Zion-National-Park-Taylor

Amazing views of Zion National Park

Known as Utah’s first National Park, Zion is a gorgeous nature preserve that is filled with fascinating canyons and steep red rock cliffs.

Zion National Park is located in the town of Springdale, which is in Southern Utah and it is situated on the Colorado Plateau that ranges from 3,666 to 8,726 feet above sea level.

A trip to Zion is filled with beautiful natural wonders and plant life, fascinating animals and a plethora of different adventures.

Overall, Zion National Park is a favorite among many and it cannot be missed in your Southwest road trip itinerary!

A woman enjoying the stunning views of Bryce Canyon in Utah

For my 29th birthday this past June into early July 2020, I did a mini road trip with my mom and youngest brother that started and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada.

My Southwest road trip was a loop where I began at the Grand Canyon West Rim and then made my way to Sedona and Page, Arizona and then drove up into Southern Utah.

I got to visit all of the amazing natural wonders and National Parks that the Southwest has to offer and it was such a dream seeing all of the places that have been on my bucket list for so long.

A woman repelling down a canyon Zion

I spent the last three days of my mini road trip at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Orderville, Utah, which is located right outside of Zion National Park.

During my time at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, I enjoyed fun glamping activities on the property, partook in once-in-a-lifetime adventures through East Zion Adventures and explored the jewels in and around Zion National Park.

In this blog post, I am excited to share the best 3-day Zion National Park itinerary through Zion Ponderosa and East Zion Adventures.

**During my time at Zion National Park, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort hosted me for two nights and East Zion Adventures hosted me on a few of their tours.


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3-Day Zion National Park Itinerary

Traveling to Zion National Park:

Sunrise hike in The Narrows at Zion National Park

Overall, Zion National Park makes for the perfect American road trip or Southwest road trip stop.

It is located 1.5 hours from Bryce Canyon National Park, 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, less than 2 hours from Page, Arizona and 4 hours from Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City.

Views from Zion's Scenic Drive

If you want to see Zion National Park from Las Vegas, I highly recommend renting a car for the day or two and drive.

If you are in Vegas and want to see the National Parks nearby, but don’t have access to a vehicle for any reason, there are bus tours you could take to both Zion and Bryce Canyon.

The biggest international airport hub closest to Zion National Park is Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

Balancing rocks at Zion National Park

For me personally, since I was already on my mini road trip, I started my Zion National Park itinerary by traveling from Page, Arizona to Bryce Canyon first.

We spent the entire morning exploring the cool rock formations of Bryce Canyon National Park before driving an extra 1.5 hours to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

Overall, Bryce Canyon makes for the perfect day or half day trip from Zion Ponderosa, so you could easily visit whenever you wish! Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park itself is a little less than 1.5 hours.

Staying at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort:

A woman mini golfing at Zion Ponderosa

Staying at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is like experiencing an adult summer camp (but is obviously perfect if you have kids)! There is something for everyone to enjoy!

Located on a 4,000-acre ranch, Zion Ponderosa borders the east boundary of Zion National Park. From Zion Ponderosa itself, you could venture into the backcountry of the park right from the resort. You could also do so many great adventures right on the property!

Lodging at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort:

A woman enjoying her cabin suite at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Utah

From tents to luxury cabin homes, there are so many great and fun lodging options at Zion Ponderosa. Depending on the type of experience you want and how many people you are traveling with, you could choose between a Luxury Vacation Home, Cabin Suite, Cowboy Cabin, Conestoga Wagon, Glamping Tent, Camping Tent and there is also an RV campground.

If you have a large party, then I highly recommend staying in one of the deluxe vacation home rentals. These luxury cabin homes could sleep anywhere from 6 to 35 people!

There are six vacation homes in the Zion Ponderosa section and 25 in the Zion Ridge section. The Zion Ponderosa Vacation Homes sleep 8 to 34 people and the Zion Ridge homes sleep 6 to 35 people. What is awesome about these beautiful homes are that they come with all the amenities you need along with the perfect amount of sleeping space and bathrooms.

During my time at Zion Ponderosa, I stayed in the Cabin Suite. Since I traveled to the resort with my mom and brother, we stayed in a queen bunk-bed cabin that included an en-suite bathroom along with a fold-out bed in the living area.

You could also choose to stay in a Cabin Suite with just a queen bed in the bedroom and a fold-out bed in the living room as well as a cabin with a queen bed and bunk bed with a fold-out bed.

The Cabin Suites also come with a television, kitchen, outdoor fire pit and a picnic table. There is also a lovely porch outside so that you could relax and enjoy nature.

In addition to the Cabin Suites, there are also Cowboy Cabins that you could stay in, but it is only one room and there is a separate bathroom.

The Conestoga Wagons are pretty cool to stay in at Zion Ponderosa because you are actually sleeping in a pioneer wagon! What is awesome about staying in a Conestoga Wagon is that you get a glamping experience, while still enjoying the great outdoors of Utah.

Please note that the Conestoga Wagons sleep up to 6 people and there are no bathrooms or showers in the wagons itself, so if you choose to stay in one, you will need to use the communal bathroom and shower house.

Zion Ponderosa also has glamping and regular camping tents that you could stay in during your time on the property. The glamping area offers spacious tents with a queen bed, beautiful décor and wooden decks. Anyone who stays in a glamping tent will have access to all of the campground facilities.

If you are truly looking for the authentic camping experience, Zion Ponderosa offers tents in the campground. When you stay in a camping tent, you will have your own picnic table and grilling station.

There are obviously no bathrooms or showers in the glamping and camping tents, so you will need to use the shower house and communal bathroom when you stay in either one. Pets are allowed in the regular camping tents, but not in the glamping tents.

The RV camping area offer back-in sites with room for multiple slides, 30- and 50-amp service, coin-op for the shower house, a grill and picnic table, plus more. Pets are also allowed in the RV campground.

*WiFi is also available at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, but it is pretty weak outside of the main clubhouse/check in area and restaurant.

Activities at Zion Ponderosa:

Beautiful horses from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

You will never be bored at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. In addition to all of the epic guided activities and tours you could do through East Zion Adventures, there are also open use activities you could enjoy at the resort such as playing basketball, Billiards and foosball, horseshoes, ping pong, tennis and volleyball. There is also a nice pool and hot tub!

Activities you will need to sign up for on the property are rock wall climbing, mini golf, trampoline bungee jumping, zip lining and kayaking.

The scheduled adventures through East Zion Adventures are ATV tours, canyoneering (which is what I did), guided hiking into Zion National Park, horseback riding, Jeep Tours, paint ball, mountain biking, shooting, yoga and more.

Some fun events that happen at Zion Ponderosa are Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag, Family Game Night, Virtual Reality, Bonfire & S’mores, Night Zip Line, Bingo and Sundays on Sunday Movie and Snacks.

Every so often, there is a rodeo and there is also a Dutch Oven Dinner every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening; stargazing happens on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights and you could also do night zip lining on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. I talk more about what I did below.

Eating at Zion Ponderosa:

A sandwich from Ray's Restaurant at Zion Ponderosa

I will admit that there are very few restaurants located close to Zion Ponderosa, but there is a restaurant on the property where you could grab anything from pizza to salad and burgers to vegan meals.

At Ray’s Restaurant, you could either dine in or outside of the restaurant, order take out or cater an event. I ate dinner at Ray’s Restaurant during both of my nights at Zion Ponderosa.

During the first night, I savored a delicious shrimp po boy that made me feel like I was back in New Orleans and then on the second night, I had a tasty vegan sandwich made with grilled tropical fruits.

In addition, you could also get wine, craft beer and other alcoholic beverages at Ray’s Restaurant and they also have a variety of non-alcoholic drinks you could order. (I loved the variety of Utah craft beers that they offered!)

