Driving in Zion NP?

Mar 19th, 2013, 05:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,703
Driving in Zion NP?

I know that most driving is prohibited and visitors must take the park shuttles, but I had also read that guests of the Zion Lodge in the park are permitted to drive their own cars on the scenic drive.

I booked the lodge for early May and yesterday received a parking permit in the mail that says it's for guests of the lodge to load and unload their cars ONLY and that NO private vehicles are permitted to drive anywhere in the park.

I intend to call to clarify but I was wondering if anyone has experience with this. For those who have stayed at the lodge, were you permitted to drive the scenic drive? Or perhaps there have been recent changes?

Since I love scenic drives and stopping for photo ops, that was my main reason for wanting to stay at the Zion Lodge. I could only get a motel room which looks pretty ordinary and I understand that there are not exceptional views from there.

So if I can't drive and must take the shuttles anyway, with a lot of choices just outside the park, I'd just as soon stay at one of them and save myself $200.

So, can anyone offer any thoughts on this? Thx.
panecott is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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When we stayed in the park it was off season and we drove right up to the lodge and parked.

Zion isn't like Bryce where you drive in and stop at pull offs to see the sights. You are down in the valley and the view is up. There are one or two places that we did stop near some petroglyphs, but most of the places you would hike to are close enough to the lodge that you would not need your car and I can't recall much parking except for people staying in the lodges anyway. You can/have to drive through the tunnel to hike on the overlook side, but everyone can and there is limited parking there.

Staying in the park is nice, since in the early morning and evening you have the place to yourself and don't have to drive anywhere.

go to www.nps.gov and put Zion into the search box and look at the maps that show the roads and hikes to orient yourself.
emalloy is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 09:52 AM
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Thanks, emalloy. I'm getting more of a feel for the lay of the land now.

I did call Xanterra to check and was told that the scenic drive is right at the entrance to the park and goes to the Zion Lodge and that's the only place guests are permitted to drive, except in off season.

And the website said that the drive must be "non-stop", so, so much for photo ops along the drive.

I do like staying in the parks and since I usually book last minute, I'm often shut out. So I'll think about this a bit more.

I'm definitely staying at Bryce Canyon Lodge, in a cabin, which I'm really looking forward to.
panecott is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Pannecott, we've stayed in the motel-type lodge room as well as having stayed outside the park another visit. I loved being in the park, although our lodge when we stayed outside, Cliffrose, had lovely grounds with a steam running through it. It's beautiful at night in the park, seeing the moon shining on the cliff walls, then early morning while it is still so peaceful before the crowds arrive. Yes the rooms are very basic, ours looked out at the back of a hillside, but in our experience, they were less expensive than what we paid outside the park. I don't think you'll regret staying in the park, if that's your decision! Having done it once, if/when we go back, I'll be disappointed not to find availability within....enough so that I'd try to rearrange travel times to get the lodge.
OO is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Thanks, OO. You make it sound so beautiful inside -- as I'm sure it is.

And I like what you and emalloy said about the quiet times in morning and evening after the crowds have left.

I think you've convinced me.
panecott is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 03:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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We stayed at Zion Lodge during the time when shuttle system was operating. You can come and go from the PARK ENTRANCE TO THE LODGE ONLY. You will not be allowed past the lodge for that part of the scenic drive. The shuttle bus system is very easy to use and I wish more parks would implement Zion's system. It makes the park much much more peaceful. It eliminates the problems that Yosemite has. The lay of the land is very simiilar to "the valley" part of Yosemite(if you've been there).
spirobulldog is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,277
The great thing about staying outside the park is that you have many options for dining. Or hit the grocery store for some snackish foods. I like the lodging in Springdale MUCH better than the Lodge in park. That is a good point about the park being more quiet in the evenings and mornings though. Depends on what you want.
StantonHyde is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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We stayed 4 nights in Zion Lodge(cabin w/fireplace). We did eat a couple of times in Springdale and did get groceries. We really liked Whiptail Grill(really like their spaghetti squash enchiladas). You can drive thru the tunnel to what I would call the east side of the park. We had one or two evening meals at Zion Lodge and a couple of breakfasts there. Thought it was very good. Do have lunch or at least an ice cream cone under the big tree in front of the lodge. Lots of people do. I can't remember the name of the lil grocery store/deli(pretty much at the park entrance). They have good breakfast burritos.
spirobulldog is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Thanks for the info, Stanton and spiro. I'm sure I'll eat at least one dinner at the Lodge dining room, which - you just reminded me, requires reservations.

It's really not my cup of tea to plan where and when I'm going to eat so far in advance - I'm more the spontaneous type - but they said reservations are required, so I'll reserve and can always cancel if I choose to eat somewhere else. Thx.
panecott is offline  
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