Many people choose to retreat to the outdoors to relax, reduce stress, and recharge their bodies, minds, and spirits. For outdoor relaxation, there are few places better to visit than Zion National Park. The scenic overlooks, amazing trails, and beautiful slot canyons make Zion the perfect place to get away from the daily stress that life brings. However, there are a few stressors that may arise during a visit to Zion. Things like oppressive heat, large crowds, and a lack of preparation can all turn this relaxing getaway into a tourism nightmare. Luckily, there are a few tips that can help guests avoid these problems and enjoy the relaxing vacation they deserve.
Beat the Heat
The extreme temperatures and blaring sun can prove too much for many people, especially those who are not used to the heat. The discomfort caused by this heat can be stressful and dangerous. Taking steps to avoid the high temperatures in Zion can lead to a much more relaxing trip.
Check the Weather
It’s impossible to control the weather, but it is possible to plan for it. By looking ahead at the forecast, travelers can plan their activities according to the temperature and weather conditions. By doing less strenuous activities, like driving to scenic overlooks or taking a Jeep or helicopter tour, during the hottest times, visitors can save more strenuous activities, like hiking and climbing, for cooler temperatures.
Choose the Right Time of Year
Zion experiences all four seasons, so the weather throughout the year changes greatly from season to season. The most temperate time to visit Zion is in the fall, from the end of September to mid-December. Temperatures during these months are cooler, with daytime temperatures in the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s. Visiting in fall will allow guests to avoid hot temperatures of summer and the freezing temperatures of winter.
Avoid Mid-Day Activity
The hottest time of day in Zion is in the afternoon. During the afternoon, the sun beats down relentlessly, and the red rock landscape radiates heat. Finding shade when the sun is high can be difficult, as well. To avoid this oppressive heat, guests should head out early in the morning, enjoy less strenuous or indoor activities during the afternoon, and then continue outdoor activities in the evening.
Avoid the Crowds
In recent years, visitation to Zion National Park has skyrocketed, with over four million people visiting Zion throughout the year. While this is generally good news for the park, it can make visiting a bit more stressful. However, there are a few tips that can help visitors to avoid the crowds and have a more peaceful trip.
Start the Day Early
When going out to enjoy the park, especially more popular areas, like Angels Landing and the Narrows, getting there early can mean the difference between a peaceful, quiet journey and having to hike elbow to elbow with other visitors. Starting the day as early as possible can help to avoid the stress of large crowds and allows visitors to enjoy their activities at their own pace.
Visit During the Off Season
The busiest time of the year in Zion is the summer, which is from June to August. Traveling to Zion National Park during any other season will give a much more authentic and secluded experience. During the summer, school is out, and families are taking their vacations, which means many inexperienced hikers will be on the trails. This can make hiking some areas very frustrating and stressful.
Avoid the Weekends
If possible, visitors should try to plan their trip to Zion during the weekday. Trails tend to be much less crowded from Monday to Friday, with the middle of the week being the least busy time. The best way to plan a week-long trip to avoid crowds is to spend time camping and enjoying less crowded parts of the park, like the Northwest Section, during the weekend. Then, once crowds clear away during the week, visitors can spend time in the more popular areas in the park.
Entering any situation without proper preparation can be stressful. However, being unprepared for activities in Zion can be downright dangerous. By doing everything possible to be prepared, guests can have a safe and stress-free journey.
Obtain Necessary Permits
Camping, hiking, and canyoneering trips are just a few activities that may require a permit. Most permits can be obtained through the park service, though some might require guests to enter a lottery to try their luck at getting a permit. Visitors should always research the activities they would like to enjoy before getting to Zion, so they can plan ahead to obtain the proper permits.
Pack the Right Gear
The type of gear needed to enjoy Zion will vary by activity and season, but there are a few important items that every visitor should bring along. The following items will help to make a journey to Zion National Park as stress-free as possible.
Layers of clothing
Navigation equipment (maps, compass, and/or GPS)
Each visitor and activity will require different gear, so doing a bit of research to prepare for each individual journey is crucial.
Map Out Each Journey
Getting lost in Zion can have dire consequences. To avoid any confusion while traveling the Zion landscape, visitors should have their routes planned out ahead of time. When travelers are unsure or uneasy about traveling to certain areas, they should either forego the trip or enlist the help of a professional guide.
Enjoy a Stress-Free Trip to Zion
Having a stressful time at Zion will destroy what should be a magical experience. By avoiding the harsh heat, staying away from large crowds, and being prepared for each activity, visitors can enjoy the beautiful landscape of Zion and reap the benefits of a relaxing vacation.