The restaurant also has a hot breakfast every morning that is served buffet style. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to have breakfast at Zion Ponderosa since all of our activities started early in the morning before the restaurant opened.

A Utah IPA from Ray's Restaurant

In addition to Ray’s Restaurant, there is also a great place to grab coffee on the property called Narrows Coffee Bar. It is at this great coffee shop where you could get a freshly brewed cup of coffee, specialty drink, dessert and pastries as well as a boxed lunch for a grab and go meal.

There is also a poolside snack bar called Blue Belly where you could order refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, ice cream and pizza.

You could also sign up for an old western Wagon Ride and Dutch Oven Dinner experience on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday evenings!

Zion Ponderosa also has a store by the front desk where you could purchase hot dogs and buns to cook at your grilling station and they also have s’mores items such as graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows, plus more.

Restaurants in and Around Zion National Park:

Zion National Park Itinerary

A breathtaking view of Zion National Park

Day 1:

Bryce Canyon:

A woman enjoying the views of Bryce Canyon National Park

Prior to my three days in Zion, I spent two days in Page, Arizona. From Page, we drove a little over 2.5 hours to Bryce Canyon National Park in Bryce City, Utah.

Overall, Bryce Canyon National Park makes for the perfect day trip from Zion Ponderosa. Even if our itinerary was a little different and we were coming from the resort instead, we still would’ve made a day trip or a half day trip to Bryce Canyon since it is only a 1.5-hour drive from Zion Ponderosa.

(Bryce Canyon is also a great stop on a road trip itinerary before you get to Zion if you’re coming from Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Monument Valley and Four Corners.)

Colorful hoodoos from Bryce Canyon up close

Bryce Canyon National Park is such a fascinating place as it features crimson-colored hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. In fact, Bryce features the largest concentration of hoodoos on Earth! It was wind, water and time that have eroded Bryce’s sandstone cliffs and orange and red hoodoos.

There are also beautiful pine trees when you first enter the park. This National Park was one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen before! If you are doing a road trip in the Southwest of the United States, you definitely cannot miss out on visiting this amazing place!

Amazing views from Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah

The top places to visit in Bryce Canyon National Park where you could get the best views are Sunrise Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. If you could visit Bryce Canyon for sunrise, you will totally be in for a real treat! Please note that you will have to get to the park EARLY though!

In addition to those three overlooks, which are the one’s we went to, there is also Swamp Canyon Overlook, Paria View, Farview Point, Fairyland Point, Sunset Point, Piracy Point, Rainbow Point, Yovimpa Point and more.

Other cool spots to check out at Bryce Canyon are Natural Bridge, Peek-a-Boo Trailhead, Wall Street, Bryce Amphitheater, Mossy Cave and a few others.

Stunning rock formations in Bryce Canyon National Park

In addition, there are also a plethora of amazing hikes you could do in Bryce! You could hike to the different viewing points and even into the actual hoodoo-filled depression where you could get up close to the cool rock formations.

If you decide to do the hike, please note that Bryce Canyon is located on a high elevation and always make sure you are hydrated. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen as well!

I visited Bryce Canyon in late June and it was a little chilly due to the high altitude (in the 60s Fahrenheit), but it could also get very hot as well during the heart of the summer. Always ensure to check the weather before you go so that you are dressed appropriately!

A woman pointing at the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon

When it comes to hiking Bryce Canyon, there are a few amazing and popular trailheads you could do such as the Navajo Loop, which is one of the most popular trails in the park that starts at Sunset Point and then makes its way past a cool stack of hoodoos and spires to Wall Street, where the trail leads into a beautiful slot canyon.

Fairyland Loop starts on the edge of Bryce Canyon and then leads into the depression where you could check out all of the cool hoodoos and canyons.

Sunset Point hike is one of the easiest hikes at Bryce Canyon and it is great for bird watching.

Three other easy trails that are great for almost everyone are the Rim Trail, Mossy Cave Trail and Bristlecone Loop.

Colorful views of Bryce Canyon in Utah

If you are looking for a moderate to difficult hike, you could either do the Queens Garden Loop Trail, which is a steep hike that goes 800 feet into the amphitheaters and canyons of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Riggs Spring Loop Trail is a long and scenic trail that starts at Rainbow Point and goes through Corral Hollow, Riggs Spring and the plateau through Yovimpa Pass.

The Under the Rim Trail is the longest hiking trail at Bryce Canyon that is 23 miles one way and most hikers will need a permit for an overnight stay.

Lastly, there is the Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail that takes hikers 1,000 feet into Bryce Canyon and back up through a steep and strenuous climb.

A woman doing a hike in Bryce Canyon National Park

We mainly walked around the rim of the canyon and did part of the Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail, which was absolutely beautiful, but definitely on the difficult side. The elevation for the start of that trail was at 8,300 feet above sea level.

If you are someone who suffers from asthma or upper respiratory issues, I recommend bringing an inhaler and be mindful about what your body could handle.

Bryce Point at 8300 feet above sea level

Overall, it costs $35 USD per standard vehicle to enter into Bryce Canyon National Park and it is valid for seven consecutive days. (If you are visiting multiple National Parks on your road trip, I recommend getting the America the Beautiful Pass.)

There is a Visitor Center where you could get information about the park and all of the different overlooks and trails. Bryce Canyon also has a free shuttle service in the park, but we just drove to the parking lot by Sunrise Point and walked from there.

Since we traveled to Bryce Canyon during an unfortunate time in our world, the park rangers did everything they can to keep everyone distant from each other. It was also encouraged that everyone wore a mask around each other.

In addition to hiking, you could also go camping, ride an ATV, enjoy mountain biking along with horseback riding!

A woman enjoying the views of Bryce Canyon National Park

If you are planning to eat at Bryce Canyon, you could check out the below places:

Checking into Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort:

A woman mini golfing at Zion Ponderosa

After our half day adventure at Bryce Canyon National Park, we drove 1.5 hours to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort where we checked into our Cabin Suite and made our schedule for the next couple days.

Checking in is super easy and the staff is very helpful and could recommend the best adventures and activities for you during your time in Zion.

(I recommend booking your adventures when you first get to the resort because activities book up quickly!)

A peaceful pond during sunset

Since it was later in the afternoon, we mainly settled into our cabin, relaxed and then walked around the property.

We first stopped at the barn where the horses are for those who wish to horseback ride at Zion Ponderosa. They were absolutely beautiful! We then walked over by the pond where you could go kayaking!

Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner at Ray’s Restaurant. When we were finished with dinner, we tuned into our inner child and played mini golf on the 18-hole course on the property. We all grew up mini golfing at the Jersey Shore every summer, so it is always a good time when we have the opportunity to play.

Stargazing with East Zion Adventures:

Stargazing in Zion National park

At night, we went stargazing with East Zion Adventures!

Zion Ponderosa is located 6,500 feet above sea level on a forested plateau above Zion National Park, so it is definitely recommended that you put this activity on your itinerary. It is far away from any large city, so there is light pollution, making it easy to see distant planets, stars and the milky way.

Our guide was very knowledgeable about our solar system, so she made it extremely interesting for us! Our tour started at 9:30pm and it lasted a full hour. There was hot chocolate available for us to warm up because it did get a bit chilly at night.

Overall, the sky was absolutely magical and it was so nice being far away from the hustle and bustle. (I recommend bringing a blanket to lay down on!)

Day 2:

Morning Hike in Zion National Park:

A woman enjoying the views in Zion National Park

Our second day was our first official day in Zion National Park. Like I mention above, the Visitor Center for Zion National Park is a 40-minute drive from Zion Ponderosa.

We knew we wanted to do a morning hike because we had other activities planned for the rest of the day, so we woke up at 5:30am and got to the park a little after 6:30am, just after sunrise. This hike was the perfect fit into our Zion National Park itinerary!

