As Zion gets more popular, use strategies for getting the experience you came for by following these tips:
Timing: Even in busy June, I found Zion delightful in the cool mornings between 7 and 10 a.m. It also was nice after around 4 p.m., when a lot of day visitors left and the late day sun turned everything rosy gold. Come early or late, and you also miss the midday heat.
Days and seasons: Come midweek, not weekends. Come on a regular day, not a holiday or holiday weekend. Come in April or October, the shoulder seasons, rather than in busy July and August. Zion is open all winter (it does get some snow and ice), but you can drive your car rather than take the shuttle then.
Trails: Don’t shun easy trails like Emerald Pools and Riverside Walk just because they’re popular. Both are extremely beautiful, even when you are surrounded by other tourists. More challenging trails like Angel’s Landing or the Narrows require proper gear and preparation; don’t just set off on your own in flip-flops.
Shuttle stops: The busiest park shuttle stops in Zion Canyon are the visitors center and Temple of Sinawava (near the Narrows), but for some alone time, hop off at Canyon Junction or Big Bend and just find a quiet spot to look up, take a breath and sit still.
Lodging strategy: Zion is not exactly close to major metroplitan areas. If you can, camp in the park or stay nearby in one of the new hotels in Springdale. Most visitors to Zion come for about two to three, says ranger Jamie Mansfield. Take at least that long to see Zion in its best light — morning, noon and night. ___
This article was written by ELLEN CREAGER from Detroit Free Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.