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kkclub Jun 26th, 2006 06:04 PM

Help. Route suggestion between Zion and Bryce Canyon
Hi, I have been happily planning a trip to both Zion and Bryce Canyon until I read some warnings about the road condition between these 2 parks. I would like to head to Bryce first (from St. George) and then back to Zion staying in Springdale. We are driving a rental full size car. Should we drive all the way on I-15 to Cedar City and then take I-14 to Long Valley Junction and head to Bryce, and go to Zion via 89 South and SR9 east (clockwise loop) or the otherway round(anticlockwise)? I heard that both routes are curvy, steep with big dropoffs. :-S
Or should we just stick with driving on SR9 & 89 both ways? Should we avoid driving this route in the evening? It says it's 89 miles between Springdale to Bryce, but with this winding condition, should I time for >2 hours to drive?

Thanks for all the valuable information! @};-

utahtea Jun 26th, 2006 08:11 PM

What warnings? Are you talking about road work or just the curves? There aren't that many curvey sections just from the Zion Valley up to the Zion Tunnel on Hwy 9. Won't take long at all. It's about a 2 hour drive but you won't want to do it in the dark because you would miss the scenery!!!!

Hwy 14 has more curves IMHO and you get to a higher elevation. It would be a different route but I prefer going and coming though Zion.


bob_brown Jun 26th, 2006 08:13 PM

I never had any trouble with any of those roads. Just what is it that you are concerned about?
We drove from Bryce to Mt. Carmel Junction without any difficulty at all.
Unless something has gone crazy with Route 9 I would not hesitate. It is winding, but scenic.

route 14 is steep coming up from Cedar City, but if you go by way of Cedar Breakxs and then take route 143 to Panguitch, you should get quite a nice scenic tour.

Of course those roads never bothered me at all, not even dirt roads over 12,000 passes in Colorado. (Well other than the time my father's whaleboat of an Olds 98 turned out to be prone to stalling out at altitude.) Modern cars with fuel injection don't have those problems.

peterboy Jun 27th, 2006 08:59 AM

If you are worried about driving roads with a drop off alongside then you have picked the wrong destination.

Really though it is no big deal. Think about many times in your normal day-to-day driving do you drive off the side of the road...not many or at all I'd wager. As long as you can keep the car on the road and in your lane then I can't see that you'll have a problem.

If you are phobic then that is an entirely different issue but all the roads you mention are prefectly save to drive.

dwooddon Jun 27th, 2006 10:50 AM

Both the route through Zion Canyon or the route over Cedar Mountain are well maintained and easy to drive. Ony if you are exrtremly phobic might you have a problem and that would be physcological, not physical.

Route 9 through Zion Canyon has two drawbacks you should be aware of. First, the NPS charges $20 for entry unless you have a parks pass. Second, the tunnel through the mountain is almost always one-way during the summer so you might have to wait to go through if it is going the opposite direction when you arrive. I have never had to wait more than 10 minutes and usually much less than that.

Route 14 between Cedar City and Long Valley Junction is a bit steeper in some places but is wide and easy to drive. If you have too much fear of the down grades on the east side, turn off for Cedar Breaks and take Route 143 to panguitch as suggested in an earlier post. Either route across Cedar Mountain is quite scenic.

If you are not from a high elevation location, I would suggest changing the sequence of your stays. If you stayed first at Zion then at Bryce, the stay at Zion would allow your bodies to begin to acclimate to higher elevations easier than going to Bryce first.

Whichever you choose, have a great trip.

kkclub Jun 27th, 2006 04:24 PM

Right, I did mean the curves, the height, the gradient...etc. As I googled for the information, I read about some discussions (not here) and suggestions to avoid these roads, but to take the longer route via 389 in the south cutting through Arizona.
But I always count on the advice here =D>, so, we will plan to take route 9 for both ways.
My concern was not falling off the cliff, but more of how stressful it would be for the driver (aka my husband :-P) driving curves after curves for 2 hours. I really don't want to see him arriving at Bryce with a headache. From your description, I guess it is not that scary after all.

Yes, we have a national park pass. Thanks for reminding! (even though I think the entry fee is good for 7 days?) O, btw, since we cannot drive into the park as we usually do in other parks, how will they charge us (2 couples) with 1 park pass? Just curious, no big deal.
Thanks anyway!

peterboy Jun 28th, 2006 08:26 AM

As I recall, you'll enter the park (Zion) with your pass and then catch the shuttles at the visitors center.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

dwooddon Jun 28th, 2006 09:45 AM

You can drive into the park and through it on Hwy 9. What you cannot do during the summer season is take the turn off Hwy 9 to get into the area where the lodge is located. I travel through Zion many times a year on my way to visit my son and grandson with never a problem entering.

Having said that, if your purpose is sightseeing, I'd still park and take the shuttle since there are few, quickly filled parking spaces along Hwy 9. Most people park in parking lots just outside the park in Springdale and take the shuttles into the park.

KarenL Jun 28th, 2006 11:56 AM

In zion during the summer you cann't drive your car past the visitor's center in the area where that the shuttle covers. You can drive on other roads with in the park though.

Dayle Jun 28th, 2006 01:00 PM


Your annual pass will get your whole car full of people in.

Roads are just fine. Don't even worry about it. Just watch for deer if driving in the early morning or early evening or night hours.

kkclub Jun 29th, 2006 02:03 PM

Thanks everybody!!
We plan to ride the shuttle into the park from Springdale. I will give an update later how they are going to charge us, in case others are interested.

With the isolated T-storms in the forecast, I will share how this will affect our plan to go into the Narrows.

Thanks again for all the advice!!

utahtea Jun 29th, 2006 08:01 PM

There are really two different shuttle bus routes. One does the town of Springdale and the other does inside the park. You have to get off the Springdale shuttle at the stop nearest the park, walk across the bridge over the Virgin River. This is the park entrance station for foot traffic. THe National Park pass should get your intire party into the park (just like it would get everyone in your vehicle into the park). Then you will walk a short distance to the Visitor Center where the Zion shuttle buses start.

Bryce's shuttle system is totally different...let me know if you need to hear about that one too.


kkclub Jun 30th, 2006 11:58 AM

Hi utahtea, I have read that the shuttle system in Bryce is optional. We may just drive in there if there is parking space available. Otherwise, I remember I read something about the parking at Ruby's Inn. Thanks for sharing!

BTW, donno if there are any World Cup soccer fans here ;;), but I have called ahead and checked out if there is any bar&restaurant showing the game. Most people suggested Bit & Spur. If any of you have any insider tips, please kindly advise. Or we will have to drive to St. George. Thanks!!

Really looking forward to the trip.

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