With nearly 4.5 million visitors each year, Zion National Park consistently ranks as one of the top 5 National Parks in the country, and once you’ve been, you understand why! As you drive into the Zion Canyon you feel as if you’ve entered another world! It is easily one of the most epic and scenic places we have ever visited, and if it’s not on your bucket list, go ahead and add it now! But be sure to check out these tips before your visit...
Be sure to check out our Zion National Park travel vlog for a closer look at our experience in the park!
1. Plan Ahead
With so many people visiting Zion each year, it is absolutely necessary to plan your trip AT LEAST one month in advance. All of the hotels, outdoor outfitters, transportation, literally everything starts to book up 3-4 weeks out. Even the shuttles in Zion are near impossible to get on. At the time of writing this (early April 2021) the shuttle is being operated on a shuttle pass system that requires planning ahead or a bit of luck… or both! If you’re planning to use the shuttle for transportation in the park here are a few key points you need to know...
Advanced tickets ($1.00 each) will be released twice a month, on the 16th and the last day of the month. Tickets must be purchased on-line at Recreation.gov
Additional tickets ($1.00 each) will be released the day before your intended visit at 5:00 p.m. (for example, tickets for April 13, will be released at 5:00 p.m. on April 12). Tickets must be purchased on-line at Recreation.gov
Afternoon walk-up tickets (no charge) will be available from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. These tickets are limited and are first come, first served.
Your pass is good for one boarding at the visitors center and must be used during the given 1 hr reserved time slot
Once your in the park you can ride within the park as much as needed
Shuttle are operating at limited capacity making it that much more difficult to obtain shuttle tickets
Even with the plethora of information that you find around the internet, the best thing to do to ensure that you are as up to date as possible on park rules and regulations is to either visit the park's website or call the park at 435-772-3256 to speak to a ranger.
2. Rent eBikes
With such a slim chance of getting on a shuttle these days, it’s easy to lose hope on visiting Zion, but don’ t give up! There are other ways to get into the park! And renting eBikes is the best way in our opinion! We got our bikes from Ride Zion eBike Rentals and it was AMAZING! We can not recommend them enough! Not only do you not have to rely on a shuttle, but you also get to take the park at your own pace! You are in control of your schedule! Plus, you are completely immersed in the park. All of your senses experiencing Zion to the fullest! Even if/when the shuttle system gets back to normal, we have no plans of using it. Ride Zion eBike Rentals is 100% the way to go!
3. Get There Early
By 10am, the crowds around the main trail heads and shuttle stops can get pretty crazy, so we recommend getting to the park as early as possible to beat the crowds. It just makes for a more pleasant experience overall. And if you took our advice and rented eBikes from Ride Zion eBike Rentals, then you are ahead of the game, because unlike many of the rental shops, they start their pickups as early as 7am!
4. Bring Essentials (water, food, sunscreen, etc.)
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised! There aren’t many options for food or drink once you’re in the park, so your best bet is to bring plenty of your own! There are water fountains and water filling stations to refill any water bottles you may have, so take advantage of those and stay hydrated. As we've heard locals say... "The dry heat will sneak up on you!", and before you know it, you are extremely dehydrated! Another essential that can easily be forgotten (especially in the cooler weather) is sunscreen! We made the mistake of forgetting ours in our car and we didn’t realize it until we were on the trail. Thankfully we didn’t get TOO burnt because we were wearing long sleeves and neck gaiters, but had it been in the heat of summer, we might not have been so fortunate! Learn from our mistakes!
5. Stay till Sunset
We know... if you've gotten up at 6am (or earlier) to beat the crowds, staying till sunset can make for a long day, but you won’t regret sticking around for the golden hour. It was easily one of the biggest highlights of our time in Zion! Most people leave the park in the late afternoon, so there’s a good chance that you will pretty much have the park to yourself… or at least it will feel like it! This is the time of day that much of the wildlife comes out to feed and the way the light reflects off the canyon walls is nothing short of magical!
We hope that these quick tips help you plan your next visit to Zion National Park! If you have any additional tips, feel free to leave them in the comments! Happy adventuring!