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InDestinations, National Parks, Utah, Zion

7 Easy Family-Friendly Hikes in Zion National Park

Zion Canyon and the Great White Throne Formations in Zion National Park.

Zion National Park is home to soaring red rock canyons, winding rivers, and beautiful desert landscapes. It’s also a hiker’s paradise. And while it might be best known for it’s strenuous (and terrifying) treks like Angel’s Landing, there are a ton of incredible easy hikes in Zion that hikers of all ages and abilities will love to explore!

Whether you’re a first-time visitor, beginner hiker, or traveling with young kids, Zion has a ton of easy hikes that get you up close to the stunning scenery — without the exhausting work, permits, or danger of some of it’s more famous hikes!

In this guide, I’m sharing my 7 favorite easy hikes in Zion National Park that are perfect for everyone in the family to enjoy. I’ve also included some important tips for exploring one of my favorite southwest National Parks!

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from any purchase – at no extra cost to you. This commission helps keep Brooke In Boots up and running. As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!

A Quick Look at the Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

This guide covers each of the 7 best easy trails in Zion below, but if you’re looking for the best of the best, here’s a quick look at some of my absolute favorite hikes on this list:

Best Easy Hike in Zion With Views: Zion Canyon Overlook

Favorite Pet-Friendly Easy Hike in Zion: Pa’rus Trail

Best Easy Hike in Zion for Kids: Lower Emerald Pool

Best Wheelchair Accessible Trail: Riverside Walk

Want to learn More about visiting Zion National Park? Check out these Zion blog posts for suggestions on how to plan the perfect trip to Zion National Park.

Check Out These Blog Posts for More Resources on Visiting Zion & Bryce Canyon

Epic Zion National Park Itinerary Guide

7 Easy Family-Friendly Hikes in Zion National Park

One Epic Day in Bryce Canyon National Park

Zion Permits & Reservations: Everything You Need to Know

Closest Airports to Bryce Canyon & How to Get to There

Is Zion Good for Non Hikers?

While Zion is known for its challenging hikes, there are plenty of opportunities for non-hikers to experience the beauty of the park. The easy hikes listed in this guide are perfect for those who may not want to take on more strenuous trails, but still want to explore and appreciate the beauty of Zion.

In addition to the easy hikes, there are also scenic drives, tram tours, canyoneering classes and even horseback riding options for non-hikers to enjoy! If you’re looking for more ideas of things to do in Zion, check out my ultimate Zion itinerary post, here.

a hiker sits at the edge of a vast red rock canyon at Zion Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park.
Zion Canyon Overlook – One of my favorite easy hikes in Zion!

Important Tips for Hiking in Zion National Park

Before we jump into the list of my favorite easy hikes in Zion, here are some important tips to keep in mind when hiking in Zion National Park:

  • Start Hiking Early: Zion is an extremely popular National Park, which means tons and tons of crowds! Start as early as possible to avoid the majority of them and have the trails (more) to yourself and beat the heat, which can be brutal mid-day, especially in the summer.
  • Use the Shuttle: Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to cars when the Zion Canyon Shuttle is operating (usually late-May to Thanksgiving). That means you’ll probably have to use the Shuttle system to access all of these trails, except the Zion Canyon Overlook and Timber Creek Overlook. The first shuttle leaves the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 6 a.m. during peak season. Check updated Shuttle schedules here
  • Check Trail and Park Conditions: Zion trails frequently close due to ice, rockfalls, and flooding. Check Park conditions for most recent updates, here.
  • Bring Plenty of Water: There are no water sources on these trails, so you need to bring enough for the entire hike. I recommend at least 2 liters per person for a shorter hike and more if you’re planning on being out all day.
  • Flash Flood Warnings: Flash floods are common in Zion and can happen any time of year. Flash Floods are the sudden increase in water volume and speed along rivers, creeks, canyons, and washes caused by heavy rain. Flash Floods can occur even when the sky is blue, if a far off storm drops significant water into the canyon system. Learn more about flash floods in Zion and the warning signs, here.

