Stunning scenery is the backdrop to this Western US oasis located in Springdale in southwest Utah, featuring outdoor adventures that seem to await at every turn through its 229-square-mile expanse.
While its major attractions include scenic overview of the 15-mile long Zion Canyon, the park also offers camping, hiking, rock climbing and nature watching to beckon 3 million tourists a year to this idyllic summer playground.
Designated a national park in 1919, Zion is one of Utah's oldest nature preserves and by far the most heavily used, especially in the peak summer months when travelers from around the world converge for up-close views of its raw and mind-blowing beauty.
Getting to Zion National Park
The closest international airport is located in Las
Vegas, approximately a 160-mile, 3-hour drive from Zion.
From Las Vegas, take I-15 north to exit 16 and drive through Hurricane. Make a right on U-9 at the second traffic light in LaVerkin, then continue on U-9 (a.k.a. Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway) to the south entrance of the park.
Zion National Park has one major visitor center, located along the park's main
highway, offering maps and trail guides, information on the park's flora and fauna, as well as a free 90-minute shuttle ride to get you acquainted with all that Zion has to offer.
Zion lodging and campgrounds
Lodging, dining, and camping facilities inside the park include three National Park Service campgrounds with varying comfort levels, as well as the Zion Lodge, which is located three miles north along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive featuring motel rooms, cabins, and suites.
Just outside the park in nearby Springdale there are scores of additional hotels, lodging, restaurants and shopping, with hotel rates dropping precipitously the farther they are located from the main park entrance.
As visitors soon discover, the topography of Zion National Park is an incredibly varied mix of stream and woodland, desert and coniferous forest. Zion's main attraction is wildlife viewing with up-close views of 75 different mammals, 289 bird species and 32 different reptiles including mountain lions, mule deer, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and California condors.
And Zion makes it easy to see it all - with free shuttle ride service from early morning to evening hours - with regular route stops laid out in a loop to board and discharge passengers at Big Bend, Weeping Rock, and other popular parts of the park. The shuttle loop also includes Zion Canyon Scenic
Drive, the only part of the park where cars are not permitted.
More about Zion National Park around the web:
Zion National Park - The official National Park Service site featuring history, current information on tours, exhibits, lodging, kid-friendly activities, photos, maps, driving directions, and a virtual hike around Angel's Landing.
Zion National Park - Wikipedia - Complete overview including information on must-see attractions, campgrounds, historical background, stunning photos, maps, and related resources.
Zion National Park - Expert advice from the travel experts with reviews of the best area hotels and restaurants, an overview of scenic wonders, hiking trails and driving tours, and related travel tips.