A Travel Price Comparison for Utah Zion National Park vs. Salt Lake City for Hiking, Backpackers, Attractions, and Families

Should you visit Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Zion National Park or Salt Lake City, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a stunning, world-renowned, and breathtaking park. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the hiking.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a religious, architectural, and notable city. It's also known for museums, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Zion National Park and Salt Lake City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Angels Landing
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Home to Temple Square
Things to Consider
  • Less hiking options
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Zion National Park than Salt Lake City, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Zion National Park is better known for its resorts, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Salt Lake City is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, and shopping. Zion National Park is more touristy than Salt Lake City and is popular for its iconic hiking trails, dramatic canyon, and world-class rock climbing. Also, Zion National Park is famous for Angels Landing. Salt Lake City is well known for its religious landmarks and its large Mormon population.

How is Zion National Park different from Salt Lake City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Salt Lake City and Zion National Park. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is well known for its museums and landmarks. However, Zion National Park is not particularly known for its historical sights.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Salt Lake City can be an interesting and educational experience. Many of the fascinating sights around town are influenced by the city's Mormon culture. Temple Square is a highlight for most visitors. It spans 35 acres and is beautifully landscaped with several fountains. There are also four main churches - The Temple, the Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and Assembly Hall. The city also has several museums such as the Natural History Museum and the historic Liberty Park.

While most people don't head to Zion National Park specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The best museum in the area is the Zion Human History Museum.


Is the Food Better in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a nice place to visit for its restaurant scene. However, Zion National Park is not particularly known for its local flavors and cuisine.

Salt Lake City offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. In recent years the food scene has really improved and you'll find a variety of restaurants that serve everything from upscale dishes to more casual fare.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Zion National Park. Within the park there are a couple of restaurants, but it's far better to bring your own food that you can enjoy as a picnic or meal by a campfire.

Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Nightlife?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a city with a few options for nightlife. However, Zion National Park is not particularly known for nightlife and partying.

Salt Lake City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. Known for its large Mormon population, nightlife isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Salt Lake City. While it will likely never be a party city, there are a growing number of entertainment options around town.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Zion National Park Stargazing and relaxing by a campfire is how most visitors enjoy the evening hours.

Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Resorts?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Zion National Park is a decent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Salt Lake City is not a resort destination.

You might not think of Zion National Park as a resort destination, but it has a few places. There's a lodge within the park and many hotel options outside of the park.

Salt Lake City is not a resort destination.


Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a nice place to visit for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Zion National Park is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Salt Lake City has a few areas where visitors often go scuba diving or snorkeling. There are a number of good ski resorts nearby, making this a good base or starting point for a ski vacation.

Zion National Park is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Hiking?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Zion National Park is a world-class destination for its hiking trails. Also, Salt Lake City is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many people visit Zion National Park specifically for its hiking. This park is known for its iconic hikes, which include Angels Landing, the Narrows, and the Emerald Pools Trail. There are hikes that range from easy to incredibly difficult, and many visits see this destination as a bucket list hiking opportunity.

Salt Lake City has hiking trails worth exploring. The city offers easy access to many diverse trails, so if you're a nature enthusiasts, you'll appreciate this destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a nice place to visit for shopping. However, Zion National Park is not particularly known for its shopping opportunities.

Salt Lake City is a great destination for shopping. The city has sprawling outlet malls as well as local stores and craft shops. City Creek Center is a favorite shopping destination, but there are also several large shopping malls that are worth visiting.

Shopping in Zion National Park can be found for those interested. There are park stores, but few other shopping opportunities in the area.


Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Families?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Zion National Park is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Salt Lake City is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Zion National Park. One of the most kid-friendly hikes is the Watchman Trail, which starts conveniently near the Visitor Center. Other favorites include the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, the Pa'rus Trail, and the Riverside Walk.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Salt Lake City. There are museums that kids will enjoy like the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Leonardo Museum. There are also fun-filled activities like a visit to Lagoon Amusement Park. You can learn about history at This Is the Place Heritage Park or learn about the undersea world at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Couples?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Zion National Park is a very popular place for couples. Also, Salt Lake City is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Zion National Park makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are world-class hiking trails, spectacular views, and many opportunities for a romantic moment in this well-known park. While the crowds can be intense, particularly during peak seasons, the park is large enough that you should be able to find a moment of solitude.

Salt Lake City is a nice destination for couples. The city is filled with beautiful gardens like Red Butte Garden. There are also nice restaurants and romantic hotels that will make this a nice place for a couple's getaway.

Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Zion National Park is a world-class destination for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Salt Lake City is lacking in good options for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Zion National Park, as it is a very popular park for budget travelers. This is a world-famous rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking destination. There are many opportunities for backcountry camping, but you are required to purchase a permit.

