Guide to Driving From Zion to Bryce Canyon National Parks
If you’re looking for a fun road trip, these two Utah National Parks are a perfect fit for you. Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are in southern Utah. We love them for their spectacular views and great hiking opportunities.
Ready to channel those desert vibes, hike your butt off, and satisfy that adventurous soul of yours? Then keep reading because we’ve got all the info you need to make this road trip seriously epic!
Why Visit Zion National Park?
Zion is one of the most popular National Parks in the United States for a plethora of reasons. When you’re visiting Zion National Park, prepare for jaw dropping canyons, other-worldly hikes, and adventure opportunities you never even realized existed! (Rappelling into a remote canyon anyone??)
It’s home to one of the best canyon treks out there — the Zion Narrows. Trekking through the Narrows, you’ll wade through the Virgin River with 1,500′ of canyon wall on either side of you. You’ll also view some breathtaking wildlife like the adorable ringtail, mule deer, and if you’re lucky, maybe even the kangaroo rat (OK, partly just cool for the name, but we can pretend it’s a real kangaroo 😉).
There are numerous hiking trails from busy to remote to get those hiker gains, but if you want to hit the classics, these are the hikes you need to check out:
- Angels Landing Hike: If you want a serious challenge and adrenaline rush, you’ve got to hike Angels Landing. The Angels Landing hike is one of the most iconic, brutal hikes in the park, if not the country. It might only be 4.4 miles, but it’s got some serious elevation gain and crazy exposure. You can access this trail via the free Zion National Park shuttle service.
- The Narrows: As we mentioned, the Narrows are ICONIC and depending on which side you start, you can pretty much make it as long or as short as you want. From the Temple of Sinawava, you can take the paved, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk for a mile, or hop in the river and go further!
- Canyon Overlook Trail: The Canyon Overlook Trail is a nice and short hike just a mile long and it does exactly what the name suggests — gives you a fantastic overlook of Zion Canyon. There’s a parking area on the south side of the road. Since the trail is right before the tunnel, driving through Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel is a great next stop.
Why Visit Bryce Canyon National Park?
If Zion National Park hasn’t already completely blown your mind at this point, Bryce Canyon will take care of that real quick. From viewing the biggest collection of hoodoos to grabbing a blanket and telescope to stargaze under one of the darkest skies in the country, Bryce Canyon National Park will leave you with the best memories.
If you live in a buzzing city filled with skyscrapers this park will give you the best breath of fresh air and scenery worth exploring for days. If you’re visiting during the winter you’ll get to experience the white snow fall that blankets the colorful stone. It’s a sight you don’t want to miss!
How Far Is Bryce Canyon From Zion?
Zion and Bryce Canyon are around an hour and 30 min drive apart depending on traffic. On the road, that’s approximately 72 miles.
Can You Do Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks In One Day?
Since the two parks are only an hour and a half apart from one another it’s completely possible to explore both parks in one day. You can become a driving warrior, hit lots of high spot lookouts and drive the scenic Zion Canyon Road.
However, if you’ve made the journey out to these two national parks, we recommend taking your time with at least a full long weekend to get the complete experience.
The Best Way To Get from Zion to Bryce Canyon
The best way to get to Bryce Canyon from Zion is by taking Route 9 out of Zion to Route 89 north to Route 12 into Bryce Canyon. This entire route is a destination on its own, but you’ll get special treats at each end of this route with the Zion canyon scenic drive and driving along Route 12 and Route 63 through Bryce Canyon.
Worthwhile Stops Between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park
If you aren’t in a rush, there are a host of worthwhile stops between these two national parks that we definitely recommend checking out.
1. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
This state park isn’t technically en route to Bryce Canyon — it’s about 25 minutes off course south of Mt. Carmel Junction. BUT if you’re interested in checking out a slightly different landscape and feeling like you’re in a Star Wars film, it’s well worth the extra stop. Explore these pink sand dunes and canyons by foot or by ATV buggy to get real wild.
2. Red Hollow Canyon
Just off Route 89, this little trail is great for some extra epic canyon shots (if you haven’t gotten enough from Zion!). You can do the full almost 2-mile out-and-back trail fairly easily and explore this red slot canyon without the heavy crowds of Zion.
3. Mammoth Ridge and Cave
Take that sense of adventure and exploration on this slight detour to venture into the depths of Mammoth Cave. The cave systems here are well worth a look, but be sure they’re open as they gate off the caves for bat and safety at certain times of the year.
Visiting During Covid-19
There are a few things to keep in mind while visiting these national parks during Covid-19.
- Masks are required for everyone in all buildings, crowded outdoor spaces, and all forms of enclosed public transportation. This is required no matter your vaccination status.
As with everything to do with the pandemic, requirements and restrictions are continually changing based on state and national Covid-19 rates, so we recommend checking the NPS site pages for both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park before your visit.
Discover Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park with Explorer Chick!
Ready to get your heinie on the trails in Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon but worried about doing it on your own? Join Explorer Chick on one of our 4-day hiking and glamping trips to Zion and Bryce Canyon!
Meet the Writer
Yama is a copywriter living in New York City. She loves to travel and explore new areas. When she’s not trying out new restaurants or checking out a new museum exhibit, she’s usually at home diving into a new podcast.
Favorite Outdoor Adventure: Biking
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