Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, located in rural southern Utah, are not close to any major cities or transportation hubs, and the vast majority of visitors will arrive by car, either their own or a rental. Those not driving their own vehicles will likely fly to one of several cities or towns and rent a car for the remainder of their trip. The parks are 83 miles apart by road.
Attention visitors to the U.S. from abroad: Some major airlines offer transatlantic or transpacific passengers special discount tickets under the name Visit USA, which allows mostly one-way travel from one U.S. destination to another at very low prices. Unavailable in the U.S., these discount tickets must be purchased abroad in conjunction with your international fare. This system is the easiest, fastest, cheapest way to see the country. Inquire with your air carrier.
If you plan to rent a car in the United States, keep in mind that foreign driver's licenses are usually recognized in the U.S., but you may want to consider obtaining an international driver's license. International visitors should also note that insurance and taxes are almost never included in quoted rental car rates in the U.S. And, when putting fuel in your vehicle, be aware that taxes are already included in the printed price. One U.S. gallon equals 3.8 liters or .85 imperial gallons.
Zion National Park is located 46 miles northeast of St. George, 60 miles south of Cedar City, 83 miles southwest of Bryce Canyon National Park, and 120 miles northwest of the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park, in northern Arizona. It's 309 miles south of Salt Lake City and 158 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
There are small airports at St. George (Airport Code SGU; tel. 435/627-4080; www.flysgu.com) and Cedar City (Airport Code CDC; tel. 435/867-9408; www.cedarcity.org), both located along I-15. At this time the St. George airport offers service on Delta (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com), with flights to and from Salt Lake City, and United (tel. 800/864-8331; www.united.com), with flights to and from Los Angeles. The Cedar City airport is also served by Delta, with flights to and from Salt Lake City From either airport, it's easy to rent a car and drive to Zion. Several major car-rental agencies serve each airport.
The closest major airport to Zion is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada (Airport Code LAS; tel. 702/261-5211; www.mccarran.com), which is about 120 miles southwest of St. George via I-15. Most major airlines fly into McCarran, and most major car-rental agencies have outlets at the airport.
The St. George Shuttle (tel. 800/933-8320 or 435/628-8320; www.stgshuttle.com) provides daily service between St. George and the Las Vegas airport for $30 per person one-way or $50 round trip (2 hr. 10 min. each way).
Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222 in the U.S.; tel. 001/214/849-8100 outside the U.S. with toll-free access; www.greyhound.com) is the sole nationwide bus line. It provides service to St. George and Cedar City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
International visitors can obtain the Greyhound North American Discovery Pass. It offers unlimited travel and stopovers in the U.S. and Canada, and can be obtained outside the United States from travel agents or through www.discoverypass.com.
From St. George, travel north on I-15 10 miles to exit 16, then east on Utah 9 for 30 miles to the Zion Canyon section of the park. From Salt Lake City take I-15 south to exit 27, then Utah 17 south about 10 miles, and Utah 9 east about 20 miles. Though less scenic than the eastern approach to the park, this is the easiest route; it's more direct, avoids possible delays at the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, and delivers you to Springdale, just outside the park's southern entrance, where most of the area's lodging and restaurants are located.
The Kolob Canyons section, in the park's northwest corner, is reached via the short Kolob Canyons Road, off I-15, exit 40.
From the east, it's a spectacularly scenic 24-mile drive from Mt. Carmel Junction, on Utah 9 (the Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy.), reached from either north or south via U.S. 89. However, be aware that this route into the park drops over 2,500 feet in elevation, passes through the mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, and winds down six steep switchbacks. Oversize vehicles are charged $15 for use of the tunnel. From this approach, you'll end up on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and then at the visitor center.
Bryce Canyon National Park is north and east of Mt. Carmel Junction via U.S. 89 north (44 miles) and Utah 12 east (13 miles). Kanab is 17 miles southeast of Mt. Carmel Junction along U.S. 89.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.