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If crazy crowds and scorching hot temperatures are not your thing, visiting Zion National Park in November is the way to go. Now don’t get me wrong, it will still be busy, it is Zion after all, but much less so than the summer months.
Having lived in Southwest Utah, not far from the entrance to Zion, I can assure you the weather this time of year is ideal. With highs in the 60s and lows in the mid-30s, the cool, crisp air and towering red rock cliffs are second to none.
Make sure to bring your clothing layers, a full battery in your camera, and an appetite for awesomeness!
Now let’s learn how to make the most of your visit to Zion in November…
Tips for Your November Visit to Zion:
Get Your National Parks Pass
Before you go, make sure to have your America the Beautiful Pass. If you purchase your pass via that link to REI, they will donate 10% of the proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation, and the US Endowment for Forestry & Community – at no extra cost.
If you are an Active Duty Military member or Veteran, you can save yourself – and family members in the same vehicle – $80 and get in for free! Soon – sometime in late 2022 – you will even be able to get a free LIFETIME pass which will make visiting National Parks, National Monuments, Forests, and more that much easier.
For now, make sure to have your military id, Veteran status on a state-issued id, or America the Beautiful Military Pass ready to show at the gates.
Don’t have one of those passes? You can still visit Zion if you pay at the gates, where the fee is $35 per vehicle and is valid for seven days.
Now that we have that technicality out of the way, it’s time to highlight some fantastic things to do in Zion during your November visit.
Even though we mainly refer to the main entrance of Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah, there are other locations to enjoy, like Kolob Canyons and Kolob Terrace Rd. Since Zion is so big, don’t feel like you are limited to just one area.
Since most of you will go to Zion’s main entrance, we’ll start there.
The parking lots fill up fast, and although November is less busy, you still should plan on getting to the Zion National Park Visitor’s Center early. The first shuttle leaves the visitor center at 7 am, and subsequent shuttles run every few minutes, so don’t fret if you miss the first one.
Make sure to grab a map before you go since there are eight stops after leaving the visitor center until the end of the road at the Temple of Sinawava. You are free to get off at each one and can board the other shuttles as they come by.
Things to Do in Zion National Park in November
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
Since we’re talking about the shuttle ride, it’s important to note that this is how you go along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on Zion Canyon Road in November. Since no private vehicles are allowed in this section this time of year, the shuttles are the easiest way to visit some of the park’s most popular locations, like Angels Landing, Weeping Rock, and The Narrows.
The ride to the Temple of Sinawava takes around 45 minutes. But with the views along the way, it feels like a fraction of that.
You can ride your bike along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive if you feel more adventurous. Or if you would rather take your bike on the shuttle’s bike rack to a specific location, you have that option too – just no fat tire bikes or e-bikes.
What if a shuttle isn’t your thing? There are plenty of spectacular views along Zion Park Blvd., which IS open to private vehicle traffic throughout the year. In addition, Zion Park Blvd. has a good amount of pull-off points before and after the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel to take in the landscape and snap some cool pics like this one…
Just keep in mind you will miss out on some incredible hikes, as we’ll talk about soon, but Zion is one of the National Parks that’s almost as enjoyable from the comfort of your car.
Emerald Pool Trails
Stop #5 on the Zion Shuttle and near the Zion Lodge is where you will find the Emerald Pool Trails, which consist of three different hikes that all can be connected to make for a half-day adventure.
Starting with the Lower Emerald Pool trail that is around 1.25 miles, this easy hike will lead you to – wait for it – Emerald Pool and waterfalls. Yes, waterfalls in Zion!
From there, you can continue on another 2.2 miles along the moderately difficult Middle Emerald Pool trail, and an extra mile will see you at the edge of a cliff on the Upper Emerald Pool trail.
Swimming in the Emerald Pools is not allowed, so please don’t be those people that think the rules don’t apply to them. We are all here to appreciate the wonders of this Earth, not inflict more damage upon it – rant over.
Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park is one of the most famous trails in the US, sometimes not for the best reasons. Unfortunately, it has become overly crowded and increasingly dangerous, so in 2022 the National Park Service has implemented a permit system for those wishing to hike Angel’s Landing.
It is a lottery system to get a permit to hike Angel’s Landing. So make sure to plan ahead and visit recreation.gov to apply or get more details.
The Angel’s Landing hike is strenuous and gains almost 1,500 feet of elevation in under 2.7 miles, so be prepared. Not only that, but the last section is along a narrow ridge, and yes, there have been deaths along this trail.
