The Pa'rus trail follows the Virgin River and its lush riparian habitat upstream form the visitor center. Aside from the primary riparian habitat here, the surroundings are open desert floodplain.
This trail can be a great morning walk that surprisingly doesn't get a ton of attention. Most park visitors skip the trail and take the shuttle from the visitor center up canyon. If you want to get away from the crowds for a little desert riparian birding during the spring through fall I highly recommend walking from the visitor center to the shuttle stop at the mouth of Zion Canyon on this trail. Typical species found here during these months include YELLOW WARBLER, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. Area specialties include SUMMER TANAGER and LUCY'S WARBLER which can both be found readily most days. Spring and fall bring numerous warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, and other passerine migrants along the riparian corridor. WESTERN SCRUB-JAY are often seen passing through the habitat here, while WILD TURKEY might show up. Both WESTERN KINGBIRD and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER are in no short supply during the breeding season--as well as SAY'S and BLACK PHOEBE. In Washington County this is one of the best places for BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE which are reported between the visitor center and the canyon with some frequency. As with most areas in the park winter birding isn't nearly as popular and this trail gets far less use in those months. A walk here could always turn up a rare overwintering sparrow amongst the DARK-EYED JUNCOS and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS.
All Zion National Park hot spots directions in Zion Canyon, or to the east will originate from the visitor center parking lot for consistency. Anything in the north and west sides of the park will come from the nearest major intersection. The Pa'rus trail actually starts outside the park at the Cable Mountain Lodge. But from the visitor center most of the trail is up river and in the park. The trail is directly northwest of the visitor center. Follow it northeasterly to the road in front of the visitor center . Go left and cross the Virgin River, then immediately turn right back onto the trail as it follows the river for 1.5 miles till the mouth of Zion Canyon.