- Explore Zion National Park, with colorful canyons and the renowned Narrows
- Stay at REI's Signature Campsite with top-notch amenities and a camp host
- Discover Echo and Zion Canyons, Emerald Pools, and much more
- Enjoy an itinerary designed with the whole family in mind
Zion is a stupendous destination for a hiking and camping weekend, and our trip brings this location to life for the whole family. Experience the grand scale of colorful canyons and the world-renowned Narrows. Whether you're new to camping or simply looking for the next level of comfort and style, our private REI Signature Camping at Zion National Park features the best camping amenities, service, and outstanding access to the great hikes and sights. This is an epic outdoor adventure as only REI can provide.
From our exclusive base camp in Zion, we descend from the canyon rim into the depths of Zion Canyon, the heart of the National Park. We explore Echo Canyon and beyond, delving into the labyrinthine of the Narrows. Our highly skilled and friendly guides are passionate about the desert Southwest and all its unique history—and they love to spill the canyons' secrets as we explore it all.
Kids get an REI day pack — Kids traveling on our Family Adventures will receive an REI day pack for their adventure! Kids age 8-17 will receive the REI Flash 18 Pack (while quantities last, colors may vary).
Not traveling with kids under age 18? Check out our Zion Hiking Weekend – REI Signature Camping trip or inquire about a private departure of this itinerary.
- Day 1 - Travel from Las Vegas to Zion for a hike on Pa'rus Trail.
- Day 2 - Hike to the Virgin River and explore the legendary Narrows.
- Day 3 - Emerald Pools and a fun family challenge before we depart for home.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Travel from Las Vegas to Zion for a hike on Pa'rus Trail.
Our trip begins today in Las Vegas (Henderson), Nevada at 8:00am at Green Valley Ranch Resort. Our guides will briefly talk us through the basics, ensuring everyone has all they need before we set out. Making our way deep into Utah on this three hour drive to Zion National Park, we'll pass the driving time with some of the travel games from the REI Family Games Bag before arriving at the trailhead for the iconic (and family friendly) Pa'rus Trail. This beautiful warm-up hike offers the opportunity to learn about the area's unique geology and human history, and several side trails offer river access for a refreshing swim in the Virgin River. Our afternoon will include a delectable lunch and a little more exploring, leaving you breathless and ready to enjoy the comforts of our exclusive REI Signature Camp. Our guides and camp host will provide a camp orientation and then, while we're getting situated in our comfortable tents, put the finishing touches on an incredible al fresco dinner. We may follow dinner with a game or two before grabbing a headlamp and joining the guides for an optional evening hike to take in the sunset from a spectacular viewpoint on the rim. All meals included from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3.
Pa'rus Trail: An easy, paved trail, 1.5 miles one-way with 50 ft elevation gain.
Day 2 - Hike to the Virgin River and explore the legendary Narrows.
We enjoy another scrumptious breakfast in camp, then set out for the Observation Point trailhead. After a quick van transfer, our hike today descends from the canyon rim into the depths of main Zion Canyon, the heart of Zion National Park, where we'll emerge from Echo Canyon to enjoy some lovely cottonwoods. If you (or your little ones) would like to skip this descent, we'll be offering a van transfer to the floor of the canyon, stopping off for a variety of short, view-filled hikes along the way. One-mile Canyon Overlook Trail offers stunning views from above the Great Arch back into Zion Canyon, and Weeping Rock Trail offers a short round-trip to a refreshing curtain of dripping spring water. We'll reconvene to enjoy lunch and then head for the shade of the Narrows – a deep gash in the earth carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River as it winds from the high aspen forest of the Colorado Plateau and cuts its way down to the foot of the Temple of Sinawava in Zion Canyon. We travel upstream along the steep sandstone walls of the Narrows on a route often described as one of the best hikes in the U.S. before returning to main Zion Canyon where we'll board the park shuttle to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. See how many 'Ecohunt' signs you can find throughout this "green" building .There is the opportunity to pick up a Zion map or book as a souvenir of your visit. We'll meet up with our vehicle for a 45 minute return to camp. This spectacular day of hiking offers a variety of dramatic views into the most celebrated wonders of Zion. Back at camp, parents can relax while kids take part in a sketch session (all supplies provided) of our beautiful surroundings. Tonight, we'll enjoy a relaxing evening in our Base Camp, complete with a farewell dinner and celebration.
Hiking: Our first hike today leads from the rim of Zion Canyon to the canyon floor. We hike 2.25 miles to start, gaining 300ft before the option to take a short side hike to a very scenic overlook. Returning to the main trail, we steadily descend 2,450 ft in the final 3.75 miles of the route to reach the valley floor. On our second hike we walk approximately one mile before entering the Narrows, where we'll literally get our feet wet as we hike one mile upstream. The water is typically shallow, and we'll very gradually gain about 100 ft before turning around and exiting via the same route. We return to camp by vehicle from main Zion Canyon. Our total elevation gain for the day is 400', and our total loss for the day is 2,550 ft.
