National Parks

13 EPIC Things to Do in Zion National Park Besides Hiking

Nov 28, 2023

National Parks

13 EPIC Things to Do in Zion National Park Besides Hiking

Nov 28, 2023

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Hiking is often the first activity most people consider when visiting a national park in the US, and Zion is no different.

But wouldn’t it be great to explore this magnificent Utah park without hiking?

If you agree, you’ve come to the right place.

There are plenty of things to do in Zion National Park for non-hikers.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded excursion in the skies or a thrilling adventure gliding over sand dunes, this ultimate Zion National Park guide has got you covered.

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

FREE Masterclass: How to Get Paid as a Travel Influencer

In 60-minutes, I’ll walk you through 5-steps I use to get brands like Mazda, Adobe, REI, and Tourism Boards to pay me to travel the world!

Best Things To Do In Zion National Park Besides Hiking

1. Scenic Drive on the Zion Mount Carmel Highway

If you don’t feel like hiking, then perhaps a drive through Zion National Park is right up your alley.

And it doesn’t get any better than the Zion Mount Carmel Highway.

It’s arguably the best scenic drive through the national park, traversing 10 miles from east Zion to the southern entrance.

Along the way, you’ll drive through stunning views of red mountainous scenery, grazing wildlife, and the 1.1-mile Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel that connects this national park to Bryce Canyon

Note: Private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive when the park shuttle is operational (more on that later). This is to reduce traffic congestion within the park.

2. Go Bike Riding

Biking is a fantastic way to experience the best of Zion.

Being the only hiking path that allows bicycles, the paved Pa’rus Trail is the top choice for biking through Zion National Park. 

Rent a bike in Springdale and ride through mesmerizing scenery from the South Campground all the way to the Temple of Sinawava.

You can also bike on all of the park’s roadways, so feel free to take on the Zion Mount Carmel Highway for more spectacular viewpoints.

Note: Biking on other trails besides Pa’rus is strictly prohibited. The park also requires you to always wear a helmet and stay clear of the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel for safety reasons. 

3. Take a UTV Riding Tour

Riding UTVs is an excellent way to see Zion’s most remote areas.

This UTV riding tour takes you through the rugged terrains of East Zion to captivating slot canyons.

You’ll enjoy a thrilling four-wheel-drive experience followed by a magical walk through deep slot canyons. 

4. Go Off-Roading on a Jeep Tour

If you’re up for a more adventurous off-roading experience, look no further than this guided Jeep tour to the majestic Red Canyon. 

This excursion is one of the most ideal things to do in Zion National Park if you’re not keen on hiking.

The tour takes you through awe-inspiring views as you ride through rough terrains and walk along the towering red walls of the Peek-a-Boo Canyon. 

5. Take a Helicopter Tour

Another fabulous way to see the stunning red scenery of Zion National Park is from a bird’s eye perspective.

Take a scenic helicopter tour around Zion and view the park’s famous attractions without having to walk and battle long queues and crowded views.

On this 55-mile helicopter tour, you’ll soar over marvelous sites such as Kolob Canyon, the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Area, as well as the Smith Mesa.

6. Go Horseback Riding 

Horseback riding is an excellent way to see the best of Zion without having to hike.

There are plenty of tour providers in the area, so booking this excursion shouldn’t be an issue. This one-hour horseback tour sees you traversing through the majestic White Mountain.

You’ll get the best of both worlds, catching panoramic views of the park while riding to an isolated slot canyon, where you can stop and take in the towering red walls.

If you’re a novice rider, don’t be discouraged, as this tour is perfectly suitable for beginners.

7. Ride the Shuttle

Like other Utah national parks, Zion has a shuttle service that offers you an easy way to travel through the park, so you won’t have to worry about parking space.

The shuttle service operates daily from March to November, as well as during the holiday season until the end of December.

You can catch the park’s shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

From here, the shuttle stops eight more times at attractions such as the Zion Human History Museum and Weeping Rock.

Tip: The shuttle comes every 10 to 15 minutes, based on a schedule that varies according to the season and time of day. Check out the shuttle schedule to make sure you don’t miss it.

8. Attend a Ranger Program

You’ll find plenty of ranger-led Zion National Park activities.

