The US is a huge country that spans across multiple land formations and climates, and with many areas preserved as national parks with natural hiking terrains and climates, a hiker would easily be spoilt of choice when choosing which is best. There are just too many awesome places a hiker can pack up, lace up the boots, and climb or descend for the views, adrenaline, and the feel of nature. However, in our view, the park that offers the best hiking experiences all year with multiple diverse trails is the Zion National Park in Utah.
Why Zion National Park is the best hiking national park in the US
The Zion National Park offers a wide range of landscapes to explore that any avid hiker would consider a paradise of options. The best thing about Zion is that it is well organized and even has a shuttle system that crisscrosses most of the trailheads. There are also plenty of backpacking options for hikers seeking more engaging outdoor adventures such as overnight camping. What makes Zion one of the top hiking destinations is that hikers can choose to explore the heights of the various climbable cliffs or the depths of the canyon – both beginner and experienced hikers will find the park an amazing place for exciting adventures.
Top hikes in Zion National Park
Before you head out to Utah for a hiking weekend or holiday, you must consider the weather at that time of the year. The canyon often has flash floods during the wet season and the cliffs can get challenging to scale in the winter. The five most highly rated hikes in Zion National Park are:
- The Narrows: This is the most popular hike trail at the park that crosses The Virgin River flowing on the floor of the canyon. You can make this hike as easy or difficult as it suits you and as short or long as you wish. Note that the further you go on the trail, the more climbing gear you will need.
- Angels Landing: This is different from King's landing on GoT, but it is almost as challenging as scaling a wall of ice. The hike trail is about five miles (round trip) and offers 21 switchbacks, but it is not the steepest in the park. This trail is perfect for hikers who do not prefer narrow paths and cliff heights.
- West Wall of Zion Canyon: Climbing down the canyon and back up is a lot of fun. At the West Wall, hikers get to choose from many different trails, each offering a different hiking experience. The most popular trails at the Zion National Park canyon are: East Rims trail, Emerald Pools trails, and Kayenta Trail, the favorite trail for family hikers.
- The East Rim Trail: If the highlight of your hiking is the beautiful scenery of nature below, then you will love this trail that ends at the highest point in the park – The Observation Point.
- West Rim Trail: This trail is highly recommended for backpackers looking to spend a couple of nights under the night sky. The trail connects to the Grotto trailhead and to the Lava Point where hikers can get spectacular views of the park.
The Zion National Park is large with all kinds of geological formations, a wide range of animal and plant life, and exquisite scenery. If you are a hiker and have not been to the park, it should be the next destination on your 'US National Parks to hike' list.