It’s no secret that Zion is one of the most iconic—and popular—national parks in the country. And if you’re lucky enough to have visited in the past, you no doubt know why. The beautiful, sweeping canyon and towering peaks offer views the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Staying at a nearby Zion National Park lodging option is a great way to enjoy easy access to the park, and as a result, give yourself more time to explore.
You’ll no doubt want to hit a hiking trail or two during your visit. Whether you plan to take on Angels Landing or enjoy an easier, quieter trail like the Canyon Overlook Trail or the Pa’rus Trail, hiking is a great way to see Zion’s unique landscapes, plants, and animal life up close.
But if you find that you need a break from hiking or simply want to explore a different side of Zion during your stay, you’re in luck—there’s plenty more to see and do. Keep reading to learn 5 ways to experience Zion National Park that aren’t hiking.
1. Enjoy a Scenic Drive
Zion National Park covers more than 220 square miles. It would be impossible to cover it all on foot during your visit. A scenic drive is a great way to experience more of the park, as well as the surrounding areas.
For much of the year, when the Zion Canyon Shuttle System is in operation, you won’t be able to drive the Lower Canyon. But you can still drive through Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel into the Upper Canyon. Wind your way past Checkerboard Mesa, stop at an overlook or two to get some incredible pictures of the Lower Canyon far below, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. If you have a day to explore, you can even continue on to Bryce Canyon National Park.
2. Go Stargazing
In 2021, Zion National Park joined the rest of Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks and was named an International Dark Sky Park. This means that the park experiences little light pollution, which makes for incredible night skies. It also means that the park takes precautions to direct light from their facilities downward to reduce any unnecessary pollution. Head into the park in the evening or stay past dark to see for yourself.
When you stay at lodging near Zion National Park, you won’t need to worry about heading back into the park for incredible views of the night sky. At Flanigan’s Inn, you can relax on your private terrace or balcony, and enjoy an incredibly nightly display.
3. Take an Off-Road Tour
Technically you can’t enjoy this next activity in the park. But you can take an exciting, heart-pounding off-road ride nearby. Off-roading, in Jeeps, UTVs, or ATVs, is a fun way to see a different side of Southern Utah. There are plenty of places just a short drive away from your Zion National Park lodging where you can rent an off-road vehicle or sign up for a tour.
Nearby Sand Hollow State Park is one of the region’s most popular off-road destinations and offers more than 62,000 acres of technical trails and sand dunes for you to explore.
4. Rent an E-Bike
Looking for a unique, leisurely way to experience Zion? Why not take a cruise on an E-bike. Flanigan’s Inn is partnering with Zion Peddlers to give visitors the option to rent an E-bike during their stay. Use it to take a ride along the park’s roadways, or head to Pa’rus Trail for a relaxing ride.
5. Go Canyoneering
Canyoneering is a sport that combines hiking with rock climbing, rappelling, and scrambling as you travel from point A to point B in a narrow slot canyon. Southern Utah is home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of slot canyons. While you will need experience to attempt canyoneering on your own without experience, you can book an excursion with a tour company to give this exciting sport a try!
Booking Your Zion National Park Lodging
There’s something for everyone to enjoy in Zion National Park. Whether you’re eager to enjoy a rugged hike and an off-road adventure, or a leisurely bike ride through the park and an evening of stargazing, you can do it all at Zion.
The best way to enjoy all that the park has to offer is to stay close to the action. A nearby Zion National Park option like Flanigan’s Inn makes it easy to hop on the shuttle to the park each day to beat the crowds and avoid the hassle of finding daily parking spaces. You can head to the park early in the day for a hike, then head back to your hotel to grab your car for an afternoon scenic drive or a sunset off-road adventure.
Want to see for yourself what makes us the best lodging near Zion National Park? Book your next visit today!