Zion National Park is magical (oooooooh). No really. Zion’s desert, river, trees, and crazy mountain scapes make it different from the rest of Utah’s Mighty 5, which have a bit more of a traditional desert setting. Zion has the whole shebang. But the only way you’d know what I’m talking about is if you spent 2 days in Zion National Park! DUH.
I have been to Zion National Park more times than I can count, thanks to that one time my boyfriend and I decided to live out of a campervan (long story). And we have found that it has the most variety compared to other UT National Parks.
I want you to love Zion, so I’m packing everything into this blog to create the best Zion National Park 2 day itinerary that’ll leave you feeling all happy inside. If you want to take a real bucket list adventure and explore all of Utah’s Mighty 5, I suggest you read my other blogs:
But let’s not waste any more time! We have a lot to cover in this itinerary. First, we’ll start by going over some of the must-knows for your trip; then, we’ll dive right into spending 2 days in the park.
Disclaimer: Look boo, this blog contains affiliate links, which means that when you use my link to shop, I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no cost additional to you!
Planning 2 Days in Zion National Park
- 🌵Best Month to Visit Zion: April through November
- ✈️Fly: Fly into St. George Regional Airport (56min drive to Zion) or Las Vegas (2.5hr drive). Check TripAdvisor for flights starting from $142.
- 🚗Car Rental: KAYAK can help you find a car rental starting at $54 a day!
- 🏨Stay: Watchman Villas, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Cable Mountain Lodge, Hampton Inn & Suites Springdale, Under Canvas Zion
- 🚎Getting Around: The Zion Shuttle System runs on weekends only in February, then 7 days a week March through November and will be how you get to some attractions. Read more about the Zion National Park shuttle schedule.
- 🎟Entry Fees: $35 entry fee or America The Beautiful Pass
Where to Stay
Considering its popularity and location, figuring out where to stay for 2 days in Zion National Park can get a bit complicated. You see, Zion National Park lies smack inside a canyon. It’s backed up to the town of Springdale, UT.
If this were my Zion 2 day itinerary, I would stay in Springdale, UT, for the proximity! The SpringHill Suites by Marriott is an excellent property I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying before. Springdale is where just about all the food in the area is located. Some shuttles will take you to the park, but you have the option of driving in and finding parking in a paid lot or within Zion.
You can also stay outside the Springdale area by going with a fun glamping option like Under Canvas Zion. Under Canvas Zion was rated one of the Top 20 Resorts in this area of the US by Conde Nast. How cool! This fun glamping property sits about 20 miles from the Zion National park entrance, about a 30-minute drive. If you choose to stay here, you must plan your drive-time accordingly! Traffic entering Zion from Springdale can cause significant backups, delaying any plans you have.
Zion National Park 2 Day Itinerary Map
This is your Zion National Park 2 day itinerary map! You can click here to view a live version of the map to refer to as needed.
Zion National Park 2 Day Itinerary
Here is a peep at your 2 days in Zion National Park:
- Zion Scenic Drive
- Bike Rental Pickup
- Bottom-Up Hike The Narrows
- Sunset at Canyon Junction Bridge
- Sunrise Hike Angels Landing
- Bike Pa’rus Trail
- Sunset at Canyon Overlook Trail
Now we’re going to break down each day in the park! I’m going to assume you flew into either Las Vegas or St. George. Regardless, for this itinerary to work best, I suggest you arrive at Zion National Park no later than early afternoon on day 1!
Let’s be honest, there is so much to do in Zion National Park, and you probably won’t get to see it all in 2 days. You can certainly see the highlights, though! To make the most of your time, try to see at least one of the most popular attractions. That way, you can at least leave your Zion National Park 2 day itinerary knowing you saw some of the major park landmarks.
Let’s dive in!
Morning — Scenic Drive
If you don’t want to start your morning off with anything major, take a Zion scenic drive, hitting the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. Depending on when you arrive, you might have completely missed this fun landmark!
The byway between the main Zion Canyon and Mount Carmel is beautiful. This is a great introduction activity to the park. Along the way, you’ll see swirling rock formations and cream and red-colored canyon views, which offer plenty of places to pull off for photos if you’d like!
Get your camera ready for the first sweeping views of the Zion Canyon as you make your way up! There are a few pull-off spots to take pictures. You can also park at the Visitor Center and ride the shuttles through the canyon. Along the way, you’ll learn about the park’s history, which is a nice way to start your 2 day Zion itinerary.
From November to March, you can explore Zion by car when the park roads are open to vehicles. Bring snacks! The Zion Lodge sells food, but otherwise, you will not have any food options.
