Zion National Park is one of the most popular nature destinations within the United States. The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite are the only parks that even compete for the attention that Zion gets. As one of the coveted nature destinations, when is the best time to visit Zion National Park is a common question.
The weather is the most influential factor when considering a trip to this incredible wilderness escape. The summer temperatures when exploring attractions like the Narrows can be quite sweltering. Every season of the year delivers unique aspects of the park. Let’s explore the weather and more to find the best time to go to Zion for your trip of a lifetime.
Best Time to Visit Zion National Park Based on Weather
Spring (March to May):
Springtime in Zion brings pleasant weather with average highs ranging from 61°F to 82°F (16°C to 28°C). Nights can be cool, with lows between 31°F to 50°F (-1°C to 10°C). Spring is ideal for hiking, as the temperatures are comfortable, and the park’s flora is in full bloom. However, be prepared for occasional spring showers.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is the busiest season at Zion due to school vacations and warm weather. Highs can soar to 94°F (34°C), and lows stay around 59°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C). It’s the best time for canyoneering and river activities. Be cautious of the scorching heat, and carry plenty of water. Crowds are significant during summer.
Fall (September to November):
Fall offers milder temperatures and stunning foliage as the park’s cottonwood trees turn brilliant shades of yellow and gold. Highs range from 84°F to 61°F (29°C to 16°C), while lows are between 50°F to 32°F (10°C to 0°C). Fall is perfect for hiking, with fewer visitors and pleasant weather.
Winter (December to February):
Winters in Zion are tranquil and less crowded, making it an excellent time for solitude seekers. Highs hover around 57°F to 61°F (14°C to 16°C), while lows can drop to 25°F to 32°F (-4°C to 0°C). Snowfall is possible, but rare, and rain is minimal. It’s a fantastic time for photography and quiet hikes.
Seasonal Changes and Best Experiences of Each
- Spring: Witness the blooming desert flora, including vibrant wildflowers. Waterfalls flow generously during this time.
- Summer: Ideal for river activities like tubing and swimming. Longer daylight hours for extended hiking.
- Fall: Enjoy cooler temperatures and the breathtaking display of fall foliage. Great for stargazing due to clear skies.
- Winter: Experience the park’s tranquility and the contrast of snow-capped red rock formations. Another great time for stargazing with earlier and longer nighttime hours.
Best Time to Visit Zion National Park Based on Crowds and Prices
- Spring: Moderate crowds and affordable accommodation rates. A great balance between pleasant weather and fewer visitors.
- Summer: Peak tourist season with large crowds. Accommodation prices tend to be higher. This is a coveted summer destination, so make your reservations early and plan for more crowds as you explore Zion’s best attractions.
- Fall: Fewer crowds than summer, making it a quieter and more affordable time to visit. Although not fall foliage colors of the northeast, the fall season still brings delightful changes.
- Winter: Minimal crowds, lower accommodation prices, and a peaceful atmosphere. It is quite magical when Zion is blanketed with snow.
Best Attractions of Zion and Best Time to See Them
- The Narrows: Best explored in late spring when water levels are manageable. It is also better to start your exploration early in the morning.
- Angels Landing: Avoid the summer heat and crowds; go in spring or fall. Head up early in the morning and beat the day’s collection of visitors. People only seem to accumulate as the day goes on.
- Emerald Pools: Ideal in spring when waterfalls are flowing, or in fall for beautiful foliage.
What Wildlife Can You See at Zion National Park?
People who explore national parks are often interested in the wildlife they might get a chance to see. Here is a quick look at some of the animals in Zion and the best time of year to see them.
- Mule Deer: Common year-round, but more active during cooler months.
- Bighorn Sheep: Frequently spotted on cliffs; best seen in fall and winter.
- California Condors: Year-round, but winter offers clearer views.
- Desert Tortoises: Spring and fall are active times.
The best time to visit Zion National Park depends on your preferences. Spring and fall offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making them great choices for most visitors. Summer is perfect for river activities but comes with larger crowds and heat. Winter offers solitude and unique photo opportunities but limited services. Consider your interests and weather tolerance when planning your visit to Zion.