When looking for the best time to visit Zion National Park it is hard to beat the spring and fall months. April is especially a great time and one of our favorite months! It brings less rain than March and hasn’t gotten to the oven-like summer temperatures.
Zion Quick Facts for April
- Daytime temperatures in the mid 70°F (21°C) degrees are perfect for hiking.
- Green plants and tree leaves are starting to come back. A great contrast to the gorgeous rock formations in Zion.
- It’s a busy month in Zion due to Spring Break and April school holidays. Start early to avoid crowds.
- Stay in Springdale (booking.com) just outside the park gates and check hotel options early enough before it everything is sold out or too expensive.
For both the outdoor enthusiast and traveler looking to experience awe-inspiring locales, Zion National Park in April is a bucket list destination. Because the weather is beautiful and the vegetation has come to life you will be faced with more visitors than in the winter.
Weather in April
The weather in April in Zion National Park is pleasant, not being too cold or too hot. Typically it is warm and sunny with 6 days of rain on average and no more snow. The daily average high is 73°F degrees (23°C). The average overnight low is 43°F degrees (6°C).
Good to know: While rainfall is at its highest in March, flash floods are still a risk in April. Check the weather forecast at the Lodge as some canyons may be closed if there is a chance of rain.
Average high temperatures during April:
- Early April: 68°F
- Mid-April: 71°F
- Late April: 76°F
Typical temperature changes throughout the day (mid-April):
- 9 AM: 51°F
- 12 PM: 64°F
- 4:30 PM: 70°F
Visitor Report: We went during the 3rd week of April and encountered a variety of weather conditions, including warm, sunny days and cooler days with one night of rain
Temperature differences: The temperatures in the canyon’s bottom are significantly warmer than at the summit, which is roughly 1500 feet higher and more exposed. Please keep that in mind when starting early for hikes like Angel’s Landing. The Kolob Canyon trailhead should be up to 10 degrees colder.
The Best Zion Guide
This is by far the best Zion guidebook! It has everything:
- More tips on how to avoid the crowds
- Insights on history, geology, and wildlife
- Beautiful color photos
- Detailed maps in color!
How Crowded is Zion in April
Zion gets crowded in April, as it is one of the busiest months of the year. The weather is great and people are happy to get away from winter. While June and July have the highest traffic due to school being out, April still sees more than 430,000 visitors to the park.
Our recommendation is to beat the crowds by getting an early start to your day. The issue is often finding parking at the park entrance or in Springdale during busy times especially weekends and during school holidays. The shuttles start at 7 AM so if you get in early you are sure to find a parking spot and the rush of people who slept in.
Where to Stay and How Many Days
You should spend at least 2 full days (better 3 days) in Zion to do the most popular hikes (Angel’s Landing, The Narrows) and a scenic drive.
Tip: To avoid the crowds stay in Springdale (closest town – hotel deals via booking.com) and take the very first town shuttle in the morning to Zion NP. It stops at 9 locations in Springdale to pick you up.
What to Wear in April
During the day the temperatures are perfect for shorts and t-shirts but the mornings can be cool. A light jacket or sweater may be all you need for these times but treat it like any other outdoor outing and be prepared.
Clothing tips from someone who always visits Zion in April:
‘It will be cool in the mornings. Rain showers are possible in April. Pack with the concept of layering in mind. You can start in the morning in a long sleeve shirt or t-shirt under a sweatshirt or light-weight fleece and transition to a t-shirt later. Lightweight long pants or shorts, depending on your preference. You should also have a light rain jacket with a hood that you should carry in a day pack.’
Dress In Layers
Mornings start cool and will get warm in the afternoon so always dress in layers. If you are planning a hike like Angel’s Landing make sure you are wearing merino wool or synthetic clothing to wick away the sweat.
Make sure to protect yourself from the sun with wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The desert sun is deceptive as it doesn’t feel as hot due to the dry air but a severe sunburn will put a dent in your trip plans.
Formula for Comfort
- Protect yourself from the sun with wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and sunscreen.