Views from the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

From Zion Ponderosa, you will drive through Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is one of the most breathtaking drives ever! The views are astronomical.

Zion National Park in general is absolutely amazing and photos definitely do not do this place justice. Since we got to the park early, we were able to enjoy the sunrise on the Scenic Drive! Located along the road are viewpoints where you could pull over, get out of the car and take photos.

Views on the Watchman hiking trail in Zion National Park

Because Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the country, there are numerous hikes you could do that range from easy to difficult. (You totally need to include a hike in your Zion National Park itinerary.)

A few easy trails are the Pa’rus Trail, which is a paved trail that follows the Virgin River from the South Campground to Canyon Junction.

The Archeology Trail is a short and steep hike that starts at the Visitor Center.

The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is another easy hike that leads to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls and then the Grotto is the perfect hike to explore wildlife and of course, the Grotto itself.

Lastly, the Weeping Rock Trail is a short hike that leads to a rock alcove with springs.

Cool mountain formations in Zion

During our morning in Zion National Park, we did the Watchman Trail, which is considered a moderate hike in the park. It starts at the Visitor Center and ends at Watchman Peak. The hike isn’t too bad and my mom, brother and I found it quite enjoyable. The views were breathtaking!

Other great moderate trails at Zion are the Sandbench Trail, where you could hike on a massive landslide under The Sentinel.

Upper Emerald Pool Trail is a sandy and rocky trail that leads to the Upper Emerald Pool.

The Kayenta Trail is an unpaved hike that leads to both the Emerald Pools and the Grotto and then the Canyon Overlook Trail is a moderate rocky trail that leads to Pine Creek Canyon.

Views of Zion National Park

The strenuous hikes at Zion National Park are Angel’s Landing that is a steep and narrow hike; Hidden Canyon Trail, which is a super high hike along a cliff face; Observation Point that climbs through Echo Canyon to the viewpoint on the rim of Zion Canyon and lastly, The Narrows via the Riverside Walk, which I talk about below.

Please note that you could hike to Observation Point from Zion Ponderosa!

It cost us $35 USD for our car to enter into Zion National Park. Just like at Bryce Canyon National Park, the park pass is valid for seven consecutive days.

A little outside of Zion National Park, in the town of Springdale, are numerous restaurants and shops to grab food and purchase anything essential such as hiking gear or even buy souvenirs.

A delicious chocolate crepe from a restaurant outside of Zion National Park

After doing the Watchman Trail, we grabbed breakfast at MeMe’s Café. We sat outside and enjoyed the amazing views of Zion National Park. During our time at MeMe’s Café, I savored a delicious chocolate crepe with bananas and my mom and brother had a traditional egg breakfast.

Canyoneering with East Zion Adventures:

A woman repelling down a canyon in Zion National Park

One of the most EPIC adventures I’ve ever done was canyoneering at Zion National Park through East Zion Adventures!

Overall, canyoneering is one of the most popular experiences to participate in when you stay at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. You could either do a full or half day tour. (I did the half day tour and it was a little over five hours.) It is definitely something you have to put on your Zion National Park itinerary.

A woman repelling down a 70-foot slot canyon in Utah

Canyoneering in the Zion area is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will take you into the most breathtaking slot canyons of the National Park, an area that is untouched by tourists.

We repelled down five to six slot canyons and the deepest one was 70 feet! I was so proud of myself because at first, I was honestly a little overwhelmed by the thought of canyoneering since I had never done it before!

A woman getting ready to repel down a slot canyon

Please note that if you go canyoneering, make sure to bring at least a gallon of water, a good pair of hiking shoes and a great backpack for adventures to hold all of your belongings.

All of the other equipment will be provided for you on the tour through East Zion Adventures. Also, if you sign up for this experience, please be mindful if you have asthma or upper respiratory issues because you will be hiking up sand dunes at a high altitude!

(Please also note that you will get dirty on this adventure.)

Colorful slot canyons in Zion National Park

Overall, I am so happy I went canyoneering (my mom and brother unfortunately chickened out), but I did get to experience this adventure with awesome people.

Our guide Brig made it extra fun for all of us and the slot canyons were absolutely breathtaking!

Since we missed out on Antelope Canyon during our time in Page (due to the unfortunate circumstances going on in the world), this totally made up for it plus some!

All of the slot canyons in Zion National Park have been carved out by water and wind, which makes it into the masterpieces they are now. If you come to Zion, you totally cannot miss out on this experience!

Sunset Jeep Tour through East Zion Adventures:

Zion Canyon from The Narrows

East Zion Adventures offers amazing Jeep Tours that you could take around Zion National Park.

Admittedly, I truly packed in my Zion National Park itinerary with so much to do; I was supposed to do the Sunset Jeep Tour after my canyoneering experience but was so exhausted when I returned and didn’t have enough time to eat dinner. (Canyoneering will make you hungry!)

Hey, it gives me a reason to go back, right?!

Red Rock cliffs in Zion National Park

During a Sunset Jeep Tour, you will depart from the recreation barn at Zion Ponderosa an hour before sunset.

The tour will take you to Pine Knoll where you will enjoy 360-degree views and watch the sun set on the western horizon while savoring some snacks. If you have the time, definitely do this Jeep Tour!

In addition to the Sunset Jeep Tour, you could also sign up for the Radio Tower/Mountain Overlook Jeep Tour, Checkerboard Overlook Jeep Tour, Brushy Cove Jeep Tour, Red Canyon Jeep Tour and more.

Day 3:

Hike The Narrows at Zion National Park:

A woman having fun in The Narrows

Our last day at Zion National Park was also the same day we had to head back to Las Vegas to fly home.

During a trip to Zion, it is a MUST that you do The Narrows hike. It is definitely one of the most popular hikes not only in Zion National Park, but also in the United States, so I highly recommend adding it to your itinerary!

Sunrise at The Narrows in Zion National Park

We did our hike during sunrise and it was absolutely magical! The Narrows are the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and it is a 9-mile hike in the Virgin River.

To get to The Narrows from the Visitor Center, you will need to take the shuttle to the Temple of Mount Sinawava, where you will walk one mile along the Riverside Walk to the start of The Narrows.

Because of everything going on in the world, Zion National Park is doing everything they can to maintain distancing among guests. (It is also encouraged for guests to wear a mask too.)

Even though hiking The Narrows is free, you will need to get your shuttle tickets online here at 9am MST the day before you want to go there. A shuttle ticket is only $1 USD per person and they sell out FAST!

(If you plan to go to Zion National Park in the future when things get better, it will definitely be easier for you to get shuttle tickets.)

A woman fascinated by the natural beauty in Zion National Park

The reason why it is important to get the shuttle is because it is 12 miles round trip if you hike or bike to the Temple of Mount Sinawava. (If you have time and want to hike or bike there, go for it!)

You will also need to take the shuttle if you plan to visit the Emerald Pools and some other hikes in Zion. Click here to see what hikes require the shuttle.

What is awesome is that you could also do a guided hike into The Narrows through East Zion Adventures!

A woman enjoying the red rock views in The Narrows in Southern Utah

In regards to what to wear for The Narrows hike, I recommend wearing shorts or light leggings that will dry fast and renting waterproof hiking shoes and neoprene socks because your feet WILL definitely get wet.

If you do not have the proper shoes and socks, they will most likely get ruined. The hike is ankle to over knee deep high!

In addition, the trail is very rocky too and pretty strenuous, so I also recommend using a hiking pole or stick. You could get your rental equipment anywhere for The Narrows if you’re hiking on your own like we did. We got our’s from Zion Guru in Springdale.

If you are doing a guided tour, they will most likely provide you with the gear.

A woman hiking The Narrows at Zion National Park

The Narrows hike is very refreshing and even though we went early in the morning when it was a bit chilly outside, the water itself was a comfortable temperature.

