Zion National Park Shuttle - What You Need to Know
While most of Zion can be explored in your own vehicle all year long, Zion Canyon, one of the four sections of the park, requires visitors to board a shuttle for most of the year. Fortunately, your Shaka Guide tour will continue whether you are on the shuttle or in your car, but there are a few helpful tips and FAQs that may make your shuttle ride just a little bit better.
1. When/Why do I need to board the shuttle?
Since 2000, Zion has implemented a mandatory shuttle service inside the park in an effort to ease congestion. Shuttle season in Zion is from February to November (and again at Christmas). During shuttle season, personal vehicles are not permitted in Zion Canyon, so visitors will need to catch a shuttle. You can however drive in the other three sections of the park - East Zion, Kolob Canyons and Kolob Terrace.
2. What shuttle routes are available at Zion National Park?
There are two shuttle systems in Zion, the Springdale Shuttle and the Zion Canyon Shuttle.
3. What is the Springdale Shuttle?
The Springdale shuttle runs from the Majestic View Lodge in Springdale to the Zion Canyon Village, right at the entrance to Zion Canyon. For visitors who are unable to find parking at the Visitor Center, this shuttle provides a short route from Springdale to the park. This shuttle service is never required but rather provided as a convenience. Springdale Shuttle service is generally available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but check the park schedule for the most up-to-date information.
4. What is the Zion Canyon Shuttle?
The Zion Canyon Shuttle runs from the Visitor Center to the Temple of Sinawava—the final stop on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The shuttle service typically runs from about 7 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. The shuttle schedule changes slightly from season to season and year to year. The NPS website will have the most up-to-date shuttle schedule. Before leaving, visitors should verify the current shuttle timetable posted at the Zion Visitor Center. During shuttle season, this shuttle is required.
5. Are the shuttles free?
All Zion National Park shuttles are free.
6. How to Board the Zion Canyon Shuttle?
Visitors can board the shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.
7. What positives come from riding a shuttle?
First, it’s important to mention that these shuttles offer convenient, safe transport through and to Zion National Park. By riding one of these shuttles instead of driving, you are helping to lower your carbon footprint, ease congestion, and reduce emissions and noise in the park.
8. What should I expect from my shuttle experience?
One thing almost everyone can expect on the Zion shuttle is some noise. To keep the air flowing throughout the bus, most of the windows will be down. This usually means a whooshing, whirring ride. This isn’t a big deal if you’re wearing headphones, but if you forgot them, it’s gonna be pretty hard to hear your tour.
My advice? Crank up the volume on your headphones and sit away by the window. That way, it’s easier to spot some of the features your tour will point out. Noise-canceling headphones are a definite plus if you have them.
Beyond that, every visitor’s shuttle experience will be different because every shuttle driver will be different. Some drivers love to tell you all about the park’s history, the features you’ll be passing, and the upcoming stops. Others prefer to concentrate on the drive and stay mostly silent. And which type of driver you’ll get is mostly luck-of-the-draw.
This means that there may be times when you prefer to listen to the driver instead of your tour. That’s totally okay! We’d love for you to enjoy our content all throughout your adventure, but if you have a driver you’d love to hear more from, well, that’s part of the experience, too. And unlike your driver, our feelings won’t be hurt if you press pause. So enjoy your ride in the way you feel is best! After all, that’s part of the freedom of a Shaka tour!
If you’re afraid you missed out on some cool in-tour advice, you can always play the tracks manually when you’re off the shuttle bus. The only crucial thing we ask is that you remember to turn your tour back on before you leave the canyon.
So don’t forget, if you stop or pause your tour, be sure to turn your tour audio back on before you leave Zion Canyon. We’ll give you directions for getting out of the canyon, as well as stories and songs for your return trip. We don’t want you to miss out!
9. How to have the best tour shuttle experience/ tips/what to bring?
The two biggest pieces of advice I have are: 1) If you’re having trouble hearing , turn your volume up on your headphones. 2) Sit by a window to spot the described features more easily.
And, don’t forget, the three other sections of Zion (East Zion, Kolob Canyon, Kolob Terrace) are all open to personal vehicles all year long. If you’d rather not hop on a shuttle, consider exploring some of those other places with us!
Mav at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 1.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Are masks required on the shuttle?
As of April 2022, masks are required on all Zion NPS shuttles.
Can I bring pets on the shuttle?
No, pets are not allowed on shuttle buses. Service animals, however, are permitted.
Can I bring strollers on the shuttle?
Yes, strollers are allowed. The owner will mount the stroller to the bike rack at the front of the bus.
Is there room for bicycles on the shuttle?
Yes, although space may be limited. Bicycles need to be mounted by the owner to the front of the bus.
Are the shuttle stops on the Zion Park Shuttle the same on the way up as down?
Yes, each direction follows the same route, stopping at every shuttle stop in each direction.
What stops does the Springdale Shuttle make?
On the way into the park, the shuttle bus will stop at every bus stop in town with someone waiting to board. On the way out, the bus will stop only when requested/alerted by a passenger. If needed, the bus will make up to 9 stops.
Where can I check the shuttle schedules?
Check the NPS shuttle page here for the most up-to-date shuttle schedule.
How often do the shuttles stop?
The Zion shuttles stop every 10-15 minutes.
What happens if the shuttle is full?
If the shuttle is full, you will have to wait for the next shuttle.
What happens if I miss the last shuttle out of the park?
Visitors are strongly discouraged from waiting for the final shuttle. If you miss the final shuttle, it’s a grueling 8-miles back to the Visitor Center from the final stop at the Temple of Sinawava. Additionally, the final shuttle may be full. Don’t take the chance and end up stuck with a long, unexpected hike in the dark.
Ready to explore Zion National Park? Check out our Zion National Park Driving Tour to explore at your own pace while learning about the park's history!