Traveling in Zion National Park

Backcountry Permits (ZION)

A backcountry permit is required for all overnight trips in the backcountry, Narrows thru-hikes, Narrows day-hikes beyond Orderville Canyon, and all canyon trips requiring descending gear or ropes (including the Subway). Permits can be obtained at Zion Canyon Visitor Center’s Backcountry Desk or Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. They can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis online from the park’s website for a $5 non-refundable fee per reservation. At least 25 percent of all permits are set aside for day-before/same-day walk-in visitors. If you attempt to secure a walk-in permit you should arrive the day before your trip when the backcountry desk opens. Permits to the park’s two most popular backcountry areas, the Subway and Mystery Canyon, are distributed via an online lottery. Hopeful hikers must enter the lottery at least three months prior to their planned trip. A non-refundable $5 fee is charged for each lottery entry. If you won the lottery, secured a reservation, or obtained a permit the day of your trip, you will have to pay an additional backcountry permit fee. Fees are based on group size: $10 for 1 – 2 people, $15 for 3 – 7 people and $20 for 8 -12 people. Maximum group size is 12 people.

Horseback Riding (ZION)

Tourists can also experience the wonders of Zion on horseback. Canyon Trail Rides offers 1-hour ($40/person) and half-day ($75/person) trail rides from March through October. Guided rides begin at a corral by Emerald Pools Trailhead near Zion Lodge. Visitors are also allowed to trailer in stock. A stock camp is available at Hop Valley Site A, located on Hop Valley Trail. A backcountry permit is required for overnight stays, but not for day use. Not all trails are approved for stock use, so check with the visitor center or online before you ride.

Canyon Trail Rides | (435) 679-8665 | Bryce Canyon National Park; Tropic, UT 84776 |

The Subway © Jeremiah Roth

Biking is allowed on all of the park’s roadways and Pa’rus Trail, which connects South Campground with Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

Bird Watching: There are more than 290 species of birds that visit or nest within the park. Watch cliff-faces for peregrine falcons and the lush vegetation along the Virgin River for Grace’s warblers and Bullock’s orioles.

Stargazing: Visitors, especially those from large urban areas, should take a few moments to admire the stars. High elevation and remoteness make Zion an ideal location to admire the night sky.

Photography: Brightly colored rock layers, deep blue skies, vibrant green grasslands, and the occasional wildflower bloom make Zion one of the most photogenic parks. A tripod is essential for photographing the dimly lit Zion Narrows. For best results take photos near dawn or dusk.

Traveling in Zion National Park Photo Gallery

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