Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

Are you traveling in 2021 or 2022? Just a reminder to check with each destination for its COVID-19 guidelines, as they continue to change, and the most current accurate information may not be reflected in this post about Zion National Park.

Traveling has always been my favorite thing to do whether we take a quick day trips or a week out of state. I’m guessing this stems from childhood drives from my Northern Indiana home to visit my beloved grandparents at their winter home in Florida. 

Anyway, seeing as many states as possible and making it to National Parks are some of my goals. There are things to consider when planning your next vacation. Of course, the price and also the type of experience you will get and the time of year you will travel. Earlier this year, we headed to the Southwest. We visited the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Page, Arizona and Zion National Park. I spent a lot of time researching online to help make sure we saw as much as we could. I also made sure we chose trails that worked for our kids, who were 4, 8 and 10 at the time.  

We made sure we had our hiking shoes, water shoes, neoprene socks, snacks and water bottles. One of the best tips for traveling with kids is to be prepared!

Temple of Sinawava

Zion National Park
Walking along the Virgin River to The Narrows in Zion National Park

We started our day by parking our car at the Visitor’s Center and boarded to shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava stop. You will get to take a ride through the park on the shuttle and enjoy the indescribable beauty of Zion! We saw a person rock climbing along the way which really put the size of the canyons into perspective! 

Restrooms and drinking fountains are available at the Temple of Sinawava stop. This is the stop where you exit to walk the Riverside Walk. The Riverside Walk is a one-mile paved trail that winds along the Virgin River. It’s very doable for children (and people who are slower moving or in a wheelchair). There was a ton to see along the walk so the mile goes by quickly! The trail dead ends at the entrance to The Narrows.

The Narrows

Slot canyons intrigue me and seeing pictures of The Narrows is what put Zion National Park at top of my must-see destinations! The Narrows is is considered one of the 10 best slot canyons in the American Southwest!

I anticipated we would be able to walk maybe 1/2 of a mile The Narrows and I was correct. It’s like walking on slippery bowling balls and the water was pretty cold (we were there in March)! A lot of people rent full body suits and walking sticks from Zion Outfitters, but we bought neoprene socks to keep our feet warm (but not dry). The kids LOVED playing in the water so we let them, and I was just mesmerized by the enormity of it all! 

The Narrows, Zion National Park
Hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park

The Zion Lodge

After we left The Narrows, we took the shuttle back to the Zion Lodge stop to eat some lunch. The line was a bit long, but considering the number of people there, moved quite quickly. We also thought the prices were reasonable. We ate our lunches in the green space – luckily it was a sunny 65-degree day – perfect for hiking.

Emerald Pools

Next, we decided to walk the Emerald Pools. We didn’t have to take a shuttle, as the entrance to the Emerald Pools is at the same stop as the Zion Lodge. There is a lower, middle and upper portion of the Emerald Pools. “Pools” refers to pools of water (note that you can’t swim in the pools). The waterfall starts at the Upper Emerald Pool as runoff from a towering cliff. The Emerald Pools are surrounded by vegetation and red rocks – so cool! 

The walk to the Lower Emerald Pool is a very steady incline, but it is a feasible walk for a family with younger children. If you want to continue to the Middle Pool, the walk is short but does require hikers to walk up several steps. The walk to the Upper Emerald pool is rocky and takes you to a pool carved from red rock by springtime cascades. My husband had to carry our four-year-old because the walk was very steep and a potentially dangerous which some sharp drops. But I will say, the steep walk was worth every step! The Upper Emerald Pools is remarkable, and the kids had a wonderful time climbing the gigantic boulders. 

Checking out The Lower Emerald Pools at Zion National Park
The kids checking out the beauty of The Lower Emerald Pools at Zion National Park

Thoughts on our day at Zion National Park

There were several other hikes we were interested in at Zion! We only had time for the Riverside Walk to The Narrows and the Emerald Pools. When we left Zion National Park, we headed to Page, Arizona for the next part of our Southwest adventure. If you’re considering taking a trip to visit, hike and explore Zion National Park with kids, GO FOR IT! It will be an unforgettable experience for everyone! We can’t wait to return!

Category: Travel

Tags: family travel