Park your car at Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Enjoy the exhibits, then jump on the free park shuttle for a stroll on the Riverside Walk or Weeping Rock, which is only 0.5 mile round-trip.
Jump off the shuttle at Zion Lodge for lunch at the Red Rock Grill. Then take a longer hike: Hidden Canyon is lots of fun and won’t utterly deplete experienced hikers. If you don’t hike much, the trails to the Emerald Pools are easier.
Springdale is just a short walk or shuttle bus ride from the park entrance, and it has several very good restaurants, shops, and galleries.
Extending Your Stay
Zion country is deep enough for years of study. If you’re just looking at the incredible scenery, one day in Zion will introduce you to its wonders. If you’re a hiker, spend at least two days here, and three or more for a back-country adventure in the slot canyons. Consider checking out the wild and undeveloped Kolob Canyons section of the park. It’s about 45 miles north of Springdale along I-15.
A second day in Zion should include the classic 5.4-mile hike from the West Rim Trail to Angels Landing. On summer evenings, park rangers offer a variety of talks and tours. Use the park newspaper to find programs going on at the Zion Lodge Amphitheater, the South Campground Amphitheater, and the Watchman Campground Amphitheater.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.