Zion National Park is a beautiful destination and an easy national park to visit, especially since it’s only a quick drive from Las Vegas. However, you can’t just drive into the park. Most most months out of the year, you’ll have to take a shuttle.
There are just a few basic things to know about Zion National Park’s shuttle system (called the Zion Canyon line), including the map, dates, tips for avoiding lines, and details on connecting between the park shuttle and the shuttle for the nearby town of Springdale.
The Zion National Park shuttle map and stops
Click here for the full-size map and schedule from the park.
The Zion Canyon Line is the free shuttle system that runs through Zion. If you take a peek at a Zion National Park shuttle map, you’ll see that it runs on a pretty simple circuit. The route begins at the park visitor center (just a few feet outside the park entrance) and stops at seven locations before reaching the Temple of Sinawava — the starting point for the famous Narrows hike.
Zion Shuttle Stops:
Stop 1: Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Stop 2: Zion Human History Museum
Stop 3: Canyon Junction
Stop 4: Court of the Patriarchs
Stop 5: Zion Lodge/Emerald Pools Trailhead
Stop 6: The Grotto
Stop 7: Weeping Rock Trailhead
Stop 8: Big Bend
Stop 9: Temple of Sinawava
The shuttles run quite frequently, so you’ll never have to wait very long at a stop — 10 minutes or so at the longest. Every shuttle is the same and stops at every location, except for the Big Bend stop – the bus doesn’t stop when headed north (into the canyon), only when heading south (out of the canyon).
The shuttle takes roughly 45 minutes to get from stop one to stop nine. All passengers have to get off at the Temple of Sinawava, so you can’t spend your days looping the Zion National Park shuttle (not that you’d want to).
The Town of Springdale shuttle
The Springdale shuttle is another free bus that comes by every 10 or 15 minutes and makes nine stops in Springdale, the gateway town to Zion. It begins from the south end of town at Majestic View Lodge (stop nine) and ends at Zion Canyon Village (stop one) directly next to the visitor center, where you catch the official Zion National Park shuttle.
The bus only stops where passengers are waiting, which means it can move fairly quickly, even if you’re parked all the way out by stop number nine. But it also means you’ll need to request a stop with the driver if you’re getting out before the visitors center.
Note that buses will not pick up passengers headed south (away from the park) between 9 AM and 1:30 PM at any stops other than the visitor center. So during those hours, be sure to get on the bus at the visitor center rather than walking to a different stop.
Zion National Park and Springdale shuttle dates and times
The most important thing to know is that private vehicles are not allowed to drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive when the Zion Canyon shuttle is running. This means the entire section between Canyon Junction (stop three) and the Temple of Sinawava (stop nine) is off-limits to cars.
The Zion Canyon line runs from mid-March to the end of November, give or take.
The park shuttle doesn’t run from December through March, except for the last week of December plus weekends in February and March. When the shuttle does run in the winter, the first bus departs from the visitor center at 8:00 AM and the last bus leaves the Temple of Sinawava at 5:45 PM.
The Springdale shuttle does not run every winter weekend that the Zion park shuttle runs. It usually runs the last week of December, but it doesn’t resume operations beyond that until March.
During spring, summer, and fall, the schedules are as follows:
- The first bus leaves the Zion Visitor Center daily at 7 AM
- The last bus departs from the Temple of Sinawava daily at 7:15 PM
- The Town of Springdale shuttle runs daily between 8 AM and 8 PM.
Parking for the Zion National Park shuttle
The easiest way to ride the Zion park shuttle is to find parking at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at Zion Canyon Village. But during peak times, which tend to be weekends and every day in July and August, parking fills up quickly. You’ll want to arrive early (before 8 AM) to get a spot.
The good news is that there’s parking throughout Springdale if the Zion Canyon Village parking lot is full. Just keep an eye out for parking signs on the side streets off the main road in town (Rte. 9). While some street parking is free, lots usually charge around $10-$15 for the day. Be sure not to park in a space reserved for a private business or you may get towed.
You’ll be able to walk to a Springdale shuttle stop from every parking lot. That shuttle will take you to the Zion Village, where you’ll cross the pedestrian entrance and walk to the visitor center to catch the park shuttle. Note that the Springdale line doesn’t start running until 8 AM, unlike the Zion Canyon shuttle, which starts at 7 AM.
Do you need to pay or buy Zion National park shuttle tickets?
You do not need a reservation or ticket to ride the shuttle in 2022 – it’s completely free.
Where do you pay to enter the park?
If you park at the Visitor Center, you’ll pay at the south entrance as you drive in. If you ride the bus or walk-in from Springdale, you’ll have to pay at the pedestrian entrance.
Can Zion Lodge guests drive into Zion Canyon?
Yes, if you are a Zion Lodge guest or Canyon Trail Rides guest, you’re allowed to drive your vehicle to Zion Lodge, where there’s designated parking. However, you cannot drive your vehicle past Zion Lodge to reach other trailheads.
What can’t you bring on the shuttle?
Bikes and strollers are allowed on the bike racks in the front of the shuttle, but e-bikes and fat-tire bikes are not allowed. You also can’t bring pets, excluding service animals.
If you’re in a wheelchair, you can certainly ride the shuttle. However, you can also obtain a special permit from the visitor center information desk to drive the road with your private vehicle.
What happens if you miss the last shuttle?
Well, don’t. If you miss the last shuttle, you’ll be left with no other option than to walk the entire eight-mile road in the dark back to Zion Canyon Village. After walking about one-third of the way you’ll reach Zion Lodge, where you can call for a paid shuttle, but it’s still not a fun option (especially after a long day of hiking).
Zion park shuttle alternatives
If riding the shuttle sounds like just too much hassle or you don’t want to be on a set schedule or deal with crowds, consider biking into the park.
You’ll start on the multi-use Parus Trail that parallels Highway 9. It leads to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which you can bike or e-bike on. The only traffic will be the passing shuttle buses (try not to gloat too much as you go cruising by them in the fresh air). You can rent e-bikes at stores like Zion Outfitters or Zion Adventures; the latter has special attachments to hold your walking stick if you’re hiking the Narrows. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Rentals are usually around $100 for the day.
Of course, if you don’t mind peddling a bit you can rent non-assist bikes at most of the same shops. Just remember that while the road may look flat, it still gains nearly 1,200 feet of elevation over the 17 miles out-and-back.
Biking the highway is not only a great way to travel up and down Zion Canyon, but it’s also a really fun and scenic experience in and of itself, even if you don’t set foot on a trail.