60 percent of this hike is spent wading, walking and sometimes swimming in the water (if you are wearing swimwear). Please note that the water does have a current and it is important to keep an eye on small children if they are doing the hike with you.

The views from The Narrows are breathtaking as you will be walking through canyons, around red cliffs and so much more.

Enjoy the Town of Springdale:

The Narrows at Zion National Park

After our hike, we were in need of some coffee and baked goodies. The best place to get both is at FeelLove Coffee located right outside of Zion National Park in Springdale.

Overall, this coffee shop is fairly new and super cute. I enjoyed a coffee and scone and it hit the spot.

Slot canyons in Zion National Park

In addition, if you have extra time in your Zion National Park itinerary, I recommend checking out Zion Canyon Brew Pub if you are a beer lover. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time, but I totally would’ve loved to have gone there and tasted a few local beers!


A woman canyoneering in Zion National Park

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time at Zion National Park and Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and discovering the best 3-day itinerary for this area in Southern Utah.

If you have any questions about my time in Zion, please email me at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

3-Day Itinerary for Zion & Bryce Canyon National Park

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Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., UT State Capital: Salt Lake City, Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time

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44 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on July 14, 2020 at 12:05 am

    This National Park was one of the most amazing places I have seen. Staying at Zion Ponderosa was so much fun with so much to do. The staff was very welcoming and the grounds were beautiful ~ we were close to all the awesome activities Zion Ponderosa and Zion National Park had to offer. Scenic view Road was amazing to see ~ all the stunning red stone mountains were breathtaking. Loved hiking the Narrows, star-gazing at Zion Ponderosa and enjoying many other activities on their beautiful premises. Loved the Log Cabin suite we stayed in ~ such an amazing experience ~ Awesome blog and guide Taylor ~ you captured all these fun filled adventurous activities ~ Love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on July 14, 2020 at 12:16 am

      Yes, it all was so amazing! Good times! Love you too!

  2. Brittany Sneller on July 14, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Canyoneering would be SO fun! Just the type of adventures I love to do. And the Narrows Hike. Anddd the stargazing. Lol. Definitely envious of your road trip and will save for later for whenever we get over there (hopefully soon, fingers crossed). xx

    • Taylor Deer on July 14, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Ah yes, it was so epic Bri! You totally would love it. Definitely do this road trip when you could get over here. 🙂

  3. Melisa on July 15, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I truly believe this will be the year of road trips and this is the perfect spot to spend a couple of days! Such a fun adventure!

    • Taylor Deer on July 15, 2020 at 11:47 am

      Oh yes, it’s so much fun! I hope you have some great ones planned Melisa. 🙂

  4. Cristina on July 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    This is an amazing itinerary. It seems you had lots of fun 🙂 I would love to stargaze there.

    • Taylor Deer on July 26, 2020 at 10:55 pm

      Thank you Cristina! Zion truly is a fun place to go to. 🙂

  5. Nichole the Nomad on July 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    Ugh, Zion has my heart! It is so beautiful. We visited last year, but the Narrows was closed due to trail damage, so we were bummed. Your photos make it look so much fun!

    • Taylor Deer on July 31, 2020 at 8:07 pm

      It really is so breathtaking at all ends. Also that is a bummer, we almost didn’t do the Narrows because of the whole shuttle situation. Also thank you! 🙂

  6. mytravelatte on July 31, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the detailed itinerary. I am surprised of the many activities you can enjoy in this place. I am hoping to visit here real soon!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:34 pm

      Of course and there is something for everyone! It is awesome. 🙂

  7. MacKenzie on July 31, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    I LOVED Zion so much, my mom and I wish we had more time there. She had just had surgery, so we couldn’t do any of the hikes you wrote about, but I definitely want to! I think it might be her favorite National Park too! Love all these options and things to do (canyoning?! COOL!)

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:24 pm

      Ah yes, it’s so breathtaking! I loved the Scenic Drive, it was so beautiful! I hope you guys get to go back and do some of the hikes. 🙂

  8. Sarah on July 31, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Spectacular photos! I’ve been wanting to get to Zion for a long time! the landscape is so other-worldly and I NEED to try Canyoneering!! It looks so awesome. Haha love that pic of you sideways between the rocks!!! Stargazing is AMAZING.😍

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you so much Sarah! It really was such an epic trip and I highly recommend canyoneering when you go! :0

  9. Helena on July 31, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Wow your photos!! I’ve always wanted to go back to Zion, I went as a kid and barely remember it and of course didn’t really hike either!! But would love to hike The Narrows and that Brew Pub sounds right up my street. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you Helena and you totally have to go back as an adult now. 🙂 It’s definitely an epic place!

  10. Jasmina on August 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Wow, this looks breathtaking! Such a great adventure!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you Jasmina! I loved Zion. 🙂

  11. Andrea Cannon on August 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    These are great tips! I love this park!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:27 pm

      Thank you Andrea! It sure is beautiful! 🙂

  12. Sarah on August 1, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    WOW. What gorgeous photos! This looks like such a fun time – I’m glad you had a chance to grab a beer afterwards 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      Thank you Sarah! It totally was a blast. 🙂

  13. Aswani Kurra on August 1, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    So beautiful Taylor! Zion is one of my fav parks and I wish we stayed for more than a day! WIll save this for future visits!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Aswani and it definitely is a breathtaking place with so much to do. You totally need at least 3 days there. 🙂

  14. Kelly on August 1, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Gorgeou.ls. I would love to be able to visit for myself. Love the tips.

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Kelly, you definitely would love it! 🙂

  15. Shay on August 1, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I’m obsessed with all your pictures! They’re so stunning. This is such a helpful and informative guide. Definitely adding canyoneering to my bucket list! Thanks for sharing!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:30 pm

      Thank you so much Shay! You totally would love canyoneering! It was such a blast! 🙂

  16. Josy A on August 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    This all looks sooooo fun! I would love to try Canyoneering and hiking in this area. It’s just all so flipping beautiful! I love all the organge and pink colours of the rocks.

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:31 pm

      You would totally love it Josy! Canyoneering was definitely the highlight of my time there and The Narrows were awesome too. 🙂

  17. Alison on August 1, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Oh wow — it sounds like an amazing place. Thanks for the really thorough account and details. It’s on my bucket list and I wondered how doable it was to fit Bryce, Zion and Arches in one trip. Love the suggestions on where to eat — always a tough one. Canyoning looked like soooooo much fun!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:32 pm

      It really is Alison! I loved it! 🙂 Arches is unfortunately a little out of the way from both Bryce and Zion. If you are coming from Colorado, I highly recommend seeing Arches and also Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. 🙂

  18. Lauren on August 1, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Wow, your photos have really made me want to explore Zion National Park! They are stunning 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      Thank you so much Lauren! I’m glad to hear that. 🙂

  19. Emily on August 1, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Love the desert tones! Bryce looks absolutely spectacular.

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      Yes, it was such an epic trip. 🙂

  20. Pam on August 1, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    I went to Zion as a kid and don’t remember much – I feel like I would have remembered a crepe that looked that delicious! Haha I love that you woke up early to fit in a hike as our national parks have so much to offer

    • Taylor Deer on August 2, 2020 at 12:11 am

      Ah yes, you totally have to go back as an adult. Also that crepe was amazing haha!

  21. Loise on August 2, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Been hearing a lot about Zion! It looks unique but beautiful. I personally like the Bryce Canyon!
    Spending your 3-days here would be so much worth it, very helpful article <3

    • Taylor Deer on August 3, 2020 at 12:55 am

      Yes, Zion is amazing! I loved Bryce too as it was unique and very beautiful too. 🙂

  22. Maddie on August 2, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I’m dying to visit Zion! I was considering this summer but decided not to because of COVID. Hopefully I can in 2021!

