The Best Time To Visit Zion National Park

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While the period from April to September is the most popular season, the best time to visit this national Park depends on what your itinerary includes. Summer brings in millions of hikers from all around the country and spring break in March also sees a spike in the number of people visiting the National Park.

However, there is something in store for every season and there are loads of reasons why the best time to visit this National Park for you maybe beyond the peak season. We have exclusively made this article to guide you through what might be the best time to visit this National Park for you and what you can expect in various seasons.

Key factors in determining the best time to visit Zion National Park

Weather and Temperature

best time to visit Zion National Park

The weather here in the desert of Utah can wildly vary from Summer to Winter and thus dictates what is the best time to visit Zion National Park for you . While the summers are hot with clear days the winters are cold with slightly cloudy, the temperature on an average ranges from 98°F ( 36°C) at their highest to 17°F ( -8.3°C) at their lowest.

Weather in Spring

best time to visit Zion National Park
Credits: WeatherSpaek.com

Our personal pick for the best time to visit Zion National Park, Spring lasts from March to May. Spring follows winter, so temperatures start to pick up constantly from the end of February with the high temperatures ranging from 60°F (15.5°C) in March to 87°F (30.5°C) in May . The low temperatures also increase from 36°F (2.2°C) in March to 56°F (13.3°C) in May.

Spring is also the best time to visit Zion Park for people who want sun but without geffing crisped. As March moves to May, the cloud cover rapidly decreases with more than 65% of total spring being sunny on an average. Additionally, probability of rainfall also massively decreases with well less than 10% precipitation chances in May.

best time to visit Zion National Park
Credits: WeatherSpark.com

Widely regarded as the best time to visit Zion National Park by most people, Summer in Zion lasts from May to mid September. The temperatures can reach as high as 100°F (38°C), high temperatures rarefy fall below 77°F (25°C) with July being the hottest month. Daily low temperatures range from 57°F (14°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) with the nights being the coldest and 2 PM to 7 PM being the most uncomfortable period of the day.

Additionally, what makes summer the best time to visit Zion for many is also the clear days with lack of clouds. On an average, the months from July to August have a 79% clear days with July being the clearest month of them all. There are also low chances of precipitation in summer with May, June, and July being almost completely dry.

However, from late July to mid-September, the monsoon picks up with thunderstorms and showering rain and fash foods. One thing to keep in mind is even if the National Park doesn’t directly receive a lot of rainfall, downpour on Kolob mountains nearby could mean high chances of flash floods in the canyons of Zion. Hence, the end of Summer may not be the best time to visit Zion National Park for beginners.

Weather in Fall

best time to visit Zion Park
Credit: WeatherSpark.com

Fall can be the best time to visit Zion National Park and it spans from the tail end of September to November. With the summer passing the daily high temperatures start decreasing from around 92°F (33°C) in September to 54°F (12°C) towards November. Similarly, the daily low temperatures also decrease from 64°F (18°C) to 33°F (0.5°C).

The cloud cover also starts to increase rapidly as we move from September to November but the chances of having clear day still remains above 50% for most of the Fall with November having the most overcast days Even though the days start to rapidly shorten, Fall is the best time to this National Park because of the pleasant temperature which favors long hikes.

Weather in Winter

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The best time to visit Zion National Park for winter activities is in the 3.1 months from the last week of November to the last week of February. The highest temperatures decrease from around 54°F (12°C) from the start of December reaching the lowest point around Christmas at 49°F (9.4°C) then gradually increasing to 59°F towards the end of February.

Lowest temperatures also take a dip from 33°F (0.5°C) at the start of December to the lowest point in 29°F (-1.7°C) in the beginning of January and gradually rises to 36°F towards the tail end of February. Early morning hours of 4AM to 10 AM are the coldest time of the day during winter months.

Chances of having an overcast day also massively increases in winter with around 50% of the total winter being spent under cloud cover. Hence, it is not the best time to visit Zion National Park for people who love the sun. Moat days are dry however the chances of rain does increase in December and February.

Crowd per month

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Photo: Summer brings in almost 50% of the annual visitors in Zion National Park.