Salt Lake City is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There are a couple of hostels in town, but most backpackers overlook this destination or breeze through town quickly.


Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Zion National Park and Salt Lake City.

You'll find some public transit in Zion National Park, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are free shuttles that travel around the park. They operate during the most popular seasons but the service isn't available during most of the winter months.

While Salt Lake City offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a surprisingly good public transit system that includes light rail, buses, and commuter trains, but if you want to get out of town you'll need to have a car.

Is Zion National Park or Salt Lake City a more walkable city?

Zion National Park
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a city with a few options for its walkability. However, Zion National Park is not particularly known for its high level of walkability.

Salt Lake City is generally not very walkable. While some neighborhoods are walkable, like Temple Square, most visitors prefer to have a car.

Zion National Park is not a very walkable park. The park is large, and most trailheads are spread out and require a vehicle to access.

For even more information, also check out Is Zion National Park Worth Visiting? and Is Salt Lake City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Salt Lake City or Zion National Park?

How long in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Zion National Park and Salt Lake City. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Zion National Park than in Salt Lake City. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Zion National Park, and 2-3 days is enough time in Salt Lake City.

Families should spend more time in Zion National Park than Salt Lake City. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Zion National Park, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Salt Lake City than Zion National Park if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Salt Lake City.


  • How many days in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zion National Park 3-7 
    Salt Lake City 2-3

One day in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

In Zion National Park, you'll find . Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the museums and food when visiting the notable destination of Salt Lake City. This city offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Zion National Park is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Salt Lake City is a popular place to visit. Visitors enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the religious city of Salt Lake City. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Salt Lake City has to offer.

Five days in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Zion National Park. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

Many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting Salt Lake City. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

A week in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

In Zion National Park, you'll find . Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Salt Lake City is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. It offers something for everyone. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, and The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Salt Lake City or Zion National Park?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Zion National Park is $119, while the average daily cost in Salt Lake City is $246. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zion National Park and Salt Lake City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zion National Park $60
    Salt Lake City $119
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zion National Park $120
    Salt Lake City $238
Compare Hotels in Zion National Park and Salt Lake City

Looking for a hotel in Zion National Park or Salt Lake City? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Zion National Park


Hotels in Salt Lake City


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Zion National Park Hotel Prices and Salt Lake City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zion National Park $30
    Salt Lake City $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salt Lake City

Also for Salt Lake City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Salt Lake City Airport SLC: $36
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Park City UT : $263
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Salt Lake City : $121
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City hotel or address: $263
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Salt Lake City : $121
  • Private Transfer: Salt Lake City to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) : $108
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Arrival Transfer: $116
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Round-Trip Transfer: $232
  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City UT - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $183
  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC): Transfer to Salt Lake City: $204

Is it cheaper to fly into Zion National Park or Salt Lake City?

Prices for flights to both Salt Lake City and Zion National Park change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Zion National Park $37
    Salt Lake City $50

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zion National Park $26
    Salt Lake City $28

Tours and Activities in Zion National Park

Here are a few actual costs in Zion National Park for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Slot Canyon Tour & Sandboarding UTV Adventure: $128
  • 3 Hour Guided E Bike Tour in Zion National Park : $100
  • Amazing Hiking and Driving Tour: $750
  • Award Winning UTV Slot Canyon Tour: $98
  • Campfire S'mores and Stars Tour in Kanab: $65
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes Ride and Rappel Adventure: $114
  • East Zion 2 Hour Slot Canyon Canyoneering UTV Tour: $119
  • East Zion 4 Hour Slot Canyon Canyoneering UTV Tour: $174
  • East Zion Canyoneering: Elkheart Canyon & UTV Tour: $201
  • East Zion Crimson Canyon Hike & UTV Adventure: $130
  • East Zion Dark Sky Stargazing Tour: $22
  • East Zion East Rim Jeep Tour: $49

Tours and Activities in Salt Lake City

For Salt Lake City, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Mormon History - Salt Lake Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Mormon History Salt Lake Self-Guided Audio app Walking Tour: $7.75
  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $13
  • Salt Lake City Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Salt Lake City & La Sal: Self-Guided Walking & Driving Tour: $21
  • Salt Lake City Haunted Old Town Tour: $23
  • Salt Lake City Ghost Tour: Outer Reaches Tour: $23
  • Salt Lake Ghosts and Hauntings Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $26
  • Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • 45 Minute Great Salt Lake Boat Tour: $37
  • History & Culture Guided Walking Day Tour: $50
  • Salt Lake City Walking Tour: $50

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zion National Park $8.28
    Salt Lake City $17


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Zion National Park and Salt Lake City, we can see that Salt Lake City is more expensive. And not only is Zion National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Zion National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Zion National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Salt Lake City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Salt Lake City than you might in Zion National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Zion National Park Expensive? and Is Salt Lake City Expensive?.