Park Visitor Center:
Be sure to stop by the visitor center at the south entrance to the park. There's an orientation film, a small museum, bookstore, and rangers on hand to answer questions.
One of the most popular ways to experience Zion Canyon is by bicycle. The Pa'rus trail is a 3.5 mile paved trail that allows bikes. It's a beautifully scenic ride up the canyon along the Virgin River.
Trail rides in Zion Canyon are a perennial favorite. One-hour and half-day rides can be arranged at the Zion Lodge in the park.
Restrooms, water, picnic tables and fire grates are all available in the Watchman and South Campgrounds. These are fee areas and available on a first-come first-served basis. Campers should plan to arrive as early in the day as possible to secure a site. Both park campgrounds tend to fill by mid-afternoon. Reservations are available for educational or youth groups of 9 to 40 people.
To reduce traffic and to improve the park experience, a new bus transportation system started operation on May 26, 2000. It l runs during the busy season, March through October, and peak periods. One loop includes stops in Zion Canyon, and a second includes stops in the town of Springdale. Parking is available throughout Springdale and inside the south park entrance.
It is possible to leave your vehicle in town and ride the shuttle to the new Zion Canyon Visitor Center or park right at the visitor center. The visitor center is the start of the Zion Canyon loop into the park. Shuttles depart each location often throughout the day. You may get on and off the shuttle as many times as you wish. Riding the shuttle on both loops is included in the park entrance fee. All visitors, except those staying at Zion Lodge, use the shuttle buses to access Zion Canyon. You also have the option of biking or hiking along the canyon's scenic drive. The Pa'rus Trail connects Zion Canyon to the new visitor center and both campgrounds.
The east side of the park will remain accessible by private vehicle. Currently motorcoaches, R.V.'s , cars and trucks may pass through the park on highway 9 but will be unable to drive up the main canyon to major points of interest, unless you are staying overnight at the lodge.
A fee is charged for large vehicles equal to or exceeding 7'10" in width or 11'4" in height for a ranger escort through the Zion Tunnel. Located on SR 9 between the main canyon and the East entrance of the park, the tunnel, completed in 1830, is 1.1 miles in length and part of a nearly impossible engineering task. As you pass through the tunnel several windows give views through the side canyon wall into the main canyon.
Photo:© Clint Crawley
Two separate roads enter the northwest section of the park. One road from I-15 between St. George and Cedar City takes you into the Kolob Fingers area. A short drive of 5.5 miles to an area which looks like a persons hand with multi-thousand foot canyons between each finger. The second road goes North from the town of Virgin and enters the Kolob Terrace and allows visitors access to the Lava Point and to various back-country canyons. The upper section of this road is closed in the winter due to snow depths.
The park is open all year and each season is distinctively beautiful. Spring brings waterfalls cascading into the Virgin River - the force that carved Zion Canyon. Summer is the favorite season with deep redcliffs rising above the lush green canyon. In autumn, brilliant red and gold foliage accents the colors in the stone cliffs. And winter offers moderate temperatures with crisp mornings and warm afternoons. A skiff of snow may appear on the silhouettes of the peaks on the west entrance while the east entrance of the park will experience heavy winter snowfall. Daytime summer temperatures range from 70- to-105 degrees F, while night temperatures are usually between 45-and-75 degrees F.
- Great White Throne
- Court of the Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac & Jacob
- The Sentinel
- Checkerboard Mesa
- Kolob Arch (310 foot span - largest in the world)
- Angel's Landing
The shuttle operates daily beginning at 6:30 a.m. every 30 minutes, increasing to every 15 minutes and then, during the busy part of the day, every 6 to 8 minutes. Toward evening shuttle times will scale back to 15 minutes, then to 30 minutes. The last bus will leave the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 9:30 p.m. The schedule is subject to change. A complete round trip will take a minimum of 90 minutes. ONLY THE SCENIC DRIVE IS CLOSED TO PRIVATE VEHICLES - ALL OTHER ROADS IN THE PARK REMAIN OPEN TO PRIVATE VEHICLES.