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YOUR ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH ADVENTURE

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12 Awesome & Adventurous Day Trips from Zion National Park

Southern Utah is simply spectacular, and if you’re planning a visit just to see Zion National Park, you might need to add a few more things to your must-see list.


I highly recommend adding on a few day trips from Zion National Park to explore the surrounding area in southern Utah and into Arizona and Nevada.

From photogenic spots that you’ve seen all over social media to hidden gems where you can escape the crowds, these day trips from Zion are absolutely worth adding onto to your southern Utah itinerary.


The Top 12 Day Trips from Zion National Park

Even though a visit to Zion might be what brings you to southern Utah, you’ll find so much more here. Check out my 12 favorite day trips from Zion National Park:

  1. Kodachrome Basin State Park

  2. Cedar Breaks National Monument

  3. Lake Powell

  4. Page, AZ

  5. Bryce Canyon National Park

  6. Snow Canyon State Park

  7. Brian Head, UT

  8. North Rim of the Grand Canyon

  9. Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

  10. Valley of Fire State Park, NV

  11. Great Basin National Park

  12. Kanab, UT

The drive times mentioned below for these day trips from Zion National Park are estimates from the Springdale entrance to Zion. Some of the destinations require you to drive through the park (so you need to have a pass or pay the entrance fee) or take a somewhat longer detour around the park.

NOTE: Be aware that Utah is in a different time zone than Nevada, if you’re heading to a destination there. And Utah observes daylight savings time but Arizona does not, so keep that in mind when you’re taking day trips from Zion in Utah to locations in Arizona from March to November.


1. Kodachrome Basin State Park

With all the amazing places in southern Utah, Kodachrome Basin State Park tends to get overlooked, but it’s really a hidden gem worth exploring.


Kodachrome Basin features 67 stunning stone spires (known as sedimentary pipes) made of multicolored sandstone. In fact, the colors you will find here are what led the area to be named after the Kodak color film in 1948.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Kodachrome Basin State Park is just over 2 hours northeast of Zion and about a half an hour east of Bryce Canyon National Park. Driving through Zion is the quickest way to get there from Springdale.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • While it’s not quite Angels Landing in Zion, Angel’s Palace is a lovely, family-friendly 1.5 mile loop hike that showcases the gorgeous landscape of Kodachrome Basin. For a moderate hike, check out Panorama Trail, a nearly 6-mile double loop that takes you to Panorama Point and passes by several of the park’s sandstone spires.

  • Mountain bikers can also ride on three of the trails in Kodachrome Basin – Panorama Trail, Big Bear Geyser Trail, and Grand Parade Loop.

  • And don’t miss Grosvenor Arch nearby! This incredible double arch of yellow sandstone is about 30 mins away in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

  • Willis Creek is a fun and family friendly slot canyon hike just 25 minutes from the park.


2. Cedar Breaks National Monument

Described as the “Circle of the Painted Cliffs,” Cedar Breaks National Monument is a naturally-formed rock coliseum full of colorful arches, hoodoos, and canyons. It’s also home to ancient bristlecone pine trees which add even more intrigue to the breathtaking landscape.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Cedar Breaks National Monument is near the town of Brian Head, approximately a 1.5 hour drive north from Springdale. You do not have to drive through Zion to get there (although you can).


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • Explore the variety of terrain in Cedar Breaks by hiking to Alpine Pond, a 2-mile loop trail through forest and meadows with plenty of views of the rock formations. After you reach the pond, the trail continues through some bristlecone pines before heading back.

  • Cedar Breaks National Monument is a fantastic place to visit in the winter, when you can snowshoe or cross-country ski on the trails. You can even go snowmobiling on the trail that runs along Utah Highway 148.


3. Lake Powell

Looking for an oasis on your desert adventure? Lake Powell is the perfect day trip from Zion for you! This massive reservoir created by the Glen Canyon Dam is such a fun place to splash around, and the whole family will love it.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Lake Powell is just over 2 hours west of Zion. You’ll have to drive through the park on UT-9, then take US-89 until just after you cross the border into Arizona.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • The Chains area of Lake Powell is my favorite spot since you don’t need a boat to have fun here. You can swim, cliff jump, or explore and hike around the red rocks.

