Between 2010 and 2021, the number of annual visitors to Zion National Park grew by nearly 90 percent. The park is now the second most-visited national park in the country, trailing behind only the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But despite the high number of visitors making their way to Southern Utah each year, figuring out how to visit Zion can be a little trickier than a first-time guest might expect.
From the park’s ban on personal vehicles in the Lower Canyon—where most of Zion’s most popular trails and overlooks are—to its location a few hour’s drive from a major international airport to the many lodging options, like The Bungalows at Zion, figuring out how to visit Zion like a pro takes some work and research.
That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to visiting Zion National Park. Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re planning a return trip, keep reading as break down everything you need to know about how to visit Zion like a pro.
Deciding When to Visit
The first thing you need to know about how to visit Zion like a pro is deciding when to visit. Most of the park’s more than 5 million annual visitors make their way to Southern Utah during the summer months. This time of year brings hot temperatures and plenty of sunny days to the region. However, the triple digit temperatures and crowds in the park can have a big impact on your day, especially if you want to hike some of Zion’s most popular trails.
Spring and late Fall see fewer crowds and lower temperatures. This makes it a great chance to hike challenging trails or enjoy the park’s overlooks without sharing them with quite so many other visitors. While winter can bring cool temperatures and even snow to Zion, it’s still one of the best times of year to visit Zion. This time of year sees the fewest number of visitors. This is also the only time of year when you can drive your personal vehicle into the Lower Canyon.
The off-season at Zion is also a great time to score a great deal on your lodging. Right now, when you book a stay at The Bungalows at Zion between November 1 and March 15, you’ll get 40 percent off your entire booking!
Getting to Zion National Park
Once you’ve decided when you’ll visit, it’s time to get to work deciding how you’ll get here. The main entrance to Zion National Park is located in Springdale, a small town located in Southern Utah. Springdale is located about 40 minutes from St. George, Utah, the next closest city. St. George does have it’s own regional airport. You can catch a flight to the St. George Regional Airport from several major airports, including Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Denver. Flights are limited and are often costlier than flights to larger airports.
If you want to save money or enjoy more flight options, there are two international airports to choose from. Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada offers hundreds of daily flights and often has great deals on direct flights from major cities across the U.S. and around the world. After arriving in Las Vegas, you can rent a car or book a ticket for a shuttle bus for the roughly 3-hour drive to Zion.
Salt Lake City International Airport also offers plenty of daily domestic and international flight options. This airport is slightly further away than Las Vegas, at around 4 and a half hours by car. Rental cars and shuttle service are both available here.
Choosing Your Zion Lodging
You’ve got a flight booked—now it’s time to choose your Zion lodging. Despite Springdale’s small size, you have plenty of options to choose from. But as any pro will tell you, they aren’t created equal. Before you book a standard chain hotel, it’s important to consider the benefits of a Zion lodging option like The Bungalows at Zion.
Rather than cramming your family into a tiny hotel room, you’ll get your own private, spacious Bungalow. Both our one- and two-story units come equipped with a kitchenette and dining area perfect for enjoying a quick breakfast before you head to the park or a tasty late-night snack. A large bathroom and king bedroom are great for relaxing after a long day of hiking, while a dedicated workspace offers a spot to get some work done during your visit. Plus, our convenient Springdale location makes it easy to get to and from the park using the Zion shuttle system.
Learning How to Visit Zion Like a Pro
Learning how to visit Zion National Park like a pro is easier than you think. From choosing the right airport to picking what time of year to visit, following this guide will help you plan the perfect visit to this special national park.
Choosing the best Zion lodging option isn’t tough, either. For first-time visitors and experienced pros alike, The Bungalows at Zion makes the perfect basecamp for your national park adventure. With spacious one- and two-bedroom Bungalows, our units offer space for the whole family to enjoy a trip together. Plus, when you book a stay for the winter season, you’ll enjoy 40 percent off your entire booking! Check out our unique Bungalows today to start planning your next visit!