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The Best Zion Packing List

The Best Zion Packing List

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Zion National Park in Utah is a popular National Park that’s absolutely stunning. You’ll travel along the canyon floor and hike up to enjoy the views or paddle in the rivers at the bottom of the canyon. Knowing what to add to your Zion packing list can be tricky and packing wrong can break your trip.

If you’re questionning what to pack for Zion National Park, you’re in the right place!

About Zion National Park

hiking angels landing zion national park

“Zion” means a place of peace and refuge and this National Park is a sanctuary with over 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, diverse plant and animal life, and uninterrupted beauty.

Zion National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States and was the first National Park in Utah. For this reason, you can only access the park by shuttle bus and you can’t expect to have places to yourself. Having said that, things do tend to get quieter when you embark on one of the hikes in Zion.

Planning a trip to Zion? Check out my Zion National Park guide!

Entrance fees to Zion National Park

The Zion National Park entrance fees cost $35 per car, this lasts for 7 consecutive days.

If you’re entering by foot, bike, or by taking the Zion National Park shuttle bus then the entrance fee is $20 per person and under 15s are free.

If you’re visiting a few US National Parks over the course of a year then you’ll be better off buying the “America is Beautiful National Parks Pass” from REI for $80.

Zion Packing List

zion narrows hike
Credit: bucketsforyou.files.wordpress.com

Knowing what to pack for Zion National Park really depends on what you want to do and when you’re visiting. This Zion packing list is perfect for someone who wants to explore the park on foot and do some hikes some as the Angel’s Landing hike or these Zion hikes but not The Narrows (The Narrows will require some more specific packing!).

Weather at Zion

The weather in Zion varies and the canyon is at risk of flash flooding. Always obey warning signs when it comes to flash flooding in Zion National Park as you most definitely don’t want to get caught out by this. Check these Zion weather guides to discover the best time to visit Zion National Park and decide what to pack for Zion National Park.

  • In the spring: Zion is typically warm and sunny but it can very quickly change and become wet. It’s usually wettest in March when the snow starts to melt and the high water levels created by this can last until May. If you’re visiting Zion in spring be sure to pack lots of layers.
  • In summer: Summer in Zion is usually very hot with temperatures often in the high 30s°C (100 Fahrenheit). But don’t expect it to always be dry and hot, July to September is also monsoon season with thunderstorms, lightning and lots of rain. You’ll still need to pack for every occasion and never go out hiking without checking the weather reports due to the risk of flash floods.
  • Autumn in Zion National Park: The autumn months see Zion’s trees turn gold, the temperatures cool and the rain slows down a little. Flash floods are still a risk and you’ll still want to pack layers but it’s a pretty good time to visit Zion.
  • Zion in winter: Winter in Zion is cold and wet. It rains often and you’ll see snow at higher elevations. Some Zion trails are closed, mostly those that climb up the canyon walls. It’s still a magical place but not the most comfortable of times to visit.

Clothes for your Zion National Park Packing List

Underwear

You could just pack your standard underwear, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re planning an active trip to Zion then packing sweat-wicking underwear and sports bras is a great idea.

Any underwear will do, I’m a recent convert to Lululemon’s active underwear.

I’ll typically take 1-2 sports bras and wear the same ones I’d use running: this one.

Socks

You’re going to need some socks but the type you need depends on what you plan on doing. I’d suggest some casual socks that you’d wear everyday for when you’re chilling out, or days you’re mostly wandering around the valley floor and then some hiking socks such as Darn Tough or Smartwool to help prevent blisters while you hike.

T shirts (long & short sleeved)

You’ll want a combination of t-shirts and the amount depends on how long your trip to Zion is. I personally prefer long sleeved t-shirts over short sleeved ones.

However, if you’re visiting Zion in the summer make sure you pack some short sleeves or tank tops since it gets hot in the afternoon.

Try to avoid cotton and opt for quick drying tees. The ones I wear are mostly from Old Navy.

Leggings & shorts

You’re going to need something to wear on your bottom half too!

In spring and fall (& even summer), temperatures can be chilly in morning and evenings while the sun isn’t directly above. However, things warm up quickly during the day.

Wear what you’d usually wear when hiking as that’s what you’re used to and are most comfortable in. Shorts are a good idea if you’re hiking in July or August as temperatures are typically a bit warmer.

I have a pair of Fjallraven pants and would pack these along with some leggings or a pair of biker shorts.

Insulated hooded jacket or fleece

It doesn’t have to be hooded but you’ll want to make sure you pack an insulated jacket for your Zion trip.

Since the mornings and evenings may be quite cold and so you’ll want a puffy jacket to go under your rain jacket. I use a Patagonia puffy and combine it with my R1 insulated top.

You may only need the puffy if the temps don’t look like they’re going too low but make sure you have at least one option!

Waterproofs

You might think it sounds stupid to pack a waterproof for Utah, but it’d be silly not to! It still rains in Zion, especially from July to September when it’s monsoon season.

