Located in southwest Utah, at elevations ranging from 3,666 feet to 8,726 feet, Zion National Park has several sections: Zion Canyon, the main part of the park, where everyone goes, and the less-visited Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyons areas.
GETTING THERE/ACCESS POINTS: St. George and Cedar City are the closest towns with airport service. From either air-port, it’s easy to rent a car and drive to Zion. Utah 9 connects with Zion National Park, giving the main section of the park two entry gates—south and east. The drive into Zion Canyon (the main part of the park) from I-15 on the park’s western side, following Utah 9 or Utah 17, and then Utah 9 to the south entrance at Springdale, is by far the more popular, with two-thirds of park visitors arriving there. Most area lodgings and restaurants are found in Springdale, and the park’s two campgrounds and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center are located just inside the south entrance. This approach has the added advantage of avoiding possible delays at the Zion–Mt. Carmel Tunnel. However, this approach is much less scenic than the eastern approach.
From the east, it’s a spectacularly scenic 24-mile drive from Mt. Car-mel on Utah 9, reached from either the north or south via U.S. 89. How-ever, be aware that this route into the park drops over 2,500 feet in eleva-tion, passes through the mile-long Zion–Mt. Carmel Tunnel, and winds down six steep switchbacks. The tunnel is too small for two-way traffic for any vehicles larger than standard passenger cars and pickup trucks. Buses, large trucks, and most recreational vehicles must be driven down the center of the tunnel, and therefore, all oncoming traffic must be stopped. This applies to all vehicles over 7 feet 10 inches wide (including mirrors) or 11 feet 4 inches tall (including luggage racks, and so on). In-formation is available at park entrances or by calling park headquarters (435/772-3256). Such large vehicles must pay a $15 fee before enter-ing the tunnel, good for two trips through the tunnel for that vehicle dur-ing a 7-day period. All vehicles over 13 feet 1 inch tall and certain other particularly large vehicles are prohibited from driving anywhere on the park road between the east entrance and Zion Canyon.
Kolob Terrace Road, with additional viewpoints and trailheads, heads north off Utah 9 from the village of Virgin, about 15 miles west of the park’s southern entrance. This road is closed in the winter.
The Kolob Canyons section, in the park’s northwest corner, can be reached via the short Kolob Canyons Road off I-15 exit 40.
Some helpful distances: The park is 83 miles southwest of Bryce Can-yon National Park; 120 miles northwest of the north rim of Grand Can-yon National Park, in northern Arizona; 309 miles south of Salt Lake City; and 158 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
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.