If you're heading to Zion National Park in the coming days, know that you won't be able to drive your car into Zion Canyon unless you have a reservation at the lodge. As of Thursday the Zion Shuttle swings back into action to ease the congestion in the scenic canyon.
The shuttle system is entering its 11th season in the southwestern Utah park. Parks Transportation, Inc., a subsidiary of McDonald Transit of Fort Worth, Texas, operates the shuttle service.
The park shuttle loop provides access to points of interest, trailheads, and the Zion Lodge along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. While the shuttle system is in operation, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles, except for Zion Lodge guests who are allowed to drive as far as the lodge. All other roads in the park, including the Zion - Mt Carmel highway through the park, are open to private vehicles.
The daily schedule begins with an express shuttle departing the Majestic View shuttle stop at 6:35 a.m. and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 6:45 a.m. Regular shuttle service starts at 7 a.m., both in the park and in Springdale. Initially, the last park shuttle will depart at 9:30 p.m. from the visitor center and the last town shuttle will depart the Zion Canyon Theater shuttle stop at 10 p.m. The hours of operation will expand as the summer season progresses.
The Springdale Loop serves nine stops and the Canyon Loop serves nine stops including the Zion Human History Museum and the Zion Lodge. Shuttles will depart from designated stops every seven to ten minutes during the middle of the day and approximately every 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening. There is no charge for riding the shuttles.
Visitors are encouraged to park in designated parking areas in Springdale and ride the shuttle to the park. Park Loop shuttles depart from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The Visitor Center, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, offers shuttle information, current park information, backcountry permits, lodge reservations, maps and a wide selection of publications to enhance a park visit.