Skip to Content

How to Get to Zion National Park: A Complete Guide

How to Get to Zion National Park: A Complete Guide

Planning a trip to Southwestern Utah? Here’s everything you need to know about how to get to Zion National Park by plane, bus, or car.  

The red rocks reaching high into the clear blue skies, dramatic canyons that seem endless, and fascinating wildlife enchant visitors from around the world to the remote backcountry of Utah. In fact, over 4 million people visit Zion National Park each year.

But part of the appeal of Southern Utah is the secluded, almost unearthly setting. This makes it especially challenging when planning how to travel to Zion National Park.

Worry not. We’ve written this helpful guide to explain everything you need to know about how to go to Zion National Park. So buckle up, grab your maps (and GPS), and let’s go.

Airports Near Zion National Park

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail 

Flying to Zion National Park? Let’s start with the good news: you have a few choices when it comes to flying in. But as with many national parks, including the mighty five in Utah, you’ll need to fly to a (somewhat) nearby airport to begin your journey. 

Here are your best options for landing at an airport to Zion National Park.

Harry Reid International Airport (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Harry Reid International Airport

The most popular choice for many people visiting Zion National Park is Harry Reid International Airport (LAS). It’s the closest international airport (despite being in another state), flights are often very reasonable and you can stay a night or two on The Strip.

Can you think of anything better than returning from a trip to Zion National Park to head out to the bright neon lights of Las Vegas? We can’t.

Salt Lake City International Airport (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Salt Lake City International Airport

Another popular choice for visitors from the USA and international travelers is flying into Salt Lake City International Airport.

Rental cars are easy to get, there are plenty of convenient airport hotels, and the drive time is still reasonable (more on that later).

St. George Regional Airport (St. George, Utah)

Looking for airports near Zion National Park? St. George Regional Airport (SGU) is the closest, at less than an hour from the park.

But keep in mind; there are few direct flights from major cities to this small regional airport, most involving lengthy layovers. 

Comparing Flight Options and Costs

Flights to Zion National Park can be surprisingly reasonable for such a remote location. However, you’ll need to get from the airport to the national park – so factor that into your travel plans.

So which airport is the cheapest and most convenient for how to get to Zion National Park? It depends on the time of year, what events are happening in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, and how willing you are to deal with a (sometimes drawn-out) layover.

Let’s look at an average round-trip flight comparison on a major airline for a few days in August (booking three months out).

Departing CityArriving CityTotal TimeNumber of StopsTotal Cost 
San Francisco (SFO)Salt Lake City (SLC)~ 2 HoursNonstop~$220
San Francisco (SFO)Saint George (SGU)~ 7 Hours 1 Stop~$260
San Francisco (SFO)Las Vegas (LAS)~ 1.5 HoursNonstop~ $130
New York City (Various Airports)Salt Lake City (SLC)~ 4.5 – 5 HoursNonstop~ $370
New York City (Various Airports)Saint George (SGU)~ 7 – 8 Hours1 Stop~$450
New York City (Various Airports)Las Vegas (LAS)~ 5 – 5.5 HoursNonstop~$330

Check your flights early and often, and decide if you’re willing to wait for a layover.

Want our advice? Fly direct to SLC or LAS if possible (booking your ticket for shoulder season may save you a lot of money when doing this). 

You’ll likely be doing lots of driving from the airport to your hotel and onward bound to Zion National Park, so paying extra for a direct flight is worth the extra cost.

Driving to Zion National Park


Whether you’re driving across the USA or renting a car near one of the airports close by (sort of), driving to Zion National Park is a trendy pick. And a smart one.

Are you surprised? Clear blue skies, cacti and the open road combine forces to provide an enchanting Southwestern road trip. So what’s the best way to get to Zion National Park by car?

Book your rental car with

Driving to Zion National Park From Las Vegas, Nevada

Zion National Park - Pa'Rus Trail Sunset-1

The most popular and overall best way to get to Zion National Park is to fly into Las Vegas, rent a car, and make the 2.5-hour drive over.

You can do this in a couple of different ways.

The most popular option is to drive to one of these fabulous hotels near Zion (we recommend staying in Springdale or even a bit further out for the best rates) and spend the night before hitting the hiking trails very early.

Or, if you want to roll the dice, you can drive from Las Vegas as a day trip and reach Zion in under 3 hours. If you trust yourself to go to bed early in Sin City, this option offers fantastic accommodations and dining for travelers only wanting to spend one day in Zion.

Viva Las Vegas.

Route Description

Getting to Zion National Park from Las Vegas is relatively easy. It’s a straight shot up Interstate 15, with a few beautiful stops along the way.

Estimated Travel Time

If you’re in a hurry, expect to spend around 2.5 hours in your car. If you want to see more of Utah and Nevada, allow for extra time.

Scenic Stops Along the Way

  • Lake Mead You’ll make a moderate detour to get here, but the stunning reservoir on the Colorado River is a nature lover’s paradise and more than worth it.
  • St. George This small city is right along Interstate 15 and is a great place to stop for some hiking, sightseeing, and fossil hunting (really).
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park – Technically, this is about 30 minutes past Zion, but this hidden gem offers unique scenery for outdoor adventure and photography with its trademark pink sands.

Driving to Zion National Park From Salt Lake City, Utah

Zion National Park

Looking for the best way to visit Zion National Park from Utah? Start in gorgeous Salt Lake City, and drive to the park in under 5 hours.  

