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Zion Unveiled: Monthly Secrets for Perfect Park Jaunts

Imagine Zion National Park, where every twist in the trail promises new adventures. But when's the magic moment? I've got the insider's monthly guide to hit Zion's sweet spots - no guesswork needed!

Tobi Miles
July 21, 2022

Zion National Park is one of the most iconic landmarks in United States history. There is no shortage of gorgeous views between the beautiful overlooks and relaxing trails. So, when is the best time to visit Zion National Park?

The best time to visit Zion National Park is between April and July to experience the great weather and trails. Tourism dies down between September and October, and that’s the best time to avoid crowds. The worst time to go to Zion National Park is anywhere between December and February, when the cold weather limits trail access.

It is ideal to have a car when you visit Zion National Park because of how far away it is from any airport. The closest airport is 170 miles away from Zion National Park, and the second closest is over 300 miles away. Follow along as we explore the best time to visit Zion National Park and see what it’s like throughout the year.

When Should You Not go to Zion National Park?

The worst time of the year to go to Zion National Park is between December and February. Winter conditions can keep you from fully enjoying Zion National Park and the surrounding areas. Rain, ice, and snow can close down some of the roads and trails in and around Zion National Park.

Unsafe trail conditions and ice on the roads can limit how much you can do throughout the winter months. It doesn’t generally snow more than 1” throughout December, but that’s enough to close down several travels. Rock climbing and canyoneering can be dangerous in the winter because it can be difficult to get a grip.

Even melting snow can make certain trails unsafe as they can become too slippery. With that said, many tourists still flock to Zion National Park in the winter to enjoy the unique view of snow throughout the area. The main advantage to visiting Zion National Park during this time is that it’s much easier to find parking.

Cheapest Time to go to Zion National Park?

September-February is the cheapest time to go to Zion National Park. You fly into McCarran National Park to go to Zion National Park which is 170 miles away. Currently, there are flights for as low as $90 to go to Zion National Park.

However, you can save money if you book your flight to Utah in September as early as June. Booking a flight 3 months in advance will let you get the best rate on a flight. No matter when you go to Zion National Park, you will likely need to rent a car because of how far away all the airports are.

You can rent a car in Utah for as little as $30 a day depending on where you go. However, the average service will have you pay between $70 and $110 per day excluding gas costs and insurance. These costs are worth it no matter when you go so that you can fully experience the area.

Related Read: Best Airport for Zion National Park

What Time of the Year is the Best Weather at Zion National Park?

Winter at Zion National Park

January: Best Time for a Quiet Trip

Zion National Park and the surrounding areas offer comfortable winter weather throughout January. It can get as cold as 25 degrees, but highs in the low 50s are perfect for hiking. Guided hikes are popular year-round at Zion National Park and it’s a great way to take in the scenery in January.

The area is quiet throughout January because the cooler winter temperatures can still dissuade some tourists. You won’t’ have to worry about busy trails and roads or packed parking lots when you visit in January. It rarely snows during January at Zion National Park, and they generally get less than 1” of snow.

The peace and calm of the minimal tourism in January let you enjoy the towns around Zion National Park. Towns like St. George, Springdale, and Hurricane are worth exploring when you visit in January. Shop at local stores and enjoy some great food in any of the surrounding towns after you explore the empty trails throughout January.

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Shopping
  • Scenic Drives

February: Best Time to go to a Spa

You may have to skip some of the trails at Zion National Park throughout February depending on the weather. Snow and ice can close down certain trails throughout the park which can limit how much you can get out of the experience. With that said, excessive snow and ice are rare in the great Zion area throughout January and February so it isn’t always an issue.

The Canyon Overlook Trail looks beautiful during February, weather permitting. Zion is still quiet during February because of the cold weather, but there’s still plenty to do around the park. Emerald Pools is a popular destination during February around Zion National Park.

Visit the Worthington Gallery near Zion National Park after a long day of hiking and sightseeing. There are also several spas to visit in the surrounding air which can help you warm up from the winter weather. Temperatures fluctuate between 25 and 50 degrees throughout February around Zion National Park.

  • Canyon Overlook Trail
  • Worthington Gallery
  • Spa Day
  • Emerald Pools

March: Best time for Canyoneering

The Watchman Overlook Trail at Zion National Park offers some of the best views throughout March. Temperatures start to warm up and the start of spring in March ushers in the gorgeous scenery that tourists visit to see. It can get up to the mid-60s in March, but nights and cool days can get as low as 30 days throughout the month.

You won’t be able to visit the Zion Narrows during March, but there is still plenty to do. It rains a lot throughout the month which can make it difficult to hike at certain times. The rain can negatively affect trail conditions, so it’s important to check the forecast before you head out.

It can rain for 8 days out of the month or more in March, but the park looks gorgeous after the rain stops. March through May is the calm before the storm before the tourism boom during the summer. Temperatures stay between 30 and 60 degrees in March, and it’s a great time to hike when it’s dry.

