Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Zion National Park

Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


Zion is a spectacular park with excellent routes for a wide range of ability levels. It is most noted for its long wall routes on amazing sandstone. There are many good entry-level grade IV's and V's like Prodigal Sun, Touchstone Wall, and Moonlight Buttress. There are also many challenging lines that will test the seasoned wall rat. There are plenty of short, one or two pitch routes for those who don't want to venture too high off the deck.

As a National Park, Zion charges $25 for a seven-day pass or $80 for an annual pass (good at all National Parks and covers entry fees at most other federally-managed lands). A $15 fee is charged for a bivy permit for each wall you do. Overnight bivy permits are obtained from the rangers at the visitors center. Or you can book online using the Zion online permits. You still have to pick them up but at least it is booked.

Beginning sometime in March all cars have to be parked at the Visitors Center. Shuttle buses have to be ridden to access anything in the canyon during the high season. They are fairly efficient and operate from 5:45am until 11:00pm.

There is camping at the Watchman Campground inside the park, as well as lodging at the Zion Lodge (not for the standard, dirt-bag wall rat). Free camping is available in many areas just outside of the park in the Springdale and Rockville area. Some of these sites have been really trashed. Feel free to clean them up so that free camping continues.

Springdale is loaded with all of the necessary amenities for a long stay. There are restaurants, grocery stores, showers, hotels, bars, and even a gear shop.

The weather is stinking hot by May. There are sometimes nice cool spells, but the most comfortable weather usually occurs in the spring and fall. There is about a 3,000 to 4,000 foot vertical rise between valley floor and canyon rim. For this reason, weather can be different depending on your current elevation.

Getting There

Zion is located in the southwestern corner of Utah between St. George and Cedar City.

Zion has 4 access points for climbing, Kolob Canyons, Kolob Terrace, a south entrance and an east entrance.

Coming from the North, take exit 27 off of Interstate 15 going to Toquerville on Highway 17. 17 joins Highway 9.
Continue West on Highway 9 following the obvious Zion National Park signs to Springdale and the main park entrance.

Coming from the south, take exit 16 off of Interstate 15 onto Highway 9 headed towards Hurricane. Continue west on Highway 9 to the park entrance.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Even when soloing at Zion you can sometimes have company!
[Hide Photo] Even when soloing at Zion you can sometimes have company!
Zion, winter '05.
[Hide Photo] Zion, winter '05.
Zion Canyon
[Hide Photo] Zion Canyon
In the Narrows.  One of the coolest "rest day" activites ever!
[Hide Photo] In the Narrows. One of the coolest "rest day" activites ever!
Zion Skyline from Virgin, UT
[Hide Photo] Zion Skyline from Virgin, UT
Angel's Landing.
[Hide Photo] Angel's Landing.
A hard body, stern visage, and commando style are keys to success on Zion's lesser-known backcountry walls.
[Hide Photo] A hard body, stern visage, and commando style are keys to success on Zion's lesser-known backcountry walls.
Another one of the narrows, September 2004.
[Hide Photo] Another one of the narrows, September 2004.
Looking down from the top of Angel's Landing<br>
Read more -
[Hide Photo] Looking down from the top of Angel's Landing Read more -
Autumn in Zion.
[Hide Photo] Autumn in Zion.
Zion sunrise november 2006
[Hide Photo] Zion sunrise november 2006

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

George Bell
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Bus hours very with the season, in April as I recall the first bus was 7 AM. Jun 4, 2002
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
[Hide Comment] on 5/25 the first bus was at 5:45 - Casey Bernal Jun 5, 2002
[Hide Comment] I was there in mid-May as well, and I believe we left at 5:45 am on the express bus taking hikers or climbers directly to their location, without making all the standard stops. I also remember the last bus leaving the Big Bend parking lot about 11:15 PM. These times were changed to accomodate climbers so they wouldn't have to give special use permits for parking for long day climbs (Moonlight, Prodical, Touchstone, etc.) However, you are allowed to park in any lot and overnight (with the $5 bivy permit) until Easter Sunday (~March 30th). Jun 28, 2002
Craig Quincy
Louisville, CO
[Hide Comment] Here's a few of the NPS regulations that are worth noting as of 2002. Most of the rangers that I've met there are friendly towards climbers (unlike Yosemite). So, let's do our part and keep it that way by following the regs and cleaning up after ourselves.

Permits are NOT required for day climbs.Permits ARE required for overnight climbs.Power drills are illegal.It's illegal to camp at the base of a climb or in a vehicle.Gardening of plants from cracks is not permitted.All human feces must be packed out. (A PVC tube or river bag with some kitty litter and some paper or plastic bags work nicely.)No tossing of human waste off the walls.Remove old slings, ropes and equipment.Do not climb above trails where dislodged rocks can hit hikers.White chalk is frowned upon, use the colored stuff if any.

