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15 Best Day Trips from Zion National Park

15 Best Day Trips from Zion National Park

The Zion National Park can be known as a heaven on earth. It is a magical place created by water, snow, and wind. The ecosystem of the park can support 800 native plant species which includes more flowers than anywhere else in Utah.

The park has more than 80 percent of the wilderness area and it will not take more than a few minutes for you to pass into something beautiful once you enter. Adding to it, there are several day trips from Zion National Park you can take.

Zion National Park is a treasure and delight to explore. Whether you are traveling with your family or friends, you will absolutely love the place. There is outstanding flora and fauna in the park. 

The park is located around Zion Canyon which is 15 miles long and is 3,000 feet deep in several places. The park also includes most of the landscapes, and terrain that ranges from desert to the forests and across the plateaus over the canyon.

Zion National Park

The Canyon is laced with many trails from easy to strenuous. If you love hiking, this is the place to be. Backpackers can trek the West Rim Trail on the wilderness Horse Pasture Plateau to the Lava Point. 

Zion National Park is epic and is filled with several off-beaten adventures and gems. It is ideal for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and families.

There is never enough time to discover all that the beautiful park has to offer. There are many free things to do at the park as well as several day trips from Zion National Park.

Zion National Park has a mix of nearby urban cities, national parks, state parks, and small towns to explore. I’d recommend booking an RV with RVShare to see all the nearby sights, which will save you money and you’ll see more along the way.

Otherwise, if you only have time for one or two trips, simply book a rental car for a day and explore the top fit for you out of our list.

If you find out the number of day trips you can make from Zion National Park, you will be asking for more time. Zion is located in Southern Utah and is only a few hours’ drive from several other cities, national parks, and state parks.

Best Day trips from Zion National Park

1. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon

Located under an hour and a half from Zion, the lesser-known national park does not have too many visitors. It is popular for its geological formations and scenic beauty. Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon is a wonderful day trip.

If you are under the impression that the parks are in close proximity so they will have similar scenery, you are wrong. Bryce Canyon has one popular sight that is not present in Zion hoodoos. They are popular stone formations that resemble stacks of rocks and are formed by erosion and frost weathering.

You will find thousands of them in clusters around the park. Bryce Canyon is smaller than Zion at about 35,000 acres and it offers several hiking trails and a high elevation than Zion, making it one of the best day trips from Zion National Park.

On the scenic drive, you will be able to access 13 viewpoints that are ideal for taking some photographs. 

2. Springdale

Springdale Is The Gateway Into Zion

The primary getaway from the park, Springdale is only about a few minutes from the park. The highway is surrounded by several restaurants, hotels, art galleries, and shops.

There are outfitters who can arrange several adventure activities around the park. You can choose from rappelling, rock climbing, helicopter tour, hiking on the Narrows, tubing on the River downstream from the park, and more.

If you are done exploring the park, Springdale is where you will find many things to do. 

3. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Take a chance to cool off the summer heat when visiting Zion National Park. Lake Powell is only 2 hours away and it is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, on the border of Arizona and Utah.

It is one of the very popular day trips from Zion National Park.

The second-largest man-made reservoir has steep sandstone cliffs rising on the very edge of the lake and stunning geological formations that can be seen from the water. The lake is one of a kind and is best explored by boat.

Apart from swimming and boating, you can enjoy the best fishing for stripers and trout. The recreation area is home to scenic drives, hiking, mountain biking trails, and a lot more. 

4. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

If you are looking for a day trip that can be explored in half a day, head to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is possible to plan a visit in less than a day but it will take weeks or more for you to explore each corner of the massive treasure.

The monument is as large as the state of Delaware and offers unspoiled wilderness. It will give a peak in the history of ancient animals and people who once called the area home.

The monument is a must-visit for history lovers. It was created recently and remains largely remote and undeveloped, thus, making it an ideal place to spend time with nature. 

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Las Vegas?