Hike to Observation Point, descent from rim to Sinawava and then hike the Narrows – 9.3 miles total.
Van transfer with shorter hikes: Canyon Overlook Trail: 1 mile round trip with 163 feet of elevation gain and loss; Weeping Rock Trail: .5 mile round trip with 100 feet of elevation gain and loss.
Day 3 - Emerald Pools and a fun family challenge before we depart for home.
After another incredible breakfast, we'll pack our lunches and drive into the main Zion Canyon, where we'll embark upon a hike sure to delight the child in all of us. Young and old(er) alike can tackle our Emerald Pools Canyon Criddles Navigation Challenge. After our guides provide a short skill seminar on the use of map and compass, each "team" navigates a highly interactive course, answering canyon trivia about flora and geology… and much more! We'll enjoy our lunch, then depart for Las Vegas. We lose one hour (changing time zones!) as we drive 2.5 hours back to Green Valley Ranch Resort, and expect to return sometime between 3:00-4:00pm, local time. Please do not schedule a departing flight prior to 6:00 p.m.
Hiking: Van transfer to canyon floor, hike Emerald Pools (1.2, 2, or 3 mile options).
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Two nights camping in our exclusive Zion REI Signature Camp; guide leadership; round trip van transportation from Las Vegas; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; all group camping equipment; park fees and local taxes.
Flights to/from Las Vegas, NV; airport transfers; alcoholic beverages; sleeping bag; guides gratuities.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
During most months this high desert region receives very little precipitation. However, please be prepared for the possibility of rain. Generally, summer temperatures average in the 90's in Zion National Park. Spring and fall temperatures will be about 10 degrees cooler and bear in mind that the dry air and ample shade created by the canyon walls will also make the temperatures feel slightly cooler. Our camp is situated at approximately 6,000 feet above sea level.
This trip is rated Moderate . Trip members should have some previous hiking experience and be in good physical condition. We recommend a conditioning regimen beginning at least 2-3 months prior to departure that includes hiking (preferably), walking or some other form of cardiovascular exercise (swimming, cycling) in order to prepare for the activity in this adventure. There are some steep sections and exposed overlooks on the various trails we hike. All hikes are optional and our guides will be sure to brief trip members on the vigorousness and exposure of each hike prior to setting out. Our comfortable Base Camp and knowledgeable guides make this a perfect adventure for novices and experienced campers alike.
If you are traveling alone we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. A limited number of single accommodations are available, and are assigned only as necessary.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Weekend Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and detailed pre-trip information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Family Zion Hiking Weekend – REI Signature Camping Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.
- REI tents
- Cots and sleeping pads
- Camp furniture and seating
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Stoves and fuel
- Trip leader first-aid kit
- Photo identification
- Airline tickets
- One large luggage piece to store your personal belongings
- Daypack 2000 - 2500 cu. in. to carry your camera, water bottles, lunch, etc.
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Rain jacket (or poncho), lightweight, waterproof and breathable
- Rain pants, waterproof and breathable
- Fleece jacket or insulating later (spring and fall departures only)
- Warm hat and gloves (spring and fall departures only)
- Sleeping bag rated to 30-35°F, light weight, compressible down or synthetic material is best. (Available to rent for additional fee)
- Small travel pillow
- Base layer top and bottoms (spring and fall departures only)
- Hiking pants
- Hiking shorts
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Sun hat
- Hiking boots, sturdy, midweight, broken- in, aggressive tread
- Camp shoes such as tennis shoes or sandals
- Two (2) one-quart water bottles or hydration system
- Flashlight or headlamp, and spare batteries/bulb
- Biodegradable soap and shampoo
- Baby wipes
- Toilet paper
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sun block and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit, small
- Insect repellent
- Several Ziploc plastic bags for wet clothes and trash
- Camera, film/memory card(s), spare batteries
- Small binoculars
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Motion sickness remedies
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Reading and writing materials
- Trekking poles
- Ear plugs
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your identification, money, eyewear, a change of clothing (including hiking boots) and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed. Pack your camera and film in your carry-on, too.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Consider also bringing wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure hiking boots are broken-in. Bring blister treatment in your personal first-aid kit. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Snacks: Plenty of food and snacks will be available at all times during the trip. Should you bring your own snacks or powdered drinks, store them in the lock boxes in the kitchen area with the other food items. Never leave food in the tents or in your daypack unattended. Animals will chew through packs and tents to get to the food.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.