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Free Things to Do in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a stunning destination located in Utah, USA. It is known for its impressive red-rock cliffs, towering mountains, deep canyons, and lush green valleys. With its unique geography, Zion National Park offers visitors a variety of free activities to enjoy during their visit. Whether you’re looking for a short hike, an outdoor picnic, or simply a place to relax and take in the sights, Zion National Park won’t disappoint. Read on for 12 of the best free activities to do in Zion National Park.

1. Take a Scenic Drive

One of the best free activities to enjoy in Zion National Park is to take a scenic drive. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway runs through the park and offers stunning views of the park’s canyons and rock formations. The drive is especially beautiful in the morning or evening, when the sun casts its warm light on the red rocks. Be sure to take your time and enjoy the scenery as you drive through the park.

There are also several other scenic drives in the park, including the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, the Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive, and the Kolob Terrace Road. Each of these drives offers its own unique views and is worth exploring.

If you’d rather spend your time hiking or exploring, you can also catch a free shuttle bus that runs through the park. This is a great way to get around without having to worry about parking.

2. Hike the Watchman Trail

The Watchman Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. This moderate 4-mile round-trip hike offers stunning views of the park’s canyons and peaks. The trail starts at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and winds its way up to the summit of Watchman Peak. Along the way, you’ll pass through a variety of unique landscapes, such as slickrock, sandstone cliffs, and lush forest. The Watchman Trail is a great way to get an up-close look at the park’s stunning scenery.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue on to the summit of Angel’s Landing. This iconic 5-mile round-trip hike features steep and narrow switchbacks and stunning views of the park. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes for this strenuous hike.

The Watchman Trail and Angel’s Landing are both great options for hikers of all levels. But even if you don’t have time to hike, you can still enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery from the comfort of your car.

3. Enjoy the Wildlife

Zion National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, and coyotes. While you’re out exploring the park, keep an eye out for these animals. Be sure to keep a safe distance from the wildlife so that they don’t become too accustomed to humans.

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If you’re lucky, you might even spot a mountain lion. These big cats are rarely seen, but they are known to inhabit the park. Be sure to keep a safe distance if you do spot one.

You can also look for smaller animals such as lizards, snakes, and birds. The park is home to over 250 species of birds, so keep an eye out for colorful finches, eagles, and woodpeckers.

4. Stargaze at Night

Zion National Park is one of the best places in Utah to stargaze. The night sky is full of stars, and the park’s clear skies and lack of light pollution make it a great spot for amateur astronomers. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way stretching across the sky.

If you’d like to learn more about the night sky, the Zion Astronomy Club offers free stargazing events throughout the year. During these events, you can learn about the constellations and planets visible in the night sky. You can also take advantage of the club’s telescopes and binoculars to get an up-close look at the stars.

Stargazing is a great way to appreciate the beauty of Zion National Park. Be sure to bring a blanket and a warm jacket so that you can stay comfortable while you admire the night sky.

5. Go Swimming

If you’re looking for a way to cool off during your visit to Zion National Park, you can head to the park’s swimming holes. During the summer months, the park’s streams and rivers are a great place to take a dip and cool off. Be sure to bring a swimsuit, towel, and water shoes so that you can enjoy the water safely.

If you’d rather stay on dry land, the park also offers several wading pools. These pools are shallow and perfect for kids and adults alike. You can also find a few man-made swimming pools at the Zion Lodge and the Zion Human History Museum.

Be sure to check the park’s website for swimming safety tips before you visit. And be aware that the park’s rivers and streams can be dangerous, so be sure to stay in designated swimming areas and obey any posted signs.

6. Explore the Campgrounds

Zion National Park has several campgrounds that offer visitors the chance to get close to nature. The campgrounds are open year-round and offer a variety of amenities, including bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire pits. Some campgrounds even have RV hook-ups, so you can bring your RV and enjoy the park in comfort.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to set up your tent or a full-service RV site, Zion National Park has something for everyone. Be sure to check the park’s website for more information about the campgrounds and to make a reservation.

