Zion National Park in March

In Zion National Park, March marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The leaves and flowers are starting to come out. The days are getting longer and temperatures are getting warmer but other than some March break travelers, the big crowds haven’t flooded the park yet.

Zion Quick Facts for March

  • It is mild and often pleasant during the day. Nights are cold.
  • Warm clothing/layers are still necessary at higher elevations and in the morning.
  • There is still ice on higher elevation trails.
  • Crowds are low, especially from early to mid-March.

If you are looking for a good time to visit Zion National Park when it is not too hot or too cold then March is a great time to see the park come alive. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Read our complete March guide with the best tips from a Zion National Park expert:

Weather in March

The weather in March in Zion National Park starts to warm up compared to the winter. The average daily high starts the month at 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 Celcius) and rises to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celcius) by the end of March. The overnight lows will average just above the freezing point at 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celcius).

Average Daily High Temperature: 66°F (19 Celcius)
Average Daily Low Temperature: 38°F (3 Celcius)

It is still possible to get a cold snap in March with snow at higher elevations but will tend to melt off during the day. This is especially true at the bottom of the canyon where it is warmer than the higher elevations.

Good to know: Keep in mind that temperatures in the bottom of the canyon can be much warmer than the top which is about 1500 feet (Angels Landing) higher and exposed to more wind. If you plan to hike up to higher elevations you need to bring more layers and be prepared for possible icy trail conditions.

Rain: March is the wettest month of the year in Zion National Park with an average total of 2” (50mm). There are on average 8 days with precipitation which can be a mix of rain or snow. This amount of precipitation increases the risk of flash floods so always check the weather reports before heading into any canyons or narrows that could be the route of rainwater accumulation.

Trail Conditions in March

Me holding on for dear life Angels Landing Zion National Park Utah by amanderson2, CC (BY) No ice or snow here in early March.

Higher elevation trails and areas may still be inaccessible in March without winter gear, depending on the amount of snow Zion received in the winter. Otherwise expect wet, slushy, and muddy trail conditions.

Tip: Especially in March, always check in at the visitor center before heading out to receive updates about the current trail conditions. They provide you with details about icy trail parts and possible closed sections.

Trails without snow or ice in March in the main canyon:

  • The Narrows (dry suit needed)
  • Overlook
  • Emerald Pools
  • Riverside Walk

Looking for details or other trails without ice or snow? The official NPS website has all the detailed Zion Canyon Trail Descriptions.

Higher altitude trails like Angel’s Landing, West Rim Trail, or East Rim Trail can still get icy during March. Especially in the shaded sections of the trails until the middle of the month.

How Busy is Zion in March

Ryan the Adventurer by Matt Hoffman, CC (BY-ND): Zion in March

March is a great time to visit Zion NP as you are getting into warmer weather but it is still before the busy season kicks in. The number of visitors starts the month slow and builds as April approaches.

The first two weeks of the month have the least traffic. Around mid-March, you will notice an increase in visitors due to spring break. Even then many are coming on the weekends. However, keep in mind that sometimes parking can get more difficult after 10 AM.

For a quieter visit: Go during the week if your schedule allows it and try to arrive at 8 a.m. when the shuttle service starts.

What to Wear in March

Me and snowy River Kolob Canyon Zion National Park Utah by amanderson2, CC (BY) Layering is key. Shot in early March.
Dress In Layers

The weather in March can be more erratic than in the coming spring and summer months so it is important to have clothing that will cover everything from near freezing to summer-like temperatures.

Mornings generally start cool and can get warm in the afternoon so it is smart to dress in layers. As the temperature rises you can shed layers and still be comfortable.

If you are going to be doing anything active make sure you are wearing merino wool or synthetic clothing to wick away the sweat.

Since March is most likely to have rainstorms compared to any other month, make sure you bring a raincoat as the rain tends to come hard and heavy when it comes.

