Zion National Park in the fall

25 October 2017


Hello! We had such a wonderful fall break in Zion National Park. If you’re thinking about going in the fall I would say YES! Do it. We’ve been there in the summer and let me tell you, the weather is a game changer. It was high sixties to low seventies, perfect for hiking and all things outdoors where everyone seems to kind of wilt in the heat of the summer. The colors were also unbelievable this year.


Here’s what we did: (none of this is sponsored or gifted, just our own experience)

We rented an RV from Cruise America (we got the large) and stayed at Zion Canyon Campground. My boys (ages 13, 10, 8) LOVED the RV and my daughters (ages 17, 15) tolerated it. If you will be camping, I would first look into the NPS Watchman Campground – it is only $30 per night for RV’s and $20 for tents but begins booking 6 months in advance and they go quick, so mark your calendars!


We liked the Zion Canyon Campground, it is right outside of Zions and there is a shuttle stop right in front of it so once we were parked we didn’t have to move again. It also has bathrooms and showers so we didn’t even have to use the RV one which was nice because we didn’t have to pay the dump fee. And the boys loved the pool there. 


Some pros of an RV: you can bring all of your own food and use the microwave, refrigerator, cooktop. And there is just something magical about the campfire for scary & funny stories that you can’t get in a hotel. Some favorite camping foods we had there: campfire cones, hot ham & cheese campfire croissants, Trader Joes coconut pancakes and of course just s’mores and we love the pretzel rolls from Costco to make sandwiches with. We also just got burgers in town one night so we could watch the baseball playoffs.


I would say the cons of the RV would be the price – we paid about $400 for 3 nights plus about $125 in gas plus $45 per night for 2 nights in the campground. The beds are not the most comfortable and then of course putting away all of the bedding, food, and equipment when you get back and then cleaning the RV before returning it, but really it was for the experience right??  And hotels in Zions are not cheap, so you have to factor that in as well.

Our most favorite thing we did in Zions was bike down Zion Canyon. We  fit 4 of our bikes in the storage area under the RV and then rented 3 more from Zions Outfitters – they are literally steps outside the entrance to Zions. They are pricey though – $25 for adults for 5 hours and $15 for kids, I would bring bikes if you can, it may be worth renting a bike rack.


Originally we were just going to bike the Pa’rus Trail along the Virgin River. It is an easy, wide, paved biking walking trail with pretty scenery, about 1.5 miles long from the Visitors Center to Stop 3 –Canyon Junction.

I was talking to the shuttle bus operator the night before and he said the best thing to do with bikes is to ride from the Visitors Center to Canyon Junction (stop 3) on the Pa’rus Trail. Then, you can put your bikes on the front of the shuttle buses and take the shuttle to the top at stop 9, the Temple of Sinawava and bike down through Zion Canyon to Zions Lodge (stop 5).

zions map

The cool thing is there is NO traffic, just a few shuttle buses that will go around you and just one small uphill part. So we did it, and it was spectacular. So, so gorgeous! We left around 9 a.m. and literally had the place to ourselves. During Utah fall break! Just a note here: each shuttle only holds 2 or 3 bikes on the racks so we had to split up into 3 separate groups but the shuttles were coming every 5-10 minutes so it wasn’t bad, but something to consider in your planning.


I shared a little video of us biking on Instagram.


Then you can stop at the Lodge and get lunch  or have a picnic (and ice cream!) on the big beautiful grass area. From there you can head back or cross the street to the Emerald Pools hike, which is great for families as you can stop at the lower pool with the littles or head up to the middle and upper pools with your older kids.


We opted to head back to the campground after biking for lunch and swimming and then come back up the canyon in the afternoon when the crowds weren’t so crazy. When we got off the shuttle at the Visitor’s Center around noon the lines were unbelievable –very long, so I would get an early start if you can. It also really dies down around 5 p.m. which I think is the most beautiful time to be up in the canyon with the sun setting.


Another favorite that we did the night before was the Weeping Rock – super easy for everyone but so beautiful!


My older kids want to go back this spring and do Angel’s Landing and the Narrows!!

So, Zions in the fall gets double thumbs up from us. I hope this helps if you are thinking of going there. Any questions, let me know!


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