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Best time to visit Zion NP?

Chillicothe, Ohio
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Best time to visit Zion NP?

Looking for the best time of the year to visit Zion NP that does not have over-crowed shuttles and still allows for access to easy hiking areas in decent weather (70-85 degree). Is there a time when you are able to drive your own car through the park?

Cuenca, Ecuador
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1. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

Hello, christinemamaw, and welcome to the Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park forum.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are in California. Zion National Park is in Utah. I'm honored as a native Californian to think that someone from Ohio would place the beauty of Zion NP in the Golden State. . . but you did. Sad to say, it's Utah's.

Trip Advisor has a forum for Zion National Park, Utah here: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g143057-i1449-Zion…

You will get much more answers to your question in the Zion forum.

Gracefully, however, since I have been there many times, as recently as June of this year, I'll put in my two cents: Best month for shuttles is April in my experience (there can still be snowstorms in April, however, which reduce the hikeability of certain places). Yes, you may drive your own car in the park 12 months of the year. The restricted road leading to and past Zion Lodge is open for private automobile traffic beginning in October and ending in March of each year.

So a good time to try to be in Zion for what you are seeking would be late March to early April. We've done just that, and we enjoyed the lessening of the crowds and yes, the tranquility brought on by a gentle, light snowfall. Parking at the Visitor Center is easier then, too.

Edited: 18 August 2011, 13:06
Richmond, VA
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2. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

My family went to Zion as part of an "out west" trip last summer and we found the shuttle to be nice and convenient. Not overly crowded in July. Of course, we didn't know any different, but the shuttle was fine.

Also, highly recommend the Desert Pearl for lodging.

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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3. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

October is a great time to go.Probably the best month.March and April can be cold and/or windy.Also April is typically when runoff starts, so the access to the Narrows may not be open.This year the runoff started late and the Narrows did not open until the near the beginning of July.May is a good month also.

Edited: 19 August 2011, 05:02
Cuenca, Ecuador
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4. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

Ack! Let me regroup and restate (hat tip to dez40):

If you go in the Spring, it is more on the cold side/wet side than Autumn. If you want dry, go in the Fall. This pertains especially to the Zion Canyon floor where Zion Lodge is situated.

May has your warmer temperatures in the Spring.

Some years the Zion valley floor where the Virgin River begins can be full of water in Springtime. This can even result in floods that can cause significant road damage and road closures. This happened to me many years ago in the mid 1990's. Soooo. . . Fall is drier on the roads.

In sum, October and May are your two better months for Zion NP.

Chillicothe, Ohio
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5. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

Sorry for mis-forum posting. Appreciate your recommendations and will plan for Fall. Have used Advisor for past 3 years and not been steered wrong yet. Thanks again!

Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

Hi christinemamaw,

Happy to see that you've already received some information for your trip. We've moved your topic here, to the Zion National Park forums, where it was intended. Hopefully folks will continue to share their thoughts for your trip.

Thanks to everyone for participating!

TA_Louise

Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

for zion, i would go in late april, early may for the best weather and you will get the water flowing at the emerald pools trails and at weeping rock, which makes the visit to zion more interesting, as well as alot of the animals you would not really see at other times of the year.

zionnational-park.com/images/…index22.htm

Salt Lake City, Utah
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8. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

Good thing the designated Destination Expert for Zion checks out the hometown California forum as well. :-)

Just to clarify what Underdog said about driving the car into the park. There are two main roads in Zion park. One is hwy 9 that goes mostly east / west. You can drive your car on that road all year long. It will take you past the visitors center, the campgrounds, the history museum, through the tunnels, past the trailhead to Canyon Overlook, through the wonderful east side of the park and Checkerboard Mesa.

The other road takes off from hwy 9 and goes north into the main canyon. This is where they have implemented the shuttle rides during the busy season in order to maintain more peaceful visits and avoid too many cars in the small parking areas in the canyon. We visited in July last year and did not find the shuttles overcrowded.

I have traditionally visited in April as it is one of the two great places to go for Spring Break. April in Zions is beautiful with the newly green trees, the water flowing heavier over the cliffs and warmer than SLC temps. But since hiking in the upper mesas can be complicated by snow and the narrows would be colder and more likely closed, hiking may be limited.

I love fall in the canyon with the cottonwoods turning yellow and the cooler temps. Less chance of crowds, snow, and flashfloods. It probably is your best bet. Sept or early Oct.

Edited: 26 August 2011, 19:21
Uden, The...
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9. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

We have been april. may, september, october and november and it's all fantastic no matter when you go but we especially liked our october stays with the fall colors.

10. Re: Best time to visit Zion NP?

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