Backpacking

Hikers on the east side
 

The Zion Wilderness is a world-renowned destination that offers opportunities for solitude and adventure. With over 90 miles of trails, dozens of designated backpacking sites, multiple at-large camping areas, and 124,406 acres of designated wilderness, Zion National Park offers a variety of unique backpacking opportunities.

All backpacking trips into the wilderness require advanced preparation. When planning ahead and preparing for your trip, consider your interests, time, and the ability level of your group. There is no "one best trail." Use the Wilderness Guide, trail and campsite descriptions, and topographic maps to plan your wilderness experience. Come up with a backup plan in case your first choice isn’t possible.

Wilderness permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips. Permits are issued at both visitor centers the day before, or the day of your trip.

How to Obtain a Backpacking Permit

The best way to obtain a backpacking permit is to first make an advanced reservation. Reservations can be made online and become available three months in advance on the 5th of the month at 10:00 am Mountain Standard Time. For instance, reservations for all trips in the month of March become available January 5th, at 10:00 am Mountain Standard Time. Reservations tend to fill very quickly.

Each reservation requires its own, non-refundable $5.00 charge. If you are trying to make reservations for a multi-night trip, each night requires its own, separate reservation.

For a trip in...... calendar reservations become available on:
March.............. January 5
April................. February 5
May.................. March 5
June................. April 5
July................... May 5
August............. June 5
September....... July 5
October............ August 5
November........ September 5
December........ October 5
January............ November 5
February.......... December 5

Can I Get a Permit Without a Reservation?

If you are unable to obtain an advanced reservation, you still have options. Only about half of the park’s backpacking campsites are reservable in advance. The other half are only available at either of the visitor centers on a first-come, first-served basis. These can be obtained the day of, or the day before your trip begins, but no earlier, and must be done in person. Permits and reservations are not issued over the phone. Make sure to check the visitor center Hours of Operation before your arrival.

Sites fill quickly throughout most of the year, so arrive with a couple backup plans if you don’t have a reservation.

Converting Your Reservation to a Permit

If you successfully made a reservation, then the day of or the day before your trip begins you must arrive at either visitor center and pick up your permit in person. Make sure to arrive during the visitor center Hours of Operation. If you have multiple reservations we will combine them all onto one permit. A wilderness ranger will briefly discuss your itinerary, group safety, and Leave No Trace with you.

You will then pay for your permit and be on your way. Cost is $15.00 for 1-2 people, $20.00 for 3-7 people, $25.00 for 8-12 people.

Traveling to and From the Trailheads

There are many trailheads in the park and some groups may elect to hike from one trailhead to another. The Wilderness Transportation page will help alleviate any logistical transportation questions you may have.

 
 
 
 
icon of a shuttle bus
Backpackers may need to utilize the Wilderness Transportation options.

Last updated: June 25, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767

Phone:

(435) 772-3256
Staffed daily from 9 am - 1 pm. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day. If you are unable to reach someone by phone, please email us at zion_park_information@nps.gov.

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