  • Watchman Overlook Trail
  • Rock Climbing
  • Guides Tours
  • Canyoneering

Related Read: 15 Best National Parks, Monuments, and Trails in Utah

April: Best Time for Runners

Runners are in luck when they visit Zion National Park throughout April. The Zion 50K and KTX Half Marathon are great chances to get some exercise while surrounded by gorgeous views. There are also more hiking trails open at Zion National Park in April as the region comes out of the harsher winter weather.

You can enjoy many fun events in surrounding areas like Kanab and Springdale when you visit in April. The Kanab Film Festival is a great way to unwind and enjoy great movies and short films. It’s a nice change of pace, especially if you’ve been outdoors all day like most who visit Zion National Park.

The Kanab Red Rock ATV Jamboree is a thrilling and loud event that you’d have to see to believe. It can get up to the mid-60s at Zion National Park throughout April. You should still bring warm clothes, however, because it can get as cold as 36 degrees in the night or early morning.

  • Zion 50K
  • Kanab Red Rock ATV Jamboree
  • Kanab Film Festival
  • KTX Half Marathon

May: Best Time to Explore the Area

Zion National Park becomes even more open and exciting as it warms up in May. You can expect temperatures between 42 and 70 degrees throughout the month at Zion National Park. May is when Ragnar Trail Zion happens and you can experience one of the most unique trails in the whole area.

The good weather gives way to fun events like the Kanab Mother’s Day 10K where you can exercise among great views. Scenic drives are popular throughout May because the road conditions and surrounding scenery are perfect for it. It’s worth visiting the Utah Pasifika Festival and The Mountain’s Call in May if you don’t mind a long drive from Zion.

The Colorado City Music Festival is close enough to Zion National Park that it’s also worth the drive in May. Otherwise, you can have plenty of fun if you simply stick around Springdale and hit the trails at the park.

  • Kanab Mother’s Day 10K
  • Colorado City Music Festival
  • Ragnar Trail Zion
  • Utah Pasifika Festival
  • The Mountain’s Call

June: Best Time for a Roadtrip

It gets much hotter throughout June in Zion National Park, and the area becomes crowded. Temperatures fluctuate between 49 and 80 degrees or higher during June at Zion National Park. June accounts for 13% of the tourism at Zion National Park, so you will encounter crowds of tourists.

Cedar City is less than 60 miles from Zion National Park and it is home to fun events during June. The Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City is a great time for families and single travelers alike. June is also a great time to visit some of the local museums around Zion National Park.

The Zion Human History Museum in Springdale is a great destination, especially if you want to beat the heat. Make the trip to Salt Lake in June to experience the Excellence Concert Series. It’s worth the time to drive around Utah when you visit Zion National Park, and June is a great time to do it.

  • Utah Shakespeare Festival
  • Zion Human History Museum
  • Excellence Concert Series

July: Best Time for Tourism

Zion National Park hosts over 557,000 tourists each July, so you can expect large crowds. This can make it difficult to navigate certain trails and find parking. With that said, July is one of the busiest months of the year at Zion National Park for a reason: great weather.

It rarely gets below 62 degrees at night during July, and you can expect highs of 93 degrees. You can leave your coats and jackets at home but prepare for mild rain. July is the rainiest month of the year, so you’ll want to bring extra shoes and socks.

Even still, it rarely rains more than a half-inch throughout July which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. There aren’t many notable events around Zion National Park in July, but there is plenty to do throughout the state. Stadium of Fire in Provo and Country Fan Fest in Grantsville, Utah are the most fun July events in Utah.

  • Stadium of Fire
  • Country Fan Fest
  • 4 of July Celebrations


Related Read: 70 Best Things To Do in Utah

August: Best Time for Festivities

Zion National Park is a springboard for tourists to explore other fun Utah destinations. Blues, Brews, and BBQ is the perfect example and it’s held in Huntsville each year. You can also visit Das Energi Festival in Utah during August which draws huge crowds.

The park itself is full of tourists throughout August because it’s right before the cool weather sets in. It stays between 61 and 90 degrees in August, so be sure to bring plenty of water when you hit the trails. Over 491,000 tourists visit Zion National Park every August, on average, so prepare for crowds.

Rain isn’t a problem in August, so it’s a great time for Canyoneering at Zion National Park. Springdale is hopping throughout August and the Spirit of Polynesia festival is a fun destination. Make sure to book reservations before you dine in Springdale during August because it hosts countless tourists.

  • Das Energi Festival
  • Blues, Brews, and BBQ
  • Utah County Fair
  • Hiking
  • Spirit of Polynesia

September: Best Time for Music

September is when things start to die down at Zion National Park, but you can still have plenty of fun. The Zion Canyon Music Festival is a chance to hear great tunes among some of the best views in the United States.