These programs are designed to give you insight into the history, geology, and biodiversity of the national park and its surroundings.

At the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, you can attend patio talks on various topics three times a day: at 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3 pm.

Junior ranger programs geared towards families and children are also available at the visitor center and the Zion Human History Museum.

Read Next: Yellowstone NP vs Utah NP

9. Go Stargazing

Stargazing is one of the most sought-after Zion activities that don’t involve hiking; you need only to lie down for this one.

On clear nights, the starry skies above Zion National Park are a sight to behold.

You can join a ranger-led astrology program or opt for a guided one-hour stargazing experience.

This star-studded excursion is one of the best things to do in Zion at night.

Your experience is complete with a telescope, a warm blanket, and a delicious cup of hot chocolate as you gaze at the starry Milky Way under Utah’s non-polluted skies.

10. Catch the Sunset

Sunsets in Zion National Park are simply extraordinary.

Picture this: rugged red rock cliff flooded with vibrant orange, pink, and purple hues.

There are lots of sunset spots in the park, many of which are accessible via a short walk.

But if you don’t want to hike at all, opt for a sunset Jeep tour.

Alternatively, other popular spots among visitors and rangers are the Zion Canyon Overlook, the Canyon Junction Bridge, and the Zion Museum (which is likely to be less crowded).

11. Take a Wildlife Spotting Adventure

Wildlife spotting is something you can do year-round at Zion, but spring and fall are considered optimal viewing seasons.

Some animals, like mule deer, are often spotted during the day, while foxes and ringtail cats usually come out to play at night.

Some great places to go for wildlife spotting include the Weeping Rock, along the Zion National Park Scenic Drive, as well as on the paved Riverside Walk running along the Virgin River.   

12. Go Canyoneering

Canyoneering is among the best outdoor thrills you’ll find in Zion National Park.

And with the park’s numerous slot canyons, craggy mountain peaks, and meandering river-carved gorges, it’s not hard to see why.

However, it’s important to note that canyoneering is not just rock climbing; this activity may also include a little bit of hiking, rappelling, and even swimming in some parts.

This canyoneering tour gives you an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the park’s gorgeous landscapes.

Note: Canyoneering is a very technical outdoor activity, so safety precautions should be taken at all times. Familiarize yourself with Zion’s canyoneering regulations and the required permits.

13. Try Your Hand at Sandboarding

Last, but certainly not least, you can enjoy sandboarding in Zion National Park. This non-hiking experience is for avid thrill seekers and adventurers.

If that’s you, consider this sandboarding adventure down the sandy slopes near the park’s entrance.

The tour allows you to enjoy surfing the dunes while standing up or sitting down (this depends on your comfort level).

You’ll complete this tour with a UTV ride to the Peekaboo Slot Canyon.

Where to Stay in Zion National Park

Okay, so you’re all clued up on some of the best things to do in Zion National Park besides hiking.

Now, let’s look at where you can lay your head after a long, adventure-filled day in Zion.

Holiday Inn Express Springdale — $$$

Enjoy stunning views of red rock cliffs, an expansive outdoor pool, fire pits, a fitness center, and large rooms at Springdale’s Holiday Inn Express.

This star-rated hotel boasts sophisticated amenities, similar to those in big cities, and elegantly styled rooms showcasing regional culture. 

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham — $$

Want a luxurious stay without having to pay appalling prices? Then La Quinta Inn & Suites may be the perfect place for you to stay.

This three-star hotel features spacious rooms, an on-site convenience store, laundry facilities, and a resort-style pool with mesmerizing mountain views.

Zion Park Motel — $

If you’re not looking to break your budget, consider staying at the Zion Park Motel. This highly-rated lodge is quite rustic but offers all the mod cons you’ll need for a comfy stay.

You’ll get access to a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, BBQ facilities, and access to the Zion shuttle.

Wrapping Up What to Do at Zion National Park Without Hiking

Although it’s often associated with day hiking, Zion National Park offers many outdoor activities that do not require trekking.

From off-roading to picturesque sunset views to soaring in a helicopter over the red cliffs to surfing down dunes, Zion is an excellent choice for non-hikers.