  • You can rent kayaks and SUPs at many places on Lake Powell or take a boat tour if you do want to get out on the water.

  • Cathedral in the Desert is a super cool site to explore that was once hidden underwater but has since emerged. You can only get there by boat or kayak.


4. Page, AZ

You must add Page to your southern Utah itinerary…it’s a little town perfectly situated right by some of the most breathtaking outdoor spaces in the entire southwest. While it might be worth spending more than just a day here, you can still check a lot of things off your bucket list on one of the best day trips from Zion National Park.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Page is around 2.5 hours east of Springdale. The drive will be slightly shorter if you go through Zion, or a little longer if you head through Hurricane then take AZ-389.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed sites in Arizona and an absolute must-see in Page. Park in the lot right outside town ($10 fee) and take a 1.5 mile hike on a paved path to the famous overlook.

  • Antelope Canyon is another stunning attraction near Page. The light streaming through these sandstone slot canyons will truly take your breath away! Since the canyon is on private land in the Navajo Nation, you must take a guided tour to hike through Antelope Canyon. If you don't want to do a guided tour you can paddle board from Lake Powell to visit a differrent section of the canyon.

  • If you can snag one of the coveted permits to hike The Wave, the trailhead for this iconic sandstone formation is about an hour from Page.

  • And, of course, Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell are right outside Page when you need a refreshing dip in a desert swimming hole.


5. Bryce Canyon National Park

Visit two incredible national parks in southern Utah by taking a southern Utah road trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. Even though these parks are so close together, the landscape of Bryce looks so different…it’s all about the hoodoos here! CHECK OUT OUR BRYCE CANYON ROAD TRIP GUIDE HERE.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Bryce Canyon is northeast of Zion, and it’s about a 2 hour drive if you go through the park or 2.5 hours if you go the long way around through Cedar City.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • Navajo Loop Trail is the number one hike I would recommend in Bryce! It takes you from Sunset Point down below the rim to the Wall Street slot canyon. You can head back up the switchbacks the way you came or connect to the Queen’s Garden Trail for a 3-mile loop that takes you back up to Sunrise Point.

  • For a longer hike in Bryce Canyon, check out the Fairyland Loop Trail. This 8-mile hike heads down from Fairyland Point into the amphitheater of the canyon where you’ll find yourself surrounded by hoodoos. You can also see the arches of the Tower Bridge formation on a short spur off this hike.


6. Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park is really one of the best day trips from Zion, since it’s quite close by but offers a lot more solitude. You’ll still find awesome views and plenty of amazing sandstone and basalt rock formations here.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Snow Canyon State Park is just north of St. George, so it’s about an hour drive to the west of Springdale.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • The Petrified Sand Dunes are so fun to explore! The out & back hike is just over a mile, but you don’t need to stay on the trail as you walk around these hills of Navajo sandstone…kids will love running around here.

  • A short, sandy walk of about half a mile will lead you through Jenny’s Canyon, an easy slot canyon that the whole family will enjoy.

  • The Lava Tube Trail is a unique hiking experience with wide open views of the desert but also three different caves you can go in and explore. Bring a headlamp or flashlight for these!


7. Brian Head, UT

Brian Head is known as the place to ski in southern Utah, but it’s also a premier summer destination and totally worth a day trip from Zion any time of year. Because Brian Head is at higher elevation (around 10,000 feet), it makes a cooler escape from the summer heat.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from Springdale to Brian Head north along I-15 through Cedar City.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • In the winter, hit the slopes and go skiing at Brian Head Resort. In the summer, you can mountain bike down the hill on 18 different trails instead. (Lift ticket required.)

  • Grab an all-day activity pass ($15/adult & $10 for kids) to experience all the summer activities at Brian Head Resort, including hiking, zip lining, bungee trampolining, and so much more fun. You’ll also have access to the 18-hole disc golf course on the mountain.


8. North Rim of the Grand Canyon

While the vast majority of visitors to the Grand Canyon go to the South Rim, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is equally incredible…and a much shorter drive for a day trip from Zion. Take in the epic canyon views from the North Rim without the overwhelming crowds! CHECK OUT WHY YOU NEED TO VISIT THE NORTH RIM ON YOUR VISIT TO SOUTHERN UTAH HERE.


