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When Can You Enter Zion National Park?

View of man and children on Kayenta Trail in Zion Canyon
Zion Canyon, Kayenta Trail

Zion National Park is the third most visited National Park, seeing nearly 5 million visitors annually. It’s no surprise that it’s so popular, with Zions’ unmatched views of towering red rocks with the Virgin River jutting through them. If you are planning to visit Zion National Park you may be wondering, when can you enter Zion National Park? Are there certain hours the park is open? Or is it open 24 hours? Do any parts of the park close seasonally?

Zion Nation Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round. Although certain sections of the park close seasonally and shuttle and visitor center services change throughout the year, Zion National Park is always open.

Throughout the year, the visitor centers and shuttles have operating hours that change depending on the season, and parts of the park are also closed seasonally, or due to weather events or rockfalls.

My family and I visit Zion multiple times every year and have visited in every season. In this article, we will dive into everything you need to know about hours of operation, how to check for closures, seasonal changes, and more before visiting Zion National Park.

Is Zion Open Year-Round?

View of car driving through Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park
Kolob Canyons

Yes, Zion National Park is open year-round, however, parts of Zion do close seasonally. Surprisingly, Zion does get snow, and parts of Zion that are higher in elevation typically close in the winter. We will go into seasonal closures at each entrance below.

  • Zion Canyon and the south entrance of Zion are open year-round and do not close.
  • The East Zion entrance is open year-round and does not close.
  • Kolob Terrace Road (on the east side of the park) closes every winter, typically from November through May. Double-check for closures before visiting in the fall or spring.
  • Kolob Canyons entrance closes every winter, typically from November to May. Visitors will want to double-check before visiting in the fall or spring.

It is always a good practice to check the Zion National Park website before visiting, to look for any closures. During different parts of the year, certain trails can be closed due to weather, rock falls, high water levels (The Narrows), and more. These closures will always be listed at the top of the National Park home page.

How Early Can I Enter the Park?

Zion shuttles with mountain behind
Zion Shuttle

You can enter the park as early as you like since the park is technically never closed! However, if you would like to access the Zion shuttle, want to drive through the Mt Carmel tunnel, want to stop by the visitor center, or get permits, you will need to visit during the hours those are open.

Here is the shuttle schedule for this year. The shuttle typically does not run every day in the Winter, only on certain weekends. Before visiting in the winter, check the Zion National Park website to see if the shuttle will be in operation.

When it is not running, cars are able to drive Zion Canyon and you do not need to wait for the first shuttle of the day to access it.

Jan 1 to March 2March 3 to May 18May 19 to Sept 15Sept 16 to Nov 2Nov 3 to Dec 1
First shuttle leaves the Zion Canyon Visitor Center (Stop 1)No shuttle service7:00 am6:00 am7:00 am7:00 am
Last shuttle leaves the visitor center to the Temple of Sinawava (Stop 9)No shuttle service5:00 pm7:00 pm5:00 pm4:00 pm
Last shuttle out of the canyon from the Temple of Sinawava (Stop 9)No shuttle service7:15 pm8:15 pm7:15 pm6:15 pm
From the National Park Website. Check for the most up-to-date schedule here.

If you would like to stop by a visitor center or grab permits, keep reading for those hours and schedules below.

Confused about How to Ride the Zion Shuttles?
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Guide includes the Springville Shuttle, Zion Canyon Shuttle, What to Do at Each Stop, Handy Tips + Maps

What If There are No Rangers at the Ranger Booth?

If there are no rangers present at the booth when you enter the park, stop at the self-pay stations located near the booth, fill out the information card, and deposit the envelope with cash in the drop box. You will keep part of the envelope (it will say what part to keep) and display it on your dash.

This way, you will not be ticketed for entering the park without paying the ~$35 fee. If you have an America The Beautiful National Parks Pass, you can display this on your dash and skip the payment.

We have entered Zion National Park multiple times before rangers were present in the booths and have never had an issue getting in and using self-payment drop boxes or displaying our National Parks Passes. If you are using the self-payment box, be sure to bring cash with you.

Entrance sign to Zion National Park

When Do the Businesses in Springdale Open?

Springdale businesses vary in opening times, but outfitters and rental locations that provide bikes and gear for Zion typically open around 8 or 9:00 am. Breakfast and coffee spots in Springdale typically open around 6 or 7:00 am.

You may want to plan to pick up rentals the night before if you want to get an early start to your day at Zion National Park.

Springdale also offers shuttles to and from the South Visitor Center of Zion National Park. The schedule for the Springdale line is below.

Jan 1 to March 2March 3 to May 18May 19 to Sept 15Sept 16 to Nov 2Nov 3 to Dec 1
First shuttle leaves the Majestic View Lodge (Stop 9)No shuttle service8:00 am7:00 am8:00 am8:00 am
The last shuttle leaves Zion Canyon Village (Stop 1)No shuttle service7:00 pm8:00 pm7:00 pm6:00 pm
Springdale Shuttle Schedule from the National Park Website. Check for the most up-to-date schedule here.

When Does the Visitor Center Open?

Zion has a visitor center at the southern entrance (Zion Canyon Visitor Center) and one at the Kolob Canyons entrance (Kolob Canyons Visitor Center), and the hours can vary. Below are the hours for Zion’s multiple visitor centers. These are subject to change and were last updated in May of this year.

Zion Canyon Visitor Center8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Zion Forever Park Store8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Zion Human History Museum9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Zion Nature Center12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Kolob Canyons Visitor Center8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Kolob Canyons Wilderness Desk8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Zion Visitor Centers Schedules from the National Park Website. Check for the most up-to-date schedule here.

It is good to know that the Zion Canyon Visitor Center is large with many bathrooms, a bookstore, and a shuttle stop. The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center is much smaller and does not have all the amenities the larger Zion Canyon Visitor Center has.

Zion National Park is one of our favorite national parks. It has incredible hikes for all ages and abilities, accommodations right in the park with Zion Lodge, campgrounds, great biking trails, scenic drives, and incredible scenery. It is worth visiting even if you only have a few hours to do it! With the variety of great trails, drives, and options, you can still have an incredible trip whether it is 3 hours or 3 days.

We always suggest getting to the park as early as you can to avoid crowds and beat the heat. We try to grab the first shuttle out of the visitor center when we visit and see most of the park before parking lots fill up and trails get crowded.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Planning a vacation shouldn’t be stressful. We created a step-by-step itinerary for Zion National Park so you can visit the best places at the right times.

Not only that, but we’ll tell you about the park while you drive with our audio guide!  Stop planning and start having the vacation of your dreams now!

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO
ZION

ZION TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Zion National Park, check out our  Zion Homepage

THINGS TO DO: Don’t miss all that Zion has to offer including Emerald Pools, Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Canyons

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and near Zion National Park

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Learn where to stay or camp when visiting Zion and explore some amazing cities nearby including St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system as well as if you can drive in Zion, which entrance to use, and how to avoid crowds

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Zion National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Zion YouTube Playlist

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