    • Taylor Deer on August 3, 2020 at 1:02 am

      You would love it so much when you eventually go! 🙂

Leave a Comment





Zion-National-Park-Taylor

Amazing views of Zion National Park

Known as Utah’s first National Park, Zion is a gorgeous nature preserve that is filled with fascinating canyons and steep red rock cliffs.

Zion National Park is located in the town of Springdale, which is in Southern Utah and it is situated on the Colorado Plateau that ranges from 3,666 to 8,726 feet above sea level.

A trip to Zion is filled with beautiful natural wonders and plant life, fascinating animals and a plethora of different adventures.

Overall, Zion National Park is a favorite among many and it cannot be missed in your Southwest road trip itinerary!

A woman enjoying the stunning views of Bryce Canyon in Utah

For my 29th birthday this past June into early July 2020, I did a mini road trip with my mom and youngest brother that started and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada.

My Southwest road trip was a loop where I began at the Grand Canyon West Rim and then made my way to Sedona and Page, Arizona and then drove up into Southern Utah.

I got to visit all of the amazing natural wonders and National Parks that the Southwest has to offer and it was such a dream seeing all of the places that have been on my bucket list for so long.

A woman repelling down a canyon Zion

I spent the last three days of my mini road trip at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Orderville, Utah, which is located right outside of Zion National Park.

During my time at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, I enjoyed fun glamping activities on the property, partook in once-in-a-lifetime adventures through East Zion Adventures and explored the jewels in and around Zion National Park.

In this blog post, I am excited to share the best 3-day Zion National Park itinerary through Zion Ponderosa and East Zion Adventures.

**During my time at Zion National Park, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort hosted me for two nights and East Zion Adventures hosted me on a few of their tours.


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3-Day Zion National Park Itinerary

Traveling to Zion National Park:

Sunrise hike in The Narrows at Zion National Park

Overall, Zion National Park makes for the perfect American road trip or Southwest road trip stop.

It is located 1.5 hours from Bryce Canyon National Park, 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, less than 2 hours from Page, Arizona and 4 hours from Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City.

Views from Zion's Scenic Drive

If you want to see Zion National Park from Las Vegas, I highly recommend renting a car for the day or two and drive.

If you are in Vegas and want to see the National Parks nearby, but don’t have access to a vehicle for any reason, there are bus tours you could take to both Zion and Bryce Canyon.

The biggest international airport hub closest to Zion National Park is Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

Balancing rocks at Zion National Park

For me personally, since I was already on my mini road trip, I started my Zion National Park itinerary by traveling from Page, Arizona to Bryce Canyon first.

We spent the entire morning exploring the cool rock formations of Bryce Canyon National Park before driving an extra 1.5 hours to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

Overall, Bryce Canyon makes for the perfect day or half day trip from Zion Ponderosa, so you could easily visit whenever you wish! Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park itself is a little less than 1.5 hours.

Staying at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort:

A woman mini golfing at Zion Ponderosa

Staying at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is like experiencing an adult summer camp (but is obviously perfect if you have kids)! There is something for everyone to enjoy!

Located on a 4,000-acre ranch, Zion Ponderosa borders the east boundary of Zion National Park. From Zion Ponderosa itself, you could venture into the backcountry of the park right from the resort. You could also do so many great adventures right on the property!

Lodging at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort:

A woman enjoying her cabin suite at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Utah

From tents to luxury cabin homes, there are so many great and fun lodging options at Zion Ponderosa. Depending on the type of experience you want and how many people you are traveling with, you could choose between a Luxury Vacation Home, Cabin Suite, Cowboy Cabin, Conestoga Wagon, Glamping Tent, Camping Tent and there is also an RV campground.

If you have a large party, then I highly recommend staying in one of the deluxe vacation home rentals. These luxury cabin homes could sleep anywhere from 6 to 35 people!

There are six vacation homes in the Zion Ponderosa section and 25 in the Zion Ridge section. The Zion Ponderosa Vacation Homes sleep 8 to 34 people and the Zion Ridge homes sleep 6 to 35 people. What is awesome about these beautiful homes are that they come with all the amenities you need along with the perfect amount of sleeping space and bathrooms.

During my time at Zion Ponderosa, I stayed in the Cabin Suite. Since I traveled to the resort with my mom and brother, we stayed in a queen bunk-bed cabin that included an en-suite bathroom along with a fold-out bed in the living area.

You could also choose to stay in a Cabin Suite with just a queen bed in the bedroom and a fold-out bed in the living room as well as a cabin with a queen bed and bunk bed with a fold-out bed.

The Cabin Suites also come with a television, kitchen, outdoor fire pit and a picnic table. There is also a lovely porch outside so that you could relax and enjoy nature.

In addition to the Cabin Suites, there are also Cowboy Cabins that you could stay in, but it is only one room and there is a separate bathroom.

The Conestoga Wagons are pretty cool to stay in at Zion Ponderosa because you are actually sleeping in a pioneer wagon! What is awesome about staying in a Conestoga Wagon is that you get a glamping experience, while still enjoying the great outdoors of Utah.

Please note that the Conestoga Wagons sleep up to 6 people and there are no bathrooms or showers in the wagons itself, so if you choose to stay in one, you will need to use the communal bathroom and shower house.

Zion Ponderosa also has glamping and regular camping tents that you could stay in during your time on the property. The glamping area offers spacious tents with a queen bed, beautiful décor and wooden decks. Anyone who stays in a glamping tent will have access to all of the campground facilities.

If you are truly looking for the authentic camping experience, Zion Ponderosa offers tents in the campground. When you stay in a camping tent, you will have your own picnic table and grilling station.

There are obviously no bathrooms or showers in the glamping and camping tents, so you will need to use the shower house and communal bathroom when you stay in either one. Pets are allowed in the regular camping tents, but not in the glamping tents.

The RV camping area offer back-in sites with room for multiple slides, 30- and 50-amp service, coin-op for the shower house, a grill and picnic table, plus more. Pets are also allowed in the RV campground.

*WiFi is also available at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, but it is pretty weak outside of the main clubhouse/check in area and restaurant.

Activities at Zion Ponderosa:

Beautiful horses from Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

You will never be bored at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. In addition to all of the epic guided activities and tours you could do through East Zion Adventures, there are also open use activities you could enjoy at the resort such as playing basketball, Billiards and foosball, horseshoes, ping pong, tennis and volleyball. There is also a nice pool and hot tub!

Activities you will need to sign up for on the property are rock wall climbing, mini golf, trampoline bungee jumping, zip lining and kayaking.

The scheduled adventures through East Zion Adventures are ATV tours, canyoneering (which is what I did), guided hiking into Zion National Park, horseback riding, Jeep Tours, paint ball, mountain biking, shooting, yoga and more.

Some fun events that happen at Zion Ponderosa are Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag, Family Game Night, Virtual Reality, Bonfire & S’mores, Night Zip Line, Bingo and Sundays on Sunday Movie and Snacks.

Every so often, there is a rodeo and there is also a Dutch Oven Dinner every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening; stargazing happens on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights and you could also do night zip lining on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. I talk more about what I did below.

Eating at Zion Ponderosa:

A sandwich from Ray's Restaurant at Zion Ponderosa

I will admit that there are very few restaurants located close to Zion Ponderosa, but there is a restaurant on the property where you could grab anything from pizza to salad and burgers to vegan meals.

At Ray’s Restaurant, you could either dine in or outside of the restaurant, order take out or cater an event. I ate dinner at Ray’s Restaurant during both of my nights at Zion Ponderosa.

During the first night, I savored a delicious shrimp po boy that made me feel like I was back in New Orleans and then on the second night, I had a tasty vegan sandwich made with grilled tropical fruits.

In addition, you could also get wine, craft beer and other alcoholic beverages at Ray’s Restaurant and they also have a variety of non-alcoholic drinks you could order. (I loved the variety of Utah craft beers that they offered!)