So whether you’re looking for quick excursions, you can do in a day or adventures that require a 2-day Zion itinerary, these activities that don’t involve hiking are certainly must-dos.

Hiking is often the first activity most people consider when visiting a national park in the US, and Zion is no different.

But wouldn’t it be great to explore this magnificent Utah park without hiking?

If you agree, you’ve come to the right place.

There are plenty of things to do in Zion National Park for non-hikers.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded excursion in the skies or a thrilling adventure gliding over sand dunes, this ultimate Zion National Park guide has got you covered.

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

FREE Masterclass: How to Get Paid as a Travel Influencer

In 60-minutes, I’ll walk you through 5-steps I use to get brands like Mazda, Adobe, REI, and Tourism Boards to pay me to travel the world!

Best Things To Do In Zion National Park Besides Hiking

1. Scenic Drive on the Zion Mount Carmel Highway

If you don’t feel like hiking, then perhaps a drive through Zion National Park is right up your alley.

And it doesn’t get any better than the Zion Mount Carmel Highway.

It’s arguably the best scenic drive through the national park, traversing 10 miles from east Zion to the southern entrance.

Along the way, you’ll drive through stunning views of red mountainous scenery, grazing wildlife, and the 1.1-mile Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel that connects this national park to Bryce Canyon

Note: Private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive when the park shuttle is operational (more on that later). This is to reduce traffic congestion within the park.

2. Go Bike Riding

Biking is a fantastic way to experience the best of Zion.

Being the only hiking path that allows bicycles, the paved Pa’rus Trail is the top choice for biking through Zion National Park. 

Rent a bike in Springdale and ride through mesmerizing scenery from the South Campground all the way to the Temple of Sinawava.

You can also bike on all of the park’s roadways, so feel free to take on the Zion Mount Carmel Highway for more spectacular viewpoints.

Note: Biking on other trails besides Pa’rus is strictly prohibited. The park also requires you to always wear a helmet and stay clear of the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel for safety reasons. 

3. Take a UTV Riding Tour

Riding UTVs is an excellent way to see Zion’s most remote areas.

This UTV riding tour takes you through the rugged terrains of East Zion to captivating slot canyons.

You’ll enjoy a thrilling four-wheel-drive experience followed by a magical walk through deep slot canyons. 

4. Go Off-Roading on a Jeep Tour

If you’re up for a more adventurous off-roading experience, look no further than this guided Jeep tour to the majestic Red Canyon. 

This excursion is one of the most ideal things to do in Zion National Park if you’re not keen on hiking.

The tour takes you through awe-inspiring views as you ride through rough terrains and walk along the towering red walls of the Peek-a-Boo Canyon. 

5. Take a Helicopter Tour

Another fabulous way to see the stunning red scenery of Zion National Park is from a bird’s eye perspective.

Take a scenic helicopter tour around Zion and view the park’s famous attractions without having to walk and battle long queues and crowded views.

On this 55-mile helicopter tour, you’ll soar over marvelous sites such as Kolob Canyon, the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Area, as well as the Smith Mesa.

6. Go Horseback Riding 

Horseback riding is an excellent way to see the best of Zion without having to hike.

There are plenty of tour providers in the area, so booking this excursion shouldn’t be an issue. This one-hour horseback tour sees you traversing through the majestic White Mountain.

You’ll get the best of both worlds, catching panoramic views of the park while riding to an isolated slot canyon, where you can stop and take in the towering red walls.

If you’re a novice rider, don’t be discouraged, as this tour is perfectly suitable for beginners.

7. Ride the Shuttle

Like other Utah national parks, Zion has a shuttle service that offers you an easy way to travel through the park, so you won’t have to worry about parking space.

The shuttle service operates daily from March to November, as well as during the holiday season until the end of December.

You can catch the park’s shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

From here, the shuttle stops eight more times at attractions such as the Zion Human History Museum and Weeping Rock.

Tip: The shuttle comes every 10 to 15 minutes, based on a schedule that varies according to the season and time of day. Check out the shuttle schedule to make sure you don’t miss it.

8. Attend a Ranger Program

You’ll find plenty of ranger-led Zion National Park activities.

These programs are designed to give you insight into the history, geology, and biodiversity of the national park and its surroundings.