5. Snow Canyon State Park

Snow canyon national park

You will find many restaurants and shopping options in Springdale but if you are looking for a day off from Zion, head to the Snow Canyon State Park. It is less than an hour away in St. George and has a mild climate with a lot to offer.

St. George to Zion National Park is a day trip frequented by travelers. It is one of Utah’s treasured parks with 16 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, stunning red rock cliffs, biking, horseback riding, and more.

You will also get to see the black lava rock caps on the top of the cliffsides and ridges in the park.

6.  Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Zion National Park is not the best place for winter sports. There is a park only 30 minutes away and you can enjoy sledding throughout the year here.

Head for a day trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park which has more than 3,700 acres of land and is covered in pink-hued sand dunes that were formed more than 10,000 years ago. The dunes are formed due to the erosion of the pink-colored Navajo Sandstone that surrounds the park.

When you head to the Moquith Mountains, you will see the wind pick up the loose particles of sand and drop them on the dunes. It is a sight to behold. The park also offers an opportunity for camping, hiking, photography, and off-roading making it one of the best day trips from Zion National Park.

If sledding is not something you enjoy, engage in off-roading with UTVs and ATVs or go hiking.

Do check out the Moquith Mountain, Helldive Canyon Pictographs, Harris Mountains, Ponderosa Grove Picnic Area, and South Fork Indian Canyon Pictographs. There is a Jr. Ranger Program, especially for kids. 

See Related: Best Zion National Park Hotels

7. Quail Creek State Park

A very popular state park that is less than an hour from Zion, the Quail Creek State Park has a warm water reservoir and mild climate. It is one of the top RV parks near Zion National Park and is a year-round destination for fishing, hiking, and boating.

Located in Hurricane, the park is a desert escape for RVers who are looking for the right place to fish, camp, or hike. You can enjoy a variety of species when fishing in the reservoir including bullhead catfish, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and more.

You will get an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful canyons and mountains here. The park is near a warm body of water that is formed by the diversion of the Virgin River in the Quail Creek Reservoir.

The State Park is an ideal camping gateway for those who want to stay inside the camping location and away from the most crowded area of Zion National Park. 

See Related: Best Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah

8.  North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Mist over the Grand Canyon

You will need 2 hours for this trip but it is worth it. The journey from Grand Canyon to Zion National Park is scenic. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers the spectacular beauty of the popular South Rim.

The best thing about the North Rim is the lack of crowds. It has overlooks, a lot of hiking, and a visitors center that make it an ideal place to enjoy the park without spending too much time away from Zion.

There are places like the Point Imperial where you can watch the rising sun across the massive walls of rock and Mount Hayden. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a more remote, and rugged opportunity to see what the beautiful place offers. It is one of the must-do day trips from Zion National Park.

There are ample trails and hikes that you can take here. The North Rim is known for the maximum concentration of plateau top trials in the Grand Canyon.

So if you are new to the altitude, you can enjoy a walk with a view. You can easily find accommodation in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Like what you are hearing? Read this full Grand Canyon itinerary to explore more.

9. Las Vegas

Las Vegas

In two and a half hours, you reach Zion National Park to Las Vegas. It is the place to be if you want to take a break from sightseeing.

It has some beautiful attractions and sights on the way. You can also head to Las Vegas once you are done with the national park. There are several things to do in Las Vegas for all traveler personalities. The city is known for its outstanding nightlife and entertainment.

You can try your luck at the casino or head to the floating playground. You can also participate in the food tour or simply soak in the beauty of the Bellagio fountains. The most preferred day trips from Zion National Park, Las Vegas is the place to be.

10. Phoenix

Mammillaria Polythele in the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

One of the best road trips is from Phoenix to Zion National Park. It is slightly longer than visiting Las Vegas but is worth it. You will have to drive for about six hours to reach Phoenix.

When in Phoenix, you can simply sit back and relax or make the most of the attractions. You can head to the Desert Botanical Garden, Musical Instrument Museum, Art Museum, or one of the golf courses.

