Zion Park Information
Highest in summer; lowest in winter.
Southwest Utah, on the edge of the Colorado Plateau
Address: Superintendent, Zion National Park, Springdale, UT 84767 Telephone: 435-772-3256 This line offers 24-hour recorded information.
During summer months, the visitor centers are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Spring, fall and winter hours are shortened. Some visitor centers are closed on some federal holidays. Call our 24 hour number for current updates at 435-772-3256.
Be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. Temperatures vary with changes in elevation and seasons. Day/night temperatures may differ by over 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring weather is very unpredictable. Stormy, wet days are common, but warm, sunny weather may occur too. Precipitation peaks in March and September. Spring wildflowers bloom from April through June, peaking in May. Summer days are hot (95-100 degrees F.), but overnight lows are usually comfortable (65-70 degrees F.) Afternoon thunderstorms are common from mid-July through mid-September. Storms may produce waterfalls as well as flash floods. Fall days are usually clear and mild; nights are often cool. Autumn color displays begin in September in the high country, and in Zion Canyon in early November. Winters in Zion Canyon are fairly mild. Winter storms bring rain or light snow to Zion Canyon, but heavier snow to the higher elevations. Clear days may become quite warm, reaching 60 degrees F.; nights are often in the 20s and 30s. Winter storms can last several days and cause roads to be icy, especially on the east side of Zion. Zion roads are plowed, except the Kolob Terrace Road, which is closed in winter. Be prepared for winter driving conditions from November through March.
Established 1909 as Mukuntuweap National Monument; expanded in 1919 as Zion National Park. Significance Established to preserve and protect the scenic beauty, unique geologic features, and unusual assemblage of plants and animals. Size 229 square miles.
Lowest – 3,666 ft (1,128m) Coalpits Wash in the southwest corner. Highest – 8,726 ft (2,660 m), Horse Ranch Mountain in the Kolob Canyons section. Precipitation Annual Average; 15 inches. Name Zion, a Hebrew word referring to a place of safety or refuge, given to this canyon by Mormon pioneers in the 1860s. Geology Sedimentary rock, mostly sandstone. Some limestone, shale, mudstone and conglomerate. Mostly Triassic through Jurassic (250 million to 150 million years ago). Some recent volcanic activity in the form of cinder cones and lava flows. Plant Life Richest diversity of plants in Utah–almost 800 native species. Differences in elevation, sunlight, water, and temperature create “microenvironments”, like hanging gardens, forested side canyons, and isolated mesas that lend to this diversity.
Animal Life 75 species of mammals, 271 birds, 32 reptiles and amphibians, 8 fish. Commonly seen animals include mule deer, rock squirrels, lizards, and many species of songbirds. Rare or endangered species include Peregrine Falcons, Mexican Spotted Owls, spinedace (a fish), and some species, like the Zion snail, found nowhere else on earth. Human History Evidence of Ancestral Puebloans, formerly known as the Anasazi, date from about 2,000 years ago; Paiutes from about 800 years ago. Mormon settlers arrived in the 1860s. Park Visitation in 1920 was 3,692; in 1996 it reached 2.6 million.
The Visitor Center at the Kolob Canyons entrance is accessible via Exit 40 from I-15. I-15 passes west of the Park and connects with UT-9 and 17 to the Park. US-89 passes east and connects with UT-9 to the Park. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is a short distance from the Park’s South Entrance adjacent to Springdale. The closest airport is in St. George, UT, 46 miles (74.1 km).
Fees, Costs, Rates
As part of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program instituted by Congress in 1996, entrance fees are collected year round. 80% of all fees collected now stay in the park. In Zion these new fees will allow campgrounds site to be increased, improve accessibility at park facilities, and improve park wayside exhibits, trail maintenance, and revegetation efforts.
- $20.00 Single Person Entry Entry into Zion National Park by foot, bicycle, or motorcycle for 7 days.
- $35.00 Single Vehicle Entry Valid at Zion National Park for 7 days.
Commercial Tour Vehicle Fees
Commercial tour fees are charged. Operators should contact the park at (435) 772-3256 for specific information on rates. Commercial tour operators fee is based on bus capacity and ranges from $35 to $190
There are size restrictions on vehicles traveling through the 1.1-mile (1.7 km) tunnel on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. The tunnel height at its east entrance is 11 feet 4 inches (3.5 m). A $15 fee may be required for escort service for large vehicles through the narrow tunnel. Parking of large vehicles is regulated in various locations throughout the Park during the summer.
Annual Pass: $80, good for one year at any National Park or Federal Recreation Area. Purchase your Annual Pass online Here
Facilities and Opportunities
Both visitor centers and Zion Lodge are fully accessible to those with special needs. Several campsites in the South Campground are reserved for people with disabilities and three trails are accessible. . Many interpretive talks are accessible. The 1-mile (1.6 km) Riverside Walk, which begins at the north end of Zion Canyon Drive, is paved and accessible with assistance. The 2-mile accessible Pa’rus Trail was opened in 1995.
Permits are required for all backcountry camping. The cost is $5.00 per person per night. Maximum group size is 12 people, including all leaders. Permits and hiking information are available at both visitor centers. BICYCLING: Bicycles are permitted only on established roads and the Pa’rus Trail. Cyclists must obey traffic laws. Bicycles are not allowed on hiking trails or off-trail. Ride defensively; automobile traffic is often heavy and drivers may be distracted by the scenery. Riding through the Zion-MT Carmel Tunnel is prohibited. Bicycles must be transported through by motor vehicle.