Tips, Clothing, and Gear for Comfort:
  • 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.
  • A t-shirt is suitable for hikes in the sun during the day at low elevations. But still, bring layers.
  • Bring a beanie hat and gloves to keep the extremities warm for high-altitude hikes.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, and sunscreen.
Wear Waterproof Hiking Boots

On average it will rain 8 days in March so it makes sense to protect your feet from the wet, especially as the rain tends to be heavy when it falls.

To manage the cooler temperatures and wetter conditions it is wise to wear waterproof hiking boots or shoes. Good traction combined with extra ankle support is nice on the rugged trails you find in Zion.

To further add to foot comfort make sure you are wearing merino wool hiking socks to protect your feet and wick sweat away from the skin.

Bring Microspikes

When hiking in Zion National Park in March, bring microspikes or traction devices to put on the bottom of your boots. These are small metal spikes that attach to the bottom of your shoes and provide traction on ice.

Many trails, especially higher elevations or in the shade, can get a build-up of ice. Hikes such as Angel’s Landing are known to get ice on certain sections so microspikes are very important if you want to do that hike safely.

What to Do in March in Zion

Me on nice cement path Angels Landing Zion National Park Utah by amanderson2, CC (BY) Thanks Amanda for the early March photos from your Zion trip.
Drive

Just driving through the Zion area is a sight to behold. The first two weeks of March give you the bonus of being able to drive into the park since the shuttle service only runs on the weekends until March 13.

Combine this with the drive up to Mount Carmel and you have a few hours of sightseeing, especially if you stop and look around at the many viewing spots.

Hike

The hiking in March is quite pleasant as the weather is still cooler and there are far fewer people on the trails. Dress in layers, bring extra warm clothing and carry micro-spikes in case you encounter ice on the hiking trails.

Check the notices at the Lodge before heading out for flash flood warnings as some of the hikes can be closed if there is rain.

Climb

Rock climbing in March is a good time as the temperatures are perfect. The one drawback is the risk of rain. As long as it is dry 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, the lengthening days are welcome but it is still smart to start early and bring a headlamp for the hike off.

Canyoneering

If you are into canyoneering you can indulge in March 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. Before heading into any canyons check the weather report at the Lodge as rain many miles away can lead to flash floods in the canyons.

Backpacking

The warm days and cool nights make backpacking in March almost refreshing compared to the heat of the summer. You just need to pack the clothing and sleeping bag to handle the colder nights.

Make sure to have extra batteries for your headlamp as March still has relatively short days. Bring microspikes for any icy sections of the trails.

Overnight backpacking requires a wilderness permit. Since the traffic is lower in March you will probably find it easier to get a permit.

The Narrows in March

The Narrows-2405 by Steve Eunseo Lee, CC (BY) The Narrows in early March. Easy to see why you need a dry suit during this month.

The Narrows is a hiking route in the Virgin River at the north end of the canyon. Because the canyon is so narrow at this point you have to walk in the river as there is no bank.

Can you hike the Narrows in March?

The Narrows can be hiked in March but the park service closes access if the flow of the river is too high or there is a risk of flash floods As March is the month where a lot of snow begins to melt it raises the level of the river. Thus the Narrows may be closed for an extended period of time.

Is it too cold in the Narrows in March?

It would be too cold to hike the Narrows without adequate protection. If you would like to hike the Narrows in March you should wear a dry suit with river boots for traction. These can be rented from local outfitters.

Road Openings and Shuttle Services in March

The shuttle service in the park and from Springdale only runs on the weekends for the first two weeks of March. This means you can access the park with a personal vehicle during the times the shuttle isn’t running.

The middle of March marks the kick-off of the full-time shuttle service.

Conclusion

Visiting Zion National Park is great any time of year but March offers small crowds and cooler temperatures. While it may still be winter in the north, Zion National Park is coming to life with fresh buds and wildflowers. If you are looking for more year-round tips, make sure to take a look at our guide about the best time to visit Zion with detailed season tips.

If you are coming from any location that is still in the grip of winter you will find Zion NP is a warm getaway in March. Just bring your raincoat for those more frequent showers.