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Where Is Zion National Park?

Posted by GrayLineLasVegas on April 26, 2022

Highway leading to Zion National Park

Zion is a popular destination in Southern Utah. The National Park is home to some of the most incredible hikes in the region, including Hidden Canyon, Angel's Landing, and the Old Faithful Trail. With its location right on the border of three states, you may be wondering:

  • How far is Zion National Park from Vegas? 

  • What city is Zion National Park in?

  • How long Zion National Park has been around?

Read on to find out more about this incredible destination from our team at Gray Line Las Vegas.

Where Is Zion National Park Located?

Zion National Park sits in Southern Utah near the Nevada and Arizona borders. It's also not far from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and St. George. You can access the Park through 3 entrances:

  • South entrance: This is the most used entry point located on Utah State Route 9. 

  • East entrance: This entrance is accessible from Zion-Mount Carmel Highway(SR-9) but is closed in winter.

  • Northwest entrance: This entrance is east of Interstate 15.

What City is Closest to Zion National Park?

Springdale, Utah, is the closest city to Zion National Park. It's a small town outside the park boundaries near the south entrance gate and offers excellent options for hotels, restaurants, and outdoor equipment vendors.

The National Park runs a shuttle from Zion that stops at 9 locations throughout Springdale. While the location is very convenient, lodging prices can be high, and hotels fill up fast.

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How Far Is Zion National Park from Las Vegas?

Zion is about a three-hour drive from Vegas and a two-hour drive from St. George. The drive from Las Vegas to the Park begins with a trip through the Virgin River Gorge, which offers spectacular views. 

How Far Is Zion National Park from Grand Canyon National Park?

The Park is about a five-hour drive from Grand Canyon National Park. The drive between the two is mainly through the desert where you'll find yourself surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in the country.

How Big Is Zion National Park?

Zion National Park covers 229 square miles¹. Zion Canyon is over 15 miles long, with places measuring 2000-3000 feet deep. The Great White Throne measures over 2,394 feet above the canyon floor. Not only does this Park cover a lot of square footage, but it has deep canyons and incredible rocky domes and pinnacles to explore. 

How To Get to Zion National Park?

Man in camper looking at map in the mountains


How to Drive to Zion National Park:

From Southern California/Las Vegas

Las Vegas is about three hours away from Zion. You’ll take 1-15 and enter through the main Park entrance in Springdale. 

From The Grand Canyon

There are several options depending on where you start from:

  • North Rim and East Rim: These routes take about 2 hours to get to Zion National Park and are the fastest and most scenic.

  • West Rim: This route is a little longer, taking about 4 hours 45 minutes and passing through Las Vegas.

  • South Rim: From the South Rim, you'll have to follow either the Western route or the Eastern route, taking about 4 hours 30 minutes. 

From Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is about two hours away from Zion. Use the east entrance for Park access.

From Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is about 4 hours from Zion. Drive south on 1-15 to Zion’s east entrance. 

What Airport For Zion National Park Is the Best?

If you're wondering which airport to fly to for Zion National Park visiting, you'll have a few options to choose from:

Nevada

  • Las Vegas. The nearest major airport is the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS). From the airport, take I-15 south to Utah. Then take exit 16 toward Zion National Park. Follow signs to the Park entrance.

Utah

  • St. George. Another airport is in St. George, Utah (SGU). Head north on I-15 to exit 16 from the airport and follow the signs to the Park entrance. 

  • Cedar City. The third airport is situated in Cedar City, Utah (CDC). From the city, you can take US-89 south to UT-9 and then head east to UT-138 and follow signs to the Park entrance.


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What Is the Best Way To See Zion National Park?

There is no better way to see Zion National Park than on foot. The Park offers many trails of varying difficulty, so there is something for everyone. You can see the Park's most famous sights on the Pa'rus Trail², which is 6 miles long and only moderately strenuous. The trail follows a paved road that runs through the Park, so it's not too difficult to follow.

The Pa'rus Trail will take you to some of the most popular sights in Zion, including Angels Landing and the Emerald Pools. If you want a more challenging stroll, try hiking up to Observation Point or West Rim Trail for breathtaking views of Zion Canyon.

As you walk around Zion National Park, you'll see why it is one of Utah's most popular destinations and one of America's great national parks.

Can You Drive Through Zion National Park?

