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25 Things to do with Kids when Staying at Zion Ponderosa

Ever since our first visit to Zion Ponderosa six years ago, my kiddos and I have been coming back every year to spend quality time together camping, swimming, and taking advantage of all the different adventure opportunities.


This post is part of a paid partnership with Zion Ponderosa. All ideas and opinion are 100% my own.


Zion Ponderosa is a 4,000-acre resort full of rugged beauty sitting on the eastern edge of Zion National Park and has been family owned and run since 1962.

Each time we visit, there is something new to check out or a new activity that we haven't tried. My kiddos are 7, 10, and 13, and they are always excited about our Zion Ponderosa adventures.

On our visit in August, we went on a sunset jeep tour, played on the climbing walls, jumped, swam, and did an amazing horseback ride, and guess what!?! There is still more to do for next time! That is why we love Zion Ponderosa so much!

HOW TO GET TO ZION PONDEROSA

There are a few ways to get to Zion Ponderosa. The most popular way is to fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. Zion Ponderosa is a 3-hour drive from Las Vegas.

Some people opt to fly to Salt Lake City, the second closest major airport. Flying into Salt Lake will allow you to turn your vacation into a road trip, stopping at a few of Utah's national parks along the way. Salt Lake is a 5-hour drive from Zion Ponderosa.

You can also fly into the Saint George Regional airport. This airport is much smaller with minimal flight options, but if you can find one that works for you, the time savings and convenience will be a huge bonus. It is a 1 hr 45-minute drive from Saint George to Zion Ponderosa.

Vacation home at Zion Ponderosa

***Photo courtesy of Zion Ponderosa


WHERE TO STAY AT ZION PONDEROSA WITH KIDS

Zion Ponderosa has a ton of great Zion National Park Lodging options. We have tried the beautiful vacation homes as well as the Zion Crest Campground and have loved all of our stays.

In August, we stayed in one of the beautiful vacation homes with my parents, brother, and niece. A big home for all of us to enjoy time together was perfect. Our house had a jacuzzi, a large patio, beautiful views, and all the amenities needed to spend some good quality family time.

There are 31 vacation homes at Zion Ponderosa with a wide range of sizes to accommodate all the different needs of families and groups.

Other accommodation options include Cabin Suites, Glamping, Conestoga Wagons, Cowboy Cabins, RV campground, and tent camping.


 

Family in water at Zion National Park

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25 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS WHEN STAYING AT ZION PONDEROSA

Staying at Zion Ponderosa with kids is one of the best ways to experience Zion National Park things to do and all the surrounding attractions while ensuring the kids have a fantastic time.

As a Southern Utah local who knows Zion Ponderosa well, I am excited to share my tried and true list of 25 things to do with kids during your stay. These are hikes, activities, guided adventures, and day trips that we have tried and loved!

ACTIVITIES ON THE PROPERTY

Boy on climbing wall at Zion Ponderosa

1-Climbing Wall

The climbing wall was a big hit with my kids. They loved the challenge of trying to get further and further with each try. Pricing is $10 for three tries, and there are five different climbing wall options


Girl Kayaking at Zion Ponderosa

2-Kayaking

A little pond on the property allows kids to head over and enjoy first come, first serve kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. It's easy to access and perfect for a fun and easy morning or afternoon activity.


3-Virtual Tour

With two virtual reality experiences, you can soar over Utah and immerse yourself in stunning scenery or go on a thrill ride looking for Aztec treasure!

It's not the high-quality 4k video we are all used to these days, but it is so fun to go on a visual ride to another place, all while keeping your feet on the ground.

4-Swimming Pool

The swimming pool is a favorite of ours. The two-tiered swimming pool has two jacuzzis, two water slides and is the perfect way to chill after a day of hiking. It's also the perfect way to spend a full day of relaxation.....my favorite!


5-Playground

Perfect for toddlers and younger children, this playground is in the center of the action. With swings, a slide, and an assortment of play equipment, the playground is perfect to let the little ones get out some energy. One day my kiddos will be too old for the playground, but for now, they still love the swings. Heck, I still love the swings!


Kids playing miniature golf at Zion Ponderosa

6-Minature golf

This miniature golf course is artfully designed to contour with the terrain and offers several water features. Prominent on the course are rock formations and waterfalls that mimic the great rock features of this region around Zion National Park.


Everyone can enjoy a game of miniature golf, from the youngest to the oldest and all ages in between.


Girl jumping on the bungee trampoline at Zion Ponderosa

7-Bungee Trampoline

This is a safe way for kids to fly high in the sky, flip and get out some serious energy.

