Zion National Park Logistics
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah, easy to reach from I-15 via UT Highway 9. Zion National Park is:
3 hours northeast of Las Vegas
5 hours southwest of Salt Lake City
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. If you're driving down from Salt Lake City, consider taking the Heritage Highway 89.
The jaw-dropping geography of Zion National Park is a result of the Virgin River slicing through thousands of feet of layered Navajo sandstone to create dramatic and steep-walled Zion Canyon. Originating from snow-drifts atop the 9,000-foot-high Markagunt Plateau, the Virgin River flows through a spectacular landscape of high plateaus, sheer canyons, and monolithic cliffs. Zion Canyon itself is like a desert oasis, with the Virgin River’s cobbled banks are lined with groves of box elder, willow, cottonwood, and ash trees. Wide alcoves in the cliff faces hide dripping springs that nourish ferns and wildflowers in lush hanging gardens. In its upper canyon, the river dashes through an abrupt defile called The Narrows, a deep, narrow slot canyon with a gradient as steep as 80 feet per mile.
South Entrance (Zion Canyon), Northwest Entrance (Kolob Canyon), East Entrance. Learn more about overnight options in Zion.
Climate and weather
The weather at Zion National Park can be characterized in a word—diverse. During the hot summer season, temperatures over 100 degrees are common, so people venturing out for a hike should stick to the early morning and late evening. Spring and fall have the more moderate weather and might be the best time to visit Zion. April and May and September and October are usually warm and sunny with highs between 60 and 90 degrees on average. However, expect occasional cool and even rainy spells during these months. During springtime expect the water levels in the canyons to be higher—some of these hikes may be off limits. Autumn is an ideal time for a Zion visit, with clear days, mild nights, and low water levels that make hiking and exploring safer and more enjoyable. Fall colors in Zion Canyon are usually best viewed in late October.
When to visit
Zion National Park is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. The most popular months to visit are April through October, when the shuttle busses are running in Zion Canyon. Spring, summer and fall will be more crowded than winter. Because spring runoff can make canyon hiking difficult or impossible, and summer temperatures can make hiking at midday uncomfortable or worse, fall is the best time to visit Zion if you're a serious hiker. Simply put, though, there really isn’t a bad time of year to visit Zion National Park. It largely depends on your preferences for activities and crowds.
7-day entrance passes to Zion National Park cost $25 for vehicles and $12 per person for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The shuttle busses that run in Zion Canyon from April through October are free.