Zion National Park offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, including everything from strenuous treks through the backcountry to easy, paved walks perfect for all ages and ability levels. But if you get tired of hoofing it or just want to experience the park in a different way, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Keep reading to learn 7 things to do besides hiking in Zion National Park.
1. Rock Climbing
If you’re sick of looking at Zion’s stunning canyons and cliffs from far below, this is one activity you’ll want to add to your list. Rock climbing and canyoneering offer adventurous visitors to the park a heart-pounding new adventure. Here you’ll find world-renowned climbs and routes for a wide variety of experience levels.
2. Horseback Riding
Experience the park the way that early pioneers first saw it; with a horseback riding adventure. There are plenty of places you can take a backcountry ride, as well as several stables ready to help you get on the trail.
For an adrenaline-pumping adventure that the entire family can enjoy together, book an off-road Jeep tour through Zion. Zion Country Off-Road Tours will take you off the pavement and straight into the backcountry of the canyon. You’ll bounce and bump along rocky roads, stopping to spot wildlife and stunning geography you’d never see from your passenger car. More daring visitors can rent an ATV instead for a fully open-air adventure.
Zion likely isn’t the first place most people think of when they think of going biking in Utah. But while most of the trails are off limits to any wheels, the park does boast one bike-friendly trail. The Pa’rus Trail is a paved, 3.5-mile one-way trail that offers incredible views and a chance to stretch your legs in a different way. If you haven’t brought your own bike along, you can always rent one just outside of the park entrance at Zion Outfitter. Don’t worry about getting your bike in your vehicle or on the shuttle; Pa’rus Trail starts just past the park shuttle bus line, making it an easy walk from the park entrance.
More experienced bikers can also ride on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The views are incredible, but be warned that the ride is steep and you’ll be sharing the road with the shuttle buses carting visitors to the Temple of Sinawava.
One activity that’s perfect for enjoying after a long day of hiking is stargazing. Zion’s remote location and lack of any large cities nearby make for some incredible views once the sun goes down. While the park may not have earned an International Dark Sky Park title like Utah’s Arches National Park and Capitol Reef National Park, officials have taken measures to reduce light pollution. When you enter the park at night, check out the outdoor lighting on Zion Lodge and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. You’ll notice that specially-designed fixtures help to direct light downward, helping to keep from adding to any light pollution. The park also hosts ranger-led stargazing programs, astronomy lessons, and more throughout the summer months.
At over 200 square miles, Zion would be impossible to cover entirely on foot. Give yourself a break and cover more ground with a scenic drive through the park. Zion offers two different scenic drive options in the park. The first is the 25-mile route on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. This is the road that takes you through the famous Mount Carmel Tunnel and along the twisting, zig-zag climb through the canyon. The second drive is Kolob Canyon Road. While these road is just 5-miles long, you’ll climb more than 1,000 feet, allowing you to look down on Kolob’s stunning red sandstone canyons.
7. Take a Helicopter Tour
Get a bird’s eye view of Zion National park with a tour like none you’ve likely ever taken before. Seeing the park from a helicopter might just help you start to wrap your head around how big the park really is, and how much unspoiled wilderness is really out there. You won’t actually fly directly over the park, as it is illegal to fly over national parks. But you’ll get close enough to spot landmarks like Angels Landing.
Experiencing Every Side of Zion National Park
You could visit Zion National Park every day for years on end and still see something new with every visit. When you’re planning your next Zion adventure, it’s always a good idea to include something you’ve never tried before on your itinerary. Whether it’s an evening of stargazing or an off-road ATV adventure, you’ll have the chance to see a side of Zion you may never have seen before! If you’re still looking for other exciting things to see and do on your next visit, check out these day trips you can take from Zion.