Closures for Peregrine Falcons (February - Late August) usually affect the formations listed below, but it can change each year. The closures end when the young have fledged. Check at the Vistor's Center for the latest information.The Great White ThroneCourt of the PatriarchsCable MountainAngel's LandingTunnel West

Climbing and rappelling is not allowed above Middle and Lower Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock.

One note on climbing after it rains, it takes a *couple* of days for the sandstone to dry out after a good storm. Sandstone is weak to begin with and very weak when it's wet!

Sep 27, 2002
[Hide Comment] The shuttle buses stopped running as of 10/28, the day after the end of daylight savings time. You can now drive in the canyon. I assume the shuttles will start back up by easter weekend. Nov 4, 2002
[Hide Comment] If the published guidebooks contain insufficient beta for your tastes, the back country desk at the visitors' center has several rock climbing beta books which contain the most comprehensive and detailed Zion route descriptions. Nov 5, 2002
[Hide Comment] I'm a climber looking to hit my first C3 Zion wall. How would the site users here compare Desert Shield to Lunar Ecstacy in regards to difficulty, asthetics, and just pure enjoyment. I know that Lunar X has a slightly lower rating than Desert Shield, but I've been sandbagged in the desert enough times to know better. ;) The lines seem pretty comparable in length and gear list, though the Shield seems to have more free climbing.


Will Jun 4, 2003
Craig Quincy
Louisville, CO
[Hide Comment] Will-This time of year the staying out of the sun is probably a more important factor. Given that, I'd say do Dessert Sheild since it's in the shade most of the day. Lunar Ecstacy, on the other hand, gets full sun. I believe the two are similar in difficulty, both are classics and you pretty much nailed the pros and cons. Jun 17, 2003
[Hide Comment] Anyone have any beta for Radiator? Approach/Decent?

Cheers,Brent Nov 26, 2003
[Hide Comment] Topo here... Nov 30, 2003
[Hide Comment] The following is copied from emails sent to me by Dave Jones, one of Zion's leading route developers.Dave scoffs at the notion that "there are only 10 good routes in Zion."

My personal top free or mostly free routes

Golden Years (Kolob)Shune'sLovelace (aka Fang Wall above Pine Creek)The VigilSilmaril (Watchman)Rites of Passage (Red Arch)Hello Mary Lou (Angelino Wall, S. face of Streaked Wall)Hue and Cry (Watchman)Bits and Pieces (Red Arch)

Shorter good routesDancing With Zully (W. Face Mt Spry)

you can't go wrong on any of these...

the new routes along the north wall of the Grotto (partial topo in the Visitor's Center) are all pretty outstanding; in particular, look for one starting with a very steep bolted face that leads to an overhanging crack -- the second pitch splitter crack on this is as good as anything anywhere. Pure fun. In same area, walk up Grotto drainage until reaching the cement water cistern, then up the open talus to the left to the base of a buttress, 'Second Sun buttress', with many cracks (we've climbed all of these); if you're at the right spot you will look up to see a right leaning flake leading into asplitter so beautiful you cannot conceive of it. The pitch goes at 5.11++ or 5.12a and is a FULL 50m of real climbing. It is called 'Second Sun crack'. Not in the guidebook. The bolted face climb I mentioned above is about 100 yards to the left of this, somewhere around Scotch on the Rocks and One For the Road, all excellent.

I should add that on 'Second Sun' crack I am going to add two bolts to keep the rope out of the lower right-leaning face crack and out on the face to the left. The reason simply being that it is nearly impossible to protect this first part, deal with the rope weight and drag, and then do the 11+/12- crux on trad RP pro, followed by the sustained climbing to the bolts. Two bolts out on the face to the left will solve this problem and make the pitch a pleasure instead of a hellish battle.

enjoyDave Jones Feb 27, 2004
[Hide Comment] When do the sunny walls become unclimbable due to sun exposure? Anyone know what CFS makes the river unmanageable (from looking at the gauges on I guess I am just wondering when the season ends for the summer. Little help here...C Apr 21, 2004
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] March - May and mid September - November are generally the best times of year. June is hot. July and August are damn hot. If you climb fast, don't mind climbing at night by headlamp, and look for a route in the shade, you can extend the season by a few weeks to months. Zion is one of those funny weather spots: I have been VERY cold on a route in May and been very warm during March. It just depends.

Whatever you do be safe and have fun.

