Visting Zion NP in April
One of the best things about Zion National Park in April is that the crowds are smaller than they are during the summer and fall months. This makes it much easier to get around and see all the sights.
But don’t let that fool you. Out of all the national parks in Utah, Zion is considered one of the most visited. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about visiting this area. From the weather to things to do, here are some of the top things to keep in mind while visiting this park in April.
Why is April a Great Time to Visit Zion National Park?
April is a great time to visit Zion National Park because the weather is starting to warm up, but the crowds have not yet arrived. This is the perfect time to hike some of the popular trails without having to worry about running into too many people.
The park generally has good weather this time of year, with some occasional showers. Also the days are getting longer, and the weather is warming up. You can enjoy the freshness of winter turning into spring.
Not to mention, the park is very photogenic during this time with amazing sunrises and sunsets. You can grab great views of these from a couple of the trails (Canyon Overlook Trail and/or Watchman Overlook Trail).
Where is Zion National Park and What is It Known For?
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah, near Kanab and Springdale and it is known for its red rock cliffs, canyons, and rivers. The park also has a variety of plant and animal life, as well as human history dating back to the early Native Americans.
Essential Tips and Pointers For Visiting Zion
- Entrance Fee: Zion National Park has entrance fees of $35 for private vehicles up to seven days and $20 per person for seven days, if you enter by foot or on bike. The American the Beautiful pass is a great purchase if you plan on visiting other National Parks during the year
- Be Prepared for Crowds: Zion is Utah’s most popular national park, and it’s also the United States’ fifth busiest. It may seem as if you’ve walked into Disneyland during peak season. Simply go in with realistic expectations and accept that each nook and cranny of the park has its own appeal.
- Hiking is a Favorite Activity: Zion National Park is a fantastic place to go hiking, but plan ahead since many trails get packed late in the day. If you’re searching for something less crowded, try Kolob Canyons or some of the lesser-known attractions off the beaten path.
- The Mount Carmel Tunnel: If you’re entering the park from the East on Hwy 9 you’ll pass through a tunnel. Vehicles that are larger than the following dimensions (7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) in width and/or 11 feet 4 inches (3.4 meters) in height or larger) will be required to pay tunnel permit fee of $15. Your $15 tunnel permit is good for two trips through the tunnel for the same vehicle within seven days of purchase. You can learn more here.
- From March through November, you may only enter the park using one of the complimentary shuttles. The park’s canyon road is off-limits to passenger cars. This minimizes noise and traffic in the canyon while also protecting the environment. To learn more about Zion National Park’s Shuttle System click here.
Benefits of Visiting Zion National Park in April
In April, the temperatures are milder than during the summer months, which makes it a more comfortable time to visit. The park is also less crowded, so you’ll be able to enjoy all the sights and sounds without having to fight through crowds.
Disadvantages of Visiting Zion NP in April
The main disadvantage of visiting Zion National Park in April is the weather. It can be cold and snowy, so you will need to be prepared with the proper clothing and gear. You should also be aware that the park service may close some trails if the conditions are too dangerous.
What’s the Weather Like at Zion National Park in April?
The weather at Zion National Park in April is generally mild, with temperatures averaging around 73 during the day and 43 degrees during the night. The lows can reach into the freezing range so you’ll want to be prepared for a range of temperatures.
It should be noted that in addition to these temperatures, spring is considered a “wet season” for this area and depending on the amount of rainfall, hikes could potentially be closed.
This is normally due to falling rocks, fast-moving rivers, and landslides. Be sure to check at the lodge to see if the hike you want to do is open during your visit.
What Should I Wear in Zion National Park in April?
When visiting Zion National Park in April, it’s important to dress in layers. The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared for anything. Be sure to pack a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, as well as plenty of water and snacks. If you plan to do any hiking, you’ll want a good pair of hiking boots, shoes, and socks.
