The Best Time of Year to Visit Zion National Park

One of the first things you need to decide when planning a trip to Zion National Park is when to go.  When the best time to go is may depend on your interests, preference for weather, and tolerance for crowds. 

I’m James and I’m a national park expert. In this article, I’ll give you a quick summary of the best times to visit Zion National Park so you can make the right decision. 

While this is my choice for the best time to go to Zion National Park, the park is great throughout the year.  I have provided a detailed breakdown by season so you can easily see what to expect and then make your own choice. 

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The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
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If you are planning to visit Zion Canyon National Park by yourself, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2- and 3-day itineraries for Zion National Park that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip. 

Check out the three Zion National Park itinerary options


The Best Time of Year to Visit Zion National Park in a Nutshell

What the best time of the year to visit Zion National Park is will depend to some extent on why you are going there and your tolerance to crowds and temperatures.   

Many people don’t have a choice but to travel in summer when the kids are out of school, and although it is hot and crowded, all of the services are open and it is still beautiful.   

If you have a choice, I think the best month to visit Zion National Park is September (after Labor Day).  There are fewer people, the temperatures are lovely, the fall color is putting on a show, prices are lower, accommodation is easier to book, and the trails are still open.   

I also love May.  Although the weather can be unpredictable, if the trails are open and the river level low enough, you get all the benefits of fall except instead of fall foliage there are wildflowers, waterfalls, and baby animals.   

However, winter has its own beauty – and very few people.  


When is the best time of year to go to Zion National Park (for different interests)?

Huge red rock cliffs surrounded by trees and bushes in the middle of the day in Zion National Park

The best temperatures

The warmest and most pleasant months in Zion National Park are spring (April-May) and fall (September – October). Although the park is busiest in summer, the summer temperatures are usually unpleasantly high. And winters are very cold.

The best time to hike The Narrows

Summer to early fall (mid-May to October) are best to hike The Narrows. The water levels in spring are often too high because of snowmelt (the hike is closed when water levels are too high) and in winter, the water is bitterly cold. In summer and early fall, the cool waters are a welcome respite from the heat and water levels are usually low enough to keep The Narrows open (though it closes if flash floods are possible).

The best time to hike Angels Landing

Although the trail is open all year, I’d avoid winter when the rocks can be dangerous and slippery with ice and July-August when it is most crowded and really hot. The Angels Landing permit system has helped control the crowds, but I still prefer it when there are fewer people.

March – June and September – October are the best months to hike Angels Landing, in my opinion.

The best time to avoid the crowds

Avoid the summer season, holidays and the Christmas week at Zion National Park if you want to avoid the crowds. May and September are my favorite months to miss the crowds. Mid week is even better. 

The best time to travel in summer

If you have to travel in summer, then try to go in June. It’s less busy than July and August (and less hot).

The best time to avoid the shuttle

The shuttle runs through Zion Valley March – November plus a week or so around the December holidays. When it is running, it is the ONLY option for traveling through the valley (which helps manage traffic). If you don’t want to use the shuttle (or a bicycle or e-bike), then go December – February (excluding the December holiday season).

When the shuttle isn’t running, you can drive your own vehicle through the valley. Keep in mind that parking can still be a problem, because it is so limited.

The best time to travel on a budget

The off winter season (November – February, excluding holidays) are less popular, and therefore cheaper, times to visit Zion National Park.

The worst time to visit Zion National Park

In my opinion, the worst time to visit Zion Mountain National Park is July and August when it’s really hot and really crowded.

Check my detailed breakdown of what to expect every month in the year for much more detailed information


Travel Insurance for Zion Mountain National Park  

No matter when is the best time to go to Zion Mountain National Park, you should definitely get travel insurance.  This can protect you not only against medical and emergency repatriation, but can also cover things like trip cancellation, loss and/ or theft of property, etc. 

A great insurance option is Travelex.  It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now:

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Enjoy Zion National Park!

Additional help with your Zion trip planning

>> What to expect in Zion in each season
>> Best Vacation Rentals Near Zion National Park
>> How to Plan a Trip to Zion National Park
>> Best Hikes in Zion National Park
>> How to visit Zion Without Shuttle Tickets
>> Zion Shuttle Guide
>> Best Photo Spots in Zion National Park
>> How Many Days to Spend in Zion National Park
>> Best Airports for Zion National Park
>> Fascinating (and Useful) Books About Zion National Park


What do you think is the best time to travel to Zion National Park?   I’d love to hear from you.  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.

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If you are planning to visit Zion Canyon National Park by yourself, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2- and 3-day itineraries for Zion National Park that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip. 

Check out the three Zion National Park itinerary options


About the Author 

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and all of the main national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

Read more…


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