On May 26, 2000, Zion National Park initiated a new shuttle bus transportation system to eliminate traffic congestion in the upper Zion Canyon portion of the park. The free shuttle system includes two loops - one serving the park and one operating in the town of Springdale. The Springdale shuttle loop stops at six locations in the town, and the Zion Canyon shuttle loop stops at eight locations in the park. The transfer point between loops is made at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center in the park. The shuttle system operates from April through October. During those months, visitors may not drive their private vehicles on the scenic drive in upper Zion Canyon unless they are guests at the Zion Canyon Lodge. All other roads in the park are open to private vehicles. At other times of the year, private vehicles may be driven into upper Zion Canyon.
The shuttle system provides convenient and frequent access to numerous hiking trails, scenic points, picnicking, horseback riding and the Zion Canyon Lodge. During the summer months, buses run at six-minute intervals during the middle of the day, so there is no need to rush to catch a bus. During the summer months, shuttles operate from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Shuttle schedules and frequencies change with the season and with the time of day. Shuttle schedules are posted at each shuttle stop. The system has allowed visitors to easily access the main canyon in an improved atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
Parking at the visitor center is frequently full between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily during the busy visitor season. To avoid the problem of trying to find a parking space at the visitor center, it is best to leave your car in the town of Springdale and ride the free town shuttle to the park. Some lodging facilities in the area allow their overnight guests to leave their cars in the lodging parking lots for limited amounts of time, and day-use visitors may park in designated shuttle parking areas (PDF) and along the main road in Springdale. Shuttle stops are conveniently located throughout Springdale.
The town shuttle takes visitors to the parking lot of the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theater. Here you must disembark and walk across the footbridge into the park. A park entrance fee is charged at the walk-in entrance station. Proceed to the visitor center where there are exhibits, AV programs, a back-country permit desk, an information desk, and numerous books, maps and other publications to assist you in planning your visit. Adjacent to the visitor center is a shuttle bus stop where you may board a shuttle bus to the upper Zion Canyon. You can get on and off the shuttle as often as you want.
Buses are fully accessible. For a day trip on the shuttle, you should take water, snacks, walking shoes, a map, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, cameras, binoculars and clothing appropriate for the weather. Eating, smoking, and open beverages other than water are not allowed on the shuttle buses. Pets are also not permitted on the buses.