Watchman and South Campgrounds Near the south entrance to the park. Individual camp sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $10 per night or $5 for holders of Golden Age/Access cards. Sites with electrical hook-ups are $14 per night. Arrival before noon generally ensures a campsite. You may self register at the campground. Group Campsites are available by reservation only to organized groups of 9-40 people for $2.00 per person plus $2.50 per campsite; (800) 365-2267. Facilities include restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables, fire grates, RV dump stations, and utility sinks. Stays are limited to 14 days. Lava Point A 6-site primitive campground, no water, no fee. Campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis. Maximum vehicle size is 19 feet. Open June-November. Other private campgrounds with showers and hookups are available in communities adjacent to the park.
Permits are required for all through hikes of the Narrows and its tributaries, the Left Fork of North Creek (the Subway), Kolob Creek, and all canyons requiring the use of aid. The Subway is limited to 50 people per day and reservations are taken between the hours of 1:00pm and 5:00pm the day prior to the hike. Other hiking permits are available at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. up to 2 weeks prior to the hike. Cost: $5:00 per person, $3 age 4-16. The maximum group size is 12, including all leaders.
Climbing on Zion’s sandstone requires appropriate hardware and techniques. Information on climbing is available at visitor centers. Climbing and rappelling is prohibited on the cliffs above Middle and Lower Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock. Some routes may be closed to climbing when Peregrine Falcons are nesting. A permit is required for overnight climbs. Visit the Backcountry Permit Desk for additional climbing routes and information.
Fires are permitted only in the fire pits provided at campgrounds and some picnic areas. Bring or purchase your firewood; collecting wood is not permitted. Firewood is available for purchase outside the park. Keep fires small and under control. Make sure fires are dead out and never leave a fire unattended. Fires are not permitted in the backcountry at any time; use a stove to cook.
Food & Supplies
Zion Lodge Snack bar and dining room. Dinner reservations are advised spring through fall: (435) 772-3213 Other Food Service Restaurants are available in Springdale, Mt. Carmel Junction, Kanab, Virgin, Hurricane, LaVerkin, and St. George. Groceries Full service grocery stores and/or convenience stores are available in Springdale, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Mt. Carmel Junction and Kanab. For addresses and phone numbers of services outside of the park visit the Zion Canyon Chamber of Commerce Web Site http://www.zionpark.com.
For 24-hour emergency response, call 772-3322 or 911. First aid is available in the Park. A physician’s assistant is available in Springdale at the Zion Canyon Medical Clinic in the summer and part-time in the winter, and a physician is in Hurricane, 24 miles (38 7 km).
Hospitals are in St. George, 45 miles (72.5 km); Cedar City, 60 miles (96.7 km); and Kanab 42 miles (67.7 km).
Be aware of desert hiking conditions. All hikers should carry sufficient water for their projected hike. The maximum group size for backcountry hiking is 12 people of the same affiliation on the same trail or in the same drainage on the same day. This includes all group leaders. This is to reduce the impacts of large groups on the resource and on the experience of other hikers. For your safely – All hikers should take precautions. Obtain detailed information from a Park Ranger before attempting backcountry trails. Do not hike alone. Stay on established trails. Stay out of drainage areas during thunderstorms. Be alert for rockfalls and landslides. You must take responsibility for your own actions and safety.
Guided trips are available March through October. Reservations are advised. Call (435) 772-3810 or inquire in person at Zion Lodge. For private stock use, contact visitor centers.
Zion Lodge is operated by AmFac. Reservations for cabin and motel accommodations are available through AmFac, 303-297-2757. Other Lodging Available in Springdale, Mt. Carmel Junction, Kanab, and other nearby communities. Call Travel Services Utah, (800) 259-3843 for reservations or visit the Zion Canyon Chamber of Commerce Web Site http://www.zionpark.com.
Zion Lodge provides tram tours of upper Zion Canyon. Drivers of oversize vehicles may wish to consider this option. A hiker shuttle is also available for transportation to backcountry trailheads. Call (435) 772-3213 for prices and details.
Swimming, Tubing, Wading & Boating
Be aware of swift currents, cold water, flash floods, slippery rocks, deep holes, and submerged logs and boulders. Wear shoes to protect your feet. Swimming and wading are not permitted in the Emerald Pools. Tubing is only permitted on the Virgin River from the River access in the Watchman Campground; Parking is available in the amphitheater parking area. Tubes and shuttle service are available outside the South Entrance. For addresses and phone numbers of services outside of the park, visit the Zion Canyon Chamber of Commerce Web Site http://www.zionpark.com.
Recomended Activities / Park Use
Overlooks and trails abound along scenic drives through Zion, and there are ranger programs at most developed areas year round. Zion provides wonderful opportunities for:
- Hiking – Zion offers many trails ranging from short “leg-stretcher” walks to the strenuous adventures.
- Wildflowers & Fall Colors – The variety of mountain and canyon environments makes Zion an excellent location for wildflower walks in the spring and summer and brilliant leaf color in the autumn.
- Photography – Zion offers the photographer many opportunities to explore color, texture, and light.
- Birdwatching – Zion is home to 271 species of birds. A bird checklist can be obtained at the visitor centers.
- Bicycling – The Pa’rus Trail offers a paved, car-free alternative for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with strollers or wheelchairs to visit lower Zion Canyon and access the Scenic Drive.
- Ranger-led activities – During the summer, join a Park Ranger to learn more about Zion National Park. Topics include geology, plants, animals, human history and other features. Programs include guided walks, short talks at the visitor centers and evening programs at the campground amphitheaters and Zion Lodge. All programs are free. Check the weekly schedules posted at visitor centers and bulletin boards throughout the park for times, places, and subjects.