The restaurant also has a hot breakfast every morning that is served buffet style. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to have breakfast at Zion Ponderosa since all of our activities started early in the morning before the restaurant opened.

A Utah IPA from Ray's Restaurant

In addition to Ray’s Restaurant, there is also a great place to grab coffee on the property called Narrows Coffee Bar. It is at this great coffee shop where you could get a freshly brewed cup of coffee, specialty drink, dessert and pastries as well as a boxed lunch for a grab and go meal.

There is also a poolside snack bar called Blue Belly where you could order refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, ice cream and pizza.

You could also sign up for an old western Wagon Ride and Dutch Oven Dinner experience on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday evenings!

Zion Ponderosa also has a store by the front desk where you could purchase hot dogs and buns to cook at your grilling station and they also have s’mores items such as graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows, plus more.

Restaurants in and Around Zion National Park:

Zion National Park Itinerary

A breathtaking view of Zion National Park

Day 1:

Bryce Canyon:

A woman enjoying the views of Bryce Canyon National Park

Prior to my three days in Zion, I spent two days in Page, Arizona. From Page, we drove a little over 2.5 hours to Bryce Canyon National Park in Bryce City, Utah.

Overall, Bryce Canyon National Park makes for the perfect day trip from Zion Ponderosa. Even if our itinerary was a little different and we were coming from the resort instead, we still would’ve made a day trip or a half day trip to Bryce Canyon since it is only a 1.5-hour drive from Zion Ponderosa.

(Bryce Canyon is also a great stop on a road trip itinerary before you get to Zion if you’re coming from Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Monument Valley and Four Corners.)

Colorful hoodoos from Bryce Canyon up close

Bryce Canyon National Park is such a fascinating place as it features crimson-colored hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. In fact, Bryce features the largest concentration of hoodoos on Earth! It was wind, water and time that have eroded Bryce’s sandstone cliffs and orange and red hoodoos.

There are also beautiful pine trees when you first enter the park. This National Park was one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen before! If you are doing a road trip in the Southwest of the United States, you definitely cannot miss out on visiting this amazing place!

Amazing views from Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah

The top places to visit in Bryce Canyon National Park where you could get the best views are Sunrise Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. If you could visit Bryce Canyon for sunrise, you will totally be in for a real treat! Please note that you will have to get to the park EARLY though!

In addition to those three overlooks, which are the one’s we went to, there is also Swamp Canyon Overlook, Paria View, Farview Point, Fairyland Point, Sunset Point, Piracy Point, Rainbow Point, Yovimpa Point and more.

Other cool spots to check out at Bryce Canyon are Natural Bridge, Peek-a-Boo Trailhead, Wall Street, Bryce Amphitheater, Mossy Cave and a few others.

Stunning rock formations in Bryce Canyon National Park

In addition, there are also a plethora of amazing hikes you could do in Bryce! You could hike to the different viewing points and even into the actual hoodoo-filled depression where you could get up close to the cool rock formations.

If you decide to do the hike, please note that Bryce Canyon is located on a high elevation and always make sure you are hydrated. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen as well!

I visited Bryce Canyon in late June and it was a little chilly due to the high altitude (in the 60s Fahrenheit), but it could also get very hot as well during the heart of the summer. Always ensure to check the weather before you go so that you are dressed appropriately!

A woman pointing at the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon

When it comes to hiking Bryce Canyon, there are a few amazing and popular trailheads you could do such as the Navajo Loop, which is one of the most popular trails in the park that starts at Sunset Point and then makes its way past a cool stack of hoodoos and spires to Wall Street, where the trail leads into a beautiful slot canyon.

Fairyland Loop starts on the edge of Bryce Canyon and then leads into the depression where you could check out all of the cool hoodoos and canyons.

Sunset Point hike is one of the easiest hikes at Bryce Canyon and it is great for bird watching.

Three other easy trails that are great for almost everyone are the Rim Trail, Mossy Cave Trail and Bristlecone Loop.

Colorful views of Bryce Canyon in Utah

If you are looking for a moderate to difficult hike, you could either do the Queens Garden Loop Trail, which is a steep hike that goes 800 feet into the amphitheaters and canyons of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Riggs Spring Loop Trail is a long and scenic trail that starts at Rainbow Point and goes through Corral Hollow, Riggs Spring and the plateau through Yovimpa Pass.

The Under the Rim Trail is the longest hiking trail at Bryce Canyon that is 23 miles one way and most hikers will need a permit for an overnight stay.

Lastly, there is the Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail that takes hikers 1,000 feet into Bryce Canyon and back up through a steep and strenuous climb.

A woman doing a hike in Bryce Canyon National Park

We mainly walked around the rim of the canyon and did part of the Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail, which was absolutely beautiful, but definitely on the difficult side. The elevation for the start of that trail was at 8,300 feet above sea level.

If you are someone who suffers from asthma or upper respiratory issues, I recommend bringing an inhaler and be mindful about what your body could handle.

Bryce Point at 8300 feet above sea level

Overall, it costs $35 USD per standard vehicle to enter into Bryce Canyon National Park and it is valid for seven consecutive days. (If you are visiting multiple National Parks on your road trip, I recommend getting the America the Beautiful Pass.)

There is a Visitor Center where you could get information about the park and all of the different overlooks and trails. Bryce Canyon also has a free shuttle service in the park, but we just drove to the parking lot by Sunrise Point and walked from there.

Since we traveled to Bryce Canyon during an unfortunate time in our world, the park rangers did everything they can to keep everyone distant from each other. It was also encouraged that everyone wore a mask around each other.

In addition to hiking, you could also go camping, ride an ATV, enjoy mountain biking along with horseback riding!

A woman enjoying the views of Bryce Canyon National Park

If you are planning to eat at Bryce Canyon, you could check out the below places:

Checking into Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort:

A woman mini golfing at Zion Ponderosa

After our half day adventure at Bryce Canyon National Park, we drove 1.5 hours to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort where we checked into our Cabin Suite and made our schedule for the next couple days.

Checking in is super easy and the staff is very helpful and could recommend the best adventures and activities for you during your time in Zion.

(I recommend booking your adventures when you first get to the resort because activities book up quickly!)

A peaceful pond during sunset

Since it was later in the afternoon, we mainly settled into our cabin, relaxed and then walked around the property.

We first stopped at the barn where the horses are for those who wish to horseback ride at Zion Ponderosa. They were absolutely beautiful! We then walked over by the pond where you could go kayaking!

Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner at Ray’s Restaurant. When we were finished with dinner, we tuned into our inner child and played mini golf on the 18-hole course on the property. We all grew up mini golfing at the Jersey Shore every summer, so it is always a good time when we have the opportunity to play.

Stargazing with East Zion Adventures:

Stargazing in Zion National park

At night, we went stargazing with East Zion Adventures!

Zion Ponderosa is located 6,500 feet above sea level on a forested plateau above Zion National Park, so it is definitely recommended that you put this activity on your itinerary. It is far away from any large city, so there is light pollution, making it easy to see distant planets, stars and the milky way.

Our guide was very knowledgeable about our solar system, so she made it extremely interesting for us! Our tour started at 9:30pm and it lasted a full hour. There was hot chocolate available for us to warm up because it did get a bit chilly at night.

Overall, the sky was absolutely magical and it was so nice being far away from the hustle and bustle. (I recommend bringing a blanket to lay down on!)

Day 2:

Morning Hike in Zion National Park:

A woman enjoying the views in Zion National Park

Our second day was our first official day in Zion National Park. Like I mention above, the Visitor Center for Zion National Park is a 40-minute drive from Zion Ponderosa.

We knew we wanted to do a morning hike because we had other activities planned for the rest of the day, so we woke up at 5:30am and got to the park a little after 6:30am, just after sunrise. This hike was the perfect fit into our Zion National Park itinerary!