Take this info to-go! The Zion Itinerary Guide has your perfect 1, 2, or 3 day Zion trip completely planned for you! With over 20 pages of detailed hiking guides, printable daily itineraries, lodging and dining suggestions and more, you can spend less time stressing and more time making epic memories! Check it out, here.

Click here to shop Zion National Park Itinerary Guides.

What to Wear for a Hike in Zion National Park

It’s important to be prepared – even on an easy trail! Before heading out on a hike, there are a few key items you should always have with you, even on Zion’s easy hikes.

  • Closed Toe Shoes: A good pair of hiking boots, trail runners, or even sneakers with good tread are a must when visiting Zion. Closed toe shoes will protect your feet from sharp rocks and prickly desert plants. A lot of the trails in Zion are sandy and involve walking on crumbly loose rock. While it’s possible to wear hiking sandals on most of these trails, in my experience you’ll be pretty uncomfortable and more likely to injure yourself.  I love my Merrell Moab Hiking Shoes or my Brooks Cascadia Trail Runners.
  • Layers: The temperature can fluctuate greatly in the desert. No matter the season, wear layers that can be easily removed or added as needed.
  • Sun Protection: Bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and tons of sunscreen to protect yourself from the intense desert sun.

Learn more about dressing for a day hike and my favorite clothes for hiking, here.

What to Bring on a Hike in Zion National Park

  • Water : I know, I keep saying to bring water, but seriously bring enough water. Make sure to also drink electrolytes or salty snacks to avoid dehydration and heat related illness.
  • First-Aid Kit: Always carry a small first-aid kit in case of any emergencies.
  • Snacks: Pack high-energy and nutrient-dense snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike. Salty snacks and electrolytes can help you retain water and are critical to staying hydrated in the desert.
  • Backpack: A sturdy backpack is necessary to carry all your essentials comfortably. Check out my favorite day-hiking backpacks, here.
  • Bring a Map and GPS: Always carry a map or GPS device, and download your trail info before you head into the Park. DO NOT rely on cell phone service in Joshua Tree, trust me, you won’t have any out there!

I personally always carry a Personal Locator Beacon / Satellite communicator when visiting a National Park like my Garmin InReach Mini 2 (monthly subscription required). With this device I can send text messages, track my hike, view offline maps, or hit the SOS button to contact search and rescue in a true emergency.

Learn more about what to bring on your next day hike in my in-depth guide, here.

Favorite Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

These hikes in Zion are big on views, without requiring hours of strenuous climbing or dangerous trail conditions. All of these hikes, except two, are located within Zion Canyon, and easily accessible using the Zion Canyon Shuttle system.

a wide red rock canyon, topped with snow from above with a winding road running through it in Zion Canyon National Park.
the view from Zion Canyon Overlook Trail / Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

1. Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

Distance: 1 Mile

Elevation Gain: 200′

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Pet Friendly: No

Trailhead: Overlook Trail Parking Lot on Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway

The Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is one of Zion’s best easy hikes, and a must-do when visiting Zion National Park. This is one of my favorite trails in Zion that requires very little effort for an unbelievably beautiful payoff!

The Overlook has breathtaking views of Zion Canyon, comparable to Angel’s Landing, without the strenuous climbing. The trail starts with a short climb leading to a flat and easy path with a few switchbacks.

Along the way, you’ll pass through a few small tunnels carved into the rock, and boardwalks bolted into the canyon walls. This trail is plenty wide and there are guardrails along most of the way, but still remember to carefully watch your kids and watch your step!

At the end of this short hike, you’ll reach a stunning viewpoint overlooking Zion Canyon. Take in the views, snap some photos, and enjoy!

To access the Zion Canyon Overlook trail, you’ll need to drive your own car to the trailhead on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. There are no shuttle stops along this scenic drive. Park at the Overlook Parking Lot just past the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Parking fills during busy times, so you may need to park in the overflow lot, a short distance down the highway.

