A Practical Guide to Zion: Page 1 2 3 4 5 6

Zion Shuttle StopsDue to the large amount of visitors to Zion National Park, a free shuttle bus system has been put in place to deal with traffic and parking problems in the main canyon and in the neighboring tourist town of Springdale. The shuttle buses operate during the popular tourism months which now run from February through November. The shuttle system helps keep Zion Canyon serene, although the surge of tourism over the past few years has pressed this system to the limit.

IMPORTANT: While traffic is always allowed along Route 9 (the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway that connects Springdale with Mt. Carmel Junction, Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon), during tourist season and some holidays and weekends, traffic is not permitted up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive past Canyon Junction unless you have a reservation to stay at the Zion Lodge.

COVID-19 WARNING: Many restrictions are in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, including manditory tickets when the Zion shuttle is in operation. Please see the NPS website and shuttle system page for updated information.

Finding Parking and Entering Zion:

If you are planning on driving into Zion National Park for the day, note that the primary parking lot for Zion Canyon is located at the Visitor Center just inside the southern entrance of the park, but this lot typically fills up by mid-morning on high visitation days. The free Springdale Shuttle helps to alleviate this problem of limited parking. If you are staying at a hotel/motel in Springdale, simply leave your car behind and take the Springdale Shuttle to the park entrance. If you are visiting Zion for the day, you can park in one of Springdale's various parking lots or roadside parking spots, but you must now pay for parking in town and you will get ticketed if you park in prohibited areas (like side streets with "no public parking" signs). Note that on high visitation days (summer tourist season, holidays, etc.), searching for parking and entering the park can be an absolute nightmare.

The shuttle system includes two separate bus lines that are free for all visitors to ride:

The Zion Canyon Shuttle Stops:
    Zion Shuttle Map
    Map courtesy of
  1. Zion Canyon Visitor Center:
    The Zion Canyon Shuttle starts at the Visitor Center, located just north of a Zion National Park entrance near Springdale. Also in the vicinity of the Visitor Center are the Watchman Campground, the South Campground, the Pa'rus Trail and the Watchman Trail.
  2. Zion Museum:
    This stop is at the Zion Human History Museum off of Route 9. The museum (which was the previous Visitor Center through the 1980s) is open March through November, 10am to 5pm (or 6pm in summer). Restrooms and additional parking are available as are great views of the Altar of Sacrifice and the Bridge Mountain Arch.
  3. Canyon Junction:
    This minor stop is at the junction of Route 9 and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. (No vehicles are allowed down the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive during shuttle season unless visitors are staying at the Zion Lodge.) This stop also provides easy access to the river and is the end of the Pa'rus Trail.
  4. Court of the Patriarchs:
    This minor stop has a short path that leads to a viewpoint of the Court of the Patriarchs. Across the road is the path and bridge that leads to the not-so-popular Sandbench Loop horse and foot trail.
  5. Zion Lodge:
    This is a big stop for the Zion Shuttle, where many people will be getting on and off. The Zion Lodge has several restaurants, a gift shop, indoor restrooms, and a grand lawn with a majestic cottonwood tree that invites visitors to stay and relax. Across the road is the start of the Emerald Pools Trail and the horse stables for those looking to ride along the Sandbench Loop.
  6. The Grotto:
    The Grotto used to be a campground and the site of the original Visitor Center, but now it is an isolated picnic area with a water fountain and primitive bathrooms. It is the starting point for the legendary Angels Landing hike, West Rim Trail, and the Kayenta Trail (an alternate approach to the Emerald Pools Trail).
  7. Weeping Rock:
    Weeping Rock is the starting point for many interesting hikes up and out of the east side of the canyon: Weeping Rock, Observation Point, East Rim Trail, Hidden Canyon, Cable Mountain, and Deertrap Mountain. This stop has a primitive toilet and easy access to a nice stream flowing from Weeping Rock.
  8. Big Bend:
    This stop isn't the starting point for any featured trails, but you may want to get out to see a good view of the Great White Throne with Angels Landing in the foreground. Climbers can often be spotted making their way up Angels Landing. There is access to the river and trails of use if you want to hike to the previous or next stops.
  9. Temple of Sinawava:
    This is the end of the line for the shuttle, a beautifully quiet spot where everybody will want to get out and take a stroll to the river. (Bathrooms and water fountains are available.) This is the starting point for the Riverside Walk and the classic Zion Narrows Day Hike.

Important Notes:

Page 6: Dealing with Crowds

Please note: This web site and all images on this site are the property of Joe Braun ©2021. Unauthorized public or commercial use of any of the images or text on this website without explicit permission is strictly forbidden. View Purchasing and Ordering information!