Escape to Zion: A Must-Do day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

Escape to Zion: A Must-Do day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

An unforgettable day trip to Zion National Park is a must-add adventure for anyone visiting Las Vegas. With its dramatic red rock formations, abundant wildlife, and awe-inspiring natural wonders, it’s no surprise that Zion holds the title as Utah’s first national park – and one of the most cherished in the United States. Outdoor enthusiasts will revel in over 100 miles of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience while capturing stunning photography opportunities that span from massive sandstone cliffs to lush green landscapes.

Why visit Zion National Park?

The answer lies in its incredible offerings: world-class scenic drives like the historic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, spectacular slot canyons such as The Narrows, renowned rock climbing routes attracting climbers from across the globe, and unforgettable beauty.

Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-fueled adventures or serene sightseeing, this ecotourism hotspot has something for every traveler looking to escape the hustle-and-bustle of Las Vegas streets in favor of pristine nature preserves teeming with vibrant flora and fauna. Don’t miss your chance to witness firsthand why millions are captivated by this haven nestled among canyonlands so iconic they’ve graced countless films throughout Hollywood history!

How To Get To Zion From Las Vegas

Getting to Zion National Park from Las Vegas can be done by driving a car or by booking one of the best tours available for exploring this famous national park.

Driving to Zion National Park

One of the best ways to embark on a Las Vegas to Zion National Park day trip is by driving a car. This approximately 160-mile journey takes around 2-3 hours and offers an incredible scenic route through three different states – Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. With so much beautiful scenery along the way, including breathtaking canyon views, mountain ranges, and roadside attractions, having your own vehicle allows you to fully take in these sights at your own pace.

Renting a car for this adventure is quite convenient as there are several rental companies available in Las Vegas. Once you’re all set with your car rental, hop on Interstate 15 and begin cruising down one of America’s most picturesque highways. Along the way, make sure to stop at highway rest stops or state borders for some unique photo opportunities! And don’t forget that while private vehicles are allowed into Zion Canyon only from late November to March, otherwise access will be provided via shuttle buses during the busier months.

So load up your playlist with road trip tunes and prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey filled with natural beauty and outdoor recreation possibilities

Zion National Park Tours From Las Vegas

Don’t have a car, no problem! One of the easiest ways to explore Zion National Park during your Las Vegas visit is by taking a guided tour. This option allows you to sit back, relax, and soak in the picturesque landscapes while someone else navigates the journey for you. Additionally, guided tours often provide added value with professional insights about the park’s history and unique features.

There are several companies offering full-day trips from Las Vegas that include transportation, park entry fees, a knowledgeable guide, and even lunch in some cases. For instance, consider booking a combined tour that will take you to both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park – two of Utah’s most iconic tourist destinations known for their scenic beauty and natural wonders.

These tours usually last around 8-14 hours in total, giving you ample time to immerse yourself in the stunning canyonlands of Southwestern United States without worrying about driving or planning your travel itinerary.

Things To Do At Zion National Park

At Zion National Park, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including scenic drives along the park’s routes and hiking one of the ten best trails in the area such as Angels Landing or Narrows; additionally, visitors may want to stop at the Visitor Center for maps and information on recreation opportunities.

Best Scenic Drives Near Zion National Park

Zion National Park is home to some of the most stunning scenic drives in the country. Here are some of the best scenic drives to explore during your day trip from Las Vegas:

1. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive – This 6-mile stretch offers breathtaking views of the towering sandstone cliffs, lush vegetation, and wildflowers. Private vehicles are only allowed on this road from March through late November, access to which is by shuttle bus.
2. Mount Carmel Highway – This 12-mile scenic drive takes you through a tunnel carved out of solid rock and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
3. Kolob Terrace – This scenic drive offers stunning vistas of Zion’s west side, including red rock formations and stunning views of Pine Valley Mountain.
4. Kolob Canyon Road – This 5-mile drive highlights some of Zion’s most dramatic landscapes, including winding canyons, towering rock formations, and colorful cliffs.

With these scenic drives available at Zion National Park, it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure and natural beauty. So don’t forget to add these must-see sights to your itinerary during your day trip from Las Vegas!

Best Hiking Trails in Zion National Park

When it comes to hiking in Zion National Park, there’s an abundance of trails to choose from. Here are the top 10 best hiking trails for travelers visiting Las Vegas:

Angels Landing: A strenuous but rewarding hike that offers stunning views of Zion Canyon.

The Narrows: Hike through a slot canyon and wade through the Virgin River on this iconic trail.

Observation Point Trail: A challenging trail that leads to breathtaking panoramic views of the park.

Hidden Canyon Trail: This moderate hike offers beautiful views and narrow paths carved into the side of a cliff.

Emerald Pools Trail: A family-friendly hike with stunning views of waterfalls and pools.

Weeping Rock Trail: An easy hike that leads to a unique rock formation where water seeps out from the walls.

The Watchman Trail: An easy-to-moderate hike with stunning views of Zion Canyon and surrounding mountains.

Riverside Walk: An easy paved trail that follows the Virgin River and is perfect for families or those looking for a leisurely stroll.

Canyon Overlook Trail: This short but steep hike offers beautiful views of Pine Creek Canyon and lower Zion Canyon.

Taylor Creek Trail: A longer, less crowded trail that takes hikers through a scenic valley with great views of Double Arch Alcove.

