Zion National Park is a very popular destination indeed, with the National Park Service ranking it as the third most visited in the nation. It doesn’t take much planning to enjoy your visit to the beautiful destination, but a little know-how will help you maximize your time.

1. Don’t skimp on destinations outside of the official park

Many people are drawn to the very popular destinations within the park limits. With good reason — they are gorgeous and a lot of fun.

The most popular destinations are Angel’s Landing, a 2.4-mile steep ascent with a finishing 1,500-foot view of the canyon below, and The Narrows, a long walk down the river between two canyon walls. The downside of these gorgeous locations is that they are often very crowded.

2. Make it more than a one day trip

There are so many places to check out in Zion National Park. There is no way it should be visited as a one day trip or shorter. Lots of visitors opt to stay one or more nights around the park.

One of the most popular options at Zion Ponderosa is to rent a vacation home. There are plenty of options in sizes and amenities from The Patriarch, the perfect for a reunion, business retreat, or even wedding!) to The Overlook, a cozy abode to relax after your adventurous visit to the park. You’ll love the amenities that will make your stay even more memorable and enjoyable.

3. Hit the more popular destinations in the early afternoon

Many people opt to get up early in the morning to hit the destinations before the sun is high and to beat the crowds. It’s a great option, but if you are not an early riser, it can also work to hit the popular destinations in the early afternoon after the hottest part of the day. You can still miss the crowds and the heat. Long days in the summer makes this extremely doable, but exercise caution as the days shorten. You obviously don’t want to try the hikes as it gets darker.

4. Bring appropriate gear

A good general tip for visiting Zion National Park is to bring along the appropriate gear. Sweat-wicking clothes, tons of water (preferably in reusable bottles or, optimally, in a CamelBak), sunscreen and hats, and the right footwear. Being properly geared up will make your visit much more pleasant. Trust us, it’s not fun to be near the summit of Angel’s Landing and find yourself out of water! You’re gonna need it.

5. Visit on a weekday or during our off-season

If possible, visit Zion National Park on a weekday, especially during the summer. There are less visitors on weekdays which means you will have more spectacular views, less waiting, better parking, and a better chance to get into the sites that run on a lottery system.

If a summer vacation isn’t in the cards for you, Zion National Park in the winter season is still stunning and packed with lots of activities and sights to see. The off-season is also a great time to experience the park without the crowds of summer. Zion Ponderosa is open during these months, and they have some great deals and accommodations to enhance your experience.

With these tips, you should be off to a great start for your visit. Enjoy!