Looking for an epic off-road adventure near Zion National Park?
Located in southwestern Utah, the park is known for its dramatic landscapes, including towering red cliffs, canyons, and rivers. Zion is also home to a variety of plant and animal life.
Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States and for good reason.
A great way to explore the stunning area around Zion and escape the crowds is to take an off-road ATV adventure.
Why ATV Near Zion National Park?
All vehicles are restricted to established roads within Zion National Park, and ATVs are not allowed in the park.
If you are wondering what the heck all of these acronyms mean (ATV, OHV, UTV, etc.) click here.
However, there are hundreds of miles of incredible off-road routes in the land surrounding the park boundaries.
Many of the best 4×4 trails and attractions are on the east side of Zion near the towns of Kanab, Orderville, and Glendale.
Choosing a Tour Company
There are many different adventure tour companies to choose from in the Zion area.
There are a few things to consider when you are choosing which company to rent through:
- Self-guided adventure or with a tour guide
- Private adventure or with a group
- Length of time (full-day rental, half-day tour, etc.)
- Destination/Attractions you want to visit
- Type of vehicle (jeep, ATV, UTV, horseback, etc.)
- Number of passengers per vehicle (2-seater, 4-seater, etc.)
Why We Chose Kane County Off-Road (Now renamed Endless Adventures)
We decided to rent off-road vehicles from a small, locally owned shop, Kane County Off-Road (KCOR), in Glendale, Utah.
Kane County Off-Road is located off scenic byway US-89, in the town of Glendale, just 22 miles from Zion, making it a convenient option if you are looking to ATV near Zion National Park.
The location of the shop is also ideal for accessing a number of incredible adventures, including hundreds of miles of trails in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and surrounding state parks.
One of the main reasons we chose KCOR was because they are one of the only companies in the area that offer self-guided tours. That was very appealing to us because we wanted to be able to take our time and explore wherever we wanted to.
Kane County Off Road offers a variety of routes that will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Utah. There are many different attractions you can visit that are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle.
We booked a full-day tour in a Polaris 4-seater off-road vehicle and chose to do a 70-mile loop that was recommended by the owner, David.
David is friendly and very knowledgeable about the area, local attractions, and equipment. He thoroughly answered any questions that we had and gave us helpful advice and suggestions.
Preparing for Your Off-Road Adventure
What to bring:
- Lunch/snacks (we brought subs and snacks)
- Drinks (bring lots of water!)
- Cooler (I believe KCOR will provide one for an extra cost if you want one)
- Phone cord if you want to play music
- Sunscreen (see our go-to mineral sunscreen here) and other sun protection
- License (if you will be driving)
- Cash or card (for snacks/drinks and to fill up on gas before you return)
- Travel first aid kit
- Neck Gaiter (to keep out the dust, although the dust wasn’t too bad when we went in July)
- Comfortable clothes
- Hiking shoes
Helmets and goggles are provided for free by KCOR if you want them.
Important Tips & Information
- Make sure to strap in your cooler before leaving so you don’t end up with soggy sandwiches like us!
- Cell service is in and out throughout the ride, but you will be given a little pager thing to contact David in case of emergency or if you need assistance.
- The off-road machines have a GPS map that is programmed with the route that you choose as well as points of interest along the way. You will have the option to pay a small additional fee to use a paper map or the GPS map. We definitely recommend the GPS map – it is 100% worth it and is SUPER helpful!
- David will give you tips on what gear to have the machine in and how to safely navigate through the different types of terrain.
- When we booked, a full-day rental was from 9 am- 5 pm.
Awesome Route Option: 70 Mile Loop – White Wave, Peek-a-boo Canyon, Hoodoos, & the Great Chamber
Here is an overview of the route we took and a rough timeline so that you know what to expect.
We got to the Kane County Off Road shop in Glendale just before 9 am. It takes 15-20 min to sign waivers and get instructions and information about the route. You can sign waivers online before arriving to speed up the process.
We ended up leaving the shop and setting off on our route around 9:15 am.
The beginning of the route was definitely the most nerve-wracking part. There are some steep, curvy sections and then you will go through a dry creek bed with very large rocks (super bumpy).
After that, it gets a lot tamer and a lot less heart-pounding. 🙂
The first main attraction you will go to on this route is the White Wave.
Unfortunately, even though it was marked on the GPS map, we must not have been paying attention, and we missed this.