No matter which trail you choose, make sure you bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and appropriate footwear for your adventure in Zion National Park!

Check Out The Visitor Center

When visiting Zion National Park, the Visitor Center is a great place to start your trip. With two visitor centers to choose from, you can get an overview of the park’s history and geography before planning your activities. The main visitor center – Zion Canyon Visitor Center – provides detailed information on hikes, location, and photos for visitors planning their trip to the park. It also has informative exhibits that showcase the unique features of Zion National Park like its soaring red-rock cliffs and deep chasms.

One of the most important things visitors need to know about the parks’ activity permit system can also be acquired at these visitor centers. Permits are required for various activities at Zion National Park like camping or canyoneering. At these centers, you will find information on what permits you need for specific park activities like hiking popular trails such as Angels Landing or Subway route.

The visitors’ center also provides advice tailored according to energy level and timeframe so that visitors have a fantastic experience exploring not just scenic drives but all opportunities available in this natural wonderland located just 2 hours drive from Las Vegas.

Tips For A Memorable Day Trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

Pack comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes for hiking, sunscreen, and plenty of water. The best time to visit Zion National Park is in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and extreme heat. If driving from Las Vegas, take I-15 North to UT-9 East towards Zion National Park.

Stop at the Visitor Center for information on trails and shuttle service options. Consider bringing a picnic lunch or stopping at one of the restaurants in Springdale for a meal before heading back to Las Vegas.
What To Bring

When planning a day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas, it’s important to bring the right gear to make the most of your experience. Here are some essential items to pack:

1. Comfortable shoes for hiking: With over 10 hiking trails to explore, it’s essential to wear comfortable shoes with good grip.
2. Plenty of water: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when spending time in the desert heat.
3. Sunscreen: The sun can be harsh in southern Utah, so pack some sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.
4. Snacks and/or picnic lunch: There are plenty of scenic spots for picnicking within the park, so bring some snacks or a packed lunch.
5. Camera: You’ll want to capture all the breathtaking views and unique landscapes that Zion has to offer.
6. Hat or sunglasses: Protect your eyes and face from the sun with a hat or sunglasses.
7. Appropriate clothing layers: Temperatures can vary throughout the day in Zion, so be sure to bring layers that you can easily add or remove.
8. Cash for entrance fee and shuttle bus ticket: The park charges an entrance fee per vehicle and per person as well as a shuttle bus ticket fee which is cash only.
By packing these essentials, you’ll be prepared for an enjoyable day exploring Zion National Park on your Las Vegas day trip.

Best Time To Visit Zion

As a frequent visitor to Zion National Park, I can tell you that the best times to visit are during the off-peak months from October to March. The cooler temperatures and smaller crowds make it easier to enjoy all of the park’s scenic beauty and hiking trails without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by other visitors. I particularly love visiting in the winter when snow dusts the red rocks, creating a stunning contrast against the blue sky.

If you prefer warmer weather, then plan your trip for early spring or late fall. Visiting in March or April means mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers. However, keep in mind that this is also peak tourist season, so plan ahead for accommodations and allow extra time for navigating through crowds at popular spots like Angel’s Landing or The Narrows. But regardless of when you go, be sure to pack accordingly with layers for changing weather conditions and comfortable footwear suited for outdoor activities like hiking.

Driving Directions

Driving to Zion National Park from Las Vegas is a scenic and straightforward journey. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get there:
1. From Las Vegas, take I-15 North toward Salt Lake City.
2. Stay on I-15 for approximately 125 miles until you reach exit 16 toward Hurricane, UT.
3. Take exit 16 onto UT-9 East and continue for about 20 miles.
4. You’ll enter the park through the south entrance, and the road will take you directly into the heart of the park.

Note: Be aware that during peak season, parking can be limited within Zion National Park itself. To mitigate this issue, plan on arriving early in the morning or consider taking advantage of one of the shuttle services available within the park.

With these directions in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy Zion National Park’s stunning scenery without having to worry about navigating complicated roads or missing any notable landmarks along the way.

Where To Eat

When planning a day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas, it’s important to consider where to eat. There are several options available within the park, including the Red Rock Grill located at Zion Lodge and the Castle Dome Cafe at the visitor center. Both offer casual dining options with stunning views of the surrounding nature.

For those looking for something more rustic or adventurous, there are plenty of picnic areas scattered throughout Zion National Park that provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a homemade meal while surrounded by beautiful wilderness. Just make sure to pack food and drinks in advance as there are limited stores within the park.

It’s also worth noting that Springdale, Utah – just outside of Zion National Park – offers many charming restaurants and cafes serving up local cuisine for all taste buds. Just be sure to plan accordingly and check their hours of operation before making your way over.


In conclusion, a day trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is an unforgettable adventure that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether you choose to drive, take a shuttle or join a tour group, planning your itinerary in advance is key to making the most of your experience. From hiking the Emerald Pools Trail and exploring scenic drives to spotting wildlife and visiting visitor centers, there’s something for everyone in this majestic national park.

Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and snacks for the journey, as well as sunscreen and comfortable shoes. And for those interested in photography, consider joining a VIP guided photography tour for stunning shots of Zion’s surreal landscape. With so much natural beauty waiting just beyond the bright lights of Las Vegas, there’s no excuse not to explore Utah’s incredible national parks!