3 Zion National Park Activities in November

If you’re planning a trip to Zion National Park in November, you’re in for a seasonal treat. Summertime crowds are long gone, and the park’s mild autumn days and clear, starry nights make it easy and fun to explore its towering red rock cliffs, hidden river valleys and narrow canyons.

Check out these three must-do Zion National Park activities for your fall vacation.

Getting to Zion National Park

When planning your trip to Zion in November, keep in mind that parking inside the park is limited. If all spaces are filled, simply backtrack to the town of Springdale, park your rental car and board the free Springdale Shuttle at one of its nine stops. Once at the pedestrian entrance at the park’s Visitor Center, hop on the free Zion Canyon Shuttle, which runs about every 10 minutes into late November. Rental cars and other private vehicles are not allowed on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive when the shuttle is running. But with all the views to take in, you’ll be glad someone else is doing the driving.

Running from March through November, the Zion Canyon Shuttle decreases traffic and picks up more than 6 million riders annually in the park.

 

Experience Art in the Park at Zion

Once you’ve experienced the spectacular colors of Zion National Park in the quiet of fall, it likely will come as no surprise that artists in all mediums are inspired just the same by the park’s vast beauty. In early November, the park plays the role of muse for 24 landscape artists during the annual Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational. Events include in-park demonstrations, instructive evening lectures and interactive wet-paint exhibits. Plein air artists then sell the hundreds of pieces they created during the week at the Zion Human History Museum, and the event closes with an “Art-In-The-Park” Paint Out celebration on the great lawn in front of Zion Lodge

Getting to the Zion Human History Museum and Zion Lodge: Drive ½ mile north from the park’s south entrance to reach the museum, which is also a regular stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle. Follow Zion Canyon Scenic Drive for about 4 miles from the entrance to arrive at Zion Lodge.

Pedal Through the Beauty of Zion

Cooler weather and less-trafficked roadways make November a terrific time to explore Zion on two wheels, so consider renting a bike during your visit. A favorite route for families is the 1.75-mile Pa’rus Trail, which is shared with pedestrians and follows the Virgin River. Along the way, you’ll wind through turns, ride across bridges and perhaps even encounter some wildlife.

For a longer ride, follow the Pa’rus Trail from the park’s south entrance to Canyon Junction and meet up with Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. You can also put your bike on the shuttle bike rack and ride to the Temple of Sinawava toward the end of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive; the ride back into the canyon is mostly downhill.

Getting to the Pa’rus Trail: The Pa’rus Trail begins at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at the park’s south entrance.

Named for the Paiute word Pa’rus, which means bubbling or tumbling water, the Pa’rus Trail follows the Virgin River and is also open to cyclists and park visitors’ pets.

 

Get Starstruck by Zion’s Night Sky

Nightfall isn’t a signal for visitors to leave Zion. Instead, stick around for the sunset and stargazing. Though you won’t see the sun actually set from within the canyon, the warm pinks, oranges and purples that dance across Zion’s cliffs and peaks are mesmerizing. Head to the patio at the Zion Human History Museum or along the Pa’rus Trail for terrific sunset views. (Be sure to check the weather and bring a sweatshirt or coat — November evenings are usually still above freezing, with an average low of 37 degrees overnight.)

Afterward, peer up at the Milky Way and other celestial favorites against Zion’s dark skies — no telescope required. Two spots to consider for stargazing, especially if you want to camp within the park, are the Watchman and South campgrounds. The sun sets earlier in the fall and the park is open 24/7, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the nightly show overhead.

Getting to the campgrounds: From Zion’s south entrance, drive a quarter-mile to the Watchman Campground, or continue up the road another quarter-mile to the South Campground.

Look for the Milky Way — also known as the center of our galaxy — above the red canyons and sandstone cliffs at Zion National Park.

Vacation Stories

More Destination Guides

 

5 Beautiful National Parks in Utah & Arizona

5 Beautiful National Parks in Utah & Arizona

Travel through 5 of the best national parks in Utah and Arizona and you will see the one-of-a-kind natural beauty of the Southwest. These 5 parks are just the beginning; the US has over 400 national parks to visit.

The Best National Parks to visit offseason

The Best National Parks to visit in the Off-Season

Visit a national park this winter and avoid traffic, crowds & peak prices! Check out our picks for the best national parks to visit in the off-season.

National Parks for History, Adventure, Stargazing and Wildlife Lovers

National Parks for History, Adventure, Stargazing and Wildlife Lovers

Learn about the best National Parks for wildlife, history, stargazing and adventures with this guide of National Parks for every kind of enthusiast.

About the Author

Susan B. Barnes, aka travlin’ girl, is a travel writer who enjoys exploring the world as much as her own Florida backyard and sharing discoveries with her readers. Follow her travels online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.