It took my kiddos a little time to warm up but as soon as they got brave enough to try a flip, they were in flipping heaven!

$12 for 10 minutes of jumping

 

GUIDED ADVENTURES

8-Sunset Jeep tour (Starts at the ZP activity barn)

This is a rugged and bumpy adventure ride in a tricked-out open-air Jeep to catch stunning views of the sun setting behind the Zion cliffs.


This guided adventure is so much fun for kids who love rollercoasters because that is what this jeep ride feels like! My kiddos laughed and squealed the whole ride.

PRO TIP - Bring a jacket even if it has been nice and warm all day. Once the sun drops, it gets chilly.


9-White Mountain Horseback ride (Starts in Orderville, 35-minute drive)

This guided horseback ride through lush desert vegetation and towering sandstone cliff will take you to a little slot canyon hike that is perfect for the whole family.

My kiddos loved exploring the slot canyon at the end, and we all agreed that this was the prettiest horseback ride we have ever experienced.


10-Abandoned Mine Hike (Starts at the ZP activity barn)

This guided hike to an abandoned mine close to Zion Ponderosa was a super unique and fun way for my kids to learn a little about Utah mining history, along with an interactive tour of an old mine.

The kids loved crawling into the mine shaft with helmets on their heads. We ran our fingers along the cold, wet walls and marveled at the rocks sticking out of the walls. We walked along the old cart tracts to see remnants of the historic operation.


11-Slot Canyon Utv tour (Starts in Orderville, 35-minute drive)

This guided adventure perfectly combines a thrilling UTV ride and a spectacular slot canyon hike. It's like two adventures in one!

The UTV portion was an absolute blast. Speeding through the desert and navigating the rocky path was nothing for our amazing guides; my kiddos loved every second.

The slot canyon was stunning from the first moment we stepped between the soaring rock walls. It was a challenging hike that required quite a bit of rock scrambling. The kids needed lots of help and patience, but in the end, we all made it, and the kiddos had a huge sense of accomplishment.


 

HIKES IN ZION AND SURROUNDING AREAS

12 - Red Hollow (35-minute drive)

Located in the little town of Orderville, Red Hollow is a quick and easy hike through a beautiful canyon ending at a tight slot canyon with 1,000-foot walls soaring above you. Grab lunch at The Coffee Shop in Orderville and then head over for a quick adventure.

13 - Belly of the Dragon (25-minute drive)

A short hike through a man made tunnel is the highlight of this unique, family-friendly trail located just 20 miles east of Zion National Park.


The cave-like tunnel was originally created as a water culvert under HWY89. Over time, drainage from the upper canyon water flow has carved the sandstone walls and created a beautiful rippling tunnel prime for exploring.


This is such a great adventure with kids, so bring the whole family and have some fun. Click here to read more about hiking Belly of the Dragon.


14 - Moqui Caverns (35-minute drive)

The Kanab Sand Caves are located 10 minutes outside of Kanab, UT. These man-made caves were used to harvest sand for glass production in the 1970s. Crazy right?!? The 1/4th mile round trip hike to the caves is easy and family-friendly.


You will have to scale up a sandstone wall for a very short distance. It can be a bit slippery and difficult for kids and adults. Just go slow and make sure you have good traction on your shoes.


There are steep drop-off ledges at the caves so keep a close eye on your kiddos. Click here to read more about visiting Moqui Caverns.


15 - Clear Creek (25-minute drive)

Clear Creek is the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 throughout the east side of Zion. Although it may not be an actual named hike in Zion, it is excellent for some off-the-beaten-path hiking and fun.


Filled with cave-like tunnels, family-friendly slot canyons, and sandstone cliffs, you will find surprises around every corner. Click her to read more about hiking Clear Creek.

16 - Canyon Overlook (35-minute drive)

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park is a family-friendly trail on the east side of Zion that features big horn sheep sightings, caves (kinda), and one of the most breathtaking views in the park. It almost feels like cheating to get views like this with such an easy hike.

The trail is mostly level, but in the very beginning, there are some very short uphill switchbacks that the younger kiddos may need a bit of help with.


It is important to note that even though this is a very kid-friendly hike, there are plenty of spots along the trail and especially at the overlook that can be dangerous.


Make sure your children stick to the trail and away from the edges. Plan to spend some time at the overlook enjoying the amazing views. Click here to read more about hiking Canyon Overlook.


17 - Many Pools Trail (25-minute drive)

Many Pools is not an official trail, so it is a great option for getting away from crowds. The start of this trail is .9 miles east of the smaller tunnel. Follow the wash all the way up the canyon for beautiful sandstone and interesting pothole formations.


