Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

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A canyon with green plants and a blue sky as the sun rises
Zion National Park is busiest during summer when families are traveling

Utah is no stranger to natural landmarks, but Zion National Park is one of the best in the state. However, your visiting experience can change depending on when you decide to travel.

Spring (March-June) and fall (September-December) are the best times to visit the park if you want to avoid queuing for amenities. The weather usually hovers between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during this time and there's not much rain.

Spring is also the cheapest time to travel. Zion's busiest tourist season is during the summer (June-September) when school is out and more families are traveling.

Even your preferred way to get around can determine the best time to visit Zion National Park. You can only drive freely around the park between December and February, for example.

This article has all the information you need to decide to take the stress out of planning your trip to Utah's Zion National Park.

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Zion National Park Vacation Planning Questions

A rocky landscape with mountains and green grass in the background
The best time to visit Zion National Park depends on your preference
A road with green and orange trees on either side
Spring and fall are ideal times to visit Zion National Park due to mild weather

When is the best time to visit Zion National Park?

Spring (March-June) and fall (September-December) are the best times of year to visit Zion National Park. These are transition times for the park, so they won't be very crowded.

The weather is mild in both seasons. In the spring, temperatures vary between 56 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In the fall, the temperature can dip as low as 48 degrees Fahrenheit in December but generally ranges between 56 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

You'll find it quite affordable as the best places to stay in Zion National Park will slash their prices to encourage travelers and you're more likely to find budget flights to the area.

A red and yellow tent in a grassy area with trees in the back
If you want to enjoy camping in Zion National Park, March-June are the best months

When is the best season to visit Zion National Park?

If you want to spend the night at the best campsite in Zion National Park, or even if you just want to come for the day, the best season to visit is springtime (March-June). You'll get the best balance between costs, crowds, and climate.

Generally, people don't travel during spring as school is in session. The only families you'll find in the park are local and out-of-towners wait till summer to take trips (June-September).

You're more likely to get a good deal on your trip since there isn't a high demand for campsites, rooms, or flights. You won't have to worry about booking early since amenities won't fill up as quickly as they do during the summer (June-September).

Springtime in Zion has nice weather. March can get rainy with around two inches of rainfall annually, but the rest of the spring is pretty dry with temperatures between 56 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

A dark wooden fence and trees in front of a cliff
Winter is the least crowded season at Zion National Park

When is the best time to visit Zion National Park to avoid crowds?

If you're trying to decide when to visit Zion National Park and you would prefer fewer people around, you should consider planning your trip for the winter (December-March). This season is the least crowded.

Many people who come to Zion want to hike and camp, which can be difficult in the winter months since the temperatures hover between 24 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter is also the park's rainy season. Each month from December until January gets over an inch of rain. Sometimes, snowfalls can be up to 13 feet.

The park stays open to visitors and most trails will stay open, but if conditions are dangerous, they'll be closed on a day-to-day basis. You'll be able to access the whole park and save money in the process since accommodation and flights will be at their cheapest.

A sign "Zion National Park" on a rock wall with trees and mountains in the background
Visitors will either drive or fly into the area depending on where they live

How to get to Zion National Park?

The best time of year to visit Zion National Park depends on how you want to get there. Typically, most people will either drive or fly into the area.

If you live in Utah or nearby, the easiest way to get to Zion is by car. The park's entrance is on State Route 9 which you can get to from Interstate 15.

Many tourists who are coming from states further away than the West Coast tend to fly since it's faster. You'll have to rent a car to get to the park since the closest airport is Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas which is 170 miles away and they don't provide a shuttle service.

Kit Leong/
The best time to visit Zion National Park depends on how you plan to get there
The closest airport to Zion National Park is in Las Vegas, 170 miles away

What is the closest airport to Zion National Park?

The closest airport to Zion National Park is Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. This airport is 170 miles away and renting a car is the only way to get to the park as they don't offer a shuttle service.

The closest Utah airport to Zion National Park is Salt Lake City International Airport which is over 300 miles away. You might be able to find an alternate transport service to take you to Zion from here but renting a car is likely going to be the most affordable and fastest option and will give you freedom of movement around the park.

Buses parked on a road between mountains
Private vehicles are only allowed in Zion National Park certain times of the year

Can you drive through Zion National Park?

Whether you fly or drive yourself, access to Zion National Park is no problem, however, but certain routes in the park will require you to take a shuttle.

From March until the end of November, the park offers a shuttle system to take you on the scenic roads, also called the 'Scenic Drive'. Private vehicles aren't allowed along this route, so you'll need to use the shuttle service or book an authorized car tour.

However, you can drive yourself on the Scenic Drive during the winter (December-March). It's recommended you have all-terrain and all-weather-appropriate tires on your vehicle.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Zion National Park

A river running through a canyon with trees and mountains in the distance
Consider weather, prices and crowds when planning a vacation to Zion National Park

Zion National Park in January

It's pretty quiet at Zion National Park in winter (December-March), especially in January. Once schools are back in session nationwide after the holidays, families will be scarce during the week. Even on the weekends, you'll mostly see locals around.

Since there aren't many out-of-towners in the area in January, all hotels, including the best lodging in Zion National Park, will lower prices to entice off-season visitors. However, depending on how much you spend traveling to the park, your low outlay for accommodation might be offset by the cost of getting there.

If you fly into Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, 170 miles from Zion, you likely won't find many low-cost flights. That's because winter is a busy season in Vegas, so there's a high demand for flights. You might have more luck if you fly into Salt Lake City International Airport, but that's over 300 miles from the park.

The weather in Zion during January can be hit or miss. Temperatures usually stay within the 25-50 degree Fahrenheit range and precipitation is possible. You can expect about two inches of rain throughout the month if temperatures are warmer or a few inches of snow if it's a colder January.

Zion National Park in February

Zion is an underrated spot for a February getaway, but it's perfect if you want to ensure you won't have to deal with fewer crowds, and if you aren't planning to camp. Throughout the month, you can find deals to entice travelers offered by the best hotels near Zion National Park.

You might notice booking accommodation around Valentine's Day weekend (February 14th) is pretty difficult and expensive. However, the rest of the month is usually open and the park won't be busy.

You're more likely to find some deals on flights as well during the month. The nearest airports to the park are in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, which can both have busy tourist seasons in the winter (December-March). Towards mid-February travel will start to wind down.

The average temperature in the area is 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you bundle up, you should still be able to do some hiking. Just bring shoes with traction in case you encounter mud from winter rain or snowfall.

Zion National Park in March

For many people, March is the best time of year to go to Zion National Park. Since it's on the cusp between winter (December-March) and spring (March-June), the climate is fairly mild, usually around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, though it can also be unpredictable. March is the rainiest month in the park with an average of over two inches of rainfall.

On sunny days, it's the perfect time to try some of the more adventurous activities that are offered in the park. Going on a sandboarding and ATV tour during this period is recommended.

The park won't be too busy unless Easter occurs during March, then you might notice more families around that weekend. Otherwise, it's not a very popular spring break spot. That means you can book a last-minute getaway and save money on your accommodation.

Zion National Park in April

As far as daytime weather is concerned, April is the best month to visit Zion National Park. It usually doesn't get warmer than 72 degrees Fahrenheit and the lowest average temperature is in the mid-40s.

About an inch of rainfall can be expected throughout the month, but that shouldn't affect the viability of any of the trails. While it might still be a little cold for camping, going for a walk on the best hiking trails in Zion National Park, like the Zion Canyon Overlook Trail, will be comfortable.

You'll notice prices start to increase around April, however. Depending on your budget, trips should still be affordable, but singles and couples are more likely to start booking this month to avoid the summer (June-September) crowds. This increase in demand means you'll have to book earlier for good deals.

Zion National Park in May

Thanks to its warmer temperatures, often reaching as high as 82 degrees Fahrenheit, May is an ideal time to spend a weekend at the best campsites in Zion National Park. Even nightly temperatures don't dip below the mid-40s and often hover in the 50-degree Fahrenheit range.

The warmer climate means taking a helicopter tour is a viable option. You won't get as cold from the higher altitude so you can fully enjoy the experience, but dressing warmly is advisable.

The tourist numbers start to pick up around the middle of the month. Schools all over the country will be planning their summer vacation (June-September) meaning more families streaming into the park.

This increase in guests will cause prices at hotels to go up. If you're planning on camping, don't wait until the last minute to ensure you get a site reservation. You might see some better deals on flights to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, the nearest airport to the park because May is a slow tourist time for the city.

