ZION Ntl PARK, UT
Just a short 2-hour drive from Las Vegas, Nevada is Zion National Park, located in southeastern Utah near the city of Springdale. Its beauty is breathtaking! You could easily make it a day trip or a weeks stay, depending on your schedule availability. There's a lot to see and do in Zion National Park, so obviously the more time you have, the more you'll be able to take in. But even if your time is limited, you'll definitely want to make Zion National Park a priority on your bucket list.
From mid-March to late November, the National Park Service provides a free, and also mandatory, shuttle service to accommodate the high number of visitors in Zion Canyon. Visitors can drive their personal vehicles into Zion Canyon if they have reservations at the Zion Lodge and when shuttles aren't running on a daily basis. Personal vehicles are also allowed to travel select routes through the park: Highway 9, which connects the west and east entrances, plus the out-and-back 10-mile round trip on the Kolob Fingers Road Scenic Byway.
Visitors are required to pay an entry fee or show a valid annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Each vehicle is $30 for a week in the park. A motorcycle permit is $25. People entering the park on foot or bicycle pay $15. Children 15 and under are allowed to enter with no charge.
Zion National Park is world famous for its incredibly scenic hikes taking visitors through natural arches and narrow canyons, clear pools and grandiose vista overlooks. We highly recommend that you stop at the Zion National Park Visitors Center to consult with a ranger about current conditions before setting out on a hike. If you're hiking with small kids, you'll want to check out the Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock Trails. If your kids are a bit more experienced, take them to the Canyon Overlook Trail. Some other relatively simple hikes are the Pa'rus Trail and the Riverside Walk, both of which are wheelchair accessible hikes. When you get to the Virgin River Narrows though, be aware it's for experienced canyon hikers only! Some other more adventurous hiking trails are Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, Taylor Creek, Kolob Arch and Angels Landing. If you want to do some overnight backpacking, you'll love the West Rim Trail and the Narrows.
You can also experience Zion National Park without venturing off-road onto hiking trails. Get on a shuttle bus for the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive that follows the North Fork of the Virgin River upstream from Canyon Junction. Or drive in your personal vehicle on Highway 9 from the west entrance of Zion National Park to the east entrance. You'll climb switchbacks from the canyon floor, pass through two narrow tunnels, and end up on a high plateau. Or go to the northwest corner of Zion National Park and take the Kolob Fingers Road Scenic Byway for more solitude and a dramatic desert scenic overlook.
If you're visiting Zion National Park for longer than the day, which we highly recommend, you can either camp or stay in a hotel or lodge. Watchman and South Campgrounds are located in Zion Canyon. You'll want to book your campsite ahead of time, because both campgrounds are quite popular and fill quickly. Lava Point Campground is location in north-central Zion and offers more primitive camping. Zion Lodge is located within Zion National Park. Accommodations include historic cabins with two double beds, full bath, gas log fireplace and private porch or private hotel rooms with a porch or balcony. Or just outside Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah and in St. George, Utah are numerous other lodging options, varying from hotels to bed and breakfasts.