon to the other.

In some places the trail is only approximately 4 feet wide with a metal guard rail, according to Jonathan Shafer, a park ranger at Zion National Park. Jonathan also shared that some families are excited to hear about the exposed areas of the trail and think that is fun, while for other families it makes them decide not to do this particular trail.

showing the top of the Canyon Overlook trail, with some areas having a fence, and others being totally open to significant drops, Zion National Park, UtahPin
This image shows the end of the Canyon Overlook trail. You can see there is a bit of fencing, but most of it, though quite wide is not fenced to the sheer drops below: Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As you hike along this short trail, you will walk through a hidden cave. This cave has an exposed cliff, meaning no railing, just a steep drop off. Jonathan stated that the drop offs within the park range from 10 – 100 feet, this being one of the higher ones as you are overlooking the canyon.

While this is a very cool highlight, it is NOT for the faint of heart and not somewhere I would feel comfortable with my children.

Any kids who do take this trail will have fun climbing over the rocks and tree roots that are across the trail along the way. Please remember, the whole way, you are on the edge of a cliff; getting too close is a deadly error.

When you get to the top, the trail opens up into a much wider viewing area on top of the Great Arch. The whole canyon is below you, including a neat view of the highway switchbacks you drove on to get there.

Once you have caught your breath and enjoyed the view, head back down the same treacherous way you came until you arrive safely at your car.

beautiful shot of view from Canyon Overlook trail, Zion National Park, UtahPin
another beautiful (albeit scary to me) view from the Canyon Overlook trail

Hikes in Kolob Canyon

According to Jonathan Shafer from Zion National Park, “Depending on where you park and traffic, it generally takes about an hour to drive from Zion Canyon Visitor Center to Kolob Canyons Visitor Center… It is not uncommon for visitors to travel to both Kolob Canyons and Zion Canyon in a day, but keep in mind you will spend a little more time in the car and less time on the trail if you do.”

Personally, I’d only recommend the Kolob Canyons district if you have more than a day in Zion. My family loved it because it was FAR less crowded than the rest of the park.

family next to the Zion National Park Kolob Canyon sign in UtahPin
My family at Kolob Canyons – the less traveled area of Zion

The Kolob Canyons district of Zion National Park is a different location than where the most popular hikes are. This is a lesser known and lesser visited portion of the park, but no less beautiful. Kolob Canyons is located at exit 40 on Interstate 15, in the northwest corner of the park.

The 5 mile drive along the Kolobs Canyon Road showcases the stunning canyons that will have your kids’ jaws dropping in amazement. The cliff walls in this part of the park rise to 2000 feet! This area is well known for its “finger canyons” and red sandstone.

driving the Kolob Canyons road, Zion National Park, UtahPin
the drive alone is a good reason to make sure to hit Kolob Canyons during your trip to Zion NP

The area inside these canyons is considered the Zion Wilderness. To protect and maintain the wilderness, only groups of 12 or smaller are permitted on the trails at a time, with the exception of the Timber Creek Overlook Pass.

The 20 miles of hiking trails here are stunning and will not disappoint you, should you decide to add this area to your trip!

NPS informational sign at Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, UtahPin

Family-Friendly Hikes in Kolob Canyon

This canyon is a wonderful place to take your family. The simple fact that it is much less crowded leads to a more peaceful feel and more of a feeling of being in nature.

1. Timber Creek Overlook Trail

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy, but has loose rocks

Location: The end of Kolob Canyons Road

My family loved this hike. It’s an easy to follow, short trail which begins at the viewpoint parking lot, and continues past a small picnic area and on to the end of the short trail, which is the Timber Creek Overlook. This overlook gives a wonderful southern view of the peaks and valleys, including Red Butte off in the distance.

This is a great hike to take in the late afternoon to watch the sunset from the overlook, as long as you can get back to the parking lot by dark! This is a great hike for the whole family, even your young ones. Comparing difficulty to view, this hike packs much bang for your buck!

Timber Creek Overlook sign, Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, UtahPin
An Errant Knight, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Taylor Creek Trail to Double Arch Alcove

Distance: 4.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: 2.1 miles up Kolob Canyons Road

While no trails in Kolob Canyon reach the popularity of any in Zion Canyon, this is arguably the most popular of the Kolob trails. This 5 mile round trip hike up one of the “finger canyons” is child and family friendly.