If you’re driving an RV, trailer, or oversized vehicle, make sure you know all about the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel vehicle restrictions. You can learn more about Vehicle Restrictions and getting around Zion, here.

Want to learn more about planning an epic National Parks trip? Grab my free Ultimate National Parks Planning Guide, including 70+ pages of National Park packing checklists, planning tips, and everything you need to know to start planning a trip to all 63 National Parks!

Riverside Walk before the Narrows / Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

2. Riverside Walk to the Zion Narrows

Distance: 2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 200′

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Pet Friendly: No

Trailhead: Temple of Sinawava / Zion Canyon Shuttle Stop #9

This easy, paved wheelchair accessible trail begins at the Temple of Sinawava and follows the Virgin River as the wide Zion Canyon slowly narrows around you. Along the way you’ll have nonstop views of the towering red and white canyon walls around you.

1 mile from the trailhead, you’ll reach the start of The Narrows – where the Virgin River has carved a deep gorge through the sandstone cliffs.

This is where most people turn around, but if you’re up for an adventure, put on your water shoes, (or just commit to having soggy hiking boots) grab a walking stick, and hike further into the Canyon.

If you plan on hiking into the water and the Narrows, be aware that the “trail” isn’t a trail at all – you just follow the river as far as you’d like before turning around (up to Big Springs at mile 4.5). The rocky bottom and current definitely make this a moderate to strenuous journey, depending on how far you go, and deep wading or even swimming may be required.

But if you just want an easy taste of hiking the Narrows, consider walking a short distance on one of Zion National Park’s most iconic hikes!

water drops down from an overhanging cliff into a lush pool on the Lower Emerald Pool trail in Zion National Park.

3. Lower Emerald Pool

Distance: 1.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: 150′

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Pet Friendly: No

Trailhead: Zion Lodge / Shuttle Stop #5

Did you know there are waterfalls in Zion? Visit Zion’s most famous falls on this extremely popular easy hike to the Lower Emerald Pool. The trail begins across the street from the Zion Canyon Lodge. Cross in the crosswalk and head over the bridge to access the trail.

The trail is mostly paved and begins with a gradual uphill climb that is exposed to the sun, before entering the shaded canyon, where you’ll spot hanging gardens with lush desert vegetation.

There are three levels of this hike: Lower Pool (1.5 miles), Upper Pool (2 miles), and the Middle Pool (3 miles).

At the Lower Emerald Pool, the trail actually winds behind the small waterfall cascading down into the Lower Pool. Take in the cool mist and enjoy the beauty of this incredibly scenic and unique spot.

If you want to continue hiking, head up to the Middle Pool, where you’ll find a larger waterfall and stunning canyon views. However, be aware that this section of the trail can be steep and difficult at times, making for a more moderate hike.

2024 Update:The bridge to access the trail from the Lodge / Shuttle Stop #5 is closed indefinitely due to damage. To access the trail during this closure, you’ll need to hop the shuttle to one of the other bridges along the Virgin River. I suggest using Shuttle Stop #6 The Grotto. From here, follow the Kayenta Trail to the Lower Emerald Pools trail for an out and back hike. This detour adds about 1 mile round trip and a little more elevation gain, but overall it is still a very doable hike for kids and beginner hikers.

a paved trail winds between trees and red and white massive rock formations in the background on the Parus Trail in Zion
Pa’rus Trail in Zion / Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

4. Pa’rus Trail

Distance: 3.2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 150′

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Pet Friendly: Yes (this is the only pet-friendly trail in Zion)

Trailhead: Zion Visitor Center / Shuttle Stop #1

The Pa’rus Trail is a great option for those looking for an easy and accessible hike in Zion National Park. This paved trail follows the Virgin River for 3.2 miles, making it perfect for families with children or anyone looking for a more leisurely hike, but one that still has nonstop views of Zion Canyon.

