Zion National Park was the last stop on our spring break road trip through Utah. After hiking through Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, driving Scenic Byway 12, and exploring Grand Staircase National Monument, we were ready for a different kind of adventure.
It was my son’s 13th birthday and a fun off-road adventure through the Zion high country was the perfect way to celebrate.
The thing is… We didn’t decide that this is what we wanted to do until the last minute on a holiday weekend. I was so worried that we wouldn’t be able to get a spot on a tour but the folks at Zion Country Off-Road Tours were amazing. They got back to me quickly and were able to accommodate our family on a tour the next day!
Zion Country Off-Road Tours offers jeep tours, ATV tours, and UTV tours.
We weren’t interested in a jeep tour because we had already spent too much time in the car driving across Utah. We also didn’t want to rent ATVs because if we’re honest, a tandem ATV ride sucks for the person in the back, especially if they’re shorter than the person in the front. We chose to do a UTV tour because our family could all ride together and everyone could see the sights easily.
We were awestruck by the unbelievable scenery and gorgeous viewpoints and impressed with the service, and we laughed our butts off as we bounced over rocks and hustled across the high desert country. It was so much fun!
Our Off-Road Adventure In Zion
After meeting up with our tour guide Travis outside the Springdale Hampton Inn, we caravaned out to a dirt parking area near the Grafton Ghost town we explored earlier in the day. Here we got a quick overview of the UTV we’d be driving and the kids got safety goggles because they didn’t have sunglasses. I was thrilled because there was only one other group of four on our tour and the smaller the tour, the better the service and experience. Our guide was thrilled too because Brian has experience driving off-road vehicles and he didn’t have to babysit us.
No tour companies are allowed in Zion Canyon National Park, so our tour traversed the Zion Canyon back country and Southern Utah wilderness. Once the tour began, we climbed 1,500 feet to the top of nearby mesas and explored 30 miles of rugged trails topping out at an elevation of 5,200 feet. to views that rival the Grand Canyon.
Zooming along wide dirt trails through desert scrub, high above Zion Canyon, beneath a cloud-filled blue sky was the perfect way to escape the super crowded town of Springdale and the hustle and bustle of the national park. From local geology and flora and fauna to local lore and human history, Travis showed us the sights and shared loads of information about the region. He was friendly and helpful and made the tour even more fun.
Jaw Dropping Views
This back country ATV/UTV tour delivered exactly what I wanted: something totally different from what we experienced hiking on the Zion Canyon floor.
Standing on the edge of the rocky cliffs overlooking the desert floor 1,500 feet below, was incredible. We sampled edible plants, learned that the holes in the rocks were made by lightning strikes, and marveled at the views. The 360 degree views took our breath away and had us snapping tons of pictures!
As the sun began to set, it was time for our small tour group to hightail it back into town. The drive back was our chance to really open it up and speed down the dusty trails and by then we were covered in thick coating of reddish-brown dirt. Our faces were totally brown and when we took off our sunglasses/safety glasses, we had racoon eyes!
This was such a fun experience and we all were so happy we chose the UTV option so we could all ride and laugh together, talk about the adventure, and really see the sights! It was the perfect way to wrap up our spring break trip!
Know Before You Go
- Zion Country Off-Road Tours is located at 1437 S 160 W, Hurricane, Utah 84737.
- The ATVs and UTVs go on the same tours that are around 4.0 hours long. Riders must be at least 6 years old for UTVs and 7 years old for ATVs.
- No tour company is allowed in Zion National Park. Our ATV/UTV tour climbed 1,500 feet to the top of nearby mesas and explored 30 miles of rugged trails to views that rival the Grand Canyon.
- Zion Country Off-Road Tours meet at the Hampton Inn in Springdale, Utah. It was perfect because that’s where we were staying! We’re part of the Hilton Rewards program and try to stay at Hampton Inns whenever we’re road tripping.
- The tours offer slightly cooler temperatures during warmer months.
- Be sure to tip your guide. They are locals trying to earn a living and do a fantastic job!