Views from the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

From Zion Ponderosa, you will drive through Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is one of the most breathtaking drives ever! The views are astronomical.

Zion National Park in general is absolutely amazing and photos definitely do not do this place justice. Since we got to the park early, we were able to enjoy the sunrise on the Scenic Drive! Located along the road are viewpoints where you could pull over, get out of the car and take photos.

Views on the Watchman hiking trail in Zion National Park

Because Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the country, there are numerous hikes you could do that range from easy to difficult. (You totally need to include a hike in your Zion National Park itinerary.)

A few easy trails are the Pa’rus Trail, which is a paved trail that follows the Virgin River from the South Campground to Canyon Junction.

The Archeology Trail is a short and steep hike that starts at the Visitor Center.

The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is another easy hike that leads to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls and then the Grotto is the perfect hike to explore wildlife and of course, the Grotto itself.

Lastly, the Weeping Rock Trail is a short hike that leads to a rock alcove with springs.

Cool mountain formations in Zion

During our morning in Zion National Park, we did the Watchman Trail, which is considered a moderate hike in the park. It starts at the Visitor Center and ends at Watchman Peak. The hike isn’t too bad and my mom, brother and I found it quite enjoyable. The views were breathtaking!

Other great moderate trails at Zion are the Sandbench Trail, where you could hike on a massive landslide under The Sentinel.

Upper Emerald Pool Trail is a sandy and rocky trail that leads to the Upper Emerald Pool.

The Kayenta Trail is an unpaved hike that leads to both the Emerald Pools and the Grotto and then the Canyon Overlook Trail is a moderate rocky trail that leads to Pine Creek Canyon.

Views of Zion National Park

The strenuous hikes at Zion National Park are Angel’s Landing that is a steep and narrow hike; Hidden Canyon Trail, which is a super high hike along a cliff face; Observation Point that climbs through Echo Canyon to the viewpoint on the rim of Zion Canyon and lastly, The Narrows via the Riverside Walk, which I talk about below.

Please note that you could hike to Observation Point from Zion Ponderosa!

It cost us $35 USD for our car to enter into Zion National Park. Just like at Bryce Canyon National Park, the park pass is valid for seven consecutive days.

A little outside of Zion National Park, in the town of Springdale, are numerous restaurants and shops to grab food and purchase anything essential such as hiking gear or even buy souvenirs.

A delicious chocolate crepe from a restaurant outside of Zion National Park

After doing the Watchman Trail, we grabbed breakfast at MeMe’s Café. We sat outside and enjoyed the amazing views of Zion National Park. During our time at MeMe’s Café, I savored a delicious chocolate crepe with bananas and my mom and brother had a traditional egg breakfast.

Canyoneering with East Zion Adventures:

A woman repelling down a canyon in Zion National Park

One of the most EPIC adventures I’ve ever done was canyoneering at Zion National Park through East Zion Adventures!

Overall, canyoneering is one of the most popular experiences to participate in when you stay at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. You could either do a full or half day tour. (I did the half day tour and it was a little over five hours.) It is definitely something you have to put on your Zion National Park itinerary.

A woman repelling down a 70-foot slot canyon in Utah

Canyoneering in the Zion area is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will take you into the most breathtaking slot canyons of the National Park, an area that is untouched by tourists.

We repelled down five to six slot canyons and the deepest one was 70 feet! I was so proud of myself because at first, I was honestly a little overwhelmed by the thought of canyoneering since I had never done it before!

A woman getting ready to repel down a slot canyon

Please note that if you go canyoneering, make sure to bring at least a gallon of water, a good pair of hiking shoes and a great backpack for adventures to hold all of your belongings.

All of the other equipment will be provided for you on the tour through East Zion Adventures. Also, if you sign up for this experience, please be mindful if you have asthma or upper respiratory issues because you will be hiking up sand dunes at a high altitude!

(Please also note that you will get dirty on this adventure.)

Colorful slot canyons in Zion National Park

Overall, I am so happy I went canyoneering (my mom and brother unfortunately chickened out), but I did get to experience this adventure with awesome people.

Our guide Brig made it extra fun for all of us and the slot canyons were absolutely breathtaking!

Since we missed out on Antelope Canyon during our time in Page (due to the unfortunate circumstances going on in the world), this totally made up for it plus some!

All of the slot canyons in Zion National Park have been carved out by water and wind, which makes it into the masterpieces they are now. If you come to Zion, you totally cannot miss out on this experience!

Sunset Jeep Tour through East Zion Adventures:

Zion Canyon from The Narrows

East Zion Adventures offers amazing Jeep Tours that you could take around Zion National Park.

Admittedly, I truly packed in my Zion National Park itinerary with so much to do; I was supposed to do the Sunset Jeep Tour after my canyoneering experience but was so exhausted when I returned and didn’t have enough time to eat dinner. (Canyoneering will make you hungry!)

Hey, it gives me a reason to go back, right?!

Red Rock cliffs in Zion National Park

During a Sunset Jeep Tour, you will depart from the recreation barn at Zion Ponderosa an hour before sunset.

The tour will take you to Pine Knoll where you will enjoy 360-degree views and watch the sun set on the western horizon while savoring some snacks. If you have the time, definitely do this Jeep Tour!

In addition to the Sunset Jeep Tour, you could also sign up for the Radio Tower/Mountain Overlook Jeep Tour, Checkerboard Overlook Jeep Tour, Brushy Cove Jeep Tour, Red Canyon Jeep Tour and more.

Day 3:

Hike The Narrows at Zion National Park:

A woman having fun in The Narrows

Our last day at Zion National Park was also the same day we had to head back to Las Vegas to fly home.

During a trip to Zion, it is a MUST that you do The Narrows hike. It is definitely one of the most popular hikes not only in Zion National Park, but also in the United States, so I highly recommend adding it to your itinerary!

Sunrise at The Narrows in Zion National Park

We did our hike during sunrise and it was absolutely magical! The Narrows are the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and it is a 9-mile hike in the Virgin River.

To get to The Narrows from the Visitor Center, you will need to take the shuttle to the Temple of Mount Sinawava, where you will walk one mile along the Riverside Walk to the start of The Narrows.

Because of everything going on in the world, Zion National Park is doing everything they can to maintain distancing among guests. (It is also encouraged for guests to wear a mask too.)

Even though hiking The Narrows is free, you will need to get your shuttle tickets online here at 9am MST the day before you want to go there. A shuttle ticket is only $1 USD per person and they sell out FAST!

(If you plan to go to Zion National Park in the future when things get better, it will definitely be easier for you to get shuttle tickets.)

A woman fascinated by the natural beauty in Zion National Park

The reason why it is important to get the shuttle is because it is 12 miles round trip if you hike or bike to the Temple of Mount Sinawava. (If you have time and want to hike or bike there, go for it!)

You will also need to take the shuttle if you plan to visit the Emerald Pools and some other hikes in Zion. Click here to see what hikes require the shuttle.

What is awesome is that you could also do a guided hike into The Narrows through East Zion Adventures!

A woman enjoying the red rock views in The Narrows in Southern Utah

In regards to what to wear for The Narrows hike, I recommend wearing shorts or light leggings that will dry fast and renting waterproof hiking shoes and neoprene socks because your feet WILL definitely get wet.

If you do not have the proper shoes and socks, they will most likely get ruined. The hike is ankle to over knee deep high!

In addition, the trail is very rocky too and pretty strenuous, so I also recommend using a hiking pole or stick. You could get your rental equipment anywhere for The Narrows if you’re hiking on your own like we did. We got our’s from Zion Guru in Springdale.

If you are doing a guided tour, they will most likely provide you with the gear.

A woman hiking The Narrows at Zion National Park

The Narrows hike is very refreshing and even though we went early in the morning when it was a bit chilly outside, the water itself was a comfortable temperature.

