Hiring a guide for activities in the park and surrounding area allows you to safely try things you never dreamed you could: strenuous hiking, canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Choose from several reliable local companies, including Zion Adventure Company, 36 Lion Blvd., at the corner of Lion Boulevard and Zion Park Boulevard, Springdale (435/772-1001), which rents gear whatever you’re planning to do (such as wetsuits or shoes for hiking the Narrows), and Zion Rock & Mountain Guides, 1458 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale (435/772-3303).  Zion Cycles, 868 Zion Park Blvd. in Springdale (www.zioncycles.com; [tel] 435/772-0400), behind Zion Pizza & Noodle, rents, repairs, and advises about mountain and road bikes. In the park, the free shuttle offers the best way to reach trailheads.

HORSEBACK RIDING — Guided rides in the park are available March through October from Canyon Trail Rides (435/679-8665), with ticket sales and information near Zion Lodge. A 1-hour ride along the Virgin River costs $45; a half-day ride on the Sand Bench Trail costs $90. Riders must weigh no more than 220 pounds, and children must be at least 7 years old for the 1-hour ride and 10 years old for the half-day ride. Reservations are advised

ROCK CLIMBING — Despite rangers’ warning that much of Zion’s rock is loose, or “rotten,” and climbing equipment and techniques suitable for granite are often less effective on sandstone, technical rock climbers like the sandstone cliffs in Zion Canyon. Permits ($15 for 1 or 2 persons, $20 for 3 to 7, and $25 for 8 to 12 people) are required for overnight climbs, and because some routes may be closed at times, climbers should check at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center before setting out. Zion Adventure Company and Zion Rock & Mountain Guides (above) offer a variety of guided rock climbing trips, as well as instruction. Typical per-person rates are $139 for a half-day and $169 for a full day for two people, with lower per-person rates for larger groups. Zion Rock & Mountain Guides also offers equipment rentals and sales.

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SWIMMING AND WATER SPORTS — Technically, hiking in the Narrows is a water sport. Swimming and wading are prohibited in the Emerald Pools. Swimming is permitted south of South Campground amphitheater; check with the visitor center about other areas that would be safe for swimming during your visit. You can also go tubing in the river if the water level allows; check with Zion Adventure Company (above), which rents tubes for $20.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.