7 best hikes in Zion National Park

Written by Editorial Director Jeremy Portlock, CNN Zion National Park remains a popular tourist destination, but it also contains a hidden gem — Lady Liberty’s Point — that requires special hiking permits. There are…

7 best hikes in Zion National Park

Written by Editorial Director Jeremy Portlock, CNN

Zion National Park remains a popular tourist destination, but it also contains a hidden gem — Lady Liberty’s Point — that requires special hiking permits.

There are only eight total fee-paying permits available for the hiking paths between the Great Sand Dunes and Zion’s Upper Prophet Hwy, all-inclusive experiences that exceed $185 each.

Beyond the fees, the hikes are difficult, featuring sandy, rocky trails; low visibility due to the presence of UFO-like formations in the air; and, as is the case at several park entrance gates, children must be accompanied by an adult.

Hikers should not venture to the places without permits, but there are other ways to get a behind-the-scenes look at Zion. If you’ve got wanderlust for a few hikes in Zion, here are seven that’ll add something new to your Zion library.

Lady Liberty’s Point

Courtesy Zion National Park

The path, which is designated as an archaeological trail, has a steep climb, with one of the most scenic spots being the “Lady Liberty Paddocks.” These are tiny rock formations with an elephant’s trunk-like head that overlook an area with abundant wildlife.

“There is extensive lava rock involved and the area has turned over over times with years of frequent lava flows,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon.com.

Chris Geiger

According to a press release, the views from Lady Liberty’s Point, located between Zion Canyon and Lower Devils Tower, are incredible. “You can almost get in a biplane at the top and see Apache Canyon or Zion Canyon as you look down at the valley,” the release read.

Lyman Flats and Flats Canyon

Courtesy Zion National Park

From the boundary between Monument Valley and Lava Point, the trail disappears behind a dome of volcanic rock and never reveals itself again.

The area is described as “both extremely rugged and incredibly beautiful,” and is regarded as a “secret find of the valley” by one user. It features some of the park’s best hiking spots, including Lyman Flats, which are “shovel worthy,” and Flats Canyon, where views of not only Lower Devils Tower but not only Zion Canyon but also several local landmarks can be enjoyed.

Rattlesnake Peak

Courtesy Zion National Park

Rattlesnake Peak has been featured in several films, most notably on the soundtrack of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

Many people regard it as the second most popular hike in Zion, with about 25,000 people hiking the trail between 1994 and 1998. A very rugged area, it’s ideal for off-trail climbers and hikers with rock climbing experience.

Particularly challenging for some, the hike is also extremely popular for others, as scores of people descend the rock face at the same time. One reviewer on Amazon.com noted that the trail is “not for the faint of heart” and recommended getting a permit.

Mighty Virgin

Courtesy Zion National Park

The hike above Angel Falls is a difficult one. End to end, it’s more than two miles long and features steep terrain with waterfalls that are always flowing.

It was mentioned in the 1990s as one of the greatest hikes in the park, and many still do, as comments posted to the Instagram account of “Mother Lion in Zion” attest.

However, the post’s caption indicated that “… it’s not for the lazy, the hardcore, the inexperienced, the weak knees or the weak hearts, nor for the claustrophobic! … There is absolutely no climbing and very little visibility.”

Pak and Vik Ropsdale

Courtesy Zion National Park

The hike has its drab spots, including a long section of semi-wooded trail that winds between Ropsdale cliffs near Zion Canyon. However, others described it as the best hike in the park.

Visitors can ascend and descend the road to small cabins called “chapels,” which are far more comfortable than most hike stops. One reviewer on Amazon.com commented that the “chapels are very comfortable and you feel like you’re staying at home.”

Descending in solitude

Ft. Hall Crater

Courtesy Zion National Park

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