Zion National Park is open year-round and offers spectacular scenery and hiking trails for all ages and abilities. Access is from either I-15 on the west or you can start at the east entrance of Zion National Park, easily reached from Mt. Carmel Junction via Scenic Byway 9. From the east side, after passing through the 1.1-mile Zion National Park tunnel, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will take you to most of the park’s major landmarks and can be accomplished in an afternoon. Mandatory shuttle service is provided in Zion Canyon from April through October/November, but private vehicles are permitted the rest of the year. Zion National Park Road Construction Info. - Click Here.
Allowing a full day will give you time to stop for photos at many of the impressive overlooks and turnouts. Soak in the majestic Zion National Park scenery, enjoy a picnic lunch in the shadow of the Great White Throne or Court of the Patriarchs, and do some light hiking.
Canyon Overlook, Weeping Rock, Lower Emerald Pool, and Riverside Walk are easy to moderate hikes that can be completed in two hours or less. You’ll need a few days to explore Zion National Park if you plan to do more challenging hikes like Angel’s Landing, Observation Point, or the Narrows. Checkerboard Mesa, a cross-hatched mass of sandstone exhibiting a combination of erosion processes, has an often-overlooked trail to the summit. Experienced hikers can also trek the 20-mile route from Checkerboard Mesa along the East Fork of the Virgin River through Upper Parunaweap slot canyon, ending near Mt. Carmel Junction.
Further east, Mt. Carmel Junction is the turn-off to Zion Canyon, at the crossroads of Scenic Byway 9 and US89. Located just twelve miles from Zion National Park’s east entrance, you’ll find food, lodging, and recreational opportunities such as golf, Upper Red Cave slot canyon, and the Maynard Dixon Gallery.
There are no gas stations in Zion National Park, so if you’re driving be sure to gas up in Mt. Carmel Junction prior to heading out the park or other area attractions. Coral Pink Sand Dunes is just eleven miles away, and from US89 you can head northeast toward Bryce Canyon, or south to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you’re headed south, be sure to stop in Kanab, just a 45-minute drive down US89, to visit Frontier Movie Town, Moqui Cave, and to stock up on supplies for your day trips.