While Memorial Day Weekend is a time to remember and honor those we've lost in the service of our country, it has become the unofficial start of summer and Zion National Park's busiest weekend each year. Last year alone, over 75,000 people visited Zion, with the busiest day being Sunday, with a total of 31,000 visitors.
In anticipation of the crowded weekend, the park will be extending facility hours and increasing their staff. Those visiting Zion National Park during this weekend should prepare for wait times for park entrance and shuttle boarding to likely exceed 45 minutes. During last year's Memorial Day Weekend, wait for the Zion shuttle was approximately 2 hours long.
This year, access to the park will be easier with the changes that were made during the past year to widen the sidewalks along with the addition of bike lanes on both sides of the highway in Springdale.
With limited parking spaces available within Zion National Park, it is projected that in the park, all available spaces will be full by 9 a.m. during Memorial Day Weekend.
Zion National Park officials have asked that visitors park only in designated stalls, stating that vehicles parked elsewhere have the possibility of being ticketed and/or towed. Once all parking within the park is full, those visiting the park should park in Springdale and take the free Zion Shuttle to enter the park. Please note that there is a charge for parking in Springdale, and that pay stub for parking in town is not an entrance pass to Zion. Likewise, an entrance pass for the park is not parking validation for Springdale.
Starting Saturday, the backcountry permits desk and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center information desk have extended their hours until 7 p.m. The Zion Nature Center, which has hands-on activities and presentations for children and families visiting the park, will remain open from 2-6 p.m. through Monday. Also getting extended hours, the Zion History Museum will open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh stated, "Visitors should come prepared. Not only for crowded conditions, but for the hikes and other activities they are planning. With so many people visiting, we ask that visitors show additional patience with others and respectful trail etiquette. And remember that safety is your responsibility, so please avoid unsafe behaviors and risk-taking. Multiple emergencies are common during busy periods, stretching the availability of search and rescue, emergency medical and fire-fighting capabilities."
Park officials have recommended that those visiting Zion look up information on shuttle stops, buses, park facilities and trails before visiting to help ensure an enjoyable visit.
Visitors who are staying in Springdale are encouraged to leave their vehicles at their hotel and use the free shuttle to access the park walk-in gate. Be sure to plan ahead for your trip. To help avoid larger crowds, arrive early to the park. Continue to check on weather conditions for the park and pack accordingly with plenty of drinking water.