- By kevin
- On May 7, 2018
- North America
- Travel Tips
The best way to get around Zion National Park is on the park's free shuttle during the nine months of the year that it runs. Follow our Zion National Park travel guide to explore it easily. Between December and February, your only option is a car since the shuttle pauses service during the winter months. If you choose to drive into the park, you'll have to pay a $30 entrance fee, which is valid for seven days. If you enter as a pedestrian or bicyclist (or via the free shuttle from the neighboring town of Springdale), you'll be asked to pay $15.
The closest major airport is McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. It's about 172 miles (or about a three-hour drive) southwest of the park. There are also two regional airports in St. George and Cedar City, Utah, but they only offer limited flights from Salt Lake City, Denver and Phoenix.
Not only does the shuttle save travelers the hassle of dealing with directions and parking, it also helps them enjoy the park without the concern of maneuvering the hairpin turns and steep switchbacks characteristic of the park. There are two free shuttles that shuffle travelers around Zion National Park and the gateway city of Springdale, where most of the area's hotels and accommodations are located. Between March and November, the shuttle picks up passengers in Springdale and makes drops at the top attractions and trailheads throughout the park. It also wheels passengers along the park's breathtaking portion of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is closed to private vehicles when the shuttle is operating. The average wait time for a shuttle is 15 minutes or less.
Although visitors can get around Zion National Park via a personal vehicle all year, it's the only option for traversing the park between December and February, when the shuttle has shut down for the season. You can rent vehicles from various companies at McCarran International Airport or the park's neighboring town of Springdale. Keep in mind that the park features some winding roads that have steep drop-offs.
Another consideration: Most of the park's lots are completely full from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m., especially during peak summer season, so it's best to drive in to the park early to avoid frustration. You can also leave your car in Springdale and ride the free shuttle into the park. If no speed limits are posted, the official speed limit is 35 mph.