Zion National Park Shuttle System: Everything You Need to Know

Zion National Park is THE most visited National Park in Utah. Due to the number of visitors coming in and out of the park, the Zion National Park shuttle system was created to handle traffic and road problems.

Here’s everything you need to know about using the shuttle at Zion: operating hours, shuttle routes, where to park and more. We’ve also included information on how to get into Zion without the shuttle and things to do in Zion without the shuttle.

Also check out our Zion National Park travel guide to help you plan all the other aspects of a vacation to this park like what to pack, where to stay and things to do!

zion national park shuttle information
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National Park Packing List

When you are visiting US National Parks it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.

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Zion Shuttle Information

The Zion Canyon scenic drive is closed to private vehicles during the shuttle season. You can drive yourself on the other three Zion National Park scenic drives during the shuttle season.

The shuttle season at Zion runs from March through November, weekends in February and March, and the last week in December. Check the website for the most current shuttle schedule information.

Take a look at the map of Zion to see four scenic drive roads through the park, as well as the shuttle stops in Zion Canyon.

Are Zion Shuttle Tickets Required?

Zion National Park shuttles are free. You don’t need a ticket to use the Zion Canyon or Springdale shuttle systems.

How to Use the Zion Canyon Shuttle System

The shuttle to access Zion Canyon connects the Visitor Center to all the stops along the Zion Canyon scenic drive. Shuttles leave every few minutes going to all the stops on the route in both directions.

You may get on and off at any shuttle stop going up and down Zion Canyon. The Park Information Guide will always have the latest shuttle information.

There are a few shuttle rules:

  • No eating or smoking on the bus
  • Beverages other than water are not allowed
  • Pets are not allowed on the shuttle buses
  • Bicycles can be taken on the shuttle (no fat tire or e-bikes). You will need to be able to put your bike on the bike rack on the front of the shuttle yourself. The shuttle driver will not be able to assist you.
  • Strollers are allowed on the shuttle. You will need to be able to put your stroller on the bike rack on the front of the shuttle yourself. The shuttle driver will not be able to assist you.

IMPORTANT: Plan ahead so you don’t miss the last shuttle, or find the last shuttle is full! The walk back to your vehicle can be up to 8 miles or more, and it will be dark! You can walk to the Zion Lodge, still a long walk in the dark, where the Front Desk will have a list of companies that provide after-hours shuttle van rides. These rides are variable in price and may not be available at all times. Rangers will not give you a ride back to your vehicle.

Anyone with overnight reservations at the Zion Lodge are given a code to drive to the lodge to park in designated guest parking. Lodge guests can visit Springdale by driving their private vehicle or taking the park shuttle.

Shuttle at Zion National Park

Zion Canyon Shuttle Stops

Zion Canyon Visitor Center – Watchman Trail, Pa’rus Trail, South Campground, Watchman Campground

Zion Human History Museum – Bridge Mountain Arch (views), Altar of Sacrifice (views), and Zion Human History Museum

Canyon Junction – end of the Pa’rus Trail, river access

Court of the Patriarchs – Court of the Patriarchs (views), Sandbench Loop

Zion Lodge – Emerald Pools Trail, Zion Lodge

The Grotto – Kayenta Trail, West Rim Trail, Angel’s Landing (bathrooms, water fountain and picnic areas)

Weeping Rock – Deertrap Mountain, Cable Mountain, Hidden Canyon, East Rim Trail, Observation Point, Weeping Rock

Big Bend – Angel’s Landing (views), Great White Throne (views), river access

Temple of Sinawava – The Narrows, Riverside Walk (bathrooms, water fountain)

How Long is the Zion Canyon Shuttle Ride?

From the first stop at the Zion Visitor Center to the last stop at Temple of Sinawava is approximately 7.7 miles one way and takes about 45 minutes one way.

How to Use the Springdale Shuttle System

The Springdale Shuttle runs spring, summer and fall – check the website for the most current information.

There are 9 stops at various points in Springdale between the Majestic View Lodge (south end of town) and Zion Canyon Village (near the park entrance).

To access the Zion Canyon Shuttle get off at the Zion Canyon Village stop and walk across the pedestrian entrance footbridge to the NPS Visitor Center inside the park. This is where you’ll pay the park entrance fee.

A Springdale shuttle bus should come by every 10-15 minutes. There are two buses that loop from Shuttle Stop 9 at Majestic View Lodge to Shuttle Stop 1 at the Zion Canyon Village throughout the day.

Buses only stop if there are people at that stop waiting to board. If no one waiting, the shuttle will bypass the stop. If the shuttle is full it will not stop to pick up more passengers until seats are open.

Buses don’t stop at every stop to let people off. You will need to let the bus driver know the stop you want to be dropped off at as you board or approach the stop.

IMPORTANT: From 9:00am to 1:30pm the Springdale shuttles will not stop at outbound (west side of the road) town stops. Shuttles will only carry outbound town passengers from the Zion Village only.

Read more about parking in Springdale.

Zion Park and Shuttle Maps

Zion National Park Map

Use this map to see all four Zion National Park scenic drives in the park.

zion national park map

CLICK to get a full map of Zion National Park.