60 percent of this hike is spent wading, walking and sometimes swimming in the water (if you are wearing swimwear). Please note that the water does have a current and it is important to keep an eye on small children if they are doing the hike with you.

The views from The Narrows are breathtaking as you will be walking through canyons, around red cliffs and so much more.

Enjoy the Town of Springdale:

The Narrows at Zion National Park

After our hike, we were in need of some coffee and baked goodies. The best place to get both is at FeelLove Coffee located right outside of Zion National Park in Springdale.

Overall, this coffee shop is fairly new and super cute. I enjoyed a coffee and scone and it hit the spot.

Slot canyons in Zion National Park

In addition, if you have extra time in your Zion National Park itinerary, I recommend checking out Zion Canyon Brew Pub if you are a beer lover. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time, but I totally would’ve loved to have gone there and tasted a few local beers!


A woman canyoneering in Zion National Park

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time at Zion National Park and Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and discovering the best 3-day itinerary for this area in Southern Utah.

If you have any questions about my time in Zion, please email me at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

3-Day Itinerary for Zion & Bryce Canyon National Park

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44 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on July 14, 2020 at 12:05 am

    This National Park was one of the most amazing places I have seen. Staying at Zion Ponderosa was so much fun with so much to do. The staff was very welcoming and the grounds were beautiful ~ we were close to all the awesome activities Zion Ponderosa and Zion National Park had to offer. Scenic view Road was amazing to see ~ all the stunning red stone mountains were breathtaking. Loved hiking the Narrows, star-gazing at Zion Ponderosa and enjoying many other activities on their beautiful premises. Loved the Log Cabin suite we stayed in ~ such an amazing experience ~ Awesome blog and guide Taylor ~ you captured all these fun filled adventurous activities ~ Love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on July 14, 2020 at 12:16 am

      Yes, it all was so amazing! Good times! Love you too!

  2. Brittany Sneller on July 14, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Canyoneering would be SO fun! Just the type of adventures I love to do. And the Narrows Hike. Anddd the stargazing. Lol. Definitely envious of your road trip and will save for later for whenever we get over there (hopefully soon, fingers crossed). xx

    • Taylor Deer on July 14, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Ah yes, it was so epic Bri! You totally would love it. Definitely do this road trip when you could get over here. 🙂

  3. Melisa on July 15, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I truly believe this will be the year of road trips and this is the perfect spot to spend a couple of days! Such a fun adventure!

    • Taylor Deer on July 15, 2020 at 11:47 am

      Oh yes, it’s so much fun! I hope you have some great ones planned Melisa. 🙂

  4. Cristina on July 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    This is an amazing itinerary. It seems you had lots of fun 🙂 I would love to stargaze there.

    • Taylor Deer on July 26, 2020 at 10:55 pm

      Thank you Cristina! Zion truly is a fun place to go to. 🙂

  5. Nichole the Nomad on July 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    Ugh, Zion has my heart! It is so beautiful. We visited last year, but the Narrows was closed due to trail damage, so we were bummed. Your photos make it look so much fun!

    • Taylor Deer on July 31, 2020 at 8:07 pm

      It really is so breathtaking at all ends. Also that is a bummer, we almost didn’t do the Narrows because of the whole shuttle situation. Also thank you! 🙂

  6. mytravelatte on July 31, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the detailed itinerary. I am surprised of the many activities you can enjoy in this place. I am hoping to visit here real soon!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:34 pm

      Of course and there is something for everyone! It is awesome. 🙂

  7. MacKenzie on July 31, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    I LOVED Zion so much, my mom and I wish we had more time there. She had just had surgery, so we couldn’t do any of the hikes you wrote about, but I definitely want to! I think it might be her favorite National Park too! Love all these options and things to do (canyoning?! COOL!)

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:24 pm

      Ah yes, it’s so breathtaking! I loved the Scenic Drive, it was so beautiful! I hope you guys get to go back and do some of the hikes. 🙂

  8. Sarah on July 31, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Spectacular photos! I’ve been wanting to get to Zion for a long time! the landscape is so other-worldly and I NEED to try Canyoneering!! It looks so awesome. Haha love that pic of you sideways between the rocks!!! Stargazing is AMAZING.😍

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you so much Sarah! It really was such an epic trip and I highly recommend canyoneering when you go! :0

  9. Helena on July 31, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Wow your photos!! I’ve always wanted to go back to Zion, I went as a kid and barely remember it and of course didn’t really hike either!! But would love to hike The Narrows and that Brew Pub sounds right up my street. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you Helena and you totally have to go back as an adult now. 🙂 It’s definitely an epic place!

  10. Jasmina on August 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Wow, this looks breathtaking! Such a great adventure!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you Jasmina! I loved Zion. 🙂

  11. Andrea Cannon on August 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    These are great tips! I love this park!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:27 pm

      Thank you Andrea! It sure is beautiful! 🙂

  12. Sarah on August 1, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    WOW. What gorgeous photos! This looks like such a fun time – I’m glad you had a chance to grab a beer afterwards 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      Thank you Sarah! It totally was a blast. 🙂

  13. Aswani Kurra on August 1, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    So beautiful Taylor! Zion is one of my fav parks and I wish we stayed for more than a day! WIll save this for future visits!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Aswani and it definitely is a breathtaking place with so much to do. You totally need at least 3 days there. 🙂

  14. Kelly on August 1, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Gorgeou.ls. I would love to be able to visit for myself. Love the tips.

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Kelly, you definitely would love it! 🙂

  15. Shay on August 1, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I’m obsessed with all your pictures! They’re so stunning. This is such a helpful and informative guide. Definitely adding canyoneering to my bucket list! Thanks for sharing!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:30 pm

      Thank you so much Shay! You totally would love canyoneering! It was such a blast! 🙂

  16. Josy A on August 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    This all looks sooooo fun! I would love to try Canyoneering and hiking in this area. It’s just all so flipping beautiful! I love all the organge and pink colours of the rocks.

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:31 pm

      You would totally love it Josy! Canyoneering was definitely the highlight of my time there and The Narrows were awesome too. 🙂

  17. Alison on August 1, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Oh wow — it sounds like an amazing place. Thanks for the really thorough account and details. It’s on my bucket list and I wondered how doable it was to fit Bryce, Zion and Arches in one trip. Love the suggestions on where to eat — always a tough one. Canyoning looked like soooooo much fun!

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:32 pm

      It really is Alison! I loved it! 🙂 Arches is unfortunately a little out of the way from both Bryce and Zion. If you are coming from Colorado, I highly recommend seeing Arches and also Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. 🙂

  18. Lauren on August 1, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Wow, your photos have really made me want to explore Zion National Park! They are stunning 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      Thank you so much Lauren! I’m glad to hear that. 🙂

  19. Emily on August 1, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Love the desert tones! Bryce looks absolutely spectacular.

    • Taylor Deer on August 1, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      Yes, it was such an epic trip. 🙂

  20. Pam on August 1, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    I went to Zion as a kid and don’t remember much – I feel like I would have remembered a crepe that looked that delicious! Haha I love that you woke up early to fit in a hike as our national parks have so much to offer

    • Taylor Deer on August 2, 2020 at 12:11 am

      Ah yes, you totally have to go back as an adult. Also that crepe was amazing haha!

  21. Loise on August 2, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Been hearing a lot about Zion! It looks unique but beautiful. I personally like the Bryce Canyon!
    Spending your 3-days here would be so much worth it, very helpful article <3

    • Taylor Deer on August 3, 2020 at 12:55 am

      Yes, Zion is amazing! I loved Bryce too as it was unique and very beautiful too. 🙂

  22. Maddie on August 2, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I’m dying to visit Zion! I was considering this summer but decided not to because of COVID. Hopefully I can in 2021!

    • Taylor Deer on August 3, 2020 at 1:02 am

      You would love it so much when you eventually go! 🙂

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