Zion Canyoneering happens every September and is a great way to connect with tourists and locals alike. The main advantage to visiting Zion National Park in September is that you won’t have to deal with crowds of tourists. September only accounts for 11% of tourism throughout the year, and it gets less busy towards the end of the month.

You can still enjoy warm weather during September at Zion National Park, but things start to cool down. Tourists should expect temperatures between 52 and 83 degrees during September in and around Zion National Park. You will have full access to all of the trails at Zion National Park and you won’t encounter as many tourists.

  • Zion Canyon Music Festival
  • Zion Canyoneering
  • Dustbowl Revival
  • Brigham City Peach Days
  • Run the Mesa

October: Best Time for Leisure

Hiking and Glamping is a fun outdoor event where you won’t have to rough it under extreme conditions at Zion National Park. Land of Canyons AdZENture is another relaxed way to experience natural beauty at your pace. Return to the Garden is a newer event that has happened for the last 3 Octobers around Zion National Park and it’s a great time.

Visit UBERFEST: Zion if you want to experience a lively, festive event with large crowds. Besides that, Zion National Park and the surrounding areas stay fairly quiet throughout October because of the dwindling tourism. Tourism becomes less and less prominent the further you get into September, and it’s quite calm by October.

Bring warm clothes when you go to Zion National Park in October because it can get cool, especially at night. Temperatures fluctuate between 42 and 70 degrees throughout the month at Zion National Park and in Springdale.

  • Hiking and Glamping
  • Land of Canyons AdZENture
  • Return to the Garden
  • UBERFEST: Zion

November: Best Time to Explore

November is the best time to explore Zion National Park without crowd interference. Areas of the park such as Kolob Canyon are hard to access when the park is crowded, but that’s not a problem in November. Whether you visit to hike or camp, it’s much easier to navigate the area during November when crowds aren’t a problem.

With that said, you can still find festivities and crowds in November if you want to. The Redrox Music Festival is a loud and exciting event in Springdale worth visiting. There isn’t much else to do around Zion National Park throughout November unless you plan to hike and camp.

The surrounding areas enjoy the downtime in November that will last until the end of winter. It stays between 30 and 55 degrees during November which isn’t always ideal for hiking and camping, but it can still be fun if you pack correctly.

  • Redrox Music Festival
  • Camping
  • Hiking

December: Best Time for a Quick Trip

December is a dead time for Zion National Park and the surrounding areas. There isn’t much to do in the area, and hiking and camping at the park aren’t optimal because of the weather. It can get as cold as 22 degrees during December in and around Zion National Park.

The low temperatures are more than enough to keep the average tourist away from the park. The average high temperature throughout December is 46 degrees, and those are the days when people explore the trails. Those days are often few and far between throughout December, unfortunately.

You have to go out of your way for fun events in the areas surrounding Zion National Park in December. The LaVerkin City Winter Fest and Kanarra Falls are the only notable examples. A quick trip to Zion National Park in December is still a fun time if you plan it around the weather.

  • Kanarra Falls
  • LaVerkin City Winter Fest

Related Read: Western National Parks Road Trip: U.S.A

Best Time to Visit Zion National Park With Family

The best time to visit Zion National Park with family is anytime between April and the end of June. Tourism is booming during this period, but it offers comfortable temperatures for outdoor activities. It gets too crowded for families during July so it’s best to go before then.

High temperatures stay between 65 and 88 degrees between April and June. This allows you to enjoy scenic drives, camp, and hike without worrying about excessive heat. This is invaluable when you travel with family, especially if you have young children.

The spring and early summer also provide the best views of Zion National Park and Springdale. Make sure to ask the Visitors Center which trails would be best for your family based on your children’s age. They will be able to help you find a trail that is within your family’s capabilities so you can have as much fun as possible.

Best Time to Visit Zion National Park to Avoid Crowds

The best time to visit Zion National Park to avoid crowds is between October and February. Fall and winter aren’t ideal times to go to Zion National Park, and that’s why it’s never crowded. You won’t have full access to all of the trails if it ice forms from rain and snow during this time.

With that said, you can still have plenty of fun during late autumn and throughout winter. Crowds thin out significantly as you get towards the end of September at Zion National Park. Most tourists visit Zion National Park between May and August when the weather is idyllic.

This shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting Zion National park from October to February, however. You simply need to pack wisely and bring warm weather so that you can explore the expansive trails without getting too cold. The lack of crowds lets you fully enjoy the surrounding natural beauty without having to rush.

Do You Need a Car to go to Zion National Park?

You can easily go to Zion National Park without a car as a tourist. However, it is helpful to drive there or rent a car before you leave the airport. That is because the nearest airport is 170 miles away from the park or any surrounding hotels.

Some travelers have no option but to fly to Salt Lake City International Airport which is further away. That airport is 311 miles away from Zion National Park, so renting a car can save you a fortune. Luckily, you can take shuttles to the park once you’re in the area. It is useful to have a car when you go to Zion National Park so that you can venture out into Springdale and beyond to enjoy the local culture.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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