Zion National Park was really a wonderful place for our family of six. The canyon was just plain beautiful; I can’t express that enough. The kids were even impressed and a month later they are still talking about all that we saw and did there. Here are a few of my other thoughts about a trip to Zion. The hiking was especially fun, given that around every bend there was something new to see and or experience.
The canyon was a delight to hike since all of the trail-heads start at the bottom of the canyon, head up-hill for the first half, then bring you back down-hill for the second half. That is perfect for kids who usually run out of steam at the point farthest away from “home.”
Zion in spring = good. Lots of water for waterfalls, lots of green, lots of blooms, and perhaps a few fewer other tourists. We were able to get parking (after reading that we probably wouldn’t) and were never overwhelmed with the number of people, though there were a lot. The weather was also very like-able! Warm in the sunshine and cool in the shade.
Layers are good. Most days we all wore long pants (or longish capris) and a short sleeve shirts with a thin jacket. We all had hiking boots and good socks and were glad for them.
Zion with young children = no big hikes. We did a lot of the easy and a few of the moderately ranked hikes, but anything like Angel’s Landing was completely out of the question. Angel’s Landing is a longer hike that proceeds across a few fairly narrow paths with long drop-offs . . . or so we are told. It looked (from the bus) like a hike that we – we (Handsome and me) would like to do, but it was not something anyone should attempt with young ‘uns along. If you want to go to Zion with your young kids either get used to the idea that you won’t be able to do all the strenuous stuff or bring some grandparents on the trip to watch your kids while you hike the narrows or Angel’s Landing.
Take a wildlife book or two, if you have one . . . or visit the store at the visitor’s center. There were so many animals out and about. We saw chipmunks, ravons, big horned sheep, deer, fish, tadpoles, a gazillion different kids of birds, a giant (and I do mean BIG) beetle, and so much more.
Take your binoculars.
Take band-aids. Lots of rocks = children with boo-boos.
Plan to carry a lot of water. Even in the cooler weather it was dry, and we drank a lot.
Also plan for altitude. The higher altitude might require a bit of adjustment. You might need to drink more. You might need to rest more. You might need to snack more. You probably will need more sunscreen; the sun is powerful up there!
Even if your lodging doesn’t require it, be sure to drive through the park on the highway. It is a wonderful drive with an impressive tunnel that was finished just as the depression started. There are also lots of places that you can stop and play along the road.
At the National Park Service website for Zion there is a seasonal “Map and Guide” that you can download for free. It tells about all the upcoming events, ranger talks, and such at the park. It also has great descriptions of the trails and other areas of the park.
Finally, just FYI: Springdale is the town just outside of the park. We didn’t spend a lot of time there, but there was a little grocery with all the necessities (including Twizzlers), that great pizza place where I ate my weight in pizza, and a bunch of quaint little shops.