Skip to Content

The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park in 2024

The Best Time to Visit Zion National Park in 2024

What's the best time to visit Zion National Park?

The best time to visit Zion National Park is in the spring (March-May) and fall (September-November), with mild temperatures and minimal rain for optimal outdoor activities. Peak season runs from April to October, offering a balance between enjoyable weather and full access to park amenities.

Zion National Park in Utah is one of the most spectacular national parks in the United States. The park boasts spectacular sandstone canyons and miles of hiking trails.

The main feature in the park is Zion Canyon, which has spectacular colorful walls dropping about 2,000 feet. The park also contains rock formations such as arches and monoliths, in spectacular colors.

The park is a prime destination for all sorts of adventure activities, from hiking and driving to more adventurous sports such as canyoneering and rafting. But when’s the best time to visit? Read on to learn more.

The Overall Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

People walking down a grated walkway wearing backpacks during the overall best time to visit Zion National Park

Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

The overall best time to visit Zion National Park is during the spring (March-May) or the fall (September-November), when the weather is ideal for exploring outdoors.

The most important thing to look at before visiting is the weather. After all, you are probably going to spend most of your time in the park outdoors.

Spring and fall temperatures tend to be mild. In March and April, temperatures are usually in the high 60s-mid 70s, going up to the 80s in May. September is very hot, with temperatures in the low 90s, but cools down by the end of the month.

The rest of the fall has temperatures from the mid 60s-high 70s. Since Zion has a desert climate, rain isn’t that frequent. Each month has only a few days of rain, with precipitation most common in early spring.

Strong thunderstorms can hit the park from late spring into early fall, sometimes causing flash floods in the canyons. Always make sure that you check the forecast for each day you are in the park and the daily conditions, posted on the official park website.

The shoulder seasons are the best for hiking and other outdoor activities thanks to the great weather. Visit in the spring to see the desert in bloom and go on beautiful walks.

At the end of April, after spring break ends and students go back to school, there is a small window when the park isn’t that crowded. Fall is arguably the best time of the year to go hiking in Zion National Park because it has the lowest chances of rain and thunderstorms, meaning that you’re at a lower risk of flash flooding.

The park’s peak season lasts from April until October. That’s when the most visitors come to the park, peaking in the summer months of June, July, and August. You’ll see plenty of other visitors in spring and fall, but not so many that you’ll feel crowded.

There are some benefits to coming when there are other tourists around. One is that during peak season, you’ll get to enjoy the most park amenities. For example, the shuttle only runs between early March and early December.

Peak season also sees the most organized events, such as:

Least Expensive Time to Visit Zion National Park

Gorgeous winding road through the mountains in Zion pictured during the least busy time to visit, early winter


The least expensive time to visit Zion National Park is during the low season, from November to late February, when the winter chases most visitors away.

Many charges associated with visiting stay the same all year round. The entry fee to the park is the same, as is the fee if you decide to go camping. National holidays usually have free entry to the park, but they also tend to be more crowded.

The main area of savings is on accommodation. If you are staying in one of the lodges or hotels near the park, you can save 10-20% compared to peak season prices. You’ll save even more if you stay a bit further away from the park and drive to visit.

Just keep in mind that you’ll have fewer accommodation options during the low season as many lodges and even campgrounds close during winter. If you’re visiting from outside of Utah, this is also the least expensive time to visit.

Most domestic flights cost the least in January and February, as long as you avoid holidays such as Valentine’s Day and MLK Jr. Day. Some car rental businesses also offer discounts during the winter.

Least Busy Time to Visit Zion National Park

Winter in the canyon pictured during the least busy time to visit Zion National Park with a cold river running through snow-capped valleys

Weekend Voyager/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Zion National Park is during the winter, when the colder weather drives away many inexperienced visitors. Winter is definitely a colder time to go. During the day, high temperatures are usually in the low-mid 50s.

However, at night temperatures can get below freezing, especially at higher altitudes. This makes activities such as camping overnight difficult. Plus, higher trails tend to freeze over during winter.

However, as long as you bring the right gear, you should have a great time in Zion in the winter. The most important thing is to bring shoes with good grip as some trails are icy. Check trail conditions ahead of time.

The official Utah Tourism Board also says visitors can enjoy stargazing and photography during this time. During the winter, there are fewer amenities available. Visitor centers close earlier, and there are shuttles only for holiday weekends.

The benefit of not having shuttles is that this is the only season where you can drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in your own car at your own pace, instead of taking a shuttle.

The best thing is that you’ll have all the stark beauty of the park in the winter to yourself. The Park only receives about 1/5th of the daily visitors it gets during its peak season.

Worst Time to Visit Zion National Park

Guy walking through the Narrows in the summer, the overall worst time to visit Zion National Park, pictured with light beaming in from above

Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit Zion National Park is during the summer, when temperatures are very hot, and crowds are unbearable. Summer has the worst weather to visit the park.

Daily high temperatures are often above 100 degrees, meaning that strenuous activity can cause heatstroke. Summer is also the monsoon season in the desert, with sudden downpours and flash flooding that can be downright dangerous.

Despite the oppressive weather, summer is the most popular time to visit Zion. You can expect crushes of visitors around you. Parking lots fill up, and you’ll have to wait to get on shuttles, pay your tickets, and even head to the bathroom.

That’s hardly the pristine natural retreat you were probably expecting. If you have to visit during the summer, there are some benefits. This is one of the only times of year when you can go canyoneering or hike The Narrows, a popular trail along the edge of Zion Canyon.

If you visit early in the day, you can beat both the crowds and the heat. Plus, the national park is big enough that once you get away from the main roads, you can avoid the crowds as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sign at the east entrance to Zion pictured on a nice day

James Marvin Phelphs/Shutterstock

Here are some additional questions to help you pick the best time to visit Zion:

What is the best month to visit Zion National Park?

The best month to visit Zion National Park is either April, when the wildflowers are in bloom, or October, when you have the best conditions for hiking.

Is Zion better in spring or fall?

Zion National Park is better in the fall because hiking conditions are better and the park tends to get fewer visitors.

What is the hottest month in Zion?

The hottest month in Zion National Park is July, when temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Monsoons are also common.

How hot is Zion in September?

September in Zion National Park is not as hot as July or August, but temperatures are still fairly hot, often in the low 90s. This is still good weather for canyoneering.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Zion National Park?

The best time to visit Zion National Park for the best weather and to beat the crowds is during the spring or fall. Lovers of cold-weather hiking and solitude will want to visit in the winter, which is also when you can find the best deals.