Are you planning a trip to Zion? Read the information below to get a general idea of what to expect during each season at Zion National Park.
March and April - Spring break in canyon country Conditions
As the daylight and warmer weather return to Zion, the trees begin to grow leaves and the earliest wildflowers begin to bloom. Daytime temperatures are warming but nights can still be cold. The daily temperature swing can be 30°F or more. Depending on the amount of snow we received over the winter, higher elevation areas may still be inaccessible without winter gear. Snow begins to melt and raises the level of the river so the Narrows may be closed for an extended period of time.
The park shuttle returns to full time use so you should plan on using the shuttle bus to access the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The Human History Museum will usually open in spring, but for limited hours so check current listings. South Campground opens during this time period. In wet years, the Narrows are likely to be closed. March is spring break for many people across the country who want to take vacation to Zion. We see a dramatic increase in visitation to Zion Canyon in March, which sees almost three times as many visitors as in February.
May through September - See lots of the park...and other visitors!
Summer is hot with temperatures regularly over 100°F / 38°C. Use a refillable water bottle to carry plenty of water with you. There are places to refill marked on the park map. You should take measures to avoid heat illness while you are visiting. Your safety is your responsibility. When summer Monsoon begins, (July-September) watch out for flash floods. Ask about the risk at the Visitor Center.
With daylight and staffing at a maximum, facility operating hours will be the longest for the year. Except for ongoing construction projects and unforeseen emergencies, the park should be fully open and accessible. Take a look at our Current Conditions page to find out about park closures. The park shuttle bus is required to access the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and most of the hikes in Zion Canyon (Summer 2020 - tickets required for shuttle - read more here). Summer is the busiest time to visit Zion. Be prepared to share the park with around a half million other people each month. All available parking in Zion is often full by 9:00 am. If you arrive later than that, you should plan on parking in Springdale and use the town shuttle to reach the Visitor Center. Crowds are concentrated around holiday weekends with Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day being the three most visited weekends all year. Read some other Tips for Dealing with Crowds.
October and November - Same amazing scenery, slightly calmer pace. Conditions
Cooler conditions make it more pleasant to hike but layers may be necessary to deal with the changing temperatures. High and low temperatures can vary by 30°F each day. Fall colors begin to show at the highest elevations, slowly making their way down to Zion Canyon at the end of October and early November.
Shuttle buses are still required but start running a little less frequently and for less hours each day. The Human History Museum closes at the end of November, after Thanksgiving. Visitation begins to slow down, dropping more dramatically in November. The fall can be a rewarding time to visit if you want to avoid the worst crowds but not deal with winter temperatures.
December, January, and February - Solitude and snow (sometimes) Conditions
Winters in Zion National Park are cold and often wet. Temperatures can range from highs of 50-60°F during the day to lows well below freezing at night. Nearly half of the annual precipitation in Zion Canyon falls between the months of December and March. Roads are plowed, but certain trails may be closed due to the hazard of falling ice. After winter storms, snow typically disappears within a matter of hours at lower elevations. At higher elevations, the snow accumulates. Icy conditions may exist on trails, especially anywhere that stays in the shade. We recommend traction devices for your boots to reduce the risk of slipping. The Narrows will be cold and you will likely need a drysuit to hike safely.
Typically, park shuttle buses will be used only during the holidays, like the week between Christmas and New Year's Day and on Presidents' Day weekend. Access to the upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point closes. Access to Kolob Canyons regularly closes in inclement weather. Driving conditions can be very poor during a storm, but roads are usually plowed quickly after. South Campground and part of Watchman Campground closes. The Human History Museum remains closed and the park film can be seen at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, which is open daily all winter.
One of the best ways to plan ahead is to read the current park newspaper or information sheet. If you are planning far in advance of your trip, you can look back at the previous publications to get an idea of what to expect this year.