Some of the best trails in Zion National Park are moderate hikes leading to fabulous viewpoints.
You don’t need to spend all day sweating on Zion’s most challenging hikes to enjoy the best of the park. And while there are plenty of great easy hikes in Zion, with a little extra effort you’ll enjoy even better views.
So here’s my guide to Zion’s best moderate hikes. Any of the following trails are great for families with kids who enjoy hiking.
The Watchman Trail
Rising to the top of a broad plateau above the park’s main visitor center, The Watchman Trail offers sweeping views of the entrance to Zion Canyon. Sheer sandstone cliffs tower thousands of feet above, while the Virgin River, marked by a lush strip of green vegetation, flows through the center of the canyon below.
Tip: If the morning shuttle line at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center is long, The Watchman Trail is a great way to spend a few hours while you wait for the line to shorten.
Learn more about The Watchman Trail
Perched high above Zion Canyon, Canyon Overlook offers some of the most dramatic views in the park. But unlike most Zion Canyon trails, which start on the canyon floor, the hike to Canyon Overlook starts halfway up the cliffs. Few trails offer so much jaw-dropping scenery for so little effort.
The trailhead is located next to the Zion Tunnel, which passes through a mile of solid rock to connect Zion Canyon to East Zion. When the tunnel opened in 1930, it was considered an engineering marvel, and it remains a highlight of any visit to Zion National Park.
Learn more about the Canyon Overlook Trail
Observation Point – Alternate Route
The strenuous Observation Point Trail rises 2,000 feet from the floor of Zion Canyon to one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the park. Strong hikers complete the grueling trek in four to five hours.
But here’s a secret … there’s a much easier way to get there!
A moderate, alternate route to Observation Point starts from Zion’s eastern boundary, above the rim of Zion Canyon. From the East Mesa Trailhead, it’s 3.3 miles (5.3 kms) to Observation Point—with just 250 feet of elevation change.
Located in Kolob Terrace—one of Zion’s most beautiful, yet underrated areas—Northgate Peaks offers rare views of the gorgeous, rugged landscape west of Zion Canyon. The twin Northgate Peaks frame the viewpoint, which is perched on a patch of dark volcanic rocks.
The trail to Northgate Peaks is an easy, 2.2-mile stroll through open meadows and lovely forest. With just 100 feet of elevation change, this is great option for people looking for a low-impact hike.
Perched 2,000 feet above the floor of Zion Canyon, Cable Mountain offers one of the most dramatic views in the park. From the sheer ledge, you’ll enjoy a sweeping panorama of Zion highlights, including Angels Landing, Observation Point, and the West Rim.
And here’s the best part … you don’t need to hike 2,000 vertical feet from the floor of Zion Canyon. From the Stave Spring Trailhead in East Zion, it’s a 3.6-mile walk to Cable Mountain, with just 500 feet of elevation change.
The Kolob Canyons are one of the least visited—yet most beautiful—parts of Zion National park. And the Taylor Creek Trail is one of the best hikes in Kolob Canyons.
The hike follows the banks of Taylor Creek to Double Arch Alcove, home to two enormous rock arches stacked on top of each other. Just below the lower arch is a fabulous cave with psychedelic patterns on its walls. If you’re interested in fascinating geology, Taylor Creek is a highlight of Zion National Park.
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