Zion National Park

Backpacking | Bicycling | Camping | Canyoneering | Climbing | Hiking | Horseback Riding




Protected within Zion National Park's 229 square miles (593.1 km) is a spectacular cliff-and-canyon landscape and wilderness full of the unexpected including the world's largest arch - Kolob Arch - with a span that measures 310 feet (94.5 m). Wildlife such as mule deer, golden eagles, and mountain lions, also inhabit the Park. 

More Information



Park Information

Operation Hours/Seasons:  During summer months, the visitor centers are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Spring, fall and winter hours are shortened. Some visitor centers are closed on some federal holidays. Call our 24 hour number for current updates at 435-772-3256.

Pedestrian/Bike/Motorcycle - $12 - 7 Days
Private Automobile - $25 - 7Days
Zion Park Pass - $50 Annual

Directions:  The Visitor Center at the Kolob Canyons entrance is accessible from I-15, exit 40. I-15 passes west of the Park and connects with UT-9 and 17 to the Park. US-89 passes east and connects with UT-9 to the Park. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is a short distance from the Park's South Entrance adjacent to Springdale.

Weather:  Spring weather is very unpredictable. Stormy, wet days are common, but warm, sunny weather may occur too.  Summer days are hot (95-100 degrees F.), but overnight lows are usually comfortable (65-70 degrees F.)  Fall days are usually clear and mild; nights are often cool.  Winters in Zion Canyon are fairly mild. Winter storms bring rain or light snow to Zion Canyon, but heavier snow to the higher elevations.


Park Profile

Established:  1909 as Mukuntuweap National Monument; expanded in 1919 as Zion National Park.

Significance:  Established to preserve and protect the scenic beauty, unique geologic features, and unusual assemblage of plants and animals.

Size:  229 square miles.

Elevation: Lowest - 3,666 ft (1,128m) Coalpits Wash in the southwest corner.  Highest - 8,726 ft (2,660 m), Horse Ranch Mountain in the Kolob Canyons section.

Precipitation Annual Average:  15 inches.

Name:  Zion, a Hebrew word referring to a place of safety or refuge, given to this canyon by Mormon pioneers in the 1860s.

Geology Sedimentary rock, mostly sandstone.  Some limestone, shale, mudstone and conglomerate.  Mostly Triassic through Jurassic (250 million to 150 million years ago).  Some recent volcanic activity in the form of cinder cones and lava flows.

Plant Life:  Richest diversity of plants in Utah--almost 800 native species.  Differences in elevation, sunlight, water, and temperature create "microenvironments", like hanging gardens, forested side canyons, and isolated mesas that lend to this diversity.

Animal Life:  75 species of mammals, 271 birds, 32 reptiles and amphibians, 8 fish.  Commonly seen animals include mule deer, rock squirrels, lizards, and many species of songbirds. Rare or endangered species include Peregrine Falcons, Mexican Spotted Owls, spinedace (a fish), and some species, like the Zion snail, found nowhere else on earth.

Human History:  Evidence of Ancestral Puebloans, formerly known as the Anasazi, date from about 2,000 years ago; Paiutes from about 800 years ago.  Mormon settlers arrived in the 1860s.  Park Visitation in 1920 was 3,692; in 1996 it reached 2.6 million.




Permits are required for all backcountry camping. The cost is $5.00 per permit. Maximum group size is 12 people, including all leaders. Permits and hiking information are available at both visitor centers.


Bicycles are permitted only on established roads and the Pa'rus Trail.  Cyclists must obey traffic laws.  Bicycles are not allowed on hiking trails or off-trail.   Ride defensively; automobile traffic is often heavy and drivers may be distracted by the scenery.  Riding through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel is prohibited.   Bicycles must be transported through by motor vehicle.


South Campground Near the south entrance to the park.   Individual camp sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 per night or $7 for holders of Golden Age/Access cards.  Arrival before noon generally ensures a campsite.  You may self register at the campground. 

Watchman Campground Near the south entrance to the park.   Individual camp sites are available on a reservation only basis for $14 per night or $7 for holders of Golden Age/Access cards. Sites with electrical hook-ups are $16 per night. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-365-2267 or by visiting http:\\www.recreation.gov\    Sites not reserved each day are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Group Campsites are available by reservation only to organized groups of 9-40 people for $3.00 per person plus $2.60 per campsite; (800) 365-2267.  Facilities include restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables, fire grates, RV dump stations, and utility sinks. Stays are limited to 14 days. 

Lava Point A 6-site primitive campground, no water, no fee. Campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis.  Maximum vehicle size is 19 feet. Open June-November.  Other private campgrounds with showers and hookups are available in communities adjacent to the park.

Permits are required for all through hikes of the Narrows and its tributaries, the Left Fork of North Creek (the Subway), Kolob Creek, and all canyons requiring the use of aid.   The Subway is limited to 50 people per day.  Narrows and all slot canyon permits are available the day before  you hike, and all other hiking permits are available up to 3 days before you hike.  Cost is $5.00 per permit for all backcountry permits due when you pick up your permit.  Have the following information ready when you pick up your permit:  Vehicle description and License Plate Number.   The maximum group size is 12, including all leaders.


Climbing on Zion's sandstone requires appropriate hardware and techniques.   Information on climbing is available at visitor centers.  Climbing and rappelling is prohibited on the cliffs above Middle and Lower Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock.  Some routes may be closed to climbing when Peregrine Falcons are nesting.   A permit is required for climbing.  Cost is $5.00 per permit.  Visit the Backcountry Permit Desk for additional climbing routes and information.


Fires are permitted only in the fire pits provided at campgrounds and some picnic areas.   Bring or purchase your firewood; collecting wood is not permitted.  Firewood is available for purchase outside the park. Keep fires small and under control.  Make sure fires are dead out and never leave a fire unattended.  Fires are not permitted in the backcountry at any time; use a stove to cook.

Be aware of desert hiking conditions.  All hikers should carry sufficient water for their projected hike. The maximum group size for backcountry hiking is 12 people of the same affiliation on the same trail or in the same drainage on the same day.   This includes all group leaders. This is to reduce the impacts of large groups on the resource and on the experience of other hikers.  For your safety - All hikers should take precautions. Obtain detailed information from a Park Ranger before attempting backcountry trails. Do not hike alone. Stay on established trails. Stay out of drainage areas during thunderstorms. Be alert for rockfalls and landslides. You must take responsibility for your own actions and safety.


Guided trips are available March through October.  Reservations are advised.   Call (435) 772-3810 or inquire in person at Zion Lodge.  For private stock use, contact visitor centers.


Zion Lodge provides tram tours of upper Zion Canyon.  Drivers of oversize vehicles may wish to consider this option.  A hiker shuttle is also available for transportation to backcountry trailheads.  Call (435) 772-3213 for prices and details.


Be aware of swift currents, cold water, flash floods, slippery rocks, deep holes, and submerged logs and boulders.  Wear shoes to protect your feet.  Swimming and wading are not permitted in the Emerald Pools. Inner tubing is not allowed at any time.




For Additional Information Contact:

Zion National Park
Zion National Park
Springdale, UT 84767-1099


For more information visit the National Park Service website