Zion National Park: 8 Best Nearest Towns to Visit
With its red cliffs, green canyons, and white sandstone domes, Zion National Park is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the Southwest.
Located in the gorgeous state of Utah, this park is perfect for a summer getaway. And, although it may be tempting to stay inside the park for your entire vacation, there are plenty of great towns and cities located nearby that are definitely worth a visit.
In this guide, you will find some of the most charming cities closest to Zion, plus some extra travel tips and recommendations that will make planning your trip to Utah a lot easier.
Plan the perfect trip to Zion National Park:
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8 Nearest towns to Zion National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Zion National Park, these nearby towns and cities make for an ideal basecamp:
Springdale is the closest town to Zion National Park, located just outside the park’s main entrance.
This small town has a population of only about 550 people, but it’s a popular destination for visitors to Zion.
There are plenty of great hotels and restaurants in Springdale, plus several tour companies that offer guided hikes and other activities inside the park. If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s close to all the action, Springdale is the perfect choice.
Best things to do in Springdale:
- Go to one of the many spas in town
- Visit Springdale Town Park
- See Native American art at the Tribal Arts Gallery
Best places to stay in Springdale:
- Zion Lodge – Located inside the park, this lodge is the perfect place to stay if you want to be close to all the hiking trails and other attractions.
- The Majestic View Lodge – This hotel offers great views of the surrounding mountains, plus an outdoor pool and hot tub for relaxing after a long day of exploring.
- The Canyon Ranch Motel – A budget-friendly option that’s still close to all the action in Springdale.
2- St. George
St. George is a popular American city with dramatic natural beauty that borders some of the most scenic areas in all of Utah, from Zion National Park to the Pine Valley Mountains.
The winters here are mild, which makes it great for hiking or golfing when other parts may not be accessible due to weather conditions.
Also, it has great biking trails and is home to one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the world.
Best places to stay in St. George
- The Inn at Entrada – A luxury hotel that’s perfect for a romantic getaway or a relaxing vacation.
- Hampton Inn & Suites St. George – A great mid-range option with plenty of amenities, including an outdoor pool and hot tub.
- Comfort Suites St. George – A good choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly hotel in St. George.
Best things to do in St. George, Utah
- Visit the St. George Utah Temple
- Pioneer Park
- Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park
- Sand Hollow State Park
3- Mount Carmel Junction
Mount Carmel Junction is a small town located about 30 minutes from the east entrance of Zion National Park. This town is a great option for visitors who want to stay close to the park but avoid the crowds in Springdale.
Although it’s a small town, there’s still plenty to do here. You can go hiking or horseback riding in the nearby Dixie National Forest, or visit one of the many wineries located in the area.
Best things to do in Mount Carmel Junction
Go hiking or horseback riding in the Dixie National Forest
Visit a nearby winery
Check out the petroglyphs at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
Best places to stay in Mount Carmel Junction
- The Driftwood Lodge – A cozy lodge located near several great hiking trails.
- Best Western East Zion Thunderbird Lodge – A mid-range hotel with an outdoor pool, hot tub, and free breakfast.
- Super 8 by Wyndham Mount Carmel/ Zion National Park – A budget-friendly option that’s still close to all the attractions in Mount Carmel Junction.
4- La Verkin
La Verkin is a friendly rural community in the heart of Color Country, just minutes from Zion National Park.
Kanab is a small town located in southern Utah, about an hour’s drive from Zion National Park.
This town is a great base for exploring the nearby national parks and monuments, including Bryce Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley.
There’s plenty to do here. You can go hiking or horseback riding in the nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, or visit one of the many wineries located in the area.
Best things to do in Kanab
Hiking in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Visit one of the nearby national parks or monuments
Check out the petroglyphs at the Wahweap Hoodoos
Best places to stay in Kanab
The Parry Lodge – A historic hotel that’s been featured in several movies and TV shows.
The Redstone Inn – A cozy bed and breakfast located near several great hiking trails.
The Kanab Cowboy Village – A budget-friendly option with cabins and RV sites.
Rockville is a charming town located in the southwestern corner of Utah with a lot to offer visitors. It is situated in a picturesque setting, surrounded by red rock cliffs and desert landscapes.
Despite its remote location, Rockville has become a popular destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. The town is home to several hiking trails and scenic viewpoints.
Best things to do in Rockville
- Smithsonian Butte Back Country Byway
- Walk through Rockville Bridge
Hurricane is not only one of the closest cities to Zion National Park but is also only two hours from Las Vegas, making it a great option for visitors who want to experience both the desert and the city.
Best things to do in Hurricane
- Hiking or biking in Snow Canyon State Park
- Visit a nearby winery or brewery
- Check out the petroglyphs at the Grafton Ponds Recreation Area
Best places to stay in Hurricane
The Inn at Entrada – A luxurious hotel located near Snow Canyon State Park.