Hopefully, the new permit system will ensure hikers can enjoy the Angel’s Landing trail safely for years to come.
Weeping Rock (Currently closed due to large rockfall)
No, the rock isn’t crying. That would be sad, I know. Weeping Rock gets its name from the dripping springs above. The hike to Weeping Rock is the shortest in Zion at around a half-mile, but it is steep so keep that in mind.
Weeping Rock is family-friendly, and there is a nice viewing area when you reach the top under the rock alcove.
Temple of Sinawava and The Narrows
If you plan on hiking The Narrows in Zion, the last stop of the Zion Shuttle at the Temple of Sinawava is where you will start. Since I know you are wondering, the Temple of Sinawava is named after the Paiute Nation’s coyote spirit and is a natural amphitheater within Zion National Park.
The Narrows is one of Zion’s most popular trails, and for a good reason. The way the rock formations look in this narrow canyon makes it hard to believe that this entire area was flat – 250 million years ago!
You can keep your feet dry and still view The Narrows via the wheelchair-accessible Riverside Walk or continue up the Virgin River. And by ‘up the Virgin River,’ I mean IN the Virgin River.
You can go as far as Big Spring without a wilderness permit, and if you do, plan on the 10-mile round trip hike to take all day. Or if you would feel safer, book a private guided hike of The Narrows.
Yes, you can hike The Narrows in November but realize the water will be colder than in the summer. Since you are wading through the Virgin River along most of The Narrows, plan what you wear accordingly.
I know we have talked a lot about the Zion Shuttle and accessing some of these other locations from it but rest assured, you can still hike in Zion without riding shoulder to shoulder next to strangers. The Watchman Trail is one such moderate hike and well worth the 3+ mile round trip journey.
The Watchman is one of the first unique cliffs you will notice when you enter Zion National Park, and the trail offers some fantastic views of Temples and Towers, lower Zion Canyon, and even the town of Springdale.
The Pa’rus Trail is a paved multi-use trail along the Virgin River and the only trail in Zion where pets are allowed. The Pa’rus Trail is wheelchair friendly and about 1.75 miles long. Something is soothing about strolling along a flowing river surrounded by massive red rock cliffs and birds chirping away.
If the only time you get out of your car on your trip through Zion National Park is at the visitor’s center, do yourself a favor and carve some time to trek along the Pa’rus Trail.
Since we promised there were other parts of Zion besides the main entrance to enjoy, here are a few things to add to your list…
On your way to Zion’s main entrance, after the town of Virgin, you will come across Kolob Terrace Rd. Don’t blink, though, because the turn-off is easy to miss. This drive is much less trafficked but no less scenic.
You can access a good amount of hikes up Kolob Terrace Rd. There’s even a popular rock climbing spot called Lambs Knoll.
The other area of Zion National Park worth seeing is via the Kolob Canyons entrance. To get there, you will head north from St. George on I-15 and take Exit 40.
The Kolob Canyons section of Zion offers even more hiking opportunities, so hikers don’t sleep on this location! Or you can drive along E. Kolob Canyon Rd. to the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, where you can take in the views or venture onto the Timber Creek Overlook Trail.
Where to Stay in Zion National Park in November
If you want to stay IN Zion National Park, you have options, but you better plan ahead.
Zion Lodge is along Zion Canyon Rd. within the park and accepts reservations up to 13 months in advance. If you have an overnight stay booked at Zion Lodge, you can drive your vehicle to the lodge with the red permit they will mail you.
Maybe a cozy lodge near the Emerald Pools trail isn’t your thing, and you would rather rough it. Well, you are in luck because Zion National Park has three campgrounds. But unfortunately, only one Zion campground is open in November, and that is Watchman Campground near the Visitor’s Center.
You can make reservations for the Watchman Campground up to six months in advance, and I suggest booking a site as soon as possible!
If those two spots are not available for your November trip to Zion, you will have to look at the neighboring towns that aren’t too far away.
Springdale hotels and inns are just outside Zion’s main entrance. If you are looking for a more unique place to stay near Zion then check out Zion Glamping Adventures – because why not – right off Kolob Terrace Rd. And just down the road from there is Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground.
Not to mention the countless options in La Verkin, Hurricane (pronounced her-a-kun), or St. George.
Wrapping It Up…
Wherever you choose to stay and whatever you decide to do when you visit Zion National Park in November, we are sure it will be an unforgettable experience.
Take plenty of pictures and soak in the beauty that is Zion!
Check out our Google Web Story – Things to Do in Zion National Park That Will Blow Your Mind