You can make this hike as long or as short as you would like. Hiking shoes with good traction are needed. There is very little shade along this trail, so do not attempt in the heat of the day.

18 - The Narrows (45 minutes to Visitor Center + 40-minute shuttle ride)

If you are visiting Zion National Park in the summer with kids who love to hike and who love water, then The Narrows is a hike that should be at the very top of your list.

The Narrows is a fantastic slot canyon hike that will take your breath away at every turn and is the perfect reprieve from the intense desert sun.

Plan to go slow and make it a full-day adventure. Walking through water and maneuvering over and around rocks can be quite taxing on the body for adults and children.

Tired legs might make the hike back harder than the hike in. Try to head back before your kids show signs of being done. Click here for more tips on hiking The Narrows with kids.

 

DAY TRIPS

19-Bryce Canyon (1 hour 30-minute drive)

A day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, the land of hoodoos, is a must when visiting Southern Utah. Bryce is a super quick and easy day trip when staying at Zion Ponderosa.

One day in Bryce will give you plenty of time to check out our two favorite family-friendly hikes, Mossy Cave Trail and Navajo Loop Trail.

20-North Rim of the Grand Canyon (2 hour 15-minute drive)

When visiting Zion Ponderosa, a day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a must. With cooler temps, epic views, and great hiking, there will be plenty to keep the whole family entertained for the day.

On your drive, you must stop at Jacob Lake Inn Gift Shop for their world-famous cookies. Seriously you guys, the best cookies I have ever had!

****Please note that the North Rim is closed in the winter and does not usually open for the summer until May 15th.


21-Cedar Breaks National Monument (1 hour 20-minute drive)

Often referred to as a miniature Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks features a huge amphitheater with stone spires, columns, arches, pinnacles, and intricate canyons.

Located in the mountains of Southern Utah, Cedar Breaks is shaped like a giant coliseum dropping 2,000 feet to its floor. The monument is open from late May to mid-October, and the visitor center is open from mid-June to mid-September.

Families are encouraged to stop by and check out the Junior Ranger Program or sign up for a ranger-guided hike.


Our two favorite family-friendly trails are the Sunset Trail and the Alpine Pond Loop trail.

PRO TIP - During July, the wildflowers are in full bloom, and they are absolutely stunning!!!

22-Snow Canyon (1 hr 50-minute drive)

Snow Canyon State Park is a hidden gem in Southern Utah, filled with great hiking, beautiful Navajo sandstone formations, ancient lava rock (basalt), and out-of-this-world views.

It gets very hot during the day with very little shade, so plan your adventures for early morning or later in the afternoon.


Our favorite family-friendly trails in the park are Jenny's Canyon, Petrified Dunes, Lava Tubes, and Butterfly Trail. Click here to read more about visiting Snow Canyon State Park.

23-Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (45-minute Drive)

This lifesaving haven for hundreds of adoptable animals is on 3,700 stunning acres outside Kanab, UT.


Sign up online for a free tour of the sanctuary, and your kiddos will be in animal-loving heaven. It is the perfect morning or afternoon activity for the whole family.

24-Coral Pink Sand Dunes (45-minute drive)

If your kiddos like playing in the sand and what kid doesn't, you need to check out this amazing giant sandbox.


The sand is so fine that it feels like butter going through your toes. For added fun, rent a sand sled from the ranger station.


If you are going in the summer, I recommend going first thing in the morning or later in the day, so the sand won't be too hot to play in.

Kids looking out at Glen Canyon Damn in Page Arizone

25-Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Damn, and Page Arizona (2-hour drive)

Lake Powell, the largest man-made lake in North America, is widely known as one of the premier water-based destinations in the world.


The activity options at Lake Powell are endless. Rent a boat for the day, go kayaking through breathtaking canyons, keep it simple and play along the shore, or go hiking and exploring the endless rugged water-and wind-carved canyons around the lake.

Travel another 20 minutes past Lake Powell, and you will hit Glen Canyon Damn and Page, AZ. Take a tour or drive into town. This is also where the famous viewpoint Horse Shoe Bend is located.

 

At Zion Ponderosa, there is something for everyone and so many ways to keep the kids busy and having fun.


Whether it's hanging out by the pool, going hiking, checking out the surrounding areas, or going on a fun guided adventure, you are sure to make some memories that will keep you coming back again and again, just as I have done with my family.


Happy Adventuring,

Arika

Check out more about me and book a shoot here


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