With its unique landscapes and breathtaking views, visiting Zion National Park is an unforgettable experience.
Did you know there are actually four Zion National Park scenic drives to enjoy? The landscape and views you’ll see along each scenic drive is breathtaking!
Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your trip and be sure to add these scenic drives to your must-do list!
You’ll find tips and things to do at the roadside stops along the scenic drives in Zion for you to explore by car, on foot, or by bike.
As you’re planning your Utah National Park road trip, these Zion scenic drives are a must-do activity!
Here are some Zion Itineraries to use to plan your vacation:
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A Photo Tour of Zion National Park
Take a visual tour through Zion National Park to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Zion National Park Scenic Drives
There are four scenic drives in various parts of Zion National Park:
- Zion Canyon
- Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway
- Kolob Terrace
- Kolob Canyons
Use this guide to know if shuttle access is required for each scenic drive, as well as things to see, do, and photograph along the way!
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
When you’re planning your Zion National Park vacation, you’ll find that the Zion Canyon is the hub of the park.
Most of the year, you’ll need to use the Zion National Park shuttle to access Zion Canyon.
Bicycling in Zion Canyon is a popular alternative to the shuttle buses. You’ll need to stay on the roadways and ride single file on the right side of the road. Bicycles are allowed on the shuttle buses, but you’ll need to be able to lift them on and off the front racks yourself.
We recommend exploring one of the Zion National Park hikes in this canyon. You’ll find the famous Zion Narrows and Angel’s Landing here.
Take your time to enjoy the points of interest at each shuttle stop as you visit the Zion Canyon scenic drive.
Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway
There are a few names for this stretch of road from Springdale to the Mt. Carmel Junction past the east entrance to Zion National Park. It’s known as Utah Scenic Byway-9, Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway.
No matter what you call it, it’s definitely a scenic drive!
This section of road through Zion National Park never closes, and you can drive your personal vehicle. There’s no shuttle bus along this route.
Note that large campers, RVs and buses must have an escort and requires a Zion Mt. Carmel permit to drive through the tunnel.
Along the 10 mile scenic drive you’ll encounter two tunnels, switchbacks, slickrock and fantastic views. There are numerous spots where you can pull off the road to take pictures or enjoy a short hike.
It’s amazing driving through the tunnels carved into the deep stone mountains. They are lit within by windows cut through to the face of the cliffs.
There are no pull-off points, and no walking or biking is allowed within the tunnels, so you’re left to see the views through the “windows” as you drive.
Kolob Terrace Scenic Drive
The Kolob Terrace Scenic Drive is another beautiful area that starts near the town of Virgin. Because it’s a bit away from Zion Canyon and Mt. Carmel, it’s not as crowded.
Kolob Terrace is a high plateau area towering above an open desert with amazing views of the colorful rocks famous at Zion.
Most of the trailheads here lead into the Zion wilderness. Exploring the backcountry and canyoneering are popular things to do at Zion National Park.
The road is open all year, but if you’re visiting Zion National Park in the winter, be prepared for unpredictable weather in this area. Access to the upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point, closes in the winter. Driving conditions can be very poor during a storm, but roads are usually plowed quickly after.
Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive
Located 40 miles north of Zion Canyon you’ll find Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive. It’s at Exit 40 on I-15, about 17 miles south of Cedar City.
The Kolob Canyon road is a five-mile drive that accesses the northwest corner of the park.
If you’re looking for Zion hikes without the shuttle, then this is the place to explore! There are three hiking trails: Timber Creek Overlook, Taylor Creek and La Verkin Creek.
The canyons here are designated as “Zion wilderness” and protected so there are group size limits to help reduce impact.
Keep in mind that access to Kolob Canyons regularly closes in inclement weather. Driving conditions can be very poor during a storm, but roads are usually plowed quickly after.
Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Itinerary
- Zion National Park Packing List
- Best Time to Visit Zion National Park
- Things to do at Zion National Park
- Zion National Park Tours
Where to Stay Near Zion National Park
You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.
- Places to Stay at Zion National Park
- Camping in Zion National Park
- RV Parks near Zion National Park
- Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
- Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
- Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
- Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants.