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Beat the Heat in Zion

How to Enjoy Zion National Park in the Middle of Summer

It can get hot here in Greater Zion, and even in Zion National Park. There’s no question about that. And as summer moseys on, it will probably get hotter. So, how do you beat the heat in Zion? Here are a few simple ideas that offer you a chance to stay cool without losing out on the action.

Hit the Trails Early

It’s said that the early bird gets the worm. In the case of hiking, you are going to need to be the early bird, and the worm you’re after is temperatures 20-30 degrees cooler than the main heat of the day. Pretty tasty sounding worm, huh?

The shuttles in Zion National Park start running at 6:00 a.m. during the summer, and that’s when you should be waiting for them if you want to get a good hike in before the real heat wave. Once you’ve enjoyed a good hike in the morning, it’s time to treat yourself to some relaxation.

Most of the hotels in Springdale have pools, so don’t feel like you have to be on a trail the whole day. The wise man takes the afternoon off and enjoys the pool.

Aerial view of the town of Springdale, Utah

The Emerald Pools & The Narrows

Although heading up to the Emerald Pools isn’t 100 percent shaded, compared to a lot of the other popular trails in Zion, the Emerald Pools trail is a shady paradise. If you miss the early option or choose to spend the morning on some other trail, this route makes a nice escape from the sun in the mid to late afternoon, and even offers some refreshing waterfalls part of the year.

The Narrows can be done a few different ways, but if you just want a quick, easy taste of it and a chance to cool off, then taking the shuttle is the way for you. To access the Narrows this way, ride the shuttle to the very last stop on the canyon, The Temple of Sinawava. You’ll then head up the Narrows from the bottom. You can’t see all 16 miles of it this way, but you can still experience the majesty and wonder of the Narrows. And best of all, you’re spending 70 percent of your time in knee-deep (or less) water.

Water flowing over rocks in canyon

Outside the Park

A great vacation to Zion National Park is not cheapened by leaving the park and experiencing the other natural beauties of Greater Zion. It will enrich your experience to take a break to swim outside the park. There are two excellent reservoirs within state parks that are a 30-minute drive of Zion, named Quail Creek and Sand Hollow.

Sand Hollow is an unbelievably pretty reservoir surrounded by red rock and sand dunes. There is powder-soft sand along a good portion of the shore and a boat launch, in case you had more in mind than just swimming. Most importantly, you’ll find it full of cool, refreshing water.

Man wakeboarding behind a boat on turquoise water.

Making the most of your trip to Zion sometimes means managing the hours you spend under the sun. Be liberal with the sunscreen, drink twice as much water as you think you need, and know when you need to take a break. After all, it’s a vacation, so don’t over work yourself this summer in Greater Zion.