Here’s what you should know if you’re planning a visit to Zion this fall or winter

Zion National Park in the winter. | Stock image, St. George News

SPRINGDALE — With cooler temperatures arriving, Zion National Park is preparing to transition to its fall and winter operations schedule.

The following provides an overview of upcoming seasonal opportunities at Zion Lodge, operational changes in the national park that will occur in November and December and important considerations for fall and winter visits to the park.

Thanksgiving dining at Zion Lodge 

The Zion Lodge will be providing a Thanksgiving themed menu on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for take-out only. No seated dining will be available. The Castle Dome Café will continue operations on a take-out only basis. For the month of November, Castle Dome Café hours of operation will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 End of shuttle service

Zion Canyon shuttle service both in the national park and Springdale ends Nov. 29. Starting Nov. 30, personal vehicles will be permitted to access Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Parking is limited and visitors are encouraged to have alternate plans if they are unable to park in the canyon. When parking is full, the Scenic Drive may be closed until space becomes available.

Planning for Spring 2021 shuttle service is underway. The continuation of the timed ticket system for shuttles will be reevaluated in late winter based on local, state and CDC guidance related to COVID-19.  

Shuttle service Dec. 24 – Jan. 2

  • Shuttle service will resume both in the national park and Springdale over a 10-day period from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2.
  • This 10-day period of mandatory shuttle service for the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a continuation of a pilot program instituted by Zion NP in recent seasons.
  • Similar to the 2020 season, shuttle capacity will be reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and timed-tickets will be required.
  • Advanced tickets will be released on Nov. 30. Additional tickets will be released the day before (for example, tickets for Dec. 25 will be released at 9 a.m. on Dec. 24).

Tickets for both advanced sale and “day-before” are available for $1.00. Tickets are limited and sell quickly. Tickets must be purchased online at Recreation.gov or using the Recreation.gov mobile app. Visitors are encouraged to check out the website in advance to familiarize themselves with its operation. Shuttle tickets are not sold at the park.

Campground updates 

The South Campground closes on Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. The Watchman Campground will remain open and available through reservations (Call 877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov) and there will be some availability for some first come, first served.

Visiting Zion this fall and winter 

The park recommends that visitors plan ahead, and check the park website before their visit at nps.gov/zion to see what activities are currently available and what facilities may be open or closed.

Zion National Park, January 2017 | Photo by Hage Photo/Utah Office of Tourism, St. George News

During shuttle and non-shuttle times, parking will fill early. Once full, additional vehicles can only be allowed in that area after parking spaces become available. With high vehicular traffic expected, walkers and cyclists must adhere to safety requirements along roadways and proceed single file to reduce potential conflicts with vehicles. Likewise, motorists must pay attention to pedestrian and bicyclists safety in road corridors. If traffic becomes too congested, entry to portions of the park may be temporarily suspended until traffic clears. This ensures access to emergencies by first responders along the Park road corridors.

There is additional parking in Springdale. The park’s Pedestrian Entrance Station (walk-in bridge from Springdale) is open only on the same dates as shuttles are in operation.

Visitors who can be flexible with their schedule are encouraged to visit Friday or Monday rather than Saturday or Sunday. Consider arriving early or after 3 p.m. to avoid high-use conditions. Visitors should have alternate plans in the region in case their intended destination or activity is not available when they arrive.

Nearby communities and public lands have many options for lodging and recreational activities. Always recreate responsibly and respect private lands and facilities.

The NPS requests the public’s cooperation by avoiding crowds and adhering to social-distancing, wearing a face mask, and utilizing Leave No Trace practices. As in any winter season, visitors should check and plan for conditions such as ice, snow and cold temperatures.

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