By Michael Lanza

At a bit over 147,000 acres, Zion comes nowhere near America’s largest national parks in sheer immensity. Zion could fit inside Yosemite National Park five times, inside the Everglades 10 times, inside Yellowstone 15 times, and inside our largest park, Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias, 89 times. But if you’re a hiker, Zion harbors, mile for mile, some of the most breathtaking scenery to be found on any trails in the National Park System.

This story will point you to Zion’s 10 best dayhikes, based on my personal experience of many visits there over the past three decades, including formerly as a field editor for Backpacker magazine for about 10 years and even longer running this blog.

You will also find in this story my insider tips on how to avoid the crowds when hiking in what has become the third-most-visited national park (after Great Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone). Follow those tips and you will discover an entirely different experience when you’re not sharing the trails with hundreds of other hikers—as are often seen on hikes like Angels Landing and the lower Narrows from spring through fall.

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

The park’s free shuttle buses operate regularly between the visitor center, just inside the south entrance, to the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive—which is usually closed to private vehicles—for most of the year. See The visitor center parking lot fills early in the day. The Springdale town shuttle connects to the park’s shuttles and there is public parking in Springdale, shown on this map. It’s often easiest to take the town shuttle to stop number one, just outside the park entrance, and use the pedestrian entrance and footbridge over the Virgin River, walking just minutes to the visitor center.

Trails and roads in Zion are occasionally closed due to rockfall, construction, or other reasons. Check current conditions at

I’d love to hear what you think of these hikes or any suggestions for your favorite hikes in Zion, as well as your thoughts on my tips for avoiding what can be huge crowds on the most popular hikes. Share them—and read others—in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to respond to all comments.

A teenage boy hiking Angels Landing, Zion National Park.
” data-image-caption=”My son, Nate, hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park.
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