If you have started to plan your trip to Zion National Park, you may already know that the main part of Zion Canyon, called the Scenic Drive, is closed to private vehicles for most of the year. To venture into this part of Zion Canyon, you need to take a shuttle bus. There is a lot to know about the shuttle so you don’t miss out. This guide is designed to answer all your questions about the shuttle.
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How does the shuttle work at Zion National Park?
Back in the day, Zion Canyon basically turned into a traffic jammed parking lot in the busy season, so in 2000, the main part of the canyon was closed to private vehicular traffic and a free shuttle service was implemented. Until recently, there was one shuttle service that had several stops in Springdale, just outside the park’s south gate, and continued into the park, along the floor of Zion Canyon to the end of the road.
Things have changed with COVID and all the information here is updated for the 2021 season.
UPDATE 05/28/21: As of 5/28/21, shuttle tickets are no longer required for Zion National Park. If you already purchased tickets, you will be given priority in line for the time of your ticket. The stops have not been changed, however.
There are now two different shuttles.
(1) In Springdale. This stops at nine different stops in Springdale starting at Majestic View Lodge and ending at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at the south entrance to Zion National Park. It is free.
(2) In the park. There are two different routes, which are explained below.
Zion shuttle stops
Initial boarding is either at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or Zion Lodge (if you are staying there overnight).
There are two ‘routes’ in the park.
(1) The Visitor Center Route
This is the shuttle you take to get into and out of the park because it picks up and drops off at the Visitor Center.
Picks up at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center 7:00am – 4:00pm
You no longer need to board the shuttle here at the time on your ticket. Just line up when you are ready to take the shuttle.
Drops off at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Zion Lodge all day.
Note that the first stop after the Visitor Center is Zion Lodge, where the Circulator Route begins/ ends.
(2) The Circulator Route
This one goes in a circular route between Zion Lodge and the Temple of Sinawava. You can use it to get around the main part of the canyon but not to get into or out of the park because it only goes along the Scenic Drive section of Zion Canyon.
Shuttle stops are:
- Going towards the Temple of Sinawava at the far end of the canyon: Zion Lodge (the stop for Emerald Pools hike) and the Grotto (the stop for Angel’s Landing hike)
- Going towards the Visitor Center: Big Bend and the Zion Lodge
It drops off at but does not pick up from the Temple of Sinawava stop (for The Narrows and Riverside Walk hikes).
On both routes, you have to get off at the Temple of Sinawava.
Note that the regular Zion National Park shuttle stops Human History Museum, Canyon Junction, Court of the Patriarchs, and Weeping Rock are all currently closed.
(3) The Springdale Route
This is the free shuttle that loops around nine stops in Springdale. It does not require a ticket. The first shuttle starts at Stop 9 (Majestic View Lodge) at 8:00 am and the last shuttle leaves the Zion Canyon Village (the stop just outside the park entrance) at 6:00 pm.
Note that the last Zion Canyon shuttle leaves from Temple of Sinawava at 7:15 pm and gets to the Visitor Center well after the Springdale town shuttle has finished for the day.
Buses run every 10-15 minutes for most of the day. Let the bus driver know where you get off, as they only stop when needed.
Zion Shuttle Map
Zion Shuttle Schedule
The Zion shuttle service starts at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 7:00 am. There was a timed ticket system, but as of 5/28/21, this was discontinued. Just line up and take the free shuttle when you want to use it.
The last shuttle back to the Visitor Center leaves the Temple of Sinawava at 7:15 pm, arriving back at the Visitor Center at around 8:00 pm. If this is full and you miss it, you will need to walk to the Zion Lodge (3.6 miles / 70 minutes) and call from there for a taxi to come and collect you!
Zion Canyon Shuttle FAQs
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes, masks are currently mandated in all national parks, and especially on the shuttle, where social distancing is impossible.
Can I take a bicycle on the shuttle
Yes, the shuttles have bike racks at the front. E-bikes and fat tire bikes are not allowed, however.
Can I take a stroller on the shuttle?
Yes, you can put it on the bike rack on the front of the shuttle bus.
Can I take a pet on the shuttle?
Service animals are permitted, but pets are not. Emotional support/ therapy dogs are considered pets.
Where can I park for the Zion shuttle?
The main Zion National Park parking is at the Visitor Center. However, if the Zion Visitor Center parking lots are full, there are also several parking areas in Springdale. You can take a town shuttle from there to the park entrance/ Visitor Center.
How do I get to Zion shuttle?
Park at the Visitor Center parking area or in Springdale and take the town free shuttle bus to the park entrance/ Visitor Center.
Can you drive your own car through Zion National Park?
Yes, kind of. The park is open to traffic from the East gate, down the side of Echo Canyon and through part of Zion Canyon to the south gate. This goes through a long tunnel on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and vehicle restrictions do apply.
After descending to the bottom of Echo Canyon, the road turns on to the main Zion Canyon road at Canyon Junction. If are coming from the East Gate, the road to the right is the start of the Scenic Drive (the section that is closed to private vehicles and serviced by the shuttle.) The road to the left goes to the South Gate, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, and the town of Springdale. The entire road from the East Gate to the South gate is open to private vehicles. As is the Kolob Canyons section of the park.
The section of the road from Canyon Junction to the Temple of Sinawava at the far end of Zion Canyon is closed to private vehicles with one exception. If you are staying overnight at Zion Lodge or have a horse back riding reservation with Canyon Trail Rides, you can drive to the lodge and park there. You can’t drive any further.
There are a couple of months in winter (typically January and February) when the shuttle does not run and anyone can drive along the Scenic Drive section of the park.
Zion shuttle bus tickets
Tickets are not needed for the free Springdale town shuttle or the free Zion Canyon shuttle (as of 5/28/21)
How can I get Zion National Park shuttle tickets?
Just line up.
How much are Zion shuttle tickets?
The Zion shuttles are free.
How do I get on the Zion scenic drive shuttle?
Just line up when you are ready. If you previously purchased tickets, you will be given priority for the time slot on your tickets, but tickets are no longer required.
Read my Guide to Visiting Zion Without Shuttle Tickets for more information about the private shuttles, bicycles and things to do in other sections of the park.
Have a great trip to Zion!
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If you are thinking about traveling to some other national parks, don’t miss my guides to:
- Which national parks require reservations in 2021
- Glacier National Park’s Going to The Sun Road in reservation system 2021
- Yosemite National Park day use reservations 2021
- Rocky Mountain National Park timed entry system 2021
- Acadia Cadillac Mountain reservation system 2021
James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.
He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.
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