The Pa’rus Trail at Zion National Park is a recent addition (1995) to the park’s trail system. It connects the Campgrounds near the Visitor Center, the Human History Museum and the Canyon Junction shuttle bus stop. Since private cars are not allowed to stop along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from April through October, families staying in Springdale generally grab the town shuttle to the Visitor Center than hop on a Park Shuttle for the ride deeper into the Park. The Pa’rus Trail offers an accessible, dog and baby stroller friendly option to begin or end your visit with an hour long 1.7 mile one way stroll criss-crossing Oak Creek, Pine Creek and the Virgin River. Bikes can be rented from Zion Outfitter located near the Visitor Center, sharing a parking lot with the Giant Screen Theater.
The word Pa’rus means “bubbling, tumbling water” and this walk definitely lives up to its name. This lower section of the river is more controlled than the upper reaches seen on the Riverside Walk. A trailside exhibit points out the remains of an old dam and explains how water from the river still supplies nearby Springdale. The design of the trail keeps the water in view as you navigate several footbridges along the way.
Due to the fact that there is little shade, this is a trail best done on cooler days or in the morning or evening on hot days. We visited in the late afternoon on a warm spring day and found the trail almost empty except for a few very polite bike riders. We are told it can be pretty busy on a summer morning however. As with all the trails in Zion National Park, the Pa’rus offers one stunning view after another. The cliffs at this end of the canyon are not as steep or as sharp as those closer the Narrows but are beautiful in their own way.
Depending on your plans and energy levels, you can opt to walk a short section of the trail as far as the Museum, keep going to the end of the trail or turn around and stroll back to where you started. For one way walkers, the shuttle bus stop at the end of the trail offers access to the rest of the sights and trailheads along the Scenic Drive, as well as the option of a quick return to the Park entrance when you are done for the day.
If you have walked on the Pa’rus Trail let us know your thoughts.