There's a bend in the road just past Rockville where early glimpses of Zion National Park's famous red rock monoliths become a constant horizon. The soaring canyon walls of Zion are Springdale's postcard backdrop. Here, every sunrise is a natural phenomenon of shadows falling away like curtains and multicolored sandstone coming alive before your eyes. At dusk, the icons of Zion glow with the lingering light then yield the spotlight to the Milky Way. Zion National Park
sets the bar high for unforgettable landscapes and outdoor adventure. It takes a special town to step up to that standard. Welcome to Springdale, Utah.
As the gateway to scenery and adventure, Springdale is a little different than the other towns near Zion National Park. The charming town of 500 permanent residents welcomes a couple million visitors from all over the world to their spectacular corner of southwest Utah — though happily spread out across the year, primarily during the spring through fall.
Thanks to an international clientèle and a passion for hospitality on par with its quality of life, Springdale serves up world-class traveler-friendly accommodations, art, spas, dining, coffee, local brewing and outfitting.There are nearly three dozen restaurants in the small town, perfect for an extended stay in Zion National Park.
Cafe Soleil and Deep Creek Coffee are great stops to start your day. Live music and outdoor seating at Cafe Soleil adds a cultural diversion to your Zion trip and their emphasis on local, organic and natural ingredients ensure a nourishing meal. Expect similar provisions at Sol Foods, where you can procure healthy grocery and deli alongside camping and hardware supplies. For dinner, most canyoneers emerging from the Narrows
agree Oscar's Cafe is the perfect evening stop for the burger and beer they crave after several hours navigating Zion's famous slot canyons. Come to think of it, a burger and a beer sounds ideal after most Zion experiences. When an old gas station was converted into the unassuming Whiptail Grill, locals rejoiced in Hathaway's Famous Goat Cheese Chili Relleno and Spaghetti Squash Enchiladas. Word has gotten out. Also fuel up with fusion Asian at Thai Sapa, southwestern fare at Bit & Spur or a classic and inexpensive breakfast at Wildcat Willies.
Springdale, Utah is also home to several beautiful galleries of fine art, photography, Native art and craft, jewelry and local gems and minerals. Both the David J. West Gallery and Fatali feature Zion National Park in spectacular light and from perspectives that truly capture the canyon's majesty.
But Springdale is an adventure town at heart. 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.
Located in the southwest corner of Utah in Washington County, Zion National Park is a 4.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City
or just over 2.5 hours from Las Vegas. Zion has two park entrances, both on Utah state Route 9. One is 33 miles east of Interstate 15 and the other is 12 miles west of U.S. 89. Zion is a great addition to travel itineraries that visit Bryce Canyon National Park
, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
, Lake Powell
and Grand Canyon National Park.
Zion National Park
If it isn't abundantly obvious, Zion National Park is the top attraction in Springdale, and you can even grab the park's multipassenger shuttle from several stops in the town to avoid traffic congestion at the park's entrance. Also don't miss the Zion-Mt. Carmel scenic drive. The distinctive red asphalt leads to the narrow 1.1-mile tunnel, a triumph of 1920s engineering, the trailhead to the Canyon Overlook and further east to a junction with historic U.S. 89.
Tubing the Virgin River
During the peak heat of summer, hit up local outfitters like Zion Adventure and Zion Outfitter for the opportunity to float the Virgin River. See the town's iconic backdrop from a different angle, floating directly behind the town and through serene and remote-feeling stretches of the river. Spring runoff means a wilder river, and not typically suitable for younger children.
Grafton Ghost Town
Trouble plagued the young town of Grafton in the middle of the 19th century but the surviving ghost town was immortalized in the motion picture Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Zion Canyon and Bumbleberry Theater
"Zion-Treasure of The Gods," a dramatic, giant large screen film, is shown daily in a 500-seat theater near the mouth of Zion Canyon. The theatre's screen is the largest in Utah and one of the largest in the world measuring 60 feet high and 82 feet across. (435) 772-2400 www.zioncanyontheatre.com. Adjacent to the Bumbleberry Restaurant and one mile from the entrance to Zion National Park, the Bumbleberry Inn
Playhouse features Branson-style shows.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
Silver Reef Museum & Springdale Museum
Springdale is located just outside Zion National Park and is the gateway to everything the park has to offer. Within the town's location are state and city parks, golf areas, theaters, and museums.