Getting There in Zion National Park | Frommer's (2024)

Zion National Park

Located in southwest Utah, at elevations ranging from 3,666 feet to 8,726 feet, Zion National Park has several sections: Zion Canyon, the main part of the park, where everyone goes, and the less-visited Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyons areas.

GETTING THERE/ACCESS POINTS:St. George and Cedar City are the closest towns with airport service. From either air-port, it’s easy to rent a car and drive to Zion. Utah 9 connects with Zion National Park, giving the main section of the park two entry gates—south and east. The drive into Zion Canyon (the main part of the park) from I-15 on the park’s western side, following Utah 9 or Utah 17, and then Utah 9 to the south entrance at Springdale, is by far the more popular, with two-thirds of park visitors arriving there. Most area lodgings and restaurants are found in Springdale, and the park’s two campgrounds and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center are located just inside the south entrance. This approach has the added advantage of avoiding possible delays at the Zion–Mt. Carmel Tunnel. However, this approach is much less scenic than the eastern approach.

From the east, it’s a spectacularly scenic 24-mile drive from Mt. Car-mel on Utah 9, reached from either the north or south via U.S. 89. How-ever, be aware that this route into the park drops over 2,500 feet in eleva-tion, passes through the mile-long Zion–Mt. Carmel Tunnel, and winds down six steep switchbacks. The tunnel is too small for two-way traffic for any vehicles larger than standard passenger cars and pickup trucks. Buses, large trucks, and most recreational vehicles must be driven down the center of the tunnel, and therefore, all oncoming traffic must be stopped. This applies to all vehicles over 7 feet 10 inches wide (including mirrors) or 11 feet 4 inches tall (including luggage racks, and so on). In-formation is available at park entrances or by calling park headquarters (435/772-3256). Such large vehicles must pay a $15 fee before enter-ing the tunnel, good for two trips through the tunnel for that vehicle dur-ing a 7-day period. All vehicles over 13 feet 1 inch tall and certain other particularly large vehicles are prohibited from driving anywhere on the park road between the east entrance and Zion Canyon.

Kolob Terrace Road, with additional viewpoints and trailheads, heads north off Utah 9 from the village of Virgin, about 15 miles west of the park’s southern entrance. This road is closed in the winter.

The Kolob Canyons section, in the park’s northwest corner, can be reached via the short Kolob Canyons Road off I-15 exit 40.

Some helpful distances: The park is 83 miles southwest of Bryce Can-yon National Park; 120 miles northwest of the north rim of Grand Can-yon National Park, in northern Arizona; 309 miles south of Salt Lake City; and 158 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Getting There in Zion National Park | Frommer's (2024)


Where to fly into for Zion National Park? ›

The closest airport to Zion National Park is in St. George, Utah – just 45 minutes from Zion National Park. The St. George Regional Airport is the nearest airport both in proximity and time.

How do you get in Zion National Park? ›

Technically there are 4 entrances to Zion National Park:
  1. The main entrance to Zion Canyon, the most popular place in the park, is through Springdale, Utah.
  2. The second most popular entrance is on the east side, on Zion-Mt Carmel Road.
  3. Kolob Canyon is probably the third most popular entrance.

How to get around Zion without a car? ›

The Zion Canyon Shuttle connects the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to stops on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Shuttles leave every few minutes and go either north or south. You can exit the shuttle at any open stop. Check the map to see what to expect in the park.

Which entrance is best to enter Zion? ›

The drive into Zion Canyon (the main part of the park) from I-15 on the park's western side, following Utah 9 or Utah 17, and then Utah 9 to the south entrance at Springdale, is by far the more popular, with two-thirds of park visitors arriving there.

Is Bryce Canyon or Vegas closer to Zion? ›

Distance of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park From Las Vegas. The distance from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is roughly 160 miles (257 kilometers). The drive typically takes between 2.5 to 3 hours. Bryce Canyon National Park is quite a bit further — 260 mi (418 km) from Las Vegas.

How many days do you need in Zion National Park? ›

Ideally, you need two to three days to really explore Zion National Park. This will give you enough time to hike one of the longer trails such as Angels Landing or the Narrows and enjoy all the major viewpoints.

Is the Zion shuttle worth it? ›

The shuttle is a good way to navigate transportation to the various trails, hikes, and stops throughout Zion National Park. The fee is $1.00/ ride, but you will need an advanced reservation with a 1 hour window of time for your ride. I am not sure if this is just a Corona-19-time rule, or a standing rule.

Can you drive your own car through Zion National Park? ›

Zion National Park's main, south entrance and administrative offices are located near Springdale, Utah You may drive yourself on all open park roads except the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. During most of the year, the Scenic Drive is accessed by shuttle bus only. Shuttles are free to ride.

How is the drive from Vegas to Zion? ›

Pack your bags and hit the road because the journey from Las Vegas to Zion National Park promises an unforgettable experience. This scenic 155-mile drive, taking approximately 2:30 hours without stops, weaves through some of the most iconic landscapes of the American Southwest.

How early should I get to Zion to park? ›

To avoid the crowds make sure to get out first thing in the morning. Never, never, never try to get on the shuttles anytime after 8:00 am if you want to avoid crowds and lines to get on the shuttles. The early start time is so worth it you guys!

Can you get into Zion without a reservation? ›

You do not need a permit or reservation to visit most areas in Zion Canyon. You do not need a permit or reservation to ride a park shuttle. You do not need a permit or reservation to enter the park. You do need to pay the park fee.

Where should I stay if I'm going to Zion? ›

Springdale. As the gateway to Zion National Park and nestled along the North Fork of the Virgin River, Springdale is an ideal place to get outfitted for adventure not only in Zion, but to numerous other parks, monuments, and recreation areas of the western Colorado Plateau and desert southwest.

Where do you fly into for Bryce and Zion? ›

The closest major international airline hubs are Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. Los Angeles and San Diego, California airports are also within reasonable driving distance.

Is Bryce or Zion closer to Salt Lake City? ›

You can reach Bryce Canyon from both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City in approximately 4 hours, You can reach Zion National Park from Las Vegas in 2.5 hours, and from Salt Lake City in 4.5.

What is the closest airport to Zion and Grand Canyon? ›

It's likely your trip will include at least one flight. The nearest airports to the Grand Canyon are Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS), and the St. George Regional Airport in St. George, UT (SGU).

Is there a shuttle from Las Vegas airport to Zion National Park? ›

What companies run services between Las Vegas Airport (LAS), USA and Zion National park, UT, USA? There is no direct connection from Las Vegas Airport (LAS) to Zion National park. However, you can take the bus to Harry Reid International, take the bus to St George, then take the taxi to Zion National park.

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