It looks really cool though, so we are adding it to the bucket list for next time!
Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon
We arrived at Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon (also known as Red Canyon) around 12:30 pm. (We did make a few stops along the way exploring anything that looked cool).
Peekaboo Slot Canyon is a popular attraction and for good reason. But because it is only accessible with 4WD vehicles, it isn’t too crowded.
Once you arrive at the slot canyon, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views as your make your way through the tall pinkish-orange-hued sandstone walls.
The hike through the slot canyon is flat and easy. It is only 0.7 miles round-trip. There is one section with a small ledge to climb up, but it is not very difficult to navigate, especially with the help of a small ladder that was placed there.
You will make your way through the canyon, then turn around and head back the way you came once you get to the impassable rock jam.
The canyon does not get too narrow – you are able to walk through it comfortably and won’t have to “squeeze” through any sections.
Along the way, make sure to check out the ancient Moqui Steps, a stairway carved by the Anasazi Native Americans (likely to store grain on the high slot canyon ledges) nearly 1,000 years ago. You will find the steps about halfway through the canyon on the left side.
Further on in the slot canyon, you can see logs that are wedged high overhead from previous flash floods. Flash floods in slot canyons can be very dangerous, so be aware of the weather forecast when you visit.
It was about 1 pm by the time we left Peek-a-Boo slot canyon, and we were only about halfway through the 70-mile loop.
The next point of interest along the route is a collection of hoodoos. Hoodoos are tall, skinny shafts of rock protruding from the ground.
We ended up skipping the Hoodoos because they are a bit off the main route, and we were worried about making it back by 5 pm when our rental ended.
We later found out that we actually would have probably had time to see the hoodoos because the second half of the loop goes much more quickly than the first half, as the last 25-30 miles consists of driving on roads back toward town.
After driving a bit further, we pulled over to eat lunch with a view around 1:15 pm, and then we headed toward the final point of interest, the Great Chamber at Cutler Point.
Great Chamber at Cutler Point
The Great Chamber is pinned on the GPS map. Once you follow the map to the pin, you will see a fence.
Turn left and follow the fence line up the hill until you see a spot where a section of the fence is pushed down.
You will park here and then set out on a short, but heart-pumping hike. The trail is not marked, but there is a sandy path that is pretty easy to follow.
The hike is only about 0.8 miles round trip, but it is steep and sandy. We had fun trekking through the deep sand!
Once you get to the Great Chamber, you will see a little sign on your right and a MASSIVE sand dune on your left.
If you’re up for a challenge, you can try to scale the dune, but I would recommend continuing on to the far (right) side around the dune. It is much easier to get up to the top if you go around to the backside of the dune.
If you want to capture some photos of the entire “archway”, you will want to use a wide-angle lens. If you have a newer iPhone model, you can get to the wide-angle option by zooming all the way out.
The Great Chamber at Cutler Point is one of the most epic sights I have seen! It is massive and so unique! The best part is that we had it alllll to ourselves the whole time we were there.
Heading Back into Town
After spending about half an hour at the Great Chamber, we hit the road again around 2 pm.
After the Great Chamber, you are basically just driving back to town (no more points of interest). You’ll be on a sandy dirt road until you get to the large parking lot where there are restrooms.
From there, you will turn onto Johnson Canyon Road. Johnson Canyon Road is paved at first and then eventually becomes a gravel road. There is not much traffic, and there are beautiful views on both sides of the road.
Inchworm Arch is another cool attraction that is a few miles off of Johnson Canyon Road. You can ask David about it if you think you will have enough time and want to stop there.
We made it back to Glendale around 3:05 pm. We needed to refill the tank with gas, so we headed to Orderville, which is about 4 miles (south) down Hwy 89 from the KCOR shop in Glendale.
The Sinclair gas station in Orderville is right along Hwy 89 and is a good place to refill the gas tank before returning the off-road vehicle. We had 35% of our tank left, and it took about 4 gallons to fill it up back to 100%.
The Sinclair is attached to East Zion Adventures Coffee Shop Co, which is a really cute little place to stop and get a cold drink, a coffee, or a snack. There are also a couple of ice cream shops and a few restaurant options in Orderville.
That sums up our epic ATV adventure! If you are looking to ATV near Zion National Park, put Kane County Off-Road at the top of your list!