Some key things to look for in a waterproof jacket are that it’s Gore-tex and has zippers by your pits to allow form breathability and cool you down while staying dry. My Arc’teryx jacket was pricey but worth it!

If it’s warm and rain I recommend just wearing shorts and having some dry clothes back at the car. However, if it’s cold and rainy, some waterproof pants are a good shout. Look for zome with zips at the ankles so you can put them on and off over your hiking shoes.

A hat

Depending on the season you’re going to want a baseball or trucker cap and a winter hat or even both if you’re visiting Zion in early Spring or late autumn.

Gloves or mittens

Add some gloves or mittens to your packing list for Zion National Park if you’re there in the colder months. I prefer mittens as I swear they keep my hands warmer!

These Smartwool ones are so cosy & warm!

A buff

Buffs are incredibly versatile. They’re good for staying both warm and cool as well as protecting yourself from the sun and the sand or dust.

Shoes

When it comes to packing for Zion you’re most likely going to want to pack both hiking shoes with a sturdy and thick sole as well as something more casual.

What you take in terms of casual shoes is completely down to preference. I like my Addidas Stan Smiths but you could take some hiking sandals or sneakers you typically exercise in.

With regards to hiking shoes, I love my Keen Pyrenees for winter or muddy/wet hikes and my Saucony trail runners for summer hikes where I’m not carrying a big pack.

Personal items to pack for Zion National Park

Besides clothes, you’ll also have to pack some other things to make sure you’re prepared for your trip to Zion National Park.

Some of these you’ll have already thought of, but others are fun things to pack that’ll just make your trip even more fun!

Daypack

Even on the shortest hikes having a day pack is a good idea. It’s somewhere to store your water and snacks as well as your 10 essentials.

Something around 16-25L should suit your needs for day hiking in Zion. I like Osprey bags!

A Couple of Water Bottles or a Hydration System

This is down to preference but just make sure you have plenty of water. In the height of summer you’ll want around 1 gallon (4 litres) of water.

Desert air is so dry that your sweat quickly evaporates. Often, you won’t know you are sweating.

Hydration systems are useful because you can drink without having to move anything from your bag. If you’re in the market for a hydration system, this one from Platypus is fantastic and I use it every day while dog walking.

I’ll also take a water bottles like this.

Snacks

Don’t forget snacks for your Zion hiking packing list. Here are some of my favourite hiking snacks.

  • Protein bars
  • Trail mix (with added M&Ms!)
  • Dried Mango
  • Chocolate
  • PB&J Sandwiches

Dry bags

Having some dry bags in your backpack while you’re out hiking in Zion National Park is a great idea. Despite being in the desert, you never know when it’s going to rain.

I’d recommend some varied sizes, one for your phone and your camera as well as separate, larger one for your clothing layers.

A headlamp

Even if you don’t plan on camping or staying in the park after dark it’s important to always have a head lamp with you. You might get distracted watching the sunset and have to hike back to your car and a headlamp is super useful for that! Or, if you’re heading to a ranger talk this will help you get to and from them safely.

I use a Biotlite headlamp and find it great!

Quick-drying towel

If you’re staying in a hotel you may not need to pack a towel but it’s a good idea to have one just in case your motel or hotel near Zion doesn’t provide them.

These ones are very light, pack up small and dry quick!

Toiletries

You’ll want these items whether you’re back country camping in Zion or not.

If you are camping then be sure to check out my post on how to stay feeling clean without a shower. It’ll come in handy!

  • Toothbrush and biodegradable toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Women’s hygiene items – I swear by Diva cups and yes you can totally use them while hiking and camping, they only need wiping and rinsing. Waaay better for the environment too.
  • Personal wipes
  • Any medications you’re on

Sun protection

I’m fair-skinned so sun protection is something I’m used to thinking about. When you go to Zion you’ll need to think about it whether you usually do or not.

You’re in the desert, it’s going to be hot during the day time (unless it’s winter) and there’s often little shade.

Sun protection isn’t just sun cream. You’ll also need your hat form above, sunglasses and, ideally, some SPF rated lip balm.

  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Suncream: is it weird to have favourite sun cream because I totally do. I started wearing Sun Bum this past summer while out dog walking all day and I love the smell and how it feels. It makes me actually want to wear suncream rather than do it out of a need.

First-aid kit & your 10 essentials

This is one of your 10 essentials and you should always have a first aid kit when you hike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re overnighting or not.

These first aid kits are super lightweight and have most of what you’ll need in them. I’ll usually just add soem extra band aids or blister packs.

Bug spray

I get eaten alive by mosquitoes and there’s nothing worse than having to constantly swot flies from your face or body.

Add bug spray to your Zion packing list. If you don’t want to use a bug spray that’s too chemically then you can get some great natural bug sprays such as these.

Camera

Trust me, you’re going to want to take photos!

Money

You’ll need it at some point!

National Parks pass

You can buy a yearly pass at REI.com which I think it’s by far the best value if you plan on visiting a few, or the same National Park more than 3 times in one year.

You can also buy a pass at the park gate but that’s $30 whereas this year pass is $80!