Back in June 2018, as part of our great West Coast trip which spanned over 3 weeks long, we’ve visited several of the most famous national parks in the states. One of them that we really enjoyed was our short trip to the Zion National Park. We first took notice of it after seeing several Instagram posts looking from the top of the canyon.
Upon doing some research, we’ve learnt that we could get to that viewpoint by doing Angel’s Landing hike. After checking the park’s official website, we found out that the route was actually closed due to flooding. It’s actually very common to have flooding in the area and many hiking routes can be closed as a result of it. If you’re visiting, we’d highly recommend you check the park’s website as part of your trip’s preparation. As we did not want to miss the amazing view, we found an alternative route called the Observation Point route. It’s slightly longer and you will end up at a slightly higher vantage point as compared to Angel’s Landing. We saw it as a win-win and went ahead with it.
There are many other famous hiking trails in the park that we really wanted to try when we were there such as the Zion Narrows Rivers trail and the Canyon Trails. However, the Zion Narrows was flooded days before and it wasn’t safe for us to attempt it. Again, make sure to always check the nps website for the latest news!
Observation Point Hike in Zion National Park
The Observation Point hike is a must-do in every trip to the Zion National Park. It allows you to fully experience the landscape of the park, coupled with an incredibly rewarding view of the whole park at the end.
This is a moderately difficult hike that is about 11km long. It has an elevation of about 800m and took us about 6-7 hours to complete a round trip. As we went in the middle of summer, it was really hot with very little shade throughout the trail. We’ll highly recommend you to attempt this earlier in the day.
It wasn’t a very difficult trek technically. You’d just need a lot of perseverance and determination to complete this. Also, remember to bring lots of water as there won’t be any opportunities for you to refill water once you’ve started the trek.
To get to the starting point of the trek, you’ll have to take the Park’s Shuttle bus from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and alight at the Weeping Rock shuttle station. Once you’re there, there are clear signs that point to the trail. This is the last place to refill water and has a proper toilet.
The start of the hike is filled with many switchbacks that quickly elevates you. This might be the toughest part of the hike, but luckily there are still sparse vegetation that provides the occasional respite.
If you’ve noticed, the trail is very well pathed. There is plenty of traffic when we went, so rest assured that you’ll never be lost.
Getting to the Park
The easiest and recommended way for anyone to get to the park will be to drive there in a car. You can either drive from the East and enter through the East Entrance or drive from the South and enter through Springdale.
At the entrances, you’ll have to pay a per-vehicle fee of $35 (correct as of Feb 2020).
The best way to experience the park is to camp in the park! In Zion, there are 3 camping sites available onsite. They are Lava Point Campground, South Campground and Watchman Campground. We’ll highly recommend the latter 2 as they are located near the south entrance which also means it’s near Springdale. It is really convenient to get supplies if you run out on any.
We stayed at the South Campground during our visit and absolutely loved it. It was very clean and quiet, which also means that it is very popular and runs out of spaces very quickly. We’d recommend booking 2 weeks (the moment the reservations are open) in advance to secure your spot in the campsite. You can make your reservations here.
During the summer, it gets really warm in the day at the campsite, so we’d recommend getting a hammock or an electric fan to cool yourselves down. At night, it gets moderately cooling so just a normal sleeping bag would suffice.
We hoped you’ve enjoyed our short sharing of our hiking trip to Zion National Park. We’ll be sharing more from our West Coast USA road trips in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that! If you have any questions, feel free to email us or comment down below.
If you’re looking for other trip inspirations, you can consider a road trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks! They were one of our favourites and we cannot recommend them enough. Read more on our recent blog post here.