Note: The North Rim closes to vehicles in the winter (typically around mid-November) and reopens in mid-May.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

To get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, it’s about a 3-hour drive south from Springdale (through the park or not).


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • The most popular scenic overlook on the North Rim is Bright Angel Point. Here is where you’ll find those sweeping views of the massive Grand Canyon.

  • For sunrise or sunset, check out the Cape Royal viewpoint, which also lets you see all the way down to the Colorado River.

  • Definitely stop at the Roughrider Saloon during your visit to the North Rim. It’s a coffeehouse in the morning that turns into a bar later in the day…and you can’t beat sipping a margarita at sunset on the patio!


9. Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

Cathedral Gorge State Park is full of spires, but not the red sandstone ones typical of the area. These cream-colored clay spires were formed after a volcanic eruption over a million years ago, and they erode and reshape each time it rains so the landscape will never be exactly the same.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

It’s just over a 2-hour drive from Springdale northwest to Cathedral Gorge, which is across the state border in Nevada.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • Just south of the parking area by the water tower, you’ll find a maze of caves, slot canyons, and spires which you can wander around and explore to your heart’s content.

  • For a nice family-friendly hike, take Miller Point Trail, which is about 2 miles round trip. From Miller Point Overlook, you’ll get an awesome view back down the whole canyon.


10. Valley of Fire State Park, NV

In a region of gorgeous landscapes, Valley of Fire State Park stands out with red sandstone formations contrasting with lighter colored rock structures. Petrified trees and petroglyphs add to the other-worldly feel of this desert landscape.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Valley of Fire State Park is located in Nevada, just over 2 hours southwest of Zion on the way to Las Vegas and near Lake Mead.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • Definitely hike to Fire Wave, an incredible red and white striped formation that will blow your mind. The trail is just over a mile round trip (and it’s closed in summer due to heat).

  • Another must-see at Valley of Fire is the White Domes, which stand out from the orange and red desert backdrop. The mile-long loop hike also takes you through slot canyons and caves.

  • If you want to see the petroglyphs in the park, head to Atlatl Rock where ancient Puebloans carved symbols into the sandstone.


11. Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park doesn’t attract the crowds of the national parks in southern Utah like Zion, but it is an amazing landscape that is very different from the desert sandstone. Great Basin features Nevada’s second tallest mountain, Wheeler Peak, along with cool limestone caves and ancient bristlecone pines.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

This is one of the longer day trips from Zion, but it’s absolutely worth it. Great Basin is around a 3-hour drive northwest, just over the state line into Nevada.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

  • At the top of the list of things to do in Great Basin is to see the stalactites, stalagmites, and unique shield formations in Lehman Caves. You need to take a ranger-guided tour to explore the caves, and advanced reservations are highly recommended, since the tours sell out.

  • Also, be sure to check out the ancient bristlecone pine groves along the Bristlecone Trail. You can connect this trail with the Glacier Trail for a nearly 4-mile hike that culminates in a view of the only glacier in Nevada, which sits beneath Wheeler Peak.


12. Kanab, UT

Kanab is one of my favorite little towns in southern Utah, surrounded by the wide open desert and red rock cliffs. It’s a fantastic day trip since it’s super close to Zion, but you can also make it your home base for adventures and go glamping at Basecamp37.


For even more fun things to do in Kanab, check out my detailed blog post full of 20 Reasons you should visit Kanab.


DISTANCE FROM ZION

Kanab is just north only about an hour away from Zion driving through the park east on UT-9, then taking US-89 south until just before the Arizona border.


COOL HIKES & OTHER THINGS TO DO

Kanab is also home to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a 3,700 acre haven for adoptable animals. Take a tour and play with all the adorable furry friends!


I hope this amazing list of day trips from Zion National Park is just the inpiration you need to add a few more travel days onto your trip to Southern Utah!



Happy Adventuring,

Arika




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Poppy Mis
Poppy Mis
a day ago

This one-of-a-kind game has sparked a lot of attention. In poppy playtime, you must visit the Playtime toy factory. The question of what happened to the missing employee must be answered. There are several revenge toys available. Make every attempt to avoid capture while remaining alive.

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Anastasiia Stennett
Anastasiia Stennett
2023年12月12日

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