This is the only pet friendly hike in Zion. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. And whatever you do, don’t allow your pets into the river. The Virgin River has experienced high-levels of cyanobacteria, a toxic algae, in recent years, that sadly has caused death and illness in some pets. Learn more, here.

This trail is also wheelchair and stroller accessible. You can access the Pa’rus Trail from the Zion Visitor Center or Shuttle Stop #1, and it connects to various picnic areas and overlooks along the way.

During your hike, you’ll have stunning views of the Watchman and other iconic rock formations in Zion Canyon. You’ll also have the opportunity to spot wildlife such as mule deer, wild turkeys, and birds.

a sandy trail leads to the giant red rock Watchman formation in Zion National Park.
the towering Watchman Formation on the Watchman Trail / Best Easy Hikes in Zion

5. Watchman Trail

Distance: 3.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 650′

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Pet Friendly: No

Trailhead: Zion Visitor Center / Shuttle Stop #1

Explore one of Zion’s largest sandstone towers, the Watchman, on this often overlooked trail.

The trail begins at the Zion Visitor Center and takes you along the Virgin River before climbing up switchbacks up to the base of the Watchman. Along the way you’ll have great views of the nearby town of Springdale, and the greater Zion area.

With 650′ of elevation gain, this trail is more of a moderate hike than some other trails on this list. But it’s still a family and beginner friendly trail and one of the hidden gems of hikes in Zion Canyon.

Be warned, this trail has basically no shade. Make sure to hike early in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Avoid this trail during summer and when temps are hot. And of course, don’t forget that water, sunscreen, and a hat!

the remote Kolob Canyon from Timber Creek / Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

6. Timber Creek Overlook (Kolob Canyon District)

Distance: 1.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 150′

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Pet Friendly: No

Trailhead: Kolob Canyon Overlook Parking Lot

Located about 45 minutes north of Zion Canyon, the Kolob Canyons area is a stunning but seldom visited area of the Park. In fact, only a tiny fraction of visitors to Zion ever make it to the Kolob Canyons District. 

From the entrance, follow the scenic drive to the end at the Kolob Canyon Overlook Parking Lot. Here you can stretch your legs and explore this little-visited area of the park on the easy Timber Creek Overlook trail.  

The trail offers views of the nearby Pine Valley Mountains and Kolob Terrace. With only 150′ of elevation gain, this is a great trail for anyone looking for a shorter hike in the Kolob area.

The road to this trail often closes in winter due to snow and ice, so make sure to check Park conditions before visiting.

Weeping Rock in Zion / Best Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

7. Weeping Rock Trail

Distance: 0.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 50′

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Pet Friendly: No

Trailhead: Weeping Rock Trailhead / Shuttle Stop #7

2024 Update: As of November 2023, this trail is closed due to rockfall. NPS officials are carefully monitoring the area and will reopen this trail as soon as it is safe. Check Park conditions here for updates.

This short but sweet trail leads to Weeping Rock, a naturally occurring spring dripping from the canyon walls. You’ll also get sweeping view of Zion’s most iconic rock formations, like the Great White Throne.

From this trailhead, you can also access the strenuous hike to Observation Point.

Take this info to-go! The Zion Itinerary Guide has your perfect 1, 2, or 3 day Zion trip completely planned for you! With over 20 pages of detailed hiking guides, printable daily itineraries, lodging and dining suggestions and more, you can spend less time stressing and more time making epic memories! Check it out, here.

Click here to shop Zion National Park Itinerary Guides.

Conclusion

Zion National Park is truly a gem, offering a variety of easy hikes that are perfect for first-time visitors, beginners, and families with kids. From epic views at the Zion Canyon overlook, to exploring the virgin river on Riverside walk, these are some of the best hikes in Zion that take little effort for a big reward!

Check Out More Epic National Park Hikes

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Cuyahoga Valley: 7 Can’t Miss Hikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Joshua Tree: 17 Memorable Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park

New River Gorge: Beautiful Hikes in New River Gorge National Park

Zion: Easy Family-Friendly Hikes in Zion National Park

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