What to Wear to Zion National Park

Photo by Jamie Hagan

Zion is a wonderland of canyons and trails. Whether you’re taking on the infamous Narrows hike through a river canyon, climbing high above the basin on Angel’s Flight, or simply taking a nature walk to the Emerald Pools, I’ve listed some great hiking clothing and gear that will make your hiking experience better prepared and more enjoyable.

Hiking the Narrows? Here’s what you’ll need.

The Narrows is a hike through a slot canyon, where you wade through the canyon water up to 10 miles out and back. Check with the rangers to make sure it’s safe to go (flash floods, hello!). Also make sure you’re well prepped with the things you’ll need to conquer this hike. I’ll list the things to consider wearing and bringing below.

Tip: If you don’t want to purchase water shoes and a trekking pole you can rent them at the Zion Visitor Center.

Photo by Alex Azabache

Photo by Alex Azabache

Wear Sturdy Water shoes

If you wear regular tennis shoes or hiking boots they’ll get heavy and sopping wet, and your feet will get wrinkled, as well as: blisters. Water shoes with toe protection are a must when you’re wading through the rocky water. I particularly love Keen Water Shoes because they are sturdy, waterproof, and very comfortable. They aren’t stylish, but they are super functional and that’s what you need for this type of hike. Stay away from the floppy water socks, they don’t have enough support or traction and you could end up with a rolled ankle. Shop Keen Water Shoes on Amazon

Wear Quick Dry Clothing, & Layer Up!

Quick Dry Clothing like board shorts and a water tee is ideal so you don’t have water-logged clothing weighing you down while you hike. That can be very uncomfortable! My favorites are Vuori for quick dry and Athleta for water gear.


Bring a Waterproof Backpack or a Dry Bag

There are also Waterproof Backpacks out there like this Earth Pak if you feel like it’s something you might use again. This would be the easiest way to wade through the river without getting your things wet. A dry bag is an alternative. You’ll definitely want to have a dry bag with you if you are bringing any camera gear, but it’s also nice to stash dry clothes for after the hike. Since most dry bags aren’t comfortable for toting around, get one small enough to fit inside your day pack. A 10L pack should be enough space for an extra pair of clothes, first aid kit and phone for photos.


Bring Plenty of water

I'd recommend bringing a water bladder (hydration pack) that slips into a day pack (70 to 100 oz). Alternatively a small backpack like Camelbak works great too.


Bring Trekking Poles

A walking stick or trekking poles are a plus for balance. When you’re treading through water with a pack on, a loose or large rock can easily trip you up. These will help you stabilize. Once again, you can rent the water shoes and walking stick at the Zion Visitor Center if you don’t think this is something you would use again.


Capture the Memories

If you have a dry bag, you can bring a regular camera or iPhone and just make sure it’s well wrapped in the bag when you’re moving around so it doesn’t get wet. Alternatively if you don’t want to have to pull it in and out of your bag, bring a waterproof GoPro.


Bring a Change of Clothes

You’ll be damp or wet by the end of this hike and it might be later and colder, bring an extra pair of clothes so you can change and stay dry if you continue exploring the park. This is also when that dry bag comes in handy because you can stash the dry clothes inside it while you hike the narrows.

Tip: If you don’t want to purchase water shoes and a trekking pole you can rent them at the Zion Visitor Center.

Hiking Angels Landing? Here’s What you’ll need.

The last part of the hike at Angel’s Landing includes an optional treacherous portion of the hike where you are a thousand feet above the ground at certain points. There are chains linked together with steel posts to help you stabilize as you scramble up and down sandstone steps and boulders. This is not for anyone even remotely afraid of heights, so only attempt it if you’re the more adventurous type. I’ve listed some things below you should consider bringing on this hike.

Photo by Carl Nenzen

Photo by Carl Nenzen

Bring Gloves

Wear fingerless gloves to avoid burning your hands on the hot chains in times of heat, or even to keep them warm when it’s colder outside. These are also nice to improve your grip, but I’d choose fingerless so you can keep your dexterity.


Wear Sturdy Hiking Shoes

Wear hiking shoes/boots with good grip. Any hiking shoe that has vibram soles are great for hiking and traction. I love Danner boots for hiking because they’re cute and comfortable with good grip. Keen is another great brand for quality hiking boots (and water shoes).


Wear Quick Dry Clothing & Layers

Vuori makes the most comfortable hiking clothing. They’re quick dry and incredibly breathable so you won’t sweat through your attire. They’re pricey, but last a long time. I’ve now had the first pair of sweatpants that I got from Vuori for 4 years and they still look great!


Bring a Hydration pack or bladder

Bring plenty of water, I'd recommend a 3L Hydration Pack. Camelbak and Osprey make great ones. If you’re doing hikes longer than 5 miles get a minimum 3L (100 ounces) to stay well hydrated. We saw quite a few people on the trail with a 16oz bottle of water, and ended up giving some water to someone who was on the verge of dehydration. Don’t make this mistake!


Wear Polarized Sunglasses

Bring some polarized Sunski sunglasses. My current favorite are the rose-colored lenses that make any beautiful scene even more beautiful! They are also made of recycled materials and they give 1% of sales to environmental non-profits.


Just for fun Park Tees

These tees are unnecessary for hiking, but it’s always fun to get a tank or tee with the Park Name on it for photos. I found these Zion Tees on Etsy.


Neck Gaiters and Bandanas

These are just a fun pop of color, or to wipe the sweat from your brow. :)


Book Your Trip

These are some of my favorite sites for finding the best prices, places to stay, book tours, and more:

Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for the best hotel deals and easy change or cancellation

Find A Tour

Search Get Your Guide to book a variety of tours and activities

Book Your Flight

Browse Expedia for deals on flights, hotels, rental cars and more

Shop Comfortable Hiking & Athleisure

Shop Vuori for long-lasting comfortable hiking and workout apparel for men and women (my fave!)

Shop Travel Gear

Shop Herschel for nice luggage and other travel goods and accessories that are made to last

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