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Zion in April?

Kansas City...
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Zion in April?

Hello! My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park. Currently we are thinking about spending a week between the two parks in mid-April. We love to camp, but have never backpacked before. A couple questions for everybody:

1. Would mid-April be a good time of year to visit? I am hoping to be able to see wildflowers blooming, and hike as many trails as we can.

2. Recommendations for camping/lodging? It seems as though many of the campsites are first-come, first-serve. This makes me a bit nervous as we are traveling from Kansas City and I'd like to have a bit of a plan before we arrive. Would the campsites be packed by this time?

3. Any thoughts as to how many days to spend at each park? From what I've read, I get the feeling that Zion has more trails to offer than Bryce Canyon.


Kipling. SK
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1. Re: Zion in April?

Curious to know what you mean by 'backpack' Usually backpack is a term that signifies a multi day hiking trip. Dayhikes are the one day hikes.

Watchman in Zion should have coverted from first come first serve to reservable camping by april. Check with the recreation.gov site. Unsure about demand for camping in April, but from reports i have seen, April is already quite busy. Advice I have seen says to try and snag camping in the morning when others are leaving. Arriving mid week helps as well.

You can also find camping outside of the park at Springdale at the quality Inn. Springdale is where you find the bulk of the accomodations and restaurants as well>> www.zionpark.com

In April, there should still be a large amount of snowpack up on the northern mesas and in the Kolob region. This will make hiking 'all' of the trails in the park difficult. You should have no problems on any of the trails that originate in the main canyon, including Observation Point and Angels landing. In April, you may be able to beat the melt that usually closes the Narrows in the spring. Check out www.citrusmilo.com and www.zionnational-park.com Both of these websites have sections devoted to hiking in Zion.

We would be happy to clarify any other points or questions you have.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2. Re: Zion in April?

Answered on Bryce forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143015-i1469-k711…

Avon, Ohio
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3. Re: Zion in April?

We visited both Zion and Bryce last year in early April (along with Capitol Reef). The climate of these two parks is very different due to altitude. On Apr 1, we experienced the first 90F day of the year on Zion’s canyon floor while snow still covered the upper reaches of Kolob Terrace making the road impassable. A few days later we were experiencing cold and snow showers at Bryce Canyon. While the first 90F day was a bit earlier than normal last year, this illustrates the difference in climate between the two parks based upon their different altitudes. This difference is exaggerated in that most of the lodging and time spent at Zion is on the canyon floor and one tends to hike up into higher altitudes while at Bryce, it is just the opposite, most of the lodging and one’s time is spent on the top of the plateau with one hiking down into the amphitheater to lower altitudes (but still higher than Zion).

We flew into Las Vegas so it was not really practical to bring camping gear for the whole family so we stayed in nearby hotels; as a result, I can’t help you with specific camping suggestions. I will note that Utah has state parks relatively close by each which offer camping and are both worth a visit in their own right. I noticed when we visited them, the campgrounds were relatively empty but of course one pays the price of being further away. The state park close to Zion is Coral Pink Sand Dunes and the one close to Bryce is Kodachrome Basin. It is also worth noting that Kodachrome is at a much lower altitude than Bryce and was much warmer.

As far as time at each park, while Bryce is very beautiful, it is relatively small and could be seen in its entirety including what I think are the two best hikes, Queens Garden/Navajo Loop and Bristlecone loop. There are some longer hikes so you can fill another day or two if you prefer the cooler temperatures. Zion on the other hand is vast and you could spend a week there and not get in all of the good trails and the temperatures should be cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. It will likely be too early for the Narrows hike in which you wade through the water of the Virgin River most of the way but excellent for Angles Landing and most of the other great Zion hikes. We spent 3.5 days in Zion and wished we had more while we spent 2.5 days at Bryce and started to run out of interesting, new hikes.

More information on climate, lodging, hiking and more can be obtained by going to nps.gov, click “Find a Park” then click on the state of Utah on the map and then the appropriate park.


Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Zion in April?

Weather in April is unpredictable in Zion. Bryce will definitely be cold, but as the other poster said, Zion could get an early warming spell. Or it could be cold and windy. You'll have to check the weather just before your trip to know what to expect.

5. Re: Zion in April?

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