Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks have been experiencing a rising number of annual visitors for the past couple of decades. Like many national parks across the country, several Utah national parks have implemented measures to help reduce crowding and traffic in the parks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arches National Park launched their Timed Entry Ticket Program. Now, guests visiting the park from April 1 to October 31 between 7 am and 4 pm need to reserve and purchase a ticket providing them with a time to enter the park. Just last year, Zion launched the Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program. Now, hikers need to enter a lottery to get a permit to hike this popular trail.
While many crowd control measures were implemented during the pandemic, some have been around much longer—like the Zion Canyon Shuttle System. Launched in 2000, the shuttles have been helping to reduce traffic and crowding and help visitors explore the park for more than 22 years.
If you’re planning to visit Gooseberry Lodges and Zion National Park anytime from early spring to late fall, odds are that you’ll find yourself needing to ride the Zion Canyon Shuttle System. Keep reading to learn what you need to know to navigate the shuttle system.
The Zion Canyon Shuttle System
The Zion Canyon Shuttle System is a series of shuttle buses and stops that ferries visitors into the park’s Lower Canyon. For most of the year, the road leading into the Lower Canyon, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, is closed to personal vehicle traffic. Only shuttle buses and bicycles are allowed on the roads.
Unless you’re staying in the Zion Canyon Lodge, you can’t drive your car into the Lower Canyon. This means that unless you want to walk, you’ll need to ride the shuttle to get to some of the park’s most popular hiking trails and other attractions.
Using the Zion Canyon Shuttle to get around during your Gooseberry Lodges stay is a breeze. Let’s take a look at some common questions first-time riders have.
Does it Cost to Ride the Shuttle?
It’s free to ride the shuttle, and you won’t need a reservation or ticket to do so. You will still need to pay the entrance fee for Zion National Park.
If you’re driving into Zion to park at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, you’ll pay $35 per vehicle with up to 15 passengers or $20 per motorcycle. Those entering on foot will pay $20 per person. Children aged 15 and younger can enter free of charge. You can also present a valid Interagency Pass.
Where Do You Park for the Shuttle?
Parking is available at the entrance to the park, behind the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. However, on busy days, this parking lot may fill early in the day. You can either get to the park early to avoid this, or park elsewhere in Springdale. Pay lots are available in town. After parking, you can walk or use the Springdale Shuttle to get to the entrance to Zion.
When you stay in our Gooseberry Lodges, you’ll be just 45 minutes from the entrance to Zion. This makes it easy to get to the park early in the day to snag a great parking spot and make the most of your visit.
When Does the Shuttle Operate?
Each year, the Zion Canyon Shuttle System begins operating in mid-March and runs daily through the end of November. In 2023, the Zion Canyon Shuttle began its operations on March 11 and is set to end daily operations on November 26. The shuttles also operate around the December holidays each year.
The schedule for the Zion Canyon Shuttle changes throughout the year. During the summer months, the first shuttle leaves the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 6 am. The last shuttle leaves the Visitor Center at 7 pm, while the last shuttle out of the canyon leaves the final shuttle stop at 8:15 pm.
Where Does the Zion Canyon Shuttle Stop?
The Zion Canyon Shuttle System has nine stops in the Lower Canyon. The first is at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, just inside the entrance to the park. The second is a short distance away, at the Zion Human History Museum. The next six stops are spaced throughout Lower Canyon, located close to some of the most popular trails and attractions. For instance, there’s a stop at Zion Lodge, The Grotto, and Weeping Rock.
The last shuttle stop, Stop #9, is at the Temple of Sinawava, at the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Here, the shuttle buses turn around to head back to the entrance to the park. Visitors can hop on and off the shuttle at any stop they’d like, as often as they’d like throughout the day.
The Springdale Shuttle Line
The town of Springdale also has its own shuttle system. The Springdale Line has nine stops located throughout the town of Springdale, with the first located at Zion Canyon Village, just outside the park’s gates.
This shuttle system is great for riding to the park from a parking lot, or for exploring the town’s stores and restaurants. Of course, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Springdale on a busy day, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from closer to Gooseberry Lodges.
Planning Your Visit to Gooseberry Lodge
If you’re planning to enjoy a day trip to Zion National Park during your stay in Gooseberry Lodges, odds are that you’ll find yourself needing to use the Zion Canyon Shuttle System. Luckily, with a little pre-planning, riding the shuttle can be a fun and easy way to get around the park.
Ready to start planning your next visit to Southern Utah? Book your stay at Gooseberry Lodges today!