Public Transit in the rural desert? It's another reason why Zion really IS the promised land! The shuttle system was established in 2001 to eliminate traffic and parking problems, protect vegetation, and restore tranquility to Zion Canyon. The National Park and the Town of Springdale work together to offer two integrated, free, and easy-to-use shuttle bus routes serving visitors April through November. Once you get to your hotel or campground, it's pretty easy to leave your car parked for the rest of your visit.
Inside the Park: During shuttle season, personal cars are prohibited in the main canyon north of Canyon Junction (unless staying at Zion Lodge). Free, propane-powered shuttle buses run from the Visitor Center to the Temple of Sinawava on a frequent, regular schedule. The peace and quiet is fantastic, and the lack of parking hassles is great. The best place to park and pack for adventures starting in the main canyon is at the Visitor Center, but you can also park in town and ride the town shuttle in. The shuttle is free with your entrance fee.
In the summer, the last shuttle from the Temple of Sinawava is 11 PM. Past 11, you can walk to the lodge and someone there will usually give you a ride out. Shuttles only run along the Scenic drive, and NOT up to the Tunnel or East Side Entrance.
In Town: Springdale probably has the best public transit system of any 600-person town in the country. Free shuttles run up and down the entirety of Zion Park Boulevard (turning around at the Majestic View Inn) on a frequent and regular basis. Shuttles start just outside the walk-in entrance to the Park, next to Sol Foods and close to the Main Visitor Center. If staying at one of the Park Campgrounds, hopping on the shuttle is easy. On busy days, limited parking in Zion often means visitors are required to park in town and hop on a Town Shuttle to get to the Visitor Center and Park shuttle system.
Up Canyon versus Down Canyon
Both shuttle systems run North-South along the two-lane Highway 9/Zion Scenic Drive. Shuttle signs and bus drivers refer to shuttles headed either "up canyon" or "down canyon". The south end of Springdale is the END of the canyon, while the Temple of Sinawava is the furthest shuttle stop UP Canyon. Generally, head Up Canyon (shuttle stops on the road's East side) to explore the Park, reach trailheads, and find The Narrows. Head Down Canyon (shuttle stops on the road's West side) to go back to the Visitor Center or to Springdale.
Trailhead Shuttle Service: Many hikes, backpacking routes, and canyoneering descents begin at one point and end at another, making a vehicle shuttle a logistical necessity. If you have two vehicles, you can usually set up shuttle on your own, though some area roads are a bit rough for non-high clearance cars (trailheads along the North Fork road). To save time and/or wear and tear on your vehicle, you can usually opt to pay for a Trailhead Shuttle.
A few companies offer shuttle service with pickup from Springdale or the Visitor Center. Advance reservations are recommended, especially during the busy season.
Red Rock Shuttles
*All Zion trailheads. St. George, Cedar City, and Bryce Canyon shuttle service.
Zion Adventure Company
*All Zion trailheads, St. George, Cedar City, and other destinations by request.