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2 Days in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is popular for good reason - it offers some of the most thrilling hikes and beautiful sights that the U.S. has to offer. Hikes like Angel's Landing and The Narrows are must-do's on your visit to Zion.

Keep reading for a two-day itinerary that will map out your days with the top things to see and do!

First time visiting? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Zion here.

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is where you'll find most of your bucket-list hikes and things on your to-do list, but if you have time, check out some of the few trails near Kolob Canyons located in the Northern part of the Park.

Please note - this itinerary does not include any trails that are currently closed, but be sure to visit their website to double check before your trip.

Image via NPS

If you haven't checked out my First Timer's Guide to Zion, I recommend reading that and deciding when to visit, where to stay, and what you'd like to see. You'll also find more information on the shuttle system in Zion (you'll need tickets for the rest of 2020)!

This 2-Day Itinerary includes the must-do's at Zion and will allow you to check a few things off your bucket list!


Suggested Visit: 2-2.5Days

If you're arriving to Zion mid-day to Zion with 2 additional full days to explore, the only change I'd recommend is hiking the Upper Emerald Pools on your arrival day, so you don't have to do it right after Angel's Landing (they're located next to each other).

If you're arriving to Zion mid-day with only 1 additional full day to explore, I'd hike Angel's Landing on the day you arrive, then spend your full day on Narrows, The Watchman, and Canyon Overlook Trail.

Day 1

  • Hike Angel's Landing

  • Hike Upper Emerald Pools via Kayenta Trail

  • Midday break - Lunch at Zion Lodge or by Hotel in Springdale

  • Hike Canyon Overlook Trail, accessible by car via the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway

  • Dinner in Springdale

Start your day early with Angel's Landing, Shuttle Stop #6, The Grotto. This is one of the most epic trails in the US, with narrow ridges, steep switchbacks, and sheer drop-offs of hundreds of feet. Definitely not for the faint of heart! Luckily, the mileage isn't too long. The toughest part of this hike is the steep switchbacks that bring you to the top.

During COVID, you are only able to hike to Scout's Lookout, which is the section right before the chains that leads to the end of the trail. I would definitely still recommend this hike. The views at Scout's Lookout are incredible.

Scout's Lookout
This is Scout's Lookout - as far as you'll be able to hike during COVID. The views are still worth it!

After Angel's Landing, you can rest a bit at the bottom and have a snack before hiking the Upper Emerald Pools via the Kayenta Trail. This trailhead is also at Shuttle Stop #6, right next to Angel's Landing, so it makes sense to do these together. Luckily, Kayenta / Upper Emerald Pools Trail is not as strenuous as Angel's Landing - it's only 3 miles RT.

You'll likely want some rest after a long morning, so head back to your hotel in Springdale (if that's where you're staying) to rest and grab a bite to eat! Meme's Cafe has shaded outdoor seating and an extensive, affordable menu. If you'd rather stay inside the Park, Shuttle Stop #5 has grab and go food at the Zion Lodge and a large, shaded, grassy lawn to eat and rest.

When Zach and I visit National Parks, we also try to plan our days into two parts, with a long rest period during lunch, when it's the heat of the day.

After lunch, take a drive along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway to get to the Canyon Overlook Trail. Take your time on this drive and pull off on lookouts for some incredible photo ops!

The parking for the Canyon Overlook Trail is right after you exit the tunnel on your right. It's an extremely small lot, so if there is no parking, continue down the road a short ways and you'll find overflow parking on the side of the road.

The Canyon Overlook Trail is an easy, 1-mile trail with rewarding views - a must do!

After this trail, it's time to call it a night and head back into town. Enjoy a nice dinner in Springdale, catch the sunset, and get a good night's sleep for a full day tomorrow!

Day 2

  • Hike The Narrows via the Riverside Walk

  • Midday break - Lunch in Springdale

  • Hike The Watchman

  • Dinner in Springdale

  • Pa'rus Trail for Sunset at Canyon Junction Bridge

When reserving Shuttle Tickets for this day, make sure you reserve the earliest option to get started on the Narrows in the morning! (If you're biking or hiking to the trailhead, start as early as you can). The Narrows can get really crowded, so it's best to start this hike sooner rather than later.

Begin your hike to the Narrows at Shuttle Stop #9, Temple of Sinawava. The trail begins along the Riverside Walk, which is a highly trafficked paved path with scenic views

The Narrows is a unique hike because you must trek through the Virgin River through a slot canyon, with cold temperatures and waist deep water! It's truly an unforgettable experience. This was my favorite hike in Zion.

I highly recommend renting a wooden walking stick from Springdale for this hike. I wouldn't have been able to do this without one! You can rent them for around $10 the day before you plan to hike The Narrows. I rented mine from Zion Guru, right next to my hotel! You can also rent dry pants and water boots.

You're only able to hike in about 5 miles before reaching a point that requires a permit, but after a while, it does begin to look the same so that will be plenty of time on the trail. I recommend hiking in at least 3 miles then heading back, making for a 6 mile RT hike.

After trekking through the Narrows, you're going to want to change into some dry clothes and shoes! This is the perfect opportunity to head back into town for a bit to rest and grab lunch. After a few hours (or whenever you're ready), head back into Zion to hike The Watchman.

The nice part about The Watchman trail is that you won't need a shuttle to hike this. It's located right at the Visitor Center, so if you can find a parking spot, you'll just drive in and begin your hike.

The Watchman was a nice afternoon hike that wasn't very strenuous and I found it a lot less crowded than any other trail.

After the nice 3.3 mile hike, you can do one of two things. You can then walk the Pa'rus trail to Canyon Junction Bridge for my favorite view in Zion, or you can save that easy trail for later in the evening to catch the sunset.

I recommend waiting and doing Pa'rus after dinner!

Once you've completed The Watchman, head to the Visitor Center Gift Shop for some souvenirs and head back to the hotel. This is your last night, so try a nicer place to eat in Springdale if you wish! I've heard good things about King's Landing Bistro.

After dinner on your last night, you cannot miss seeing the Canyon Junction Bridge (if you haven't yet)! This itinerary recommends you walk along the Pa'rus Trail from the Visitor Center to reach the bridge for sunset views (3.5 mi RT), but it's also beautiful during sunrise if you can squeeze it in either day (and you're more likely to find parking in the small lot by the bridge in the morning)!

Your choice, but I will say that this view is known for being the best spot for sunsets in Zion. If you can, try to view it during both sunrise and sunset!

And that marks two days in Zion!

Feel free to save or screenshot this 2-Day Itinerary Overview.

Don't forget to check out my First Timer's Guide to Zion National Park, too!


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