Zion Canyon Shuttle Stop Map

Use this map of Zion Canyon to see the 9 shuttle stops.

Zion Canyon shuttle map

CLICK to find the most recent shuttle stop map.

Springdale Shuttle Stop Map

Use this map of Springdale to see the shuttle stops in the town.

springdale shuttle stop map

CLICK to download the Springdale shuttle stop map.

What to Bring For a Day Trip on the Zion Shuttle

Here is a list of the essential things to pack for your day trip into Zion Canyon:

What to Bring on a Day Hike
Hiking Gear and Tips for Kids

Remember that eating or smoking is prohibited inside the shuttle bus. Pets are not allowed inside, and beverages other than drinking water are not permitted.

The Watchman at Zion National Park

How To Get Into Zion National Park Without the Shuttle

The shuttle at Zion is only used to access Zion Canyon. You can access the other three areas of the park along the Zion National Park scenic drives during the shuttle season:

Zion- Mount Carmel Scenic Byway / Highway 9

This paved road takes you from Springdale to the East Entrance of the park, about 11 miles in distance. Since this road runs through Zion, there is an entrance fee. You’ll be wowed by this narrow and winding road with striking views as you pass rock tunnels, overhangs, cliffs and gorges.

Stop at designated pullouts to take pictures. You can also venture along the trails that start at the side of the road. Plan to hit the Canyon Overlook trail for sunrise or early in the morning. It’s a short Zion National Park hike with amazing views. The trailhead is just after the exit of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, coming from Springdale, and the parking is extremely limited!

The area along Highway 9 is a natural habitat for bighorn sheep, deer and other animals so watch the landscape closely as you drive!

Kolob Terrace Scenic Drive

We love driving the Kolob Terrace road that starts near the town of Virgin. It’s a great way to experience Zion National Park without the shuttle! There is no entrance fee to drive on this road!

The Kolob Terrace road is paved to Kolob Reservoir, about 25 miles one way. It’s a high plateau area towering above an open desert with amazing views of the colorful rocks in the park.

Most of the trailheads here lead into the Zion wilderness. Exploring the backcountry and canyoneering are popular things to do at Zion National Park.

Stop at pullouts and trailheads to take photos, or walk along trails to get better views. We especially like the views at the Hop Valley trailhead.

Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive

The Kolob Canyons district of Zion National Park is located at Exit 40 on Interstate 15 about 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. It’s a five-mile scenic drive along the Kolob Canyons Road to see crimson canyons and scenic viewpoints. There is an entrance fee to access this part of Zion.

There are a few Kolob Canyons hiking trails: Timber Creek Overlook is 1 mile RT; Taylor Creek Trail is 5 miles RT; and La Verkin Creek Trail is 14 miles RT.

Zion scenic drive

What To Do In Zion Without The Shuttle

There are many things to do at Zion National Park that don’t require the shuttle. We recommend the three scenic drives described above, as well as these Zion National Park activities:

Hiking

Here’s a list of Zion hikes without the shuttle:

Biking

Biking at Zion National Park is a great way to explore the park and avoid the shuttle. Riding a bike is a great alternative to riding the shuttle to access Zion Canyon. You can rent bicycles in Springdale.

Bicycling is permitted on the park roadways and the Pa’rus Trail. Pay attention to the unexpected turns, frequent wildlife, and blind corners along the Pa’rus Trail. Cyclists must warn pedestrians before passing. All traffic rules and regulations must also be obeyed and observed. 

Canyoneering

Canyoneering involves route finding, rappelling, hiking, and swimming. There are plenty of unique canyons to explore in Zion to accommodate all levels of canyoneering skill.

The famous Subway trail is found in the Kolob Terrace of the park that doesn’t require the shuttle. But it does require a permit as well as all overnight trips in this area. If you’re new to this outdoor activity, try a canyoneering tour!

Horseback Riding

Zion National Park horseback riding is fun activity will give you a view of the park many don’t see! You’ll enjoy the views of iconic red canyons and cliffs as you ride along the trails. Anyone who has their own stock animals, read more about the guidelines for riding your own horse into the park.

Photography

There are many photo spots at Zion that aren’t in Zion Canyon that require using the shuttle:

  • Canyon Overlook trail at sunrise
  • Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway
  • Pa’rus Trail at sunset (great time for wildlife as well)
  • The Watchman with the Virgin River near sunset
  • Kolob Terrace
  • Kolob Canyons
take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

Stargazing

Anywhere in the other three Zion National Park areas (Highway 9, Kolob Terrace, and Kolob Canyons) you’ll be treated to a vast and dark sky. It really is something you have to see to believe!

If you’re there during a new moon (no moon in the sky) you might experience your first encounter with the Milky Way!

Be sure to carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp with a red light when stargazing at Zion National Park. You don’t want to shine a bright white light into someone’s eyes!

Also, it’s important at night to never stop or stand in the roadway. Always use pullouts and parking lots. This is a good safety tip in daylight or at night!

More Things to Do at Zion Without the Shuttle:

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

Zion national park guides and maps

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:

Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park

Things To Do Near Zion

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