WC Apr 30, 2004
[Hide Comment] Zion is a wonderful place to climb. But Don't be fooled By hip people in Springdale. My clinbing Partner and I were Celibrating yet Another great send @ the Springdale BLM Campsite, when out of the blue in the middle of the night in NOVEMBER BLM Ranger Dick Morman Rrevealed Himself. Ranger Dick was Spying on us for over 2 hours via night vision goggles. We thought it was a joke, being out in the middle of nowhere and all. but he then showed his ID Card and GUN. We were shocked to here he had Photos of us Smoking Marijuana. He then Showed me the shots on his State of the Art Digital Camera. I could not believe the U.S. Government Paid this guy To hide out in the woods Looking to bust people smoking pot. We now have to pay an $1,150.00 fine and Federal Probation wich involves taking drug tests 1 day a week for a year.So know that when your in Zion your being watched. Jan 14, 2005
[Hide Comment] Thanks for the list of recommended free routes. Anyone have any other reccomendations for long free / mostly free routes in the 5.10 / 5.11 range? Mar 9, 2005
[Hide Comment] Ya that is a pretty lame story, I just heard one very similar to it(involving night vision video, e tc..) Apparently BLM rangers are now targeting those smelly, dope-smokin, dirtbaggin climbers all around zion. Oh the joys of visiting a police state. May be the U.S. should 'liberate' Utah?FIGHT THE POWER!!!! Mar 22, 2005
[Hide Comment] Hi everyone-

We're planning a trip out to Zion for the 1st-2nd week of march, but are concerned about the peregrine closures. For instance, we were hoping to do something like "Tricks" on Isaac in a day: big, adventurous (non-trade route), but without too much aid. I guess Isaac is closed, as is the rest of the Court of the Patriarchs. Were also thinking of the Lowe Route on Angel's landing (closed also). Not so interested in the trade routes (Moonlight, Touchstone, etc.).

Does anyone have any other suggestions for routes like the above that will not be subject to the closures? How about "Gettin' Western" on the West Temple? Is it closed? Burly? Scary? Uhh, of course it is....

thanks in advance-

Chris T. Feb 25, 2006
[Hide Comment] Oh Chris, I forgot the best part: No falcon nesting closures on WIGS, the last I heard anyway...but maybe the NPS have decided to ploantsome up there...we never saw any! Mar 2, 2006
Ft. Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] You've got to be kidding - night vision to bust stoners?!!!! If true that is ridiculous.
I haven't been to Zion for too long. Any new action on the north face of Cable Mountain? That wall always looked so nice...... Jul 16, 2006
Jay 1975
[Hide Comment] i have the exact same story of a ranger in the mosquito cove camp area!
he also hid in the woods for a while and then gun drawn came out like we just killed someone .
fuck those assholes!!!!!!!!!!!
same fines and all that too...too bad all that sick climbing is in a mormon nazi state...they should chill out like the moab scene is! so smoke all hidden somewhere. Aug 9, 2006
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Beavs, you better get up there and do it to it, boy, before some other eager beaver beats you to the punch! Sep 10, 2006
[Hide Comment] it's all true. rangers with nothing better to do in the area; can't believe they get paid for that. is there nothing better do to with our money like bust killers or something? got busted in mosquito cove at night with a ranger using night-vision goggles -- ranger harris; what a dick. lies in court too. if giving me a ticket wasn't good enough. that's a cop for ya; the most worthless people of them all, cops. Jan 14, 2007
[Hide Comment] hey the same thing happened to me too. it's real. you're better off smoking in the the car driving. then at least you won't get a federal charge, just a state charge. ranger harris was his name, down in mosquito cove. night-vision goggles too. get a life; there are better people to bust, man. Jan 14, 2007
Laramie, WY
[Hide Comment] Hey I was wondering if anyone had any beta for lovlace. Hows the aid for one and also how is the free climbing, Is it good clean cracks ( From Vedauwoo but don't want to spend my vacation groveling) that are not all huge and gaping. Also is the free version pretty burly and sustained or can you get away with pulling most of it free and french freeing the few crux moves. Any info would be great as i will be down there next week and would like to knock this route off in a day.
Adam Mar 4, 2007
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
[Hide Comment] Adam,

I can't comment on the climbing, but a friend tried to do this route and was greatly surprised at the length of approach (I think 4 hours). They intended to fix and blast but I believe they couldn't fix more than the first pitch or two with two ropes due to the traversing nature of the first pitch. Other than that, word is it's a stellar route. Good luck, I'll be in Zion myself in a couple weeks. Mar 7, 2007
Ft. Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Well Nolteboy, maybe one of these days we'll just have to head over there and get er' done. Hope you like peckers.... Mar 8, 2007
[Hide Comment] FYI there is an approach pitch to Lovelace (Fang Wall) not mentioned on the topo. If you want to fix the aid pitch you'll need 3 ropes. The approach is a thrash; sand, rattlesnakes, bushwhack... I've only done the firs 2 pitches. Apr 23, 2007
[Hide Comment] Looking to climb "Tricks" in November. How is the weather there then, what should i be prepared for? Is it open? Just looking for general beta mostly on weather and conditions throughout the winter months there. Also on Santa Claus chimney and available placements after the belay stance on the sandy ledge, how others have done it. The first time i was there it fealt runout and scary. When done in a day did the second jug? Thanks for any info that can be given.

