Take A Fall Getaway To This Popular US National Park For A Less-Crowded Visit

It is not hard to see why Utah's first national park has experienced a 90% rise in visitors since 2010. The dramatic rock formations of Zion National Park tower over the Virgin River, giving visitors the chance to try a wading hike with a vertiginous view.

Travel blogger Renee Hahnel recommends visiting this park in the fall, when there are fewer people and cooler weather. It is also when the trees change color and start to match the red and orange of the rock canyons.

High temperatures in September are 82 degrees Fahrenheit, 68 degrees Fahrenheit in October, and 53 degrees Fahrenheit in November. While November is the coolest month, it may be worth wrapping up as it is also the quietest.

Visitors will be rewarded with stunning views from over 90 miles of trails, as well as almost 90 miles of roadways through the park. It is also an adrenaline junkie's dream, with plenty of rocks, crags and tunnels to (safely) explore.

How to visit Zion National Park

Fall is a great time to visit Zion as it is open year-round, including the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon visitor centers. A standard entrance pass costs $20-$35 depending on whether you enter on foot or in a vehicle. It is free on certain holidays, like the First Day of National Park Week.

The closest international airport to Zion is in Las Vegas — from there, it is a 3-hour drive to the park. Famous for its ski slopes, Salt Lake City is 4 hours away by driving and home to the second-closest international airport. Cedar City and St. George regional airports are both a 1-hour drive away, but they host a limited number of commercial flights.

There is a free shuttle service that operates in the park, starting from the Zion visitor center and ending at the Temple of Sinawava. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive can only be experienced via the shuttle when it is running from March to November and during the December holiday season.

For those who want to stay over, there is the Zion Lodge, and three campgrounds — Lava Point, South, and Watchman. The best amenities can be found at the Watchman Campground which has electric hookups and space for RVs.

What do in Zion National Park

Aside from hiking, there are many reasons to visit Zion National Park, including camping, cycling, canyoneering and horseback riding.  Canyoneering is an outdoor pursuit which involves rappelling and orienteering, as well as swimming and hiking your way around the park. Any technical canyoneering has an element of risk and therefore requires a wilderness permit. All those canyoneering must abide by the park rules and regulations to protect themselves and the canyons.

Other activities that require a permit are the Narrows hike (when going from the top downward), the Subway hike (both top-down and bottom-up), the Scout Lookout to Angels Landing hike, overnight backpacking and climbing.

For those who are less experienced, it is possible to do any one of the easier hikes. The short walk along The Narrows above the Temple of Sinawava does not require equipment or a permit, and it's a great way to discover the park's canyons.

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is another way to enjoy the views without even leaving the shuttle or vehicle! In the fall, the colors on the trails are beautiful so this is the ideal time to bring your camera and capture the magic of the canyons during the change of seasons.