Want to visit one of America’s most beautiful national parks with your kids? You’re in the right place! Find out my tips and tricks for visiting Zion National Park with Kids!
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My family are big travelers and we ALWAYS travel with our kids. Although our destination is usually involves some kind of Disney trip, that has not been possible lately.
We have been looking for ways to travel, yet keep our distance from other travelers and stick relatively close to home.
Our most recent adventure was to Zion and Bryce National Park!
Where is Zion National Park
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah.
The nearest moderately sized city is St. George, Utah which is about 40 miles from the entrance of Zion and will take about 50 minutes to drive.
How to Travel to Zion
McCarran International Airport
The closest major airport to Zion is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you choose to fly into Las Vegas and drive 170 miles to Zion, it will take you about 2 hours and 41 minutes.
Salt Lake International Airport
Another option is to fly into Salt Lake International Airport.
The distance from Salt Lake City to Zion National Park is 313 miles and will take about 4 1/2 hours.
What are the fees to enter Zion National Park
For general admission into the park, you will pay $35.00 per vehicle. That pass will be valid for 7 days.
Every Kid in Outdoors Pass
If one of your kids happens to be in fourth grade, you can get the Every Kid in Outdoors Pass.
These passes are provided by a federal public lands youth initiative that allows all fourth graders to visit national parks for free!
To learn more about these passes and to sign up for your child visit the National Parks website here.
Things To Do with Kids in Zion National Parks
Kid Appropriate Hikes
Hiking is so much fun at Zion National Park with kids. There are so many gorgeous hikes in Zion.
They range from easy to extremely difficult. The majority of these hikes located along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.
Visiting the park with 3 kids ages 13, 10, and 6, we wanted to keep the hikes we participated in, on the low to moderate scale.
Our first hike of the day was Riverside Walk which is located at the top of the canyon. If you are able to take the shuttle, this hike is at stop #9 Temple of Sinawa.
This hike is paved and follows alongside the Virgin River to the entrance of The Narrows. There are a couple of slopes, but nothing little ones can’t handle.
Riverside Walk is approximately 2.2 miles round trip and is considered an easy hike. All three of my boys were able to complete it with no problem.
Upper Emerald Pools Trail
Our second hike of the day was the Upper Emerald Pools Trail.
To get to the pools, you take the Kayenta Trail, which meats up with the Upper Emerald Pools Trail.
This hike is considered moderate, with some semi-steep inclines and some minor drop offs. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on your kids.
Upper Emerald Pools Trail combined with Kayenta Trail is about 3 miles round trip. Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a couple of snacks.
My 6 year old did great on this hike, but I don’t think I would take a child younger child on this trail.
Watchman Trail was one of our favorite hikes during our visit to Zion. It is also a moderate hike that is probably too difficult for kids under 5.
The distance of this trail roundtrip is approximately 3.3 miles, but the view when you reach the top is absolutely worth going on this hike.
There are quite a few steep inclines and drop offs and there are a few sections of the trail that are filled with large rocks, so you’ll want to watch your step!
On all of these hikes, my boys had a great time looking for lizards. They counted 14 on one hike alone!
Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
Taking a drive along Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a must when you visit Zion National Park with kids.
The views are absolutely breathtaking, and there is a good chance you will be able to see some wildlife along the way.
On our way back to Springdale, the town near the entrance of Zion, we caught a glimpse of a herd of female Big Horn Sheep that decided to cross the road in front of us!
Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
There are two tunnels along this scenic drive. The longest is called Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel and is 1.1 miles long.
It was created to connect Zion to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks.
What is most amazing to me is that it was built in the 1920’s and completed in 1930. Make sure that you check out the view from the windows cut out throughout the tunnel. We counted six windows in all.
Where to Stay near Zion National Park with Kids
There are quite a few options for accommodations near Zion National Park.
We decided to stay at Hampton Inn & Suites in Springdale, because it was a name we knew we could trust.
Unfortunately, we had a couple of snags with check in, but our room and the pool were amazing!
Hampton Inn & Suites Springdale Review
Like I mentioned above, we had a couple of issues upon check in. The hotel had our check out date wrong and we were given the wrong room type at first.
These issues were quickly rectified once we provided our email confirmation that stated the correct date and room type.
The room that we reserved was a King Studio Suite. As you walk in the room, there is a sink, microwave, and mini-fridge.
Straight ahead, you will find a couch with a pull-out bed, as well as a large desk and flat screen television.
On the other side of the desk, is a king-size bed and two nightstands.
The bathroom has a tub/shower combination and the vanity is located separate from the bathroom, which makes getting ready in the morning with multiple people more convenient.
The Hampton Inn has a pretty large pool as well as a hot tub.
There are also quite a few seating options surrounding the pool with umbrellas available to provide some shade.
We were quite busy visiting Zion, and we didn’t have a lot of time to check out many of the amenities available at Hampton Inn.
During a normal Hampton Inn stay, you are able to get a delicious warm breakfast. We happened to visit when there was a need for social distancing.
I loved Hampton’s solution to this issue. They provided each guest with an individual grab and go breakfast.
Inside the bag was a breakfast sandwich, that could be warmed up in your room, an orange, yogurt, orange juice, and a granola bar.
Where to Eat near Zion National Park with Kids
On our trip to Zion, we stayed a total of three nights. We had breakfast provided at our hotel each day, we packed a lunch to take with us to the park, and we tried to find a yummy place in Springdale to go out to dinner.
We really liked the food and service at Meme’s Cafe in Springdale.
Their menu consists of crepes, salads, burgers and sandwiches. My husband ordered the Bacon Ranch Grilled Cheese Sandwich and I had the Barbecue Salad. Both were delicious.
The kids meals were $7.99 each and had breakfast items, crepes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and chicken strips.
Oscar’s Cafe is also located on the main road in Springdale. When we arrived, there was a short wait of 20 minutes.
My husband and I split it and it was more than enough and was delicious. We also ordered Chips & Salsa and of course, the guacamole!
If I make it back to Oscar’s Cafe again, I definitely want to try one of their burritos.
Bryce Canyon National Park near Zion
If you are visiting Zion with kids, and have some extra time, I definitely recommend taking a trip over to Bryce Canyon National Park for a few hours.
Coming from Zion, Bryce Canyon National Park is 72 miles to the East and will take just under and hour and a half to drive there.
Bryce Canyon is great for kids because there are a lot of amazing things to see in a relatively small area.
My kids loved having a break from hiking and having the ability to drive up to landmarks, get out and view them, and move on to the next.
Drive to Bryce Canyon National Park
If you drive to Bryce Canyon from Zion, you will get to drive through some amazing landscapes, and even a couple of arches.
If you have time, make sure to stop and see Thunder Mountain. This area is the inspiration for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rides at Disneyland and Disney World!
Natural Bridge is a must see if you visit Bryce Canyon with kids. It is one of several arches located in the park.
These arches are formed by rock erosion from streams or rivers. It is amazing to see the stark contrast of the red rocks and the green forests.
Agua Canyon was another fun little stop on our trip through Bryce Canyon. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the two large towers.
The taller tower is know as “The Hunter” and the shorter is known as either “The Rabbit” or “The Backpacker”.
When you visit Bryce, make sure to stop at Rainbow Point. This area will give you an overview of the entire park and is absolutely breathtaking.
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