Welcome to the east side of Utah's Zion National Park. Visitors who stay on this side of the park enjoy what is often referred to as the quiet side of the park, and they also have much closer access to other destinations such as Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, and even the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The eastern side of Zion National Park is accessed via Utah State Route 9, a scenic highway, which passes through Zion and connects with US Highway 89. Elevations in East Zion range from 5,200' to over 6,500' resulting in cooler summer time temperatures than are found on the west side of Zion.
Where to Stay
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and Zion Mountain Ranch are each located close to the east boundary of Zion National Park, and the Best Western Thunderbird Lodge is located in Mt. Carmel Junction (approximately 13 miles from the park). Hotel rooms, cabins, vacation rentals, glamping, and camping are all lodging types that are available through these properties. Each destination offers dining services. Additional lodging services are found in the community of Orderville on US-89.
Zion National Park: Thirty miles in length and 15 miles across (at widest point), Zion is Utah's most popular national park with elevations ranging from 4,000' to 8,700' and with diverse white and red-hued sandstone formations that have been carved over eons by the forces of wind and water.
- Checkerboard Mesa (Scenic Viewpoint)
- The Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel (Mile long tunnel through mountain)
- Observation Point (Hiking Trail)
- Cable Mountain (Hiking Trail)
- Canyon Overlook (Hiking Trail)
Bryce Canyon National Park: Less than an hour from East Zion is the Pansaugunt Plateau and Bryce Canyon which is a series of rock amphitheaters cut into the edge of the plateau. This 20-mile long national park is a must see while staying in the East Zion area, and is an easy half day experience that can be expanded to a full-day, as desired.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes: One of the most significant sand dunes on the Colorado Plateau, this Utah state park is easily accessible just south of East Zion. ATV and UTV vehicles are permitted on the dunes, and visitors enjoy hiking and sledding on the dunes. The soft red hues of sand at this park are a bold and colorful contrast to the verdant greens of the surrounding forests of pine, pinion, juniper, and sage.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument: This monument may be accessed through nearby Glendale, Utah on the Glendale Bench Road, and is just minutes away from the East Zion area. The Grand Staircase is a vast compilation of canyons, plateaus of unique formations just waiting to be explored. Dirt roads are the primary access into this area so check road conditions, and bring along plenty food and water, and appropriate back-country gear and supplies.
Cedar Breaks National Monument: As part of a plateau that rises to over 11,000 feet, to the north of East Zion, Cedar Breaks is a series of limestone amphitheaters cut into the western edge of the Markagunt Plateau. Other nearby attractions are Navajo Lake, Cascade Falls, and Mammoth Cave, and all are within a short drive from East Zion.
Read these additional resources to learn how to travel thoughtfully and experience Zion National Park most fully.
View this map for directions to East Zion services.