If you’re planning to visit Zion National Park Memorial Day weekend, pack supplies — and some patience

Visitors line up as they wait for a shuttle bus in Zion National Park, Labor Day 2023 | Photo courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

SPRINGDALE Even though Zion National Park is open year-round, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial but traditional start of the summer season.

Webcam image shows cars lined up outside the South Gate Entrance to Zion National Park. Park authorities expect large crowds and possible gate closures for Memorial Day Weekend 2024, date not specified | Image courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

So for those who plan to travel to the park Friday-Monday, May 24-27,  the National Park Service reminds visitors to expect large crowds, limited parking in the park and potentially long waits in various venues.

According to a news release, Zion National Park recorded more than 96,000 visits over Memorial Day Weekend in 2023. More than half of all national park sites – more than 230 – recorded fewer than 96,000 visits in all of 2023.
The park service anticipates the following:
  • Long lines at entrance stations, visitor centers, restrooms and at trailheads.
  • Lengthy waits to board park shuttles in Springdale and Zion National Park.
  • Intermittent, temporary closures at the park’s east and south vehicle entrance stations.
  • Heavy traffic in Springdale and throughout the park.
“Pack your patience,” Jonathan Shafer, park spokesperson, said in a news release. “We want you to enjoy your visit, and we want to be realistic about what to expect. Be prepared to see lots of other people, and be aware that parking usually fills early in the day. We may temporarily limit vehicle entry to reduce crowding and traffic congestion, and the park pedestrian and bicycle entrance will remain open throughout the weekend.”
Keep these things in mind
The trail bridge over the Virgin River at Zion Lodge (Shuttle Stop 5) is closed. Hikers can still visit Emerald Pools from the Grotto (Shuttle Stop 6). Check a map before you start your hike to plan accordingly. Keep in mind that you will not be able to cross the river at Zion Lodge (Shuttle Stop 5).
Check the flow rate prior to hiking the Narrows and make sure to bring the proper equipment.
Remember to apply the day before for a permit to hike to Angels Landing. Everyone needs to have a permit, and you need to bring ID to show a ranger along with your permit. You may encounter a ranger anywhere on the trail or the route with chains. Arrive early so you do not miss the hike start time on your permit.
Visitors wait to board Zion Canyon Line Shuttles, Zion National Park, Utah, Nov. 20, 2023 | Photo courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

The Zion Canyon Shuttle System recently moved to its full, summer schedule. Park in Springdale and take advantage of the free, Springdale Line Shuttle to avoid traffic inside Zion and enter through the pedestrian and bicycle entrance.

Getting around
For non-recreational drivers, the best way through the park is to go around the park. There will likely be heavy traffic all weekend, and there may be times when through-travel is delayed for long periods.
If you need to travel through the area during the holiday weekend and you do not plan to recreate in the park, consider alternate routes such as:
  • State Route 20.
  • State Route 14.
  • US 89 -Arizona 389-state Route 59.
Recreate Responsibly
  • Become a Junior Ranger. Learning about the park is always in season, and junior rangers can help plan trips with Junior Ranger Explorer materials.
  • Be patient with rangers and other visitors. Busy weekends can be stressful, and the park service needs your help to make sure everyone enjoys their national park visit.
  • Be careful with fire in campgrounds or picnic areas due to hot and dry conditions
  • Drink plenty of water and watch for signs of heat stress.
  • Park only in designated parking areas. Illegally parked vehicles can harm park plants and animals, and may be ticketed or towed.
  • Pack it In – Pack it Out. Take everything you bring into the park out again. This helps protect plants, animals, and historic resources and reduces the amount of trash NPS staff need to manage.
  • Go before you go. Use restrooms at trailheads and shuttle stops before venturing out on trails.
Learn more about summer operations in Zion National Park, check the park on social media and visit the park website for the up-to-date information.

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