Four Zion National Park Scenic Drives

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 our Zion National Park travel guide to plan your trip and be sure to add these scenic drives to your must-do list!

Keep reading for tip and things to do at the roadside stops along the routes for you to explore Zion on foot or by bike.

As you’re planning your Utah National Park road trip, these Zion scenic drives are a must-do activity!

get the free Zion National Park packing lists
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.

What to Pack for Zion National Park

DOWNLOAD: Zion National Park packing list for summer and winter!

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

outdoor gear we use

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 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 shuttle to access Zion Canyon.

You can also enjoy Zion Canyon by bike. It’s 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 taking a Zion hike or two 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.

Zion canyon red cliffs and river

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 permit to drive through the Zion-Mount Carmel 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.

This stretch of road is a terrific place to enjoy the autumn colors at Zion National Park in the fall.

take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

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 

Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive is another drive through Zion National Park. It’s located 40 miles north of Zion Canyon 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 “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.

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

Zion national park guides and maps

Plan Your Vacation to Zion National Park

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.

  • 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. 

Resources for camping near Zion:

get the free Zion National Park packing lists

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.