It is okay to pack flip flops for a trip to Zion National Park — as long as you leave them, and other open–toed shoes , at your hotel for the walk to the pool. Foot injuries are one of the most common calls for park ranger assistance. Sprained ankles, blisters and stubbed toes can make walking back to the trailhead and can put a real damper on plans for other hikes in the park.
Another vital ingredient for your time in Zion is water.
Temperatures often climb over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months. Heat reflecting off the desert canyons walls can sometimes make visitors feel like they are in an oven. Park officials suggest visitors drink one gallon of water per person per day. Water is available at the visitor centers, campgrounds, the Zion Lodge and at some shuttle stops. If you see a faucet while out and about fill up your water bottle even if it is almost full. Do not drink water from any natural sources in the park; untreated water is not safe for human consumption. Many people visiting southern Utah develop headaches, nausea and stomach cramps — among other ailments — after a day of activities. These symptoms can often be attributed to dehydration.
Water remains just as important for a hike in Zion in the winter despite much cooler temperatures. Hydration is always important for people doing outdoors activities. Temperatures in the winter may reach into the 60s, but almost always fall below freezing during the night. The trails can be covered with snow and ice and hikers should be prepared for extreme conditions and possible closures for safety.
For more information about visiting Zion check out How to Hike in Arid Lands.
Increased distance, slight gain in elevation: plan 1 or 2+ hours to complete.