If you’re looking to get the most out of your next vacation, there’s really no better place than Greater Zion. Between lounging in resort pools with unobscured canyon views and hiking exposed ridges in Zion National Park, there is so much to be seen and done in this part of southwest Utah. Nestled alongside the Virgin River, Greater Zion is truly a unique area.
This article was created in partnership with Greater Zion, Utah. All photos provided by Greater Zion.
The best time to visit is in the fall and spring, when the weather is best. Although this itinerary only showcases three days, you could easily spend a week or two in Greater Zion without ever feeling bored.
Arrival in Las Vegas, NV
After flying in to Las Vegas and renting a car, it’s only a two-hour drive to St. George, Utah, where we suggest spending your first night. This is a good way to break up your drive, get some rest, and prepare for your first full day of adventures. Grab dinner at the Painted Pony and head over to your abode for the night, Inn on the Cliff.
Day 1 in Greater Zion
After breakfast, hop in the rental car and head north! There are two state parks outside of St. George: Gunlock State Park and Snow Canyon State Park. Both are worthy of a visit, so choose your adventure. If it’s spring, check to see if the waterfalls are flowing at Gunlock. Or hike the Petrified Dunes in Snow Canyon, which features incredible rolling layers of sandstone and beautiful wildflowers.
After a lovely morning outdoors, head back to St. George for lunch and then east towards Zion National Park, where you’ll likely want to spend the rest of your trip. If you’ve never driven recklessly through bright orange sand dunes, then you’ll want to stop at Sand Hollow State Park and rent an ATV to romp around with. Another great stop nearby is Quail Creek State Park, a beautiful reservoir for picnics, stand-up paddle boarding, or boating.
Stay in a Luxurious Canvas Tent Under the Stars
Roast s’mores around a campfire, sleep in a private canvas tent with incredible canyon views, and enjoy meals on site with Under Canvas Zion. If you want to camp under the night sky, but still want a hot shower in the morning, this is the way to go.
Day 2 in Greater Zion
This will be your first day in the park and what’s a better way to explore than going for a hike? Greater Zion offers more than 656 miles of hiking trails, but for your first day we suggest doing one of the classics in the park: Angel’s Landing or the Narrows, you choose.
Angel’s Landing, which ascends a prominent ridgeline, is a more advanced hike with steep drop-offs and very narrow sections of trail. The Narrows, which is much more mellow and accessible, is a 15-mile stretch of slot canyon where hikers wade through the Virgin River that created the canyon. Hikers take a shuttle to the trailhead and turn around when they please.
After a long day on the trails, you’ll be ready to settle into Springdale and grab a bite to eat. The town of Springdale is surrounded on three sides by Zion National Park, which makes it the best place to stay for easy access. Springdale is known for its high-quality customer experience, so you can’t go wrong with any of the lodging. If you’re an art lover, Cable Mountain Lodge features different artists’ work in their rooms.
Day 3 in Greater Zion
Indulge in some huevos rancheros and berry pancakes at Oscar’s Cafe for breakfast. Afterwards, go horseback riding through canyon country like a real American cowboy. Bring your camera, because there’s no better scene than a horse crossing a stream in Zion.
Whether you and your family want to take it easy on your last day of vacation, or go out with a bang, we have options for you. For the more adventurous, we recommend taking a guided climb of the Eye of the Needle Via Feratta. For those who aren’t a fan of heights, rent a bike and explore the park from a different point of view.
Depending on your flight, you may need to spend another night in Greater Zion. Before leaving Springdale, we suggest grabbing dinner at King’s Landing Bistro, owned by a man who fell in love with the local mountain biking and left his job in Las Vegas to move to Greater Zion, where he started this very restaurant. Finally, to take in the views one last time, grab your morning coffee at River Rock Roasting Company in La Verkin and sit out overlooking Confluence Park.