Zion National Park Visitor Information
All the deets on Utah’s most people-y national park.
Two’s company, 3.6 million’s a crowd. That’s how the saying goes, right? Maybe not. But 3.6 million people did visit Zion National Park during 2020, making it the most popular in Utah and the third busiest in the United States. For perspective, Yellowstone National Park welcomed 3.8 million visitors and it boasts 3,471 square miles compared to Zion’s 229 square miles. All the mathletes out there will tell you that’s 15 times the amount of land for Yellowstone’s visitors to spread out on.
This doesn’t mean you can’t find an uncrowded corner brimming with quiet beauty within Zion National Park or that you won’t enjoy your trip, however. There’s no denyin’ Zion is amazing! The numbers simply underscore the importance of planning ahead so you don’t find yourself stuck outside the park rather than navigating Narrows or using your wide-angle lens to photograph the valley. (Sorry to be a buzzkill for all you spontaneous sojourners out there!)
Millions of people on a single stretch of road? The popularity of ZNP used to be a traffic nightmare, causing more congestion than ragweed during pollen season. To shrink the swell of cars, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles from mid-March through November. Visitors must ride the shuttle during peak months to access popular attractions including Emerald Pools, Angels Landing, Riverside Walk and The Narrows.
Tickets are required to ride the shuttle and may be purchased for $1 in advance through Recreation.gov. Walk-up tickets are released and sold each afternoon, but it is highly recommended visitors purchase tickets in advance since quantities are limited. For more information on shuttle tickets, visit this page.
Private vehicles are allowed to drive on Kolob Terrace Road as well as on Zion-Mount Carmel Highway year-round.
Visitor Center Information and Hours
Zion National Park has two visitor centers, as well as a museum and gift shop. First-timers are encouraged to stop and watch a short film on the history of the park, talk to rangers and learn more about the fragile (yet fierce!) desert environment. Hours vary by season.
Winter in Zion
Zion is pretty chill (both literally and figuratively) from December through February. On average, only 2-3% of the park’s annual visitors come during each of these months. You’ll see fewer people, more wildlife. And though you may need to wear an extra layer or two, you can explore at your own pace and the scenery is every bit as spectacular.
Zion Itineraries and Articles
If “details, schmetails” is your motto, we’ve got you covered. Use this itinerary to make your way through ZNP, hitting some of the most popular trails along the way. We’ve also got a “thrice as nice” itinerary that includes Zion, Escalante and Bryce. And scavenger hunts for kids. And on. And on.
Guide to Zion National Park
The Utah.com crew put together a guide full of Zion tips for all ages and abilities, from mild meanderings along Pa-rus Trail to wildly spectacular views from Angels Landing. And, of course, a “hidden gem” where you can escape the crowds is included because we’re cool like dat.
Zion Maps and T-Shirts
Exploring heaven on Earth (aka Zion National Park) without cardinal directions is considered a cardinal sin by devout outdoorsists. Pick up a National Geographic topographic map that’s practically indestructible (read: waterproof and tear-resistant) from the Utah.com store. And while getting lost is no laughing matter, our funny graphic tees showcasing the best Utah jokes are. Be sure to add a couple of those to your cart, too.
Map & Directions to Zion National ParkDirections
Articles & Itineraries
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