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Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States, and it should be on the list of anyone who loves the outdoors. However, what if you can only spend one day in Zion National Park? Is it worth visiting for just a day?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Even if you can only visit Zion for one day, you should do it!
While Zion has so much to offer visitors, it can be difficult to narrow down what to do for just a day in Zion. This is exactly why we created this itinerary for what to do in Zion National Park for one day.
Remember that when visiting Zion National Park for one day, you will need a US National Parks Pass. They are $80 for an annual pass which expires one year from the day you buy it.
Zion National Park is the number 4 most visited national park in the United States. It receives about 4.5 million visitors every year.
If you are traveling to Zion during peak season—summer—then be prepared for crowds, which is why arriving earlier is better.
Zion does not allow vehicle travel within the park itself. They have a shuttle service instead. You can park at the Visitor Center catch a shuttle up into the park. It makes different stops at various trailheads. We’ll get to day hikes in Zion later.
Since Zion National Park uses this shuttle system to reduce vehicle traffic and pollution within the park, it’s even more important to get there early. The lines for the shuttles can get pretty long, and you may have to wait up to an hour just to get on one!
Once you’re on the shuttle and headed into the park, there are a few hikes you can do to make the most of your one day in Zion.
The best day hike in Zion is Angels Landing. However, it’s also fairly strenuous, and the last half mile is very dangerous and not for the faint of heart.
While preparing to hike Angels Landing during your one day in Zion, check out our Complete Day Hike Packing List to be totally prepared for whatever mother nature has in store for you!
Hiking Angels Landing in one day at Zion is absolutely possible, but you will need an early start. The hike takes about 3 to 5 hours in total, with the last half mile out to Angels Landing taking the most time.
The last half mile of Angels Landing is what makes it one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. You hike on a narrow path with 1,000+ feet drops on either side. At times, you can see your foot and then inches over the bottom of the canyon floor 1,000 feet down. There is a metal chain installed for the majority of the hike for you safety though.
This part takes the longest because there are hikers traveling in both directions, so you will have to stop and let the other groups pass. During these passings, you may have to let go of the chain depending on space available.
You should not attempt to hike Angels Landing if you have a fear of heights, stability problems, or are worried you may panic when out on the trail. You also should not attempt to hike Angels Landing in there is inclement weather as it can be very dangerous in storms and high wind on the trail.
If you are feeling uncomfortable hiking Angels Landing, especially the last part, you can always hike up to Scout’s Lookout and skip the last 0.5 mile out to Angels Landing. This is still a great day hike and is not very dangerous at all.
For more information on Angels Landing and whether or not you should hike it, read our Guide to Hiking Angels Landing at Zion National Park.
While Angels Landing is a strenuous hike and may not be for you, there are some other easier hikes you can do during you one day in Zion.
Other Hikes for One Day in Zion National Park
Consider hiking the Emerald Pools or Observation Point. The Emerald Pools is easier, and Observation Point, while more strenuous, gives you fantastic views on Zion. The views are similar to those of Angels Landing without the dangerous last half mile.
You can consider hiking The Narrows in a day, but this hike takes almost 6 hours to reach the best parts. If you leave really early, it is possible, but keep in mind that it will be a looooong day!
For day hike gear recommendations, take a look at our Day Hike Packing List, so you’re totally prepared for your day in Zion.
Zion can be done in one day, but it’s recommended to spend at least 2 days in Zion National Park. That way you can see more of what this beautiful national park has to offer.