- Start activities slightly cool so you don’t overheat and sweat once you start working
- Wear a wicking base layer against the skin
- Add insulation layers such as fleece or puffy mid-layers as needed for the temperature and activity level.
- Finish with an outer shell for wind and water protection.
- Add or remove layers as needed to stay comfortable and dry.
Wear supportive hiking shoes
While Zion National Park seems very accessible, it doesn’t take much of a trek from the trailheads to hit some pretty rugged terrain. Good hiking shoes or boots like those from Merrell or Salomon will give you the traction and foot support you need to conquer the trails in comfort and safety.
Things to Do in April
In April you are limited to getting around the main canyon in the park via the shuttle bus. It can be nice as you can stop and check things out at any of the stops.
You are still able to drive up to Kolob Canyon and Mt. Carmel with your personal vehicle but it isn’t quite the same as the drive up Zion Canyon.
The hiking in April is warm enough to be pleasant but not too hot. Popular hikes like Angel’s Landing will be busy on the weekends but the crowds will be smaller during the week.
April visitor Angel’s Landing hike report:
‘We headed out early in the morning to Angel’s Landing. Although we took the first shuttle to the trailhead, it was crowded at the top. We expected that in April. However, it was great meeting other people on the trail. It was one of the best hikes we ever did. As it was kind of strenuous for us, we rested at the lodge for the rest of the day.’
If you want to avoid the crowds you can either hike out of Kolob Canyon or just head further from the main canyon. The further you go the fewer people you will see.
Rock climbing in April is almost perfect with very little rain and nice temperatures. The dry desert air helps with grip and the crowds disappear once you hit the wall. The view of the shuttle buses snaking through the canyon is a site to see when you are 600 feet up.
As long as it is dry out you can climb in Zion but make sure you give it a couple of days to dry after a rainfall as the rain can weaken the sandstone.
If attempting longer routes like Moonlight Buttress, keep in mind the daylight hours. Start early and bring a headlamp for the hike off.
If you are into canyoneering you can indulge in april but you will really need to have your gear dialed in to deal with the cold water. Routes like the Subway require a dry suit to handle the cold water swims that are part of the trip.
Any time of year canyoneering in Zion requires a wilderness permit.
Enjoying a backcountry experience in Zion NP is a fun as the main canyon is coursing with tourists while you are enjoying the solitude of the highlands. The temperatures are warm enough during the day to enjoy the hike while the nights are cool enough for a good night sleep.
Overnight backpacking requires a wilderness permit. Since the traffic picks up in April try to book your permit ahead so you guarantee a spot.
Follow Leave No Trace when you are in the park, especially in the backcountry.
The Narrows in April
The Narrows is a famous trekking trail in the Virgin River Canyon at the canyon’s northern end. Since the canyon is so narrow at this point, you must walk in it.
The conditions in the Narrows in April of last year can be different the next year. Flow and water levels are affected by snowmelt: How much snowfall occurred in the months before, how much snow is upstream, and how quickly does the snowmelt.
Can you hike the Narrows in April?
The water is very cold but you can hike the Narrows in April. However, depending on the snowmelt, the park service closes access to the Narrows if the flow of the river is too high or there is a risk of flash floods.
Is it too cold in the Narrows in April?
The river is fed by meltwater from the mountains to the north and it is still too cold to hike the Narrows in April without adequate protection. You should wear a dry suit with river boots for traction. These can be rented from local outfitters.
Road Openings and Shuttle Services in April
The road system in the main canyon of Zion National Park is closed to private vehicles. You have to use the park’s shuttle bus service to get around the park.
The shuttles run from 7 am to sundown (the Springdale shuttle from 8 am). Make sure you are on the last shuttle bus as it is a long walk back to the front gate. Check the current details and schedule here: NPS Zion Shuttle Service
Is April Worth a Visit | Conclusion
Visiting Zion National Park is great any time of year but April offers great temperatures but increased crowd sizes. If you are an early riser you can beat the crowds and enjoy one of the most stunning places in the world.
In case you are considering another month for a Zion visit, our full guide about the best times to visit Zion National Park offers tips for every month.