At the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, you can attend patio talks on various topics three times a day: at 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3 pm.

Junior ranger programs geared towards families and children are also available at the visitor center and the Zion Human History Museum.

Read Next: Yellowstone NP vs Utah NP

9. Go Stargazing

Stargazing is one of the most sought-after Zion activities that don’t involve hiking; you need only to lie down for this one.

On clear nights, the starry skies above Zion National Park are a sight to behold.

You can join a ranger-led astrology program or opt for a guided one-hour stargazing experience.

This star-studded excursion is one of the best things to do in Zion at night.

Your experience is complete with a telescope, a warm blanket, and a delicious cup of hot chocolate as you gaze at the starry Milky Way under Utah’s non-polluted skies.

10. Catch the Sunset

Sunsets in Zion National Park are simply extraordinary.

Picture this: rugged red rock cliff flooded with vibrant orange, pink, and purple hues.

There are lots of sunset spots in the park, many of which are accessible via a short walk.

But if you don’t want to hike at all, opt for a sunset Jeep tour.

Alternatively, other popular spots among visitors and rangers are the Zion Canyon Overlook, the Canyon Junction Bridge, and the Zion Museum (which is likely to be less crowded).

11. Take a Wildlife Spotting Adventure

Wildlife spotting is something you can do year-round at Zion, but spring and fall are considered optimal viewing seasons.

Some animals, like mule deer, are often spotted during the day, while foxes and ringtail cats usually come out to play at night.

Some great places to go for wildlife spotting include the Weeping Rock, along the Zion National Park Scenic Drive, as well as on the paved Riverside Walk running along the Virgin River.   

12. Go Canyoneering

Canyoneering is among the best outdoor thrills you’ll find in Zion National Park.

And with the park’s numerous slot canyons, craggy mountain peaks, and meandering river-carved gorges, it’s not hard to see why.

However, it’s important to note that canyoneering is not just rock climbing; this activity may also include a little bit of hiking, rappelling, and even swimming in some parts.

This canyoneering tour gives you an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the park’s gorgeous landscapes.

Note: Canyoneering is a very technical outdoor activity, so safety precautions should be taken at all times. Familiarize yourself with Zion’s canyoneering regulations and the required permits.

13. Try Your Hand at Sandboarding

Last, but certainly not least, you can enjoy sandboarding in Zion National Park. This non-hiking experience is for avid thrill seekers and adventurers.

If that’s you, consider this sandboarding adventure down the sandy slopes near the park’s entrance.

The tour allows you to enjoy surfing the dunes while standing up or sitting down (this depends on your comfort level).

You’ll complete this tour with a UTV ride to the Peekaboo Slot Canyon.

Where to Stay in Zion National Park

Okay, so you’re all clued up on some of the best things to do in Zion National Park besides hiking.

Now, let’s look at where you can lay your head after a long, adventure-filled day in Zion.

Holiday Inn Express Springdale — $$$

Enjoy stunning views of red rock cliffs, an expansive outdoor pool, fire pits, a fitness center, and large rooms at Springdale’s Holiday Inn Express.

This star-rated hotel boasts sophisticated amenities, similar to those in big cities, and elegantly styled rooms showcasing regional culture. 

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham — $$

Want a luxurious stay without having to pay appalling prices? Then La Quinta Inn & Suites may be the perfect place for you to stay.

This three-star hotel features spacious rooms, an on-site convenience store, laundry facilities, and a resort-style pool with mesmerizing mountain views.

Zion Park Motel — $

If you’re not looking to break your budget, consider staying at the Zion Park Motel. This highly-rated lodge is quite rustic but offers all the mod cons you’ll need for a comfy stay.

You’ll get access to a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, BBQ facilities, and access to the Zion shuttle.

Wrapping Up What to Do at Zion National Park Without Hiking

Although it’s often associated with day hiking, Zion National Park offers many outdoor activities that do not require trekking.

From off-roading to picturesque sunset views to soaring in a helicopter over the red cliffs to surfing down dunes, Zion is an excellent choice for non-hikers.

So whether you’re looking for quick excursions, you can do in a day or adventures that require a 2-day Zion itinerary, these activities that don’t involve hiking are certainly must-dos.

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