The Best Day Hikes
- Emerald Pools Trail System (Zion National Park): If green is your color, you'll love this trail -- algae keep the three pools glowing a deep, rich, and yes, emerald green. The first part of the trail leads through a forest to the Lower Emerald Pool, with its lovely waterfall and hanging garden.
- East Mesa Trail (Zion National Park): Allow a full day for this 6-mile hike, which is an easier and shorter route to Observation Point than the Observation Point Trail. From the promontory, you'll get spectacular views down Zion Canyon, with the Great White Throne in the foreground and Red Arch Mountain beyond.
The Best Backcountry Hikes
- Hiking the Narrows (Zion National Park): This is an experience unique to Zion National Park -- a hike through a 1,000-foot-deep canyon, with water filling it from side to side in most places. Although much of Zion is dry rock, this is anything but, and it's an incredible experience for people in good shape and with strong nerves. It can be experienced in three ways -- as a short day hike, a full-day hike, or an overnight hike -- but all involve getting wet. Warning: The Narrows is prone to flash flooding, so check weather forecasts and flash-flood potential before setting out.