Riverside Walk is the only hike that I remember doing from my visit to Zion as a kid. This is because I didn’t come from a hiking family– in fact I don’t think I ever went on a hike. We were strictly a drive-to-the-overlook family. Oh my, how things have changed!
Riverside Walk is at the very top of Zion Canyon at the last Shuttle Stop (#9). The walk is paved, shady, and very busy. It stretches around a mile each way (2 miles RT) to the place where the canyon slims down into The Narrows Hike.
We made this hike on an early April morning and we were freezing! This is because the sun is blocked from this deep canyon except for a few hours at midday. Don’t worry, though, if you are visiting in the summer. You’ll appreciate the cool shade. A stroller would be appropriate on this trail, too. There isn’t any elevation change, so it would be easy to push the stroller here (Weeping Rock might be a little trickier).
One of the great things about this hike is that you don’t have to stay on the paved trail. There is a sandy trail that follows right along the river, too, and many people were walking there. Our boys especially liked this option because it meant they could throw rocks into the water, which is a little bit of Heaven for them.
Riverside Walk is where people often play or walk in the river. Many families will walk for a short time in the river toward the Narrows. If you decide to hike The Narrows (which you really shouldn’t with young kids), you need a special permit which you can acquire at the Visitor’s Center. We visited Zion National Park in April and the water was freezing, and because of high spring run-off The Narrows hike was closed the entire week. Obviously, we did not spend any time hiking in the water. If you are visiting Zion in the summer, it might be fun to let your children hike in the river for a little bit. Make sure to bring dry clothes and shoes if this is your plan!
We also saw a few animals along this hike. On the way back two young male deer stood up out of the grass and walked right up the trail within 10 yards of us! Because it was early spring, you can just see their antlers beginning to sprout. We also saw mergansers in the river and there were several squirrels on the trail. Our boys would want me to note that we saw tiny fish swimming in the pools near the trail. But best of all, we saw a wild turkey, which was gobbling like a lunatic right near the trailhead.
Riverside Trail is a great walk that is flat, wide, and great for making memories– just like I did when I was a little hiker!