Driving through Zion National Park is only allowed three months out of the year when the shuttle is not in operation. Those months are December through February. As the Park enters the busy travel months and shuttle service restarts, cars are no longer allowed to drive through. You can, however, drive the 12-mile Mount Carmel Highway that connects the south and east entrances of the Park. 

What to Do in Zion National Park?

picture of the trail on angels landing in Zion National Park

1. Take in the view from Angel’s Landing

You can get a great view of Zion Canyon from Angel's Landing. You will need to hike up the trail at the end of Zion Canyon Drive, but it is well worth the climb.

2. Check out the desert scenery 

The Park has a lot of red rock scenery, so you can take in some beautiful desert formations. You can also drive around and encounter some very scenic views of the Park if you stay in Cedar City or nearby towns and aren't planning to hike through Zion Canyon.

3. Snap some photos 

Do some walking on your own and take pictures of different locations in the park to use as backgrounds for your computer screen or cell phone. There are many other places in Zion National Park where you can explore, so there are endless opportunities for photos.

4. Visit the kid-friendly areas in the Park 

If you have kids, visit a few of the kid-friendly sites like Kolob Canyons Center, where you will find play areas, a petting zoo, and a museum.

5. Go hiking

Take some time to enjoy the scenery at the Park and explore the different trails. Some are accessible for wheelchairs, so see if one of those would be a good fit for you before you go hiking.

6. Check out the geology exhibit

If you are interested in all the different geological formations in the Park, visit the geology exhibit at Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

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Where To Stay Near Zion National Park?

Deciding where to stay at Zion National Park is easier if you know what kind of experience you are looking for. With many hotel and camping options nearby, there’s something for every kind of adventure.

  • Cedar City. If you are staying in Cedar City, there are a few different options for hotels. The most popular one is the Best Western hotel, which offers a pool and game room.

  • Kanab. If you are staying in nearby Kanab, there is a Best Western hotel and a few others to choose from as well.

  • Springdale. If you are staying in Springdale, the closest city to the Park, you'll find different hotel options all within easy access to the Park. Not too far away is also St. George with some good overnight accommodations. 

  • Camping. RV parks near Zion National Park allow RVs to stay overnight and offer daily rates for your convenience and comfort.

With these great options for where to stay when visiting Zion National Park, you’re sure to find accommodations that are ideal for relaxing, hiking, and seeing Utah's beautiful sights.

Are Dogs Allowed in Zion National Park?

Dog sitting in an open trunk in the back of a car


If you've been traveling for a while and happen to bring along your furry friends, you may be wondering, are pets allowed in Zion National Park? Unfortunately, pets are not permitted in any areas within the Park, including trails, wilderness areas, the shuttle bus, or any other public building in Zion.

If you're traveling with your animals, they are only allowed on campgrounds, on roads, or on paved outlooks. Be sure to make arrangements for your pets while you explore Zion.

Can You Smoke In Zion National Park?

No smoking is allowed in Zion National Park unless you are in an enclosed vehicle. You are only allowed to smoke outside in a developed recreation site that is cleared of vegetation or other areas without vegetation that has a minimum of three feet in diameter clear down to mineral soil.

What Time Does Zion National Park Open?

Zion National Park is open every day of the year and 24 hours a day, but not all facilities and services run around the clock schedules.

Park Amenities

  • Zion Canyon Visitor Center 8 AM-5 PM

  • Park Store 8 AM-7 PM

  • Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk 8 AM-5 PM

  • Kolob Canyon Visitors Center 8 AM-5 PM

Shuttle Service

  • Shuttle service starts from the Visitor Center at 7 AM

  • The last shuttle leaves the Visitor Center at 5 PM

  • The last shuttle leaves the canyon from the Temple of Sinawava at 7:15 PM

If I Want to Experience It All, How Many Days to See Zion National Park?

It’s ideal to plan for at least 2-3 days to see Zion National Park. That gives you enough time to hike a good variety of longer and shorter terrains and see many of the must-see attractions at the Park. It’s best to plan one big activity a day and then use the remaining time on exploring some of the shorter trails and outlooks. There is so much to see in this Park that even with three full days, it’s hard to get to it all.

If you’re staying in Las Vegas, Gray Line offers a variety of tours and travel options. Contact us today and plan your next adventure!

Sources:

¹Tikkanen, A. Zion National Park. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 April 2022.

²National Park Service. (24 March 2022). Pa’Rus Trail. Retrieved 25 April 2022.


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