Zion National Park in June

June can be a busy month at Zion, but it still has its merits if you decide it's the best time for you to vacation there. Accommodation prices will be higher due to higher demand. However, flights to the nearest airports, located in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, will be cheaper since June is a low tourist season for those cities.

Once you're in the park, you likely won't notice whether there are a lot of people, since accommodation and campsites are spread out. If you want to ensure a good vantage spot, you can book a small groups tour to the park's famous Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon.

Plan to dress in layers if you visit during this time. Temperatures regularly get into the 80-degree Fahrenheit range, but they can also dip down to the low 40s.

Zion National Park in July

July is a high tourist month and locals from all over Utah also love coming to Zion National Park for Independence Day.

To prepare for the crowd influx over this holiday weekend, make sure you reserve your spot early at the campsite. Arrive early, or you'll have to wait in long lines to gain entrance.

July is the park's warmest month with temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit on some days. Zion has a dry climate during the summer (June-September), so make sure to stay hydrated and wear sun protection.

Unless you book well in advance, you probably won't find many deals on July trips. The only discounts you might find are on flights to Harry Reid International Airport in Vegas, which is the nearest airport to the park.

Zion National Park in August

August has its pros and its cons when it comes to planning a trip to Zion National Park. On the one hand, flights are at their cheapest. The nearest airport to the park is the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. August is a low season for tourism in Las Vegas, so flights to its airport are often discounted.

If you have low heat tolerance, be wary as temperatures in Zion can rise as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit, though the average temperature is usually in the upper 80s. Most days are sunny and dry, so ensure you are well-hydrated and use a lot of sunscreen.

If you don't have a family, another con is that the beginning of the month is a popular time for many families to take their end-of-summer (June-September) vacation there. Perhaps wait until towards the end of August when schools are back and you can experience a more peaceful stay.

Zion National Park in September

September is one of the best months to visit Zion National Park if you're looking for low crowds and great weather. September is on the cusp between summer (June-September) and fall (September-December). Temperatures during this time are comfortably warm, usually around 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since it's not too hot, outdoor activities are more enjoyable than at the height of summer. If you want to take a canyon rappelling tour, this is an ideal time to book one.

There won't be as many people in the park, either. After Labor Day, you'll mostly find locals visiting both during the week and on weekends. You'll notice accommodation prices decrease steadily thanks to lower demand.

Zion National Park in October

October can be the best time to travel to Zion National Park if you want to go hiking. With an average temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit, overheating isn't a worry even if you decide to tackle the park's longest hike, the Lee Pass to East Rim Trailhead.

Camping in October isn't recommended unless you have specialized gear for colder weather. Nightly temperatures can dip as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

It's not a typically busy time in the park. You won't have to wait long to get into Zion and you'll be able to book tours and lodging at short notice.

Zion National Park in November

Zion National Park in the fall (September-December) is the best time to visit if you're passionate about nature photography. The cooler weather, usually between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, makes hiking to the park's overlook points comfortable.

Angels Landing, in particular, is a great vantage point for visitors to see how the park's colors change during the season. You can see the entire Zion Canyon giving you a great opportunity to take unforgettable pictures.

The only time you will notice more people around is when local families visit Zion around Thanksgiving weekend, but the rest of the month is crowd-free.

November offers affordable travel options as well. There's a lower demand for hotel rooms or tours, so you have more time to research good deals.

Zion National Park in December

If you want to see Zion Natural Park when it's snowy, December is a great time to plan a visit. At the end of the month when fall (September-December) turns into winter, (December-March) snow flurries are possible.

There's usually less than an inch of snowfall throughout the month, so it's not enough to make the trails muddy or dangerous. Just make sure you bring warm clothes if you want to go for a December hike since daily highs rarely exceed 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

December is one of the cheapest months to visit Zion where accommodation is concerned as it's not a popular tourist time. However, the days surrounding Christmas and New Year's Eve can fill up quickly, so if you want to visit for the holidays, book sooner rather than later.

Flights in December can be more expensive, however. The nearest airports to the park are in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah. December is a busy season for travelers to both of these cities, so airlines have less incentive to lower prices.

In Summary

Zion National Park is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit. However, to have the best experience possible, it's important to consider a few important factors before you book your trip.

Once you have set a budget, decided if you can tolerate long queues for amenities, decided if you want to be around lots of other vacationing families, and determined what weather you'd like to experience - you're all set.

You can use those guidelines and the information in this article to set the date for your trip to Zion National Park. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning!

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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