Flying into SLC, you can rent a hotel in Salt Lake City or a nearby resort town like Park City before heading down to Zion National Park.  

We always budget some extra time for all the stops you’ll make along the way. For example, you can take a more roundabout loop to catch famous destinations like Canyonlands National Park or Capitol Reef National Park, but this will take you at least a full day and likely longer.

Route Description

Take Interstate 15 South and bring your camera – the scenery is spectacular.

Estimated travel time

Driving straight through takes under 5 hours. 

Scenic Stops Along the Way

  • Bryce Canyon National Park – We can’t recommend enough taking a slight detour (or overnight stay) to see the hoodoos, Queens Gardens and stargazing in Bryce Canyon City.
  • Provo – If you’re looking to add some culture to your outdoor adventures, stop in Provo and check out Brigham Young University and Bean Life Science Museum. 

How to Drive to National Park From Other Major Cities

Phoenix, Arizona

You can drive from Phoenix to Zion in around 6 hours, making it a popular option for travelers who want to spend some time in the Valley of the Sun. 

Los Angeles, California

Taking a road trip from California to Utah National Parks? You’ll be happy to know you can reach Zion in 6.5 hours, taking Highway 18 to Interstate 15 from Los Angeles.

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado, to Zion National Park is a long drive that takes nearly 10 hours when the weather is good.

It can take much longer in the winter, and you’ll need a four-wheel drive to do it safely. Even then, conditions can be quite dangerous if you’re unfamiliar with ice and snow driving.

Car Rental Options and Tips for Driving to Zion National Park

Zion National Park - Watchman Trail Hike

What’s the best way to travel to Zion National Park? Driving from one of the three closest airports in a rental car is generally the best option.

Here are a few things to know before you rent a vehicle.

  • Renting a car at the airport can save you time and money. 
  • Choose your vehicle early (with free cancellation), and keep an eye on rates – car rental prices constantly go up and down.
  • Factor in anything you may need ahead of time, like 4WD or a car seat.
  • If it’s your first trip to Zion National Park or Utah, do yourself a favor and spend a night or two visiting Arches National Park, Moab and other fantastic locations.

Public Transportation Options to Get to Zion National Park 

Bus services

Getting to Zion National Park by bus is relatively tricky. While you can’t take a direct public bus option from Salt Lake City or Las Vegas to Zion National Park, you can take them to St. George and then a shuttle from there.


Greyhound runs buses from Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and other major cities regularly to St. George. It’s actually a relatively efficient way to travel if you don’t want to drive, but you’ll need to take a local shuttle from St. George to the park.

Expect the trip to take around 4 hours from Las Vegas and 5.5 from Salt Lake City. Prices are around $55-$80 one-way, depending on which airport you fly into.

Local Shuttle Services

Taking a local shuttle service from St. George is a great way to see Zion National Park. Numerous daily trips can get you from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City to St. George.

Once you arrive at St. George, you can take the St. George Shuttle into many of the most famous attractions in the park.

Train Services

Amtrak Options and Connections

There is really no way to get to Zion National Park by train. You won’t find a station anywhere nearby, so taking a train to another location and then driving is the only way you could do it.

Combining Public Transportation With Driving

Want to combine public transportation with driving? You can take buses or trains to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City and rent a car from there.

Zion National Park Shuttle System

Zion National Park Shuttle System

The Zion National Park Shuttle System is a lifesaver in many cases. If you don’t arrive at the park at the crack of dawn (like 6 AM early), there’s pretty much zero chance you’ll land a prime parking spot near Main Canyon.

Familiarizing yourself with the shuttle system in Zion is crucial. So here’s a quick breakdown.

Overview of the Shuttle System

Getting to Zion National Park by Shuttle

Shuttles run regularly within and around Zion to the Main Canyon. So you’re in luck if you go this route because you’ll be able to see all the hits like Zion Lodge, Angel’s Landing and The Narrows

But Kolob Canyons and Canyon Overlook are under-the-radar locations with some of Zion’s best hiking and sightseeing – unfortunately, you can’t access them by shuttle.

When and Where to Get to Zion National Park by Shuttle

So where do you catch the shuttle? Head to the Springdale station if you’re staying in a hotel nearby. Or, if you drove to the park early, you can take the Zion Canyon Line from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

Plan ahead, as the lines get really long later in the morning. It’s also important to remember that the shuttle only runs from March to the end of November, and hours may change.

Shuttle Stops and Points of Interest

So you catch the shuttle first thing in the morning; good job. But now, where should you go? Here are some of the areas you’ll see when taking a shuttle to Zion National Park.

What to Know About Springdale Line

You can reach Zion Canyon Village from Springdale, and it stops at several local hotels and restaurants.

Check the schedule ahead to know when the first and last stops are.

Points of Interest on the Zion Canyon Line

  • Canyon Junction – Walk from the visitor center to Canyon Junction on the Pa’rus trail. The walkway offers gorgeous views of the canyon and nature around it.
  • Zion Lodge – Stop by (or stay) at the one and only resort within Zion National Park. Hungry? Red Rock Grill is one of the only options besides packing lunch.
  • The Grotto – This stop allows you to access Angel’s Landing and other excellent sites.
  • Weeping Rock – If you’re looking to get to the East Rim Trail, this stop gives you access to the gorgeous sandstone cliffs this part of the park is known for.

Shuttle Schedule and Frequency 

For the full schedule of shuttles from Springdale to Zion National Park, check out their official website here.

Read More Zion National Park Guides