The number of visitors per month can play a huge role in determining the best time to visit Zion National Park as it is the crown jewel of Utah’s big 5 national parks. The spectacular scenery, the canyons and cliffs created by Virgin River, the sharp peaks of rocky formations make it a highly sought after destination in a country that loves outdoors. This love translates into numbers as millions of hikers, travelers and even casual visitors have been coming to Zion National Park each year for the past decade.

The fact is, since 2008, Zion National Park has seen a whooping 88% increase in annual visitor numbers. 2.69 million people visited Zion in 2008 while the numbers recovered from the pandemic period era to 5.04 million people in 2021. During 2019, it was the second most visited National Park in the US while in 2021 it broke visitor numbers landing on 10th most visited National Park in the whole world according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Consequently, the best time to this Zion National Park can massively vary upon whether you like being among the cro d or not.

Month Percentage of visitors Number of visitors
January 2% 91,562
February 3% 112,890
March 8% 333,271
April 10% 431,935
May 11% 477,342
June 13% 534,610
July 13% 557,200
August 12% 491,483
September 11% 476,783
October 9% 391,538
November 5% 216,742
December 3% 136,061
Source: National Park Service

Inside the US, Zion National Park is the 4th most visited national park. As the statistics point out summer months from June to September brings in about 49% of the total visitors with around 17,000 people entering the park each day.

Winter months see the least number of visitors while Fall and Spring remain quite popular tmes with anywhere between 7,000 to 15,000 visitors entering the park each day. March is when spring break falls and the number of visitors starts to dramatically rise specially in the Zion Canyons. Thus, you can decide what time is the best time to visit this National Park for you depending upon the crowd.

Best time to visit Zion National Park for hiking

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Fall is the best time to visit Zion National Park for hiking. Although summer is the most popular time to visit but the temperatures which constantly touch 100°F (38°C) and the sweltering heat make it difficult and hazardous to go on for long hikes.

Spring is the best time to visit this National Park because of the pleasant weather but not so ideal for hiking. The ice frozen during winter starts to melt in the following season of Spring making the rivers to rise dramatically. Hence, the best time to visit this National Park for hiking is Fall when the temperatures have relatively dropped as compared to summer and the rivers are friendly.

Best time to visit Zion National Park for sightseeing

Canyoneering in Boundary Canyon in Zion National Park
Photo: The lush greenery in Spring makes it the best time to visit Zion National Park for sightseeing

Spring followed by Fall is the best time to visit Zion National Park for sightseeing. The crowds start to pick up gradually from March so you won’t see as much of a crowd as in the summer. As temperatures pick up slightly after 3 months of winter, the rivers swell up and the greenery is lush in spring making spring the best time to visit Zion for sightseeing.

Best time to visit Zion National Park for Canyoneering

Canyoneering ,in Boundary ,Canyon , Zion National Park
Photo: Canyoneering in Boundary Canyon in Zion National Park

Summer is the best time to visit Zion National Park for Canyoneering. Zion National Park is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for the extreme adventure of Canyoneering. It involves climbing up, climbing down by the help of ropes, and swimming and is gaining rapid popularity among thrill seekers.

Although spring is the best time to visit Zion for moderate weather, the increase in water level becomes a major problem for Canyoneering. Summer offers higher temperatures and warm water making it the best time to visit Zion for Canyoneering.

For our list of top 20 most extreme adventure sport check this out.

Best time to visit Zion National Park for avoiding crowd

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Photo: Winter is the best time to visit Zion National Park if you want to avoid crowd.

October to March is the best time to visit Zion National Park for avoiding crowds. It is absolutely no surprise that Zion is a popular destination for people from all parts of the US and beyond. The National Park is open all tear round yet the bulk of the crowd (70%) visits in the consecutive seasons of Spring and Summer.

While October still receives fairly good crowd, the shoulder season well and truly starts on November and lasts up to about the Labor Day Holiday in March. The crowds maybe low, however, there are still plenty of things to do in this park in winter making it the best time to visit this National Park for avoiding crowds.

Best time to visit Zion National Park for a drive on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

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Photo: From Early March to Mid- November and in the Holidays in December free shuttles run on Zion
 National Park and no private vehicles are allowed. Hence, the best time to visit Zion National Park scenic drive is January, February or early December.

December before the holidays and January and February are the best time to visit Zion National Park to drive a personal vehicle on the Scenic Drive. All the other months, private vehicles are forbidden.

 

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