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A Utah Canyoneering Resource for All Canyoneers

Tom's Utah Canyoneering Guide

Zion National Park

An Introduction

The Land of Zion. This is the place! Perched on the west end of the Colorado Plateau, Zion is the steepest, most dramatic bit of landscape in Utah - which is quite a statement! Zion combines the benefits of a National Park with amazing terrain, assisted by abundant water thanks to the uplifted north end of the Park. There is so MUCH to do in Zion, the real question is: How do you quit your job so you can live here?

Scroll down or explore the links below to find out more about hiking, scrambling and canyoneering in Zion National Park!



Visitor Information

Zion National Park

Welcome to our Zion primer for the first-time or long-time visitor. The Zion National Park area is the second-most-visited area in Utah, with about 3 million folks coming through each year. Most plan trips during the spring, summer, and fall, though winter can be quite nice as well. Below, find important information on Restaurants, Lodging, Directions, Permit Systems, Park Information, as well as some fun human and geologic history to acquaint you with one of our favorite places.


Permits & Wilderness Desk

Permits are required for technical canyon adventures, Narrows through-hikes, and all overnight outings in Zion. Permits allow the Park staff to make contact with visitors, steer you to adventures appropriate for your skills and desires, and monitor usage in the backcountry canyons.

CUSA tips and hints about Zion permits >>

Visit the NPS Permitting Site >>

Getting around Zion NP

Public Transit in the rural desert? It's another reason why Zion really IS the promised land! The National Park and the Town of Springdale work together to offer two integrated, free, and easy-to-use shuttle bus routes serving visitors April through November.

Explore shuttle options >>

Geologic history

A story written in sandstone.



It's rare in Southern Utah to find fine wilderness opportunities in such close proximity to civilized things like restaurants, hotels, and gas stations. But here in Springdale, you CAN have the best of both worlds - thus making trips to Zion among the most civilized of wilderness canyon adventures in the U.S. of A. Browse services and amenities to find the best way to meet your in-town needs.

More about Springdale >>

Ethics & Impacts

Please consider the following ideas on impacts, ethics, and responsibilities to keep Zion wild and beautiful.

More on Zion-specific ethics & impacts >>

Human History

Zion Canyon is at the edge of the Colorado Plateau where it meets the Basin and Range region. Being at this point geographic inflection, it also has been near the intersection of human cultures. Here is a brief overview of the area's history and suggestions of ways to explore it further.


Zion Narrows Water Levels

The North Fork River Gauge is an important, if unobvious, tool for all Zion visitors.

More about reading Zion water levels >>

Zion Hikes

Whether you like to hike flat pavement, rocky trails, or secret off-trail nooks and crannies, gorgeous opportunities await you in Zion. Famous hikes like Angels Landing and The Narrows dominate the magazine pages and internet galleries, but there are PLENTY more fantastic places to explore by foot here. You could easily spend a lifetime doing so. If you know where you're going, choose from the Quick List below. Or explore Zion's hikes on the Zion Hikes page.


Zion Off-Trail Hikes

Zion and the surrounding area also host a number of scenic off-trail treks. Off-trail hikes involve route finding and are not marked like other Nation Park trails. They are also not maintained, so adventurers should be prepared for a variety of conditions. These treks can be exciting and beautiful, and offer a break from the crowds on more-traveled hikes.


Zion Canyons

This is the place for technical canyoneering, especially in the summer. Canyons in Zion tend to be not-so-difficult. More often they are just darned pretty, with numerous rappels and a few swims. In the most popular canyons, anchors are well-established and conspicuous, but there are also plenty of wilderness canyons people rarely visit. And sure, there are some good hikes and a couple decent overnight backpacks throughout the park - but the REAL way to delve into the heart of Zion is to grab some ropes, pull on a wetsuit and go hide from the sun in a canyon. If you know where you're going, choose from a canyon below, or explore all of the canyons on our Zion Technical Canyons page, below.