Early Afternoon — Bike Rentals
At some point during your day, you’ll want to head to EBikes Zion (hours 9 AM – 6 PM) and rent a bike overnight! Then, you will use it for hiking the Angels Landing trail for sunrise on day 2. Zion Cycles (hours 9 AM – 5 PM) also offers multi-day rentals. Both shops are located in Springdale, so this should be an easy stop if you stay in the area.
For both of these rental places, I recommend calling and making sure you can pick up a bike for a sunrise hike. In most cases, you can book online, but it helps to double-check with the rental companies. Their hours are around 9 AM to 6 PM, so plan accordingly to ensure this doesn’t interfere with your plans to see Zion in two days.
Afternoon — The Narrows
Assuming the weather is nice and you’re ready to hit your first “big” activity of the day, you can head back to the Visitor Center and take the shuttle to bottom-up hike The Narrows from Temple of Sinawava!
Hiking along The Narrows will require you to get wet and wade through the Virgin River. However, the best part about the Temple of Sinawava access point is that you will not need a permit. The trail is 10mi long, but plenty of people just walk around for a mile or two then turn around, which can take about 2 hours.
The Narrows is one of the most popular things to do in Zion National Park, but if you have never been before, they’re worth the visit! First, however, you’ll have to pay attention to the trail conditions because at any sign of a rockfall or flooding, the trail will close.
Ready for something to eat? Head over to Cafe Soleil! The cafe serves up sandwiches and healthy eats. It’s located in Springdale but sits right outside the park. If you packed your own lunch, then keep going!
Evening — Canyon Junction Bridge Sunset
Depending on how you’re feeling after hiking The Narrows, you might be too tired for another adventure. Therefore, I recommend you watch the sunset at Canyon Junction Bridge! There is parking on the side of the road. This is one of the most popular spots in Zion National Park, known for its sweeping view of the Virgin River with the Watchman towering behind it.
In the mood for another hike? Go for it! You only get to see Zion National Park in 2 days, anyways! The Watchman Trail is where it’s at! It takes you up and up and around the Zion Canyon area, where you’ll see some of the iconic parts of Zion National Park, like Watchman Peak.
In the spring, this trail is littered with flowers! It’s gorgeous! It’ll take about 2 hours to hike and is 3.3mi RT and 300ft+ elevation gain. However, you don’t have to finish the whole trail if you don’t want to. To access the trail, you can park right by the Visitor Center. No shuttle is required.
When you’re ready to leave the park, head to Oscar’s Cafe, a popular choice for Mexican cuisine in the area! Oscar’s closes at 9 PM, so it’s an excellent option for food post-sunset.
Day 2 – Sunrise Mission & Biking
Morning — Angels Landing Sunrise
Hiking Angels Landing is notably one of the most popular things to do in Zion National Park. Angels Landing is a beautiful hike that will bring you to a view above Zion Canyon. Your jaw will probably drop when you get there!
One of the best times to hike Angels Landing is for sunrise. The hike starts at the Grotto Trailhead and goes along the lower West Rim Trail. It is 4.8mi RT, and has a total of 1,630ft in elevation gain.
To get here for sunrise, you’ll use the bikes you rented! This is a popular way for folks to hike Angels Landing for sunrise, so you might not be the only ones doing it! I recommend packing a good headlamp with you for your hike.
Want to do something else? Observation Point is one of my favorite hikes in Zion National Park! It makes for a great alternative to Angels Landing because the view is much higher. The only downside to this hike over Angels Landing is more strenuous. The Observation Point trail is 8mi RT, begins at Weeping Rock Trailhead, and has a 2,788ft elevation gain.
You can take a morning shuttle to get to the trailhead – no need to ride bikes here.
The trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to complete. Therefore, I recommend starting this hike early in the morning to get the most out of it. Expect this adventure to take up most of your time during your 2 days at Zion National Park. Reasonably you wouldn’t be able to get to the top in time for sunrise (unless you started VERY early), but it can be a great adventure nonetheless.
You will have to check trail conditions before getting there because sometimes the trail closes during flooding or a rockfall.
Afternoon — Bike Pa’rus Trail
Assuming you did rent bikes, you can opt to ride over the Pa’Rus trail. It’s a 3.4mi trail that goes through the park and is a great riverside walk. There are actually river access points along the path people use to get up close to the Virgin River. In addition, there are sandy beaches along the shore you can stop on.
Paying attention to the weather conditions and avoiding going into the river when the current is strong. You can have a picnic-type lunch along here somewhere or just relax until you’re ready for the next adventure.
Later Afternoon — Emerald Pools
In the mood for something lowkey to do after your hiking adventure? If you have time, head to the Emerald Pools! There are 3 sections you can hit: lower, middle, upper. The Lower Emerald Pool is the easiest to get to with a 1.2 mile RT hike. The Upper Pool is often recognized as the “prettiest” Emerald Pool and takes approximately 2 hours to get to with a 2 mile RT hike.
