Zion officials say park visitors should still plan in advance; important dates, protocols announced

In this June 2020 file photo, cars and recreational vehicles wait in line near the Zion Lodge to access the upper portion of Zion National Park's Scenic Drive, Zion National Park, Utah, June 25, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

SPRINGDALE — Zion National Park officials released an overview Thursday of summer operations for the park that will occur in May, June, July and August.

Springdale entrance of Zion National Park. Zion National Park, Utah, Feb. 22, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

Officials recommended that visitors plan ahead and check the Zion National Park website before their visit to see what activities are currently available, what facilities may be open or closed and park alerts on current park conditions.

According to the press release, visitors are required to wear face masks in federal buildings including the Zion Park Store as well as on the park shuttle and in the queue lines. When outdoors, face masks are required on lands managed by the park service when physical distance cannot be maintained. Visitors should follow CDC guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and recreate responsibly.

Daily shuttle service began March 13 in both the park and Springdale. These shuttle services will operate daily until fall. Through Sept. 19, the daily shuttle service that operates within the park will begin service at 6 a.m. at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The town shuttle service will be operating in Springdale during these dates as well starting at 8 a.m. and running until 7 p.m. in Springdale.

Parking at or near the Visitor Center is limited, and visitors entering later should plan on parking in Springdale and walking or taking the free town shuttle to the pedestrian entrance walk-in gate.

In this October 2020 file photo, visitors to Zion National Park line up to board the shuttle to take them up the Main Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion National Park, Utah, Oct. 16, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

While the park had previously implemented a temporary shuttle ticket system, on May 27, park officials announced the system had been discontinued and ridership would return to the former first-come-first-served basis.

There are other recreational opportunities available at Zion National Park that do not require riding the shuttle.

Visitors can hike trails near that Zion Canyon Visitor Center, such as the Watchman and Pa’rus Trails, drive through the tunnel on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and enjoy recreational opportunities along the scenic drive and visit the scenic Kolob Terrace Road to access additional hikes, among other opportunities.

Checkerboard Mesa in East Zion National Park, Utah, June 11, 2015 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

The following provides the hours of operations for the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, Zion Canyon Visitor Center, Wilderness Desk and Zion Park Store.  All times are in Mountain Daylight Time.

  • Kolob Canyons Visitor Center (outside information desk), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Zion Canyon Visitor Center (outside information desk), 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Zion Canyon Park Store, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (beginning May 23 the hours will be extended from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Visitors are encouraged to check with the staff at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to learn about the available ranger-led programs.

Currently South and Watchman Campgrounds are open at Zion National Park. From mid-March through late November the campgrounds are full almost every night; therefore making reservations are recommended by calling 877-444-6777 or going to Recreation.gov.

The Lava Point Campground will be opening May 15. There are six primitive campsites available first come, first serve. Camping is permitted in designated campsites but not in pullouts or parking lots.

The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) construction continues during the summer months into the fall. During the weekly construction schedule, tunnel hours for oversized vehicle operations ends at 8 p.m. One-way traffic control will be provided from 8-10 p.m. A full closure to ALL vehicle traffic will be implemented in the tunnels daily starting on Sunday through Friday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Examples of graffiti in Zion National Park, Utah, dates not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News

The National Park Service requests the public’s cooperation utilizing Leave No Trace practices throughout Zion National Park. Following these principles and tips helps to protect Zion National Park during your visit.

The park also encourages visitors to take the Zion National Park Pledge, a personal promise you can make to protect yourself and the park. Please share your #ZionPledge story on social media and encourage family and friends to do the same.

For more information on visiting the park, check the Zion National Park website.

Updated May 28, 8:50 a.m. to include information about shuttle ticket system.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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