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Traffic, Shuttles and Fees

The Virgin River didn’t shape Zion Canyon to accommodate large numbers of visitors. There is one heavily trafficked road — Highway 9 — connecting the west and east entrances through the most popular part of the park. To help reduce traffic and parking issues, consider riding the Zion Canyon shuttle system. 

How to visit Zion

As of October 2020

Zion Shuttle System

There are two shuttles lines: one within Zion National Park and one between the entrance to the park and several stops in the town of Springdale. The park shuttle picks up passengers at nine stops (map PDF) with the Zion Canyon Visitor Center serving as the main hub. The Temple of Sinawava is the end of the Scenic Drive and the shuttle turn around point. During the busiest days buses can arrive at the stops every seven minutes. Note that the Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles when the shuttle is in operation.

There is also a free shuttle system in Springdale that delivers people from their hotels to the park entrance. To minimize congestion, the town shuttle is the best option for visitors with overnight stays at accommodations in Springdale. Anyone staying in Springdale should leave their car at the hotel and use the shuttle instead. Parking within Zion National Park is usually full between 8 and 9 a.m. Don't forget your annual pass or receipts if you've previously entered the park by vehicle.

There are also off-street paid parking lots in Springdale near shuttle stops with hourly and all-day rates that are less than on-street parking.

Visitors are allowed to drive through the park on Highway 9 year round. A wonder of human achievement on Highway 9 makes travel from the Springdale to Mount Carmel Junction. When it was completed in 1930 the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel was the longest tunnel of its kind in the country. It was completed to give tourists easier access between Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon national parks.

Oversized Vehicles in the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

All vehicles, however, are not allowed to drive through the tunnel and others must pay a special fee to get private time in the tunnel.

People driving motorhomes are required to stop at the entrance station and get their vehicles measured if they plan to drive through the tunnel at any point. If the vehicle will fit in the tunnel a $15 fee must be paid for rangers to shut down traffic in both directions to allow the motorhome to drive through the tunnel without traffic. There are special times of the day when the oversized vehicles are allowed to drive through the tunnel with a permit. Specifications for motorhomes that will fit in the tunnel can be found on the Zion website. Visitors are only allowed to go through the tunnel in vehicles. No pedestrians or bicyclists are allowed in the tunnel.

Kolob Canyon Road

The Kolob Canyons section of the park is not connected to Zion Canyon. Instead, it is located at Exit 40 on Interstate 15, 40 miles north of Zion Canyon and 17 miles south of Cedar City. From the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, E Kolob Canyon Road takes visitors along the Kolob Fingers Road Scenic Byway (10 miles roundtrip) to a photogenic viewpoint. While the view at the end is spectacular, there are also options to get out and hike along the byway. If you find yourself wanting to stretch your legs, consider hiking the La Verkin Creek Trail, the Taylor Creek Trail or the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. 

Cycling

Interest in bicycling in the park is growing. Riding a bike is allowed on all park roads; riding on hiking trails in Zion is not allowed. Visitors staying in the campgrounds or entering the park from Springdale can ride from the visitors center on the  Pa’rus Trail 1.75 miles to the Canyon Junction. At the junction cyclists can then ride on the 7-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Riders are required to pull over and stop when approached from behind by a shuttle bus while riding on the Scenic Drive. One way to enjoy a day in the park is to ride the shuttle to the top of the Scenic Drive — each shuttle has a rack with room for at least two bikes — and ride down the canyon and Pa’rus trail back to the visitors center.

Fees

Visitors are required to pay an entry fee or show a valid annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Check with the park for current fee amounts.

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