Top 5 Things to See During Your Visit to Zion National Park

Aug 15, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

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Zion National Park’s sweeping views and incredible landscapes are just one of the things that make it one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. Another reason is that there is truly something for everyone to enjoy, from families to seniors to individuals looking for a thrilling adventure. Covering more than 200 square miles, it would be impossible to see all of Zion in a day, or even a week. But if you’re short on time, there are a few highlights you definitely won’t want to miss during your stay in our Zion house rentals. Keep reading to learn the top five things everyone should see during their visit to Watchman Villas.

1. Angels Landing

Perhaps the best-known view in all of Zion National Park is the view from the top of Angels Landing. This iconic trail is one of the most popular in the park, as well as one of the most famous in any of the national parks across the country.

Despite being so widely photographed and distributed, getting to the peak of this famous trail is no easy feat, and isn’t for everyone. The trail is nearly 5 miles roundtrip, with more than 1,500 feet of elevation gain. The trail has a few famous features, including Walter’s Wiggles, a set of 21 steep switchbacks, and the section of trail that has hikers crossing a narrow ridgeline with 1,000-foot drop-offs on either side, with only a chain handrail to help you keep your balance.

If you do want to see this famous sight during your stay in our Zion house rentals, you’ll want to start preparing long before you arrive in Southern Utah. Hiking boots and plenty of water aren’t the only things that should be on your Zion National Park packing list for this hike. Since 2022, visitors hoping to hike Angels Landing have also needed to get a permit. You can try for a permit in one of two lotteries; the Day-Before Lottery and the Seasonal Lottery.

2. The Narrows

Rivaling Angels Landing for the name of the most unique trail in all of Zion is The Narrows. This incredible trail takes hikers into the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. You’ll hike up or downstream in the Virgin River, which means you’ll need waterproof gear if you’re visiting Zion in the winter, fall, or spring. If you don’t want to add these to your Zion packing list, you can rent gear from several outfitters in Springdale.

A full hike of The Narrows involves getting transportation to Chamberlain’s Ranch, a private parcel of land that provides access to the canyon outside of the park. From there, you’ll hike 16 miles downstream, likely sleeping overnight on the trail.

Most guests of our Zion house rentals aren’t up for that kind of trek. Luckily, you can also head to the Riverside Trail, the final stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, and walk to the end of the trail. There, you’ll find a few steps down to the Virgin River. You can then hike a ways upstream to experience the incredible canyon and towering cliff walls.

3. Kolob Canyons

Most visitors to our Zion house rentals head to Zion Canyon via the South Entrance. However, many first-time visitors don’t realize that there is an entire other section of Zion National Park that you can’t access from within Zion Canyon.

Kolob Canyons is located about 45 miles away from Springdale, to the Northwest of Zion Canyon. Here, you’ll find some incredible views, as well as wide-open expanses of wilderness, uncrowded trails, and endless overlooks. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds during a busy holiday weekend, Kolob Canyons offers a great alternative. 

This section of the park also has a great venue option if you’re planning on getting married in Zion National Park. Timber Creek Overlook can accommodate up to 20 people and offers an incredible backdrop for your ceremony.

4. Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel

The next item on this list would be tough to miss, especially if you plan to drive through Zion during your stay. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel was constructed in the 1920s and 30s and connects Zion’s Upper and Lower Canyons. When it was dedicated on July 4, 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its kind in the U.S. It stretches over a mile through the rock, with windows that let in light and provide ventilation in the otherwise dark and curbing tunnel.

Today, it continues to not only make the path between the two sections of the canyon safe and easy but is also an engineering marvel and a unique experience guests of all ages enjoy.

5. Checkerboard Mesa

After traveling through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, you’re only a short drive from Checkerboard Mesa. This sandstone hill has been carved by wind and cracked through millions of years of water freezing and expanding. As a result, it now has a distinct checkerboard pattern on its flat, barren face.

There are several pull-offs where you can view this unique sight and take pictures.

Planning Your Stay in Our Zion House Rentals

From hiking iconic trails like Angels Landing and The Narrows to cruising through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, there’s a lot to see during your stay in our Zion house rentals. If you have the time, we recommend planning to spend at least a week exploring Zion and Springdale. If you want to enjoy some day trips to other nearby destinations, like Bryce Canyon National Park or Valley of Fire State Park, you may want to spend even longer.

Watchman Villas is the ideal spot for an extended vacation. From our spacious villas to our amenities like washers and dryers in every unit and fully-equipped kitchens, you’ll feel right at home, with everything you need for a comfortable, enjoyable getaway. Book your stay today and start planning your own Zion adventure!

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