Exploring the campgrounds is a great way to get to know the park. Whether you’re admiring the stars, enjoying a campfire, or simply relaxing in the great outdoors, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

7. Visit the Zion Human History Museum

The Zion Human History Museum is a great way to learn about the park’s unique history and culture. The museum offers a variety of exhibits and interactive displays that explore the park’s human history, from the first settlers to the present day. You can also take a self-guided tour of the museum and explore at your own pace.

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The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events. From ranger-led hikes to stargazing nights, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check the museum’s website for upcoming events.

Visiting the Zion Human History Museum is a great way to learn about the park’s past and appreciate its unique culture. Be sure to visit this must-see museum when you’re in Zion National Park.

8. Take a Guided Tour

If you’d like to learn more about the park, you can take a free guided tour. The park’s rangers offer a variety of educational tours that explore the park’s history, geology, wildlife, and more. These tours are a great way to learn about the park and get an up-close look at its unique features.

The park also offers several ranger-led hikes that explore the park’s trails. These hikes are great for hikers of all levels and offer stunning views of the park’s canyons and peaks. Be sure to check the park’s website for upcoming hikes and tours.

Taking a guided tour is a great way to learn about the park’s history, geology, and culture. Plus, it’s a great way to explore the park without having to worry about getting lost.

9. Take a Photo

Zion National Park is one of the most photogenic places in the world. With its stunning canyons, towering peaks, and lush forests, the park is a photographer’s paradise. Be sure to bring your camera and take advantage of the park’s many photo ops.

If you’re looking for a unique photo opportunity, you can explore the park’s slot canyons. These narrow canyons are full of colorful sandstone walls and offer a variety of unique photo opportunities. Be sure to bring a tripod so that you can take longer exposures and capture the beauty of the canyons.

No matter what type of photos you’re looking for, you’re sure to find plenty of photo ops in Zion National Park. So be sure to bring your camera and capture the beauty of the park.

10. Attend an Event

The park’s events offer visitors the chance to experience the park in a new and exciting way. From concerts and art shows to stargazing events and ranger-led hikes, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check the park’s website for upcoming events.

The park also offers several free programs throughout the year. These programs offer educational presentations, guided hikes, stargazing events, and more. Be sure to check the park’s website for upcoming programs.

Attending an event is a great way to experience Zion National Park in a new and exciting way. So be sure to check out the park’s events and programs when you’re in the area.

11. Visit the Visitor Centers

The park’s visitor centers are a great place to learn about the park’s history and find out what activities are available. The visitor centers offer a variety of educational displays and interactive exhibits that explore the park’s geology, wildlife, and culture. You can also find out about upcoming events and programs.

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The visitor centers also offer a variety of free maps and brochures that can help you plan your trip. Be sure to pick up a copy of the park’s newspaper, the Zion Gazette, which offers up-to-date information about the park’s events and programs.

Visiting the visitor centers is a great way to get to know the park and plan your trip. Be sure to stop by a visitor center when you’re in the park.

12. Take a Hike

The best way to experience the park is to take a hike. Zion National Park offers a variety of trails for hikers of all levels. Whether you’re looking for a short nature walk or an all-day adventure, you’re sure to find a trail that’s right for you.

The park also offers several backpacking trails for experienced hikers. These trails can be strenuous, so be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes. Be sure to check the park’s website for more information about the trails.

Hiking is a great way to get to know the park and take in its stunning scenery. So be sure to lace up your hiking boots and explore Zion National Park on foot.

Summary

Zion National Park offers visitors a variety of free activities to enjoy during their visit. From scenic drives and hikes to wildlife viewing and stargazing, there’s something for everyone in Zion National Park. Be sure to take advantage of the park’s many activities and explore the park’s stunning scenery. Whether you’re looking for a short hike or an all-day adventure, Zion National Park won’t disappoint.