Kids in Zion National Park

My daughter plays by the river along the Pa'rus Trail

Kid's in Zion - The Junior Ranger Explorer Program is for children ages 6 - 12 and runs from Memorial Day weekend through mid-August 2011. Activities related to Zion National Park and its unique environment. Rangers at the Zion Nature Center make learning geology, botany, and zoology fun while learning to respect and enjoy the beauty of nature. Bring water and have kids dress for outdoor activity since it is both an indoor and outdoor program. A parent or guardian must register children one half-hour before the beginning of the program. The Zion Nature Center is located at the entrance to the South Campground and is accessible without getting on the Zion Canyon Shuttle.

Teach Children to Respect Rock Art
Sacrifice Rock is the easiest rock art site to get to in Zion National Park. Look for a single; flat rock located about fifty-yards east of the parks south entrance. There is a small NPS sign by the petroglyph inscribed rock. Of most interest in this rock is that it is an ancient summer solstice marker. The date to watch is June 21st, when a rock from above will cast its shadow upon Sacrifice Rock. The shadow is said to resemble the "open jaw of a coyote."  There has been a great deal of damage done to this site, but the NPS has done its best to restore it to its original appearance.  

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Grand Canyon North Rim Map Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map While Kids are in the Jr. Ranger Program

Parents will not usually have time to ride the shuttle into Zion Canyon, hike and make it back on time to pick kids up, but the Pa'rus and Watchman Trails are close to the Nature Center. There is also time to enjoy the beautiful drive along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Zion Human History Museum are also nearby and offer ranger talks, a host of displays and a free and enjoyable twenty-minute film.

Families: Towering monoliths and Zion's sheer beauty are apt to capture kids attention once electronic distractions are put away. Nature fascinates kids when it is combined with a little education and a lot of fun. Be careful not to take children on hikes that are too demanding or dangerous for their age. Below is a list of kid-friendly trails that are not only easy, but are fun.                   

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. See restrictions for RV's.

Zion National Park Maps

Zion Backcountry Map - Trail Interactive Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Road Map Zion Shuttle - Tunnel Information
Kids in Zion: Father and son enjoy hiking in the Zion Narrows

Zion Photo: My son and his father hike the Zion Narrows together. The water needs to be quite low for young kids to go very far.


Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.

Best Family Hikes

Weeping Rock - This is only a half-mile round-trip, but the trail is steep. The uphill hike is to a moist alcove overlooking many of Zion's most prominent landmarks.

Riverside Walk - 2-mile round-trip. Easy walk beside the Virgin River on a graded dirt walkway. Enjoy a casual stroll along the Virgin River on this 2-mile round-trip walkway.  Wheelchairs and strollers can be taken on this path.

Pa'rus Trail - An easy 3.5-mile, round-trip, paved path along the Virgin River for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs.

Canyon Overlook - Families will like this fun one-mile round-trip hike to an impressive view of Zion’s Switchbacks and lower Zion Canyon. The trailhead is at the east side of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.

Moderate Hikes for Kids and Families

Emerald Pools - Families will be thrilled with this wonderful trio of trails. A 2.4 mile path leads to some unique pools. Kids will enjoy the refreshing waterfall and emerald ponds. Take the Zion Canyon Shuttle to Zion Lodge, cross the road and you will find the trailhead for Emerald Pools.  For the most enjoyment begin your hike using the Lower Emerald Pool Trail and finish the hike using the Kayenta Trail.

Difficult Hikes for Kids, but Spectacular

East Rim - This is a 10 mile hike. The start of the trail is a hot climb so start early in the day. The end of the trail is a strenuous downhill hike. Use 2 vehicles or obtain commercial shuttle service. Older children who are experienced hikers will enjoy this hike.

Zion Narrows - This is for taller and older children only. The Zion Narrows involves hiking through the Virgin River.  Wear high quality rubber shoes and put all things in dry bags.  Check weather conditions before hiking any slot canyon.

Orderville Canyon Narrows - Hike up the Zion Narrows and detour through the first side canyon.  Explore up to the first waterfall.

Trails Not Recommended for Kids My son found a Canyon Tree Frog

Angels Landing - Dangerous cliffs.
Observation Point - Strenuous hike.
Hidden Canyon - Dangerous cliffs. Strenuous.

Animal Lovers - Best Friends Animal Society and Angel Canyon Tours. This is the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US, housing over 1800 abused and abandoned animals. The visitors center is open 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 5 pm. It is located 12 miles South of Mt. Carmel Jct. on Highway 89. 1-435-644-2001

Play in the Sand - The turn-off to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is located 3-miles from the junction of SR-9 and US-89 (Mt. Carmel Jct.). It's another 8-miles to the dunes entrance gate. The park has a great campground with showers and piles of sand in which to play.








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This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Mary Cisneros is, but I mean
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

Zion History
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