Huge crowds expected, Zion National Park warns of wait times

This March 2016 file photo illustrates increasing tourism at Zion National Park where a long line of visitors wait for a shuttle, Utah, March 19, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George

SPRINGDALE – Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor those who have fallen serving our country and, to top it off, it’s the unofficial start of summer. It’s also Zion National Park’s busiest weekend.

“Visitors should come prepared,” said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. “Not only for crowded conditions, but for the hikes and other activities they are planning. With so many people visiting, we ask that visitors show additional patience with others and respectful trail etiquette.

“And remember that safety is your responsibility, so please avoid unsafe behaviors and risk-taking. Multiple emergencies are common during busy periods, stretching the availability of search and rescue, emergency medical and fire-fighting capabilities.”

Crowds line up for a shuttle ride in Zion National Park, undated | Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News

Last year over 70,000 people visited Zion National Park, with Saturday being the busiest day with 28,000 guests.

While the park is extending facility hours and increasing staffing, visitors should expect crowded conditions, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when wait times to enter the park and board shuttles are common.

Parking lots typically fill up by 9 a.m., so visitors should plan on parking in Springdale and boarding the free shuttle to the River Entrance walk-in gate.

The Zion Canyon Visitor Center information desk, Human History Museum and backcountry permits desk will extend hours until 7 p.m.

The Zion Nature Center, which houses hands-on exhibits and activities geared for Junior Rangers, will open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Saturday through Labor Day.

Visitors who can be flexible with their schedule are encouraged to visit Friday, Sunday or Monday instead of Saturday, arriving early or starting their visit after 2 p.m. to avoid the greatest crowding.

Tips for a more enjoyable visit

  • Go to the Zion National Park website  for important information on shuttles buses, trails and other facilities.
  • For those staying in local hotels, visitors should leave their vehicles there and take the free shuttle to the park walk-in gate.
  • Plan ahead. Arrive early to the park or late in the afternoon to avoid the largest crowds.
  • Check weather conditions and prepare accordingly. Have patience, and drink plenty of water. If traveling with children, bring snacks or a toy to entertain them while in shuttle lines.

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1 Comment

  • utahdiablo May 24, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Come prepared, wear deodorant, and enjoy the hour wait at 7 am to board a mandated shuttle….hey better yet don’t come, the tourists and the Mighty 5 ads have runied Zion for the locals for good

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