For many people, the perfect vacation doesn’t happen in the summertime. It happens in Fall. And it’s easy to see why. Temperatures cool down but are still just comfortable enough to spend a weekend or two in the great outdoors. New England has its autumnal foliage. Tennessee has the Smoky Mountains. And Southern Utah has Zion National Park.
Think Zion is nothing but 229 miles of desert? Think again. Zion is home to some of the most diverse terrain you’ll find in the Rockies, with subtle and unique wildlife that can equally rival anything you might expect to find in the Northeast. And the fall is an ideal time to visit Zion. The heat you’ll find during the peak summer season may have subsided, but it’s still warm enough to take full advantage of all the awe-inspiring beauty Zion has to offer. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a well-seasoned veteran to the Canyon, here’s 6 things to cross off your bucket list when visiting Zion in the fall.
1. Angel’s Landing
Angel’s Landing is to Zion as Zion is to Utah: virtually synonymous. It isn’t for everyone; after all, it’s a three-hour hike of a steep 5.4 miles which eventually leads you to a 1,500-foot altitude. But if you’ve ever wanted to take in a perfect view of Zion Canyon and aren’t afraid of a little physical effort, Angel’s Landing is one autumn challenge you don’t want to miss out on.
2. The Narrows
Second, only to Angel’s Landing in popularity, the Narrows is exactly what its name pimples. It’s the narrowest part of Zion Canyon, encompassing a six-mile round trip trek including four miles of the pristine Virgin River. If you’re not afraid to get your feet wet, the uphill wading can be an invigorating and refreshing way to experience firsthand the sandstone cliffs and walls that makes Zion the perfect autumn destination for millions of Americans.
3. Taylor Creek Trail
For more moderate hikers, Taylor Creek Trail may not be as physically demanding. But it’s nowhere less extensive. Covering approximately 5 miles in the Kolob Canyons, Taylor Creek Trail guides you through everything from prehistoric geological formations to the serene wooded creek which bears its name—all in a three-hour span.
What is canyoneering? Combine rappelling, hiking, swimming, and problem-solving and you’ve got a sport that is wholly unique to Zion. While a permit is required to embark on a canyoneering adventure, it’s a perfect way to engage with Zion directly; not as an observer, but as ana active participant in its splendor. And there’s no better time than the fall to experience it!
ATVs aren’t allowed on Zion National Park premises., but there’s plenty of adjacent trails in close proximity designed for you to take advantage of equally diverse terrain during your off-road driving adventure. Both Sand Hollow State Park and Coral Dunes Park draw thrill-seekers from all over the country, and if four-wheel excitement is what you’re after then fall time in Zion may be exactly what you need.
6. The Zion Subway
No, we don’t mean a public transportation system. The Subway section of Zion sometimes gets overlooked as a result of the sheer amount of sights in Zion, but don’t even think about making that mistake if you’re serious about hiking. The Subway is arduous; it’s an all-day 9-mile trek accessible only by permit, and one that requires more than basic navigation and commandeering skills. But between the creeks, the boulders, the walls, and the crevices, you’re treated to one of the most mysterious routes in all of Zion, lending your fall time adventures a surreal and one of a kind hue you’d be hard-pressed to forget.