Spend a day in Zion National Park with kids

 In USA

The siren song of Zion National Park has been calling nature lovers for generations. Hikers flock here year after year to climb sandstone peaks and splash through the Virgin River to enter The Narrows. A trip to Zion is the highlight of many family’s summer vacations, even when temperatures in this desert region reach scorching heights. Is it worth it? Why yes it is.

Zion National Park was one of the many parks we squeezed into our cross-country road trip as we moved from Seattle to Maryland in October 2014. A simple trip to see the Redwoods and Yosemite quickly turned into a trip to see as many national parks in the west as possible, even though we could only spend about a day in each. We would go on to see Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon after Zion before we booked it to the east coast.

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Our boys, who were ages 2 and 5 at the time, were seeing parts of their country that they never knew existed. My husband and I were excited to explore as much as possible, and our boys were more than up for the adventure. In fact, my oldest pushed us more in Zion than any of the other parks by insisting we complete the Emerald Pools hike (see below) before we left the park for the night. We only had one day to explore and he didn’t want to miss a thing.

Organizing any kind of family trip can be stressful, and Zion National Park is no different. There are a few things to know before you head out to the park and hit the trails. If you are short on time, this is the perfect guide for you, but if you are planning to stay more than a day, you’ll still enjoy this easy guide to exploring the park with kids.

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Keryn Means
Keryn is the founder and editor-in-chief of Walking on Travels, an award-winning site that gives hope to today’s active parents who don’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. Keryn utilizes her project management background, along with a masters degree in journalism and an undergrad degree in photography to the team to create dynamic content and a vision that keeps up with the latest technology and trends. You can find Keryn dragging her 2 boys around the DC area most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram and Pinterest.
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Showing 9 comments
  • Terra Trekkers
    Reply

    We went to Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon in October ’14 too! What an amazing place. I thought late Fall was a good time to go: nice weather and fewer people. We were lucky and had two days at zion: The Emerald Pools and the Riverside walk were lovely. One the second day we went the adventurous route and hiked the Narrows. It was definitely a highlight for us. Our kids are a bit younger (1 and 4) than yours though so we were able to put them in packs and hike through the gorge. The water level was pretty low for us and we saw a few kids in the 7/8/9-year-old range. We rented booties/socks/sticks and bundled the kids up in layers. It was epic. Perhaps in a few years when the children are a bit older?

    Willis Slot Canyon outside of Bryce would be my pick for a family that isn’t quite ready for the river but still wants to do a slot canyon. We also did Antelope Canyon (Page, AZ) but my son found both the canyon and the guided tour to be a bit confining. Adults will love it, though. (Provided its not flash flood season….!)

    -Sonja

  • Janet
    Reply

    Really useful post, thanks!

  • michael
    Reply

    Thank you so much for all that information , i don’t know where start but now i have and idea. I have 2 kid one is 7 and the another is 2 . Thank you.

    • Keryn Means
      Reply

      I’m so glad you found the information helpful Michael. You will have an amazing trip!

  • Sarah
    Reply

    This is a great, comprehensive guide! We took our then 3 month old to Zion last spring and I had such a tough time finding info on bringing kids (and babies!) to Zion. We especially struggled with the parking situation and didn’t realize until too late that parking in the park is extremely limited! Once that was resolved, we had a great time and our son loved looking around at everything from inside his carrier. I can’t wait to take him back when he’s older like your kiddos!

  • Sarah
    Reply

    This is a great, comprehensive guide! We took our then 3 month old to Zion last spring and I had such a tough time finding info on bringing kids (and babies!) to Zion. One article even suggested hiking Angel’s Landing! We especially struggled with the parking situation and didn’t realize until too late that parking in the park is extremely limited! Once that was resolved, we had a great time and our son loved looking around at everything from inside his carrier. I can’t wait to take him back when he’s older like your kiddos!

  • Tiffany
    Reply

    Thanks so much for this guide. I totally used it this week with our family.

    • Keryn Means
      Reply

      I’m so glad it was helpful Tiffany! We can’t wait to go back and explore more. Did you have a favorite hike?

  • Allison
    Reply

    Great overview of Zion National Park! I’ve visited this park many times and you’ve covered Zion Canyon well. There are other sections of Zion National Park, but Zion Canyon is the most visited. I just checked the entrance fee this week, and it has gone up to $30.

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