Regardless, this series of trails will lead you to waterfalls and pools you can admire. In addition, they’re a great place to enjoy some snacks!
Evening — Canyon Overlook Trail Sunset
Ready to catch one last sunset before taking off? No problem! Canyon Overlook trail is exceptionally photogenic and is only 1mi RT. The bad part about this hike is that there is next to no parking to get to the trailhead, so your best bet is to get there early and try to find overflow parking near the trailhead.
Canyon Overlook is known for its incredible views in every direction. It’s a popular place for engagement photos because the view is so spectacular. Canyon Overlook Trail is 1 mile round trip and will take anywhere from 30min to an hour to complete.
And that wraps up your 2 days in Zion National Park!
Hiking Trails in Zion National Park
Want to switch things up during your 2 days in Zion National Park? No problem! Here are some alternative trails to consider. Switch them out in your itinerary as you please.
The Narrows Thru-Hike
Remember, you can hike The Narrows for free by starting at the Temple of Sinawava (bottom-up route). If you want to do the 16-mile through-hike from Chamberlain’s Ranch, you will need a permit. Head to the NPS site for all of the details.
West Rim Trail
The West Rim Trail is a backcountry classic in Zion National Park. It begins at the Grotto Trailhead and is a 15mi trail that goes through some of the best canyon views in Zion. The bottom section of the trail leads you to Angels Landing, but there is much more to explore here.
If you wish to backpack this trail, you will need a Zion backpacking permit!
In the mood for a backcountry adventure? Check out The Subway (Left Fork of North Creek)! The Subway is possibly one of the most famous backcountry desert trails in the USA and worth getting permits for if you can. The Subway will take you through another canyon system in Zion National Park. Along your adventure, you’ll see sweeping canyon views and glorious pools.
You can either canyoneer or hike The Subway. Regardless, you will need to acquire a permit. Zion National Park has an entire Subway permit system that allows visitors to obtain a pass months in advance. I recommend reading more about The Subway permit system on the NPS site if this is something you’re interested in adding to your Zion National Park itinerary 2 days edition!
This is an adventure for someone who has been to the park multiple times and wants to see something different.
More Things to do in Zion National Park
Looking for a different kind of adventure? Below are some Zion activities for you to consider. Feel free to add these to your Zion National Park 2 day itinerary.
In the mood for a real adventure? Try Canyoneering at Zion National Park! The Canyoneering at Zion NP is some of the best, and surely you won’t be disappointed for adding it in your Zion itinerary. You can even do a half day Canyoneering tour that’ll take you through a once-in-a-lifetime experience through some of Zion’s best slot canyons.
Want to get a different perspective of Zion National Park? This Zion helicopter ride might be for you. Along the ride, you’ll get gorgeous views of Zion Canyon, the Virgin River, and other areas of the park you might not get to explore otherwise.
What desert location DOESN’T offer horseback riding? You can book a Zion horseback riding tour and explore some of the park areas more uniquely. Two days in Zion National Park is enough time to go riding and see some of the major Zion attractions.
Zion National Park also features some of the best rock climbing in the USA! So, if you don’t feel like hiking but still want to enjoy most of what the park has to offer, I suggest heading out on a rock climbing adventure.
After Your Zion National Park 2 Day Itinerary
Need something to do after your Zion National Park 2 day itinerary? Check out these local options!
Sand Hollow State Park
Sand Hollow is one of the best state parks to see a crystal clear oasis in the desert. You can spend your day by the waterfront, taking a stroll or driving, and ATV!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a great place to visit after your 2 day itinerary for Zion National Park! It’s a beautiful landscape with unique colored dunes! Some folks choose to go sledding here or go on one of the park’s nature walks!
Bryce Canyon National Park
In a 2 hour drive, you can also see Bryce Canyon National Park! Bryce is full of massive rock formations that are bright orange and make you feel like you’re on another planet! If you’re interested in exploring Bryce AND the other Big 5 parks, I suggest reading my Utah National Parks road trip write-up next!
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is another excellent option to visit around Zion! The parks are only 2 hours away from each other and would make for a great road trip! Valley of Fire is full of unearthly-like landscapes that’ll make your jaw drop!
Grand Canyon National Park
Continue south and drive to Grand Canyon National Park! The Grand Canyon is about a 4 hour drive from Zion. Getting here will allow you to explore more of Arizona. The best way to explore this park and Zion would be to do an Arizona Utah road trip!
Regardless of whether or not you extend your trip, I hope you enjoyed seeing my recommendations for 2 days in Zion National Park! If you’re interested in seeing more UT parks, make sure you check out my Utah National Parks road trip write-up next!
Happy exploring :)!