You will not get bored in Phoenix. If you are traveling with children, you can head to the children’s museum of Phoenix or Mountain Park. You must plan your day in advance and try to cover as many attractions as you can. 

See Related: Best Things to do in Scottsdale

11. Salt Lake City

Building In Salt Lake City

At a distance of four hours, you can reach Salt Lake City to Zion National Park. The capital city of Utah has ample things to do and sights to soak in. You will also find the best accommodation here.

When in Salt Lake City, head to Temple Square, Utah State Capitol,  Liberty Park, Great Salt Lake, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Hogle Zoo, and Clark Planetarium.

If you are traveling with kids, there are several places to see and activities to engage in. There are several museums for you to explore in Salt Lake City and a lot of attractions are free.

You must plan a day trip from Zion National Park to Salt Lake City. 

See Related: Best Things to do in Provo, Utah

12. Boulder City

Hoover Dam

If you are done with the big cities and the national park, drive 3 hours from Zion National Park to Boulder City. It is a small town where you can relax in peace and serenity. Although the town is small, there are things you can do here.

The city does not offer bright lights or gaming tables due to gambling prohibition but there is a lot of entertainment for the entire family. You can take bike rides on Hoover Dam, or the Black Canyon and enjoy the beauty of Lake Mead. Boulder City is one of the top day trips from Zion National Park.

You can learn more about the history of the area and try some of the best beers available. If you are an adventure junkie, you can take to skydiving or desert excursions.

See Related: Best Hotels Near Hoover Dam

13. Springville

Carnegie Library in Springville Utah

Located at a distance of one hour, Springville in Utah is known as an Art City for its prominence and development of arts. It is easy to reach Springville from Zion National Park and is one of the common day trips.

It is known as the oldest museum in Utah- the Springville Museum of Art. The museum hosts works of well-known local and national artists including the collections of Utah Art.

Besides the museum of Art, there is the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum. It houses some historical artifacts, history, handicrafts, and family group records.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Utah

14. Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is located at a distance of fewer than two hours from Zion National Park. It is a must-do when in Zion National Park and remains on the top of the itinerary of most travelers.

It is also one of the best day trips from Zion National Park.

Your trip to Arizona is incomplete without the Antelope Canyon. There are two areas in the canyon-the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. Since it is located in Navajo territory, you will have to book a tour through the local operators.

It is best to book the tour in advance to make the most of the beautiful canyon. No pictures can do justice to the stunning beauty of the canyon and you need to see it to believe it.

The light beams can make the canyon look totally different and they will make your experience unforgettable. These beams are visible only during certain hours of the day and it is a sight to see.

15. Sunrise Manor

Boulder Station Hotel Tower

Sunrise Manor is at a distance of 2.5 hours from Zion National Park and is located in Nevada. You can enjoy the scenic drive from the park to Sunrise Manor. The small town offers several things to do.

You can head to Mystic Falls Park, Frenchman Mountain, or East Fremont Street. Take a day off from all the sightseeing and relax here. It is an ideal place to sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet that the town offers.

It is a beautiful town with less population and is not overcrowded with tourists. These are the top day trips from Zion National Park. No matter which direction you are headed in or what you intend to do on your day trip, remember to make the most of the gem-Zion National Park.

There is so much to see and do in Zion. Whether you are a hiker or not, you will love the park. It attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe and is one of the best places to explore with your friends and family.

Its proximity to the cities and other parks makes it an ideal place for a long holiday. Explore the park fully and then proceed with your day trips from Zion National Park. Whether you like cities or want to head to a small town and relax, you will find it all near Zion National Park.

Besides these day trips from Zion National Park, you may also want to consider Antelope Canyon to Zion National Park. Plan your itinerary accordingly and keep the route in mind. The drives are comfortable and scenic.

St. George to Zion National Park is also a popular day trip. Make the most of this stunning National Park and explore the surrounding cities at your convenience.

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