To ensure you are prepared for the changing weather patterns, don’t hesitate to pack fleece, rain, and insulated weather jackets. If you want to pack a daypack bag, here are a few must-have items:
- Reusable water bottle
- A map
- Healthy snacks
- Lip balm and lotion
- Toilet paper and bags
- Hand sanitizer and wipes
- First aid kit
Things to See and Do in Zion National Park in April
Visit The Temple Sinawava
The Temple is an iconic feature in Zion National Park and is well worth a visit. This sandstone cliff is over 2,000 feet high and is a popular spot for rock climbing. It quickly becomes apparent why the temple has become one of the park’s most popular destinations. The trail alone is lined with wildflowers during the spring and summer.
Visit The Emerald Pools
The Emerald Pools are a series of three pools that are located in a stunning setting. These pools are a great spot to take a break from hiking and enjoy the beauty of Zion National Park.
Hike Angels Landing
Distance: 4.1 Miles, 1617 ft elevation gain
Time: 2-4 Hours
Traffic: Very Crowded
NOTE: Angels Landing requires a permit to hike starting April 1, 2022. Find details about the lottery system here.
Angels Landing is one of the park’s most popular hikes. The hike is 4.1 miles roundtrip and ascends 1,617 feet in elevation. The final section of the route is cut into solid rock, and hikers should only attempt it when the weather is good.
Hike to Observation Point
Important Note (updated 2022): Observation Point is closed via the East Rim trail from Weeping Rock due to large rockfall.
Alternate Route to Observation Point: The East Rim Trail leads to Observation Point. To do so, start at the Zion National Park East Entrance on Route 9. This is a 20-mile round trip, so this is a big day hike that should only be attempted if you’re a fast and efficient hiker. Hiking to Observation Point on the East Mesa Trail is a second and more suitable alternative.
This is a shorter trip with a total distance of 7 miles. The hike begins at the East Mesa Trailhead, which is located outside of Zion National Park.
Distance: 6.7 Miles out and back, 2131 ft elevation gain
Time: 4-6 Hours
Traffic: Moderate to Crowded
The Observation Point is a hike in Zion National Park that provides magnificent views of the park. The hike is more difficult than Angel’s Landing, but it is less crowded and my favorite.
There are several switchbacks on this hike, and at the top of the switchbacks, you’ll reach a steep slot canyon providing relief from the sun. Once you exit the slot canyon, your hike continues to climb around the the backside of Zion Canyon and provide sweeping views.
The entire trail is wide and solid rock. Just past the point where the trail levels off, it takes you to Observation Point. The whole route is made up of wide, solid rock. It leads you to Observation Point where the route level offs. Here you have a view of Angel’s Landing and both rims of East and West Canyon.
Walk Along The Riverside Walk
The Riverside Walk is a fantastic way to see the Virgin River and enjoy some of the most beautiful spring wildflowers in Zion. This is a great trail for families, as it is short, easy and fun. As you’re walking along the river , you’ll see a variety of birds, including small Black Chinned Hummingbird to the large California Condor.
Hike The Canyon Overlook Trail
If you want a view of Zion Canyon without having to climb too much, the Canyon Overlook Trail is the ideal route for you.
The hike starts near the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and takes you west to an overlook of Zion Canyon. It’s one of the few developed hikes in the eastern part of the park.
Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
Zion National Park is home to some beautiful scenery, and the best way to see it is by taking a scenic drive. Our favorite scenic drive is the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway (Hwy 9) to the East. The Highway runs between Zion’s main canyon and Mount Carmel and offers stunning views.
This road winds and offers spectacular views of the swirling, otherworldly rock formations, mounds, towers, hoodoos, and hilltops.
On this drive you’ll experience a long 1.1 mile tunnel that’s rather small making it suitable only for small passenger cars in two-way traffic. Larger RVs and trucks must have a special escort to keep single-direction flow and guide them through.
The Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel has windows, which enable travelers to glimpse the outside world while passing through it — but there are no bicycles and no stopping permitted in the tunnel.
Please Note: Vehicles that are larger than the following dimensions (7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) in width and/or 11 feet 4 inches (3.4 meters) in height or larger) will be required to pay tunnel permit fee of $15. Your $15 tunnel permit is good for two trips through the tunnel for the same vehicle within seven days of purchase. You can learn more here.
