Wilderness is a rare, wild place where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with nature, and find healing, meaning and significance. Knowledge, respect, and understanding for these wild and undeveloped places will ensure that they remain spectacular for years to come.
Be sure to visit these online resources to learn more about Wilderness areas:
Horses and other stock animals are allowed on select Wilderness trails. Learn the rules and regulations here.
"Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit." - Edward Abbey
The Zion Wilderness is a spectacular network of colorful canyons, forested mesas, and striking deserts. In 2009, over 124,000 acres of Zion National Park was designated as wilderness. This designation will ensure that 84% of the park will continue to be a place where nature and its “community of life are untrammeled by man, a place where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
Zion Wilderness Permits:
Permits are required for: all overnight backpacking trips, overnight climbing bivouacs, all through-hikes of The Virgin River Narrows and its tributaries, all canyons requiring the use of descending gear or ropes, all trips into Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway), and all watercraft river trips.
Wilderness areas are subject to natural forces such as: wildfires, rockfalls, flash floods, and other related factors that may cause closures or changes to trip plans. An online reservation does not guarantee that a trail, canyon, or resource will be open at the time of the trip. Always have a back-up plan.
The purpose of the Wilderness Permit is to protect resources, manage visitor encounter rates and campsite use, and educate users on safety concerns and resource protection.
As visitation to Zion National Park has increased dramatically, so has interest in visiting the Zion Wilderness, and demand for Wilderness permits. More people are venturing into the Wilderness on day hikes, and many more are attempting to obtain permits for backpacking and canyoneering trips. There are only so many backpacking sites, and limits are in place for the total number of people allowed per-day in each canyon.
Visitors wanting to backpack or descend a canyon should be flexible in their planning. Your first and even second, choices may be unavailable. At busy times of year, all permits may be taken, leaving none for people who show up at the Wilderness Desk without a reservation.
Guided Trips in the Zion Wilderness
Structured and/or formally guided activities facilitated by educational, commercial, or like organizations are authorized to occur only on frontcountry trails. Such activities are not authorized to take place in park Wilderness/back-country areas (Primitive and Pristine Zones).