While you can spend a lifetime exploring the backcountry of Zion and still not see everything the Park has to offer, the views that are more easily accessible are often just as spectacular. Starting with the essentials needed for the Park’s popular and accessible hikes, below is a packing guide as you look for various things to do in Zion that can be accomplished in a day or less.
The Hiking Essentials
Before providing the packing list, there are a few things to consider. First, remember you will be hiking in the desert. Depending on the time of the year, it might be very hot and dry during the day and cold during the night. You should probably bring clothes that are light and breathable for the day but don’t forget to also bring an extra layer you can easily remove and put on again as the temperatures vary throughout the day.
Second, while there are a number of places within the Park with water bottle refill stations (such as the Zion Lodge and the Visitor Center), the daytime heat will probably be intense enough that you will want to take extra water with you on the trail. At the same time, strategically planning what part of the day you start each hike will significantly decrease the probability that you will end up feeling dehydrated. But enough said. Take a look at the following packing list and feel free to add anything else to it you will need.
● Closed-toed hiking shoes (preferably with ankle protection)
● Breathable socks
● Hiking shorts or pants
● Light Jacket
● Breathable shirt (preferably not dark colored)
● Water (and extra water)
● Snacks (granola bars, trail mix, etc.)
● First Aid Kit
● Day pack
● Walking stick
● Wallet with Cash/Credit Card and ID (there is a fee to enter the Park and additional fees to enter certain other areas within the Park)
● Water shoes and neoprene booties (especially for hiking through the Narrows)
If you travel with kids:
● Kid carrier (strollers will work on very few trails, find the right sit and stand stroller)
Packing For Other Activities
Besides hiking, popular one-day activities at Zion include canyoneering, horseback riding, and going on jeep tours. Each of these activities have specific packing lists, and it is important to check with your guide service to see what gear they will provide for you and what you will need to bring.
While you will probably want to bring all or most of the items in the list above, there are other items that, depending on your specific activity, you will not want to forget. For example, for horseback riding, you may want to bring gloves and a thick pair of long pants such as jeans. This will help keep you from getting cut against branches that your horse will unpityingly take you through. For canyoneering, apart from the more technical gear, you will want to bring gloves, and depending on whether you will be descending a wet or dry canyon, a wetsuit.
While there are important things you should remember when packing for your Zion trip, doing so should not be an intimidating process. There are plenty of resources for first time visitors in and around the Park, such as the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. And even if all you do is go on some of the more popular day hikes, you will witness some of the most fantastic views and scenery the world has to offer.
Writer: Justin Jersey