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
The 54-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive allows you to explore the beauty of Zion National Park from the comfort of your automobile. The route goes past such notable park features as Angel’s Landing, the Court of the Patriarchs, and Twin Brothers peak to name a few. During December to February, you can drive your own car along the route.
The section of the route that runs through the park is closed to private vehicles when the shuttle is in operation, so you’ll need to catch a free shuttle instead.
April is a fantastic month to go rock climbing because the weather is rarely wet and the temperature seldom chilly. The dry desert air helps you grip, and once you’ve reached the wall, the people disperse. You’ll have an excellent perspective of the vehicles and shuttle buses passing through the canyon when you’re 600 feet up the face.
In Zion National Park, backpacking provides the opportunity to get out from the crowds and enjoy tranquility. The days are hot enough to go for a hike, while the nights are cold enough to get a decent night’s sleep.
The Subway is a classic and popular canyoneering slot canyon hike in Zion National Park. To complete this adventure, you wade/swim/scramble/climb down the Left Fork of North Creek. The stream serves as the majority of the route’s trail. Some of the holes are deep enough that you have to swim, and the water is cold.
The hike is comparable to the well-known Narrows, but more difficult. You descend waterfalls and scramble around boulders. Ropes are not required, but they come in handy for getting people over cliffs and lowering packs.
Guided Hiking Adventures
Zion National Park is a great place to go hiking, and if you’re looking for a little guidance, there are a number of guided hiking adventures available. These tours offer a great way to learn more about the park and see some of its most beautiful spots.
Hike The Narrows
The Narrows is one of the most popular hiking trails in Zion National Park, and for good reason. This hike winds its way through a narrow slot canyon and offers some stunning views along the way. Depending on recent weather and rainfall the Narrows may or may not be open so be sure to check on this before embarking on this adventure.
Can You Hike The Narrows in April
Yes, you can hike the narrows in April, but you will need to be prepared for cold weather and possibly some snow. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go, and pack accordingly. The park service will close the Narrows if the flow of the river is too fast or there is risk of a flash flood
Is The Narrows Too Cold in April?
The Narrows will be cold in April, due to the snowmelt so you will need to be prepared with the proper gear. Be sure to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. You’ll want to wear a dry suit along with sturdy river shoes that will keep you safe from falling into the water.
Camping in Zion National Park
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, camping in Zion National Park is a great option.
Zion National Park has three campgrounds. The Watchman Campground in Zion Canyon is open all year. In the winter, South Campground is closed. The Lava Point Campground is about a 1-hour drive from Zion Canyon on the Kolob Terrace Road (closed in winter).
The campsites are usually full almost every night from mid-March through late November. If you wish to secure a camping space, make reservations at Watchman Campground (Call 877-444-6777 or go to www.recreation.gov).
Zion National Park Lodge
The Zion Lodge is the only accommodation in the park. Regardless of whether you will be spending the night there, it’s worth stopping by to get a bit to eat, use the restroom, and seek information from the rangers.
There are two dining choices in the lodge, and there’s also a Beer Garden Cart where you can enjoy local microbrews.
Park Services Open Year Around
Since Zion National Park is open year-round, there are several services available for you to take advantage of. Each of the places listed below will have their own set of facility hours so you’ll want to check on those to make sure you plan a visit while they are open:
- Park Store
- Zion Nature Center
- Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk
- Kolob Canyons Visitor Center
- Zion Human History Museum
- Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Does The Shuttle Run in April?
Typically, the full-time shuttle service in Zion Canyon and Springdale begins in. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will be accessible by free shuttle bus only-no personal vehicles. For the most up-to-date information, please visit here.
Can I Drive Myself Through Zion National Park in April?
No, you cannot drive yourself through Zion National Park in April. The park service has implemented a shuttle system to reduce noise and traffic in the canyon while also protecting the environment. You can only access the park using one of the free shuttles. For more information on the shuttle system, please visit here.
Get Out And Explore Zion National Park in April
Use the tips and suggestions mentioned above when planning your next trip to Zion National Park in April. There are so many things to do and explore when visiting a naturally historic place like this.
Have you ever visited this area before? Let us know about your trip and if there is anything you would add to our list!