Owen Oct 20, 2007
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Here is a link to the Zion National Park route closures and other useful information.… Feb 7, 2008
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
[Hide Comment] It's weather dependent - I've had some great times in Zion in December. If it's sunny and warm it can be a great time to climb. Just check the weather forecast and pick an appropriate climb. Dec 17, 2008
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I pass through most years around Christmas- sometimes the 100' icecycles are forming on the giant walls, sometimes they are falling off.
I can't imagine doing anything beyond cragging there over the Xmas holiday. Dec 17, 2008
Marblemount, WA
[Hide Comment] For people visiting Zion and looking for some direction on where to start, I have a tick list/guide on my blog here

For beta on what sort of gear you may need click here

Check it out, and climb on! Feb 22, 2011
Marblemount, WA
[Hide Comment] Update for would be dirt bag climbing in Zion

The mosquito cove campground is closed because of the winter floods depositing a thick layer of soft sand that makes driving impossible.

Fear not, there are a few other places nearby to camp on the BLM land. Check out my blog for details on a few choice areas. here Mar 19, 2011
Brian Pappas
silverthorne CO
[Hide Comment] Heading out with the family in april.Does anyone know of some single pitch moderates out there that are not listed on mountain project Jan 29, 2012
justin watts
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] Climbed inner chi @ the kung fu area on 5/2/12. One of the anchor bolts is missing went to clip into it and it pulled. If you see this and know the local crew please let them know. Thanks May 5, 2012
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
[Hide Comment] Anyone have knowledge where to get a shower outside the park, besides a hotel or RV park? Surprised the park doesn't have restrooms with showers by now. Aug 12, 2013
Caleb Padgett
Rockville, utah
[Hide Comment] Zion Mountain School has 4 pay showers at their shop in Springdale. They are located at 868 Zion Park Blvd behind the Zion Pizza and Noodle restaurant. They are open from 8am-8pm daily. Aug 13, 2013
brad messinger
Wayne, Pa
[Hide Comment] Headed to zion next week. Can anyone give me beta for free climbing routes/areas that get sun? Looking at 5.9-5.11 range

Thanks! Dec 6, 2013
[Hide Comment] The popular free camping lower down along the Kolob Terrace road is going to at least partially disappear, maybe entirely. The camping is spread out over 54 acres of privately owned land and the owner is building a bookable venue, for weddings, etc, in hopes of making some money off of the land. Other parts of the land will be converted to RV sites. It isn't clear yet whether or not all of the sites will disappear. Construction is in its early stages (in late March 2016) and camping is currently still permitted, though as always donations are welcome at the donation box. Mar 28, 2016
[Hide Comment] I'm coming into Zion on the 27-30. Looking to sport climb the Namaste Wall and maybe anything else. I can lead 11d comfortably. Boulder v5/6. If anybody needs or wants to climb and can partner up, let me know. Until then, namaste Apr 25, 2016
[Hide Comment] I'm in Zion NP for the next couple of days and hoping to find a climbing partner. Let me know! I have a rope and sport rack. Looking to climb 5.6-59 sport or trad.
Chris Mar 24, 2017
Dave Alden
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] I've heard the same about Yosemite, unfortunately. Oct 17, 2017
Jon Melly
Washington, District of Columb
[Hide Comment] I left my la sportiva boots next to the big tree near the start of 5.7 sport pitch on touchstone. rapped right past them after going to the summit. if you climb it please bring them down i will reward you. Contact info. text me JP (571) 224-3101 i will be in zion until mid Feb and am also looking I left my la sportiva boots next to the big tree near the start of 5.7 sport pitch on touchstone. rapped right past them after going to the summit. if you climb it please bring them down i will reward you. Contact info. "JP" (571) 224-3101 i will be in zion until mid Feb and am also looking for partners. Jan 13, 2018
Nic Harnish
Durango, CO
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know if "Back Where It All Begins" has had a second ascent? Mar 4, 2018
[Hide Comment] Back where it all begins has seen a second, likely a third. Mar 23, 2018
[Hide Comment] I think Bryan Bird and Eric Draper did the 2nd ascent Mar 23, 2018
[Hide Comment] Am looking to do some multi-pitch climbing and need to hire a guide as I do not have a climbing partner. Any recommendations for an outfit? I have all my own gear. Nov 23, 2018
two chains
Fucken Zion
[Hide Comment] There's no guiding allowed in this park. Nov 26, 2018