Taylor Creek Trail, Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, UtahPin
view from Taylor Creek trail

Your kids will love how this trail crosses back and forth over the stream bed, using rocks and logs to make the crossing. Unless there has recently been a downpour of rain, you will not even get your feet wet, but this will be a memorable activity for your children.

Taylor Creek Trail, Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, UtahPin
Taylor Creek trail

There will be times where the trail is a little more difficult as you climb over boulders, but again, this will be so exciting for your kids (and any kids at heart!).

You will come across 2 historical cabins along the trail which you can explore and imagine what life would have been like for the people who lived there. All of that fun happens within the first mile of the hike!

Soon after this you will make your way into the narrow “finger canyon”. The maintained portion of the trail ends soon after at the majestic Zion landmark, the Double Arch Alcove.

double arch alcove, kolob canyons, Zion National Park, UtahPin
Double Arch Alcove

The Double Arch Alcove is similar to a cave in the sandstone, where the pressure of the water from flash floods has undercut a shelf, making an alcove. (Is this a perfect time for a lesson about the strength of water and how it changes landscape or what?!) Caves, crossing a stream on rocks, abandoned cabins…this hike has the perfect recipe for fun for kids!

Past this, the trail is not maintained and involves climbs and bushwhacking. It is best to turn back the way you came after enjoying the alcove and return to the parking lot.

Don’t Forget to Check

It is always important to check the park website before traveling. Weather and natural disasters can happen at any time, causing certain trails to be closed down. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check before you go!

Final Family-Friendly Zion Hiking Tips

Having hiked Zion with my own family, here are a couple of last thoughts:

1. Hire a Private Guide

Zion gets very crowded. To get to see some parts of the park you’d never otherwise see, and avoid the crowds, hire a naturalist. I tend to shy away from a lot of the more “commercial” tour companies in favor of the naturalist and scientists that work, or have worked for the National Park Service.

We called Michael Plyler, director of the Zion National Park Forever Project (435) 772-3264, or via email: [email protected] and he set our family up with a private tour, which was AMAZING. Our guide took us to slot canyons in the back country which we never would have found, or have been comfortable hiking on our own. And she taught as we walked, keeping the kids engaged and interested in everything around them.

exploring slot canyons with a guide in Zion National ParkPin
hiking slot canyons with our private naturalist guide

2. Take advantage of nature walks and hikes led by the NPS

Check in with the visitor center when you arrive (or take a look here online) for a list of any ranger led nature walks and hikes in Zion. If the park is offering these while you’ll be at the park, DO THEM.

Going with a ranger is a great way to safely navigate the park, while also learning so much as you go.

And the best part? Most of these programs are 100% free.

three kids hiking in ZionPin

3. Invest in an audio tour

Lastly, invest a couple of bucks in a self-guided GPS audio tour for your car.

Zion is a big park, and you’ll be spending some time in your car between hikes and other adventures. Having a car audio tour is such an AWESOME, fun way of learning more about the park.

Instead of “are we there yet?” the kids (and you) will be learning about all the sights around you as you drive…things you would otherwise pass by and never realize what you were seeing. I can’t say enough about the tours from this company. We’ve used them all over the country, and never been disappointed!

person seen taking picture through side mirror of car in yellowstone national parkPin
Invest a couple bucks in a self-guided GPS audio tour of the park. It’s a great way to learn more about the park as you drive!

Pin the best hikes in Zion National Park, Utah for later! And if you found this article helpful, leave a comment on the pin. That helps others decide whether to use this information, too!

Here are the best hikes in Zion National Park, Utah that are FAMILY-FRIENDLY! These gorgeous, safe & accessible hiking trails are ideal for all ages & abilities. #zionnationalpark #familytravel #hikesPin
happy trails, heatherPin
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About Heather Thibodeau

Heather Thibodeau is the founder and mom behind

She and her husband Dave (AKA Tib) are on a mission to travel to as many US national parks with their three kids in tow as they possibly can, doing their best to keep the little ones out in nature and off of screens in an increasingly digital world.

Heather has earned degrees in biology & chemistry from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies), and holds master's and doctorate degrees in physical therapy from Duke University (Go Blue Devils).

Heather is also the creative force behind The Heathered Nest where she shares her love of all things DIY and home decor.

Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, This Old House,, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and more.

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