Best national parks: Avoid the crowds

Get outdoors and skip the lines during the high season

Zion, UT
Photo by Laurence Parent; written by Ted Katauskas

Zion, UT

Since only shuttle buses are allowed on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive through October, check out Kolob Canyons. This lesser-known paradise in Zion’s northwest corner (about 25 miles north on U.S. 15 from the Zion turnoff at Toquerville) remains open to private vehicles. Chug up Kolob Canyons Road, which snakes between sandstone cliffs and gains 1,000 feet of elevation in 5 miles. From the summit, hike the Timber Creek Overlook Trail, a moderate 1-mile round-trip with an eagle’s perspective of Kolob’s finger canyons—each a mini Zion.

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