Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

#3 in Best Things To Do in Zion National Park
Zion Canyon Scenic Drive picture
stellalevi/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.6scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

If you'd rather experience Zion National Park's grandeur from the safety and comfort of your car, then the 57-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is for you. The route takes you past the Virgin River and many of the park's famous landmarks but only from December to February. During peak season, you can catch a free shuttle for the portion that runs through the park. But even the route that extends outside the park is magnificent, traveling through the Grafton ghost town (near Rockville), which was featured in the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and Utah's Quail Creek and Sand Hollow state parks.

Travelers who have traversed this thoroughfare describe it as a "white-knuckle drive" with relatively few guardrails and numerous sheer cliffs. Still, it rewards you with beautiful views of the park and wildlife like bighorn sheep. Reviewers also warn that the drive shouldn't be taken at night or during rain showers, since the hairpin turns can be difficult to maneuver.

To take the portion of the scenic drive that runs through Zion National Park, you'll need to pay the park's $30 entrance fee, but the one fee will be good for seven days. Still, keep in mind that from March to November, the section that runs through the park's canyon will be closed to cars, though you can park your vehicle and hop on the park's free shuttle to experience it. You can start the drive from the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 15 (near St. George) and then head east toward Mount Carmel Junction. The entire drive will take about 90 minutes. For more information, visit Utah.com's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Zion National Park

The Narrows
Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 7
#1 The Narrows

The slimmest section of Zion Canyon is known as the Narrows, and it's one of the park's most popular hikes. To experience it, set out from the Temple of Sinawava along the Riverside Walk for a one-mile, wheelchair-accessible hike that offers a good view of the Narrows. But if you want to go any farther, you'll be wading or even swimming upstream since the footpath turns into the Virgin River. Along the way, you'll enjoy towering views of the striated, orange-red canyon.

Recent travelers recommend sealing any valuables in a waterproof bag, as the water can rise as high as your waist in some places. According to reviewers, you'll also need to rent or bring waterproof shoes as the rocky, slippery terrain cannot be traversed with bare feet. Hikers also suggest getting to the Narrows early to avoid the crowds.

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