Zion National Park: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

Published on February 22, 2019 by

Things YOU need to know before YOU go to Zion National Park in Utah. Zion National Park is big… 229 square miles! Zion’s perpendicular cliffs are nearly 3,000 feet high. Unlike other canyon parks – where many visitors view the canyons from their rims – Zion draws visitors to its floor. Elevation: Lowest 3,666 ft and a high elevation of 8,726 ft at Horse Ranch Mountain.

Admission is for a week
$35 per vehicle
$20 per pedestrian

Getting In:
Zion is located in the South west corner of Utah.
The closest major airports are:
150 Miles from Las Vegas
Or 300 Miles from Salt Lake City
Driving time that’s about 3 hours from Vegas, 4.5 hours from Salt Lake City, or 8 hours from Los Angeles
There’s a couple of other small airports closer by, Saint George is just 49 miles from the park, and Cedar City is 60 miles

In the high season Summer & WInter Holidays, you have to take a shuttle in to the park, so you have to park your car in Springdale.

If you want to drive your car in, most people recommend getting in by 10am before all the lots fill up.

Getting Around:

Springdale operates a shuttle service within the town to take you from your parking lot or hotel to the park entrance.

The NPS operates another shuttle that runs on the scenic drive in the park making 9 stops.

Visitor Information
There are 2 visitor centers, the main one in Springdale, and another, the Kolob Canyon Visitor Center is located off of Interstate 15 at the west entrance of the park


4 options in the park

3 Campgrounds — only the Watchman Campground is open year round

1 Hotel, the Zion Lodge — in 2019 it’s about $220 a night

Reservations for the Lodge can be made up to 13 months in advance. Starting with the 1st of each month, the calendar opens for that whole month in the following year. The Lodge books quickly

But tons of hotels just outside the park in Springdale.

You can also stay in St. George which is about a 45 minute drive from the park.

What to bring:

Everything you need to be in a canyon for day, at least water, sunscreen. You can refill your water in the park at the Zion Lodge, Campgrounds, or Visitors Centre.

And if you’re hungry, the Zion Lodge serves breakfast and dinner… or pack a picnic from the supermarket in Springdale.


Rositas in Springdale — pretty good Santa Fe Style Mexican food


Yes — Zion has a subway! But it’s not a mode of transportation – it’s a hiking trail! It’s so popular, it requires permits in advance that are gained through a lottery. And it’s hard! Think rappelling with 60 feet of rope, and swimming through cold murky water!

When to go:

The park is open year round. Most visitors come during Spring and Fall. Campgrounds March-October. There are fewer visitors December – March (with the exception of Christmas break).

What to do besides hiking:
Horse Back Riding
Ranger Led Activities
River Trips
RIde a bike
Stargazing and the Sunset
And finally
Shopping — there’s a little gift shop at the Visitor Center

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