Wilderness Information and Permits

A hiker with backpack walking on a trail.

Backpacking

Start planning an overnight backpacking trip, discover which trails are best for your group, and reserve permits in advance.

A canyoneer rappelling down a vertical wall with ropes, harnesses, and other safety equipment.

Canyoneering

Technical canyoneering is an adventurous sport that requires ropes, harnesses, and other equipment and skills to safely descend slot canyons

A hiker walks along a trail at sunset.

Wilderness Day Hikes

Explore the many trails that access the Zion Wilderness.

A hiker walks through a creek in a slot canyon.

The Subway

The Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway) is a strenuous off-trail hike that requires permits to access a popular destination.

Two hikers walk through a raver between towering walls.

The Narrows

Plan your hike into the Virgin River Narrows. Hiking options include day hikes from the bottom-up and top-down, and overnight from top-down.

A climber scales a vertical wall high above the canyon floor.

Rock Climbing

Learn about climbing rules and regulations in Zion, and reserve a permit for overnight climbs.

Visitors float down a river between towering canyon walls in an inflatable kayak.

River Trips

Learn the rules and regulations for float trips down the Virgin River. Find out when the river is floatable.

Visitors on horseback take in the scenery.

Stock Use

Horses and other stock animals are allowed on select Wilderness trails. Learn the rules and regulations here.

 

"Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit."
- Edward Abbey

The Zion Wilderness is a spectacular network of colorful canyons, forested mesas, and striking deserts. In 2009, over 124,000 acres of Zion National Park was designated as wilderness. This designation will ensure that 84% of the park will continue to be a place where nature and its “community of life are untrammeled by man, a place where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

What is Wilderness?

Wilderness is a rare, wild place where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with nature, and find healing, meaning and significance. Knowledge, respect, and understanding for these wild and undeveloped places will ensure that they remain spectacular for years to come. Learn more about the establishment of wilderness in Zion, about NPS wilderness, or about wilderness in America at the interagency site: www.wilderness.net.

Wilderness Permits:

  • Wilderness Permits are required for: all overnight backpacking trips, overnight climbing bivouacs, all through-hikes of The Narrows and its tributaries, all canyons requiring the use of descending gear or ropes, all trips into Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway), and all watercraft river trips.
  • The purpose of the Wilderness Permit is to protect resources, manage visitor encounter rates and campsite use, and educate users on safety concerns and resource protection.
  • Wilderness Permits do not provide a safety net for park visitors. Visitors are responsible for their personal safety, making informed decisions and managing individual and group behavior in the Wilderness environment.
  • Learn more about the various way to get a Wilderness Permit.
 
 

Increasing Visitation and Permit Availability

As visitation to Zion has increased dramatically, so has interest in the wilderness, and demand for wilderness permits. More people are venturing into the wilderness on day hikes, and many more are attempting to obtain permits for backpacking and canyoneering. There are only so many backpacking sites, and limits are in place for the total number of people allowed per day in each canyon.

Visitors wanting to backpack or descend a canyon should be flexible in their planning--your first, and even second, choices may be unavailable. At busy times of year, all permits may be taken, leaving none for people who show up at the Wilderness Desk without a reservation.

Download the Zion Wilderness Guide from our park newspaper webpage.
Download the Zion Wilderness Map from our park map webpage.
Download Wilderness Desk Handouts

Guided Trips in the Wilderness

Structured and/or formally guided activities facilitated by educational, commercial, or like organizations are authorized to occur on frontcountry trails. Such activities are not authorized to take place in park wilderness/back-country areas (Primitive and Pristine Zones).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What does "Wilderness" mean? Watch this three-minute video on American Wilderness to find out.

Last updated: June 14, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767

Phone:

435-772-3256
Recorded park information available 24 hours a day. Phones are answered 9 am to 4 pm Mountain Daylight Time. You can also send your questions to us at zion_park_information@nps.gov.

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