The Red Mountain Resort – A mid-range resort with an outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center.
The La Quinta Inn & Suites Hurricane Zion Park Area – A budget-friendly hotel located near several restaurants and shops.
8- Colorado City, Arizona
One hour away from Zion, next to the Bordertown of Hildale, Utah, lies Colorado City, Arizona. This town is the perfect base for visitors who want to explore both Zion National Park and the nearby Grand Canyon.
Colorado City has a controversial history as the former home of the polygamous sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).
However, today the town is home to a more diverse population and there are several hotels, restaurants, and shops catering to tourists.
Best things to do in Colorado City
- Visit Zion National Park
- Explore the Grand Canyon
- Check out the Petroglyph Point Trail
- Visit one of the nearby ghost towns
Best places to stay in Colorado City
The Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens – A mid-range hotel with an outdoor pool, hot tub, and free breakfast.
The Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn – A budget-friendly hotel located near several restaurants and shops.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Colorado City – A luxurious hotel with an outdoor pool and free breakfast.
There you have it: the 8 coolest cities to visit near Zion 🙂
Now, we’ll go through some fundamental information to know before your trip.
How many days in Zion National Park?
There’s a lot to see in Zion National Park, so ideally I would recommend at least 3 days in the park. However, if you’re short on time, 2 days in Zion National Park is also very doable.
Travel tips for Zion National Park
Zion is a very popular park, so before you visit it is important to do research that allows you to have the best experience possible!
Here are some of my tips for the park:
Take the free shuttle bus
For the most part of the year, private vehicles are not allowed on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.
To get around the park, you’ll need to take the free shuttle bus which runs every 7-10 minutes from the parks’ Visitor Center to the various viewpoints and trails throughout Zion National Park.
You can see the shuttles’s schedule here.
You need a permit to hike Angels Landing
If you want to hike the popular Angels Landing trail, you’ll need to get a permit.
Permits are free and can be obtained at the Visitor Center or self-service kiosks.
Get an early start
Zion National Park is a very popular national park, so it’s best to get an early start if you want to avoid crowds.
The shuttle buses start running at 6 am, so I would recommend getting up early and taking the bus to one of the trails as soon as it starts running.
Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water
Due to its location, Zion National Park can be quite hot, even in winter. So make sure to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water, especially if you’re hiking.
What to pack for Zion National Park
For making the most out of your visit to the park, make sure to pack:
- Hiking shoes
- A hat
- Snacks or sandwiches if you are staying for the whole day
- At least 2 liters of water per person
8 Best things to do in Zion National Park
Last but not least, here are some of my favorite things to do in Zion National Park:
1- Hike The Narrows
The Narrows is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park and for good reason. This hike takes you into a slot canyon where you will be wading through water for most of the hike.
The best time to do this hike is in the summer when the water is cooler or in the spring when the water level is lower.
2- Explore the slot canyons of East Zion
If you’re looking for a less crowded alternative to The Narrows, then check out the slot canyons of East Zion.
There are several slot canyons to explore in this part of the park and they are all accessible from the same trailhead.
Some of the more popular ones include Spry Canyon, Echo Canyon, and Orderville Canyon.
3- Hike to Angels Landing
Angels Landing is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park and offers stunning views of the surrounding canyon.
This hike is not for the faint of heart as it involves some exposure and scrambling over rocks, but it is definitely worth it for the views.
4- Campfire S’mores and Stars Tour in Kanab
Enjoy a night of camping under the stars while learning about the constellations and enjoying s’mores around the campfire.
This tour is led by expert guides who will teach you all about the night sky and help you find some of the most popular constellations.
5- Ride The Zion Mountain Bike Trail
For those who want to explore Zion National Park on two wheels, there is the Zion Mountain Bike Trail. This trail is 29 miles long and takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the park.
The trail is mostly downhill and can be done in one day, although I would recommend taking your time and spending a few days on the trail.
6- Visit Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon on a UTV Guided Tour
One of the best ways to see Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon is on a UTV Guided Tour.
On this tour, you’ll get to explore the slot canyon on an off-road vehicle and learn about the geology and history of the area from your knowledgeable guide.
This is a great way to see the canyon without having to do any hiking.
7- Take A Scenic Drive Through Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
For those who want to take it easy, there is the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This road takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of Zion National Park and is a great way to see the park if you don’t want to do any hiking.
Private vehicles are not allowed on this road, so you’ll need to take the shuttle bus.
8- Visit The Temple of Sinawava
The Temple of Sinawava is a beautiful spot in Zion National Park and is the starting point for several trails, including The Narrows.
This is a great spot to take a break and enjoy the views before heading off on one of the hikes.
Wrap-up: Best towns near Zion National pARK
That’s a wrap! Now you know all the best cities to visit near Zion National Park. I hope you have a fantastic time exploring this wonderful place 🙂
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