Are you planning a stay in Zion lodging like Watchman Villas in 2023? One big question you likely have is whether or not you’ll need a reservation to get into Zion National Park.
The past few years have seen a number of big changes in national parks across the country. Many national parks, including Zion, were already seeing rising visitor numbers prior to 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic led to park closures and modified procedures at many parks. Then, as the pandemic began to fade, visitor numbers at parks across the country surged. With international travel still restricted and many people wanting to spend time indoors after long lockdowns, many parks saw a sudden boom in visitor numbers.
To help curb crowding, traffic, and other issues caused by rising attendance numbers, some national parks opted to begin requiring reservations, permits, or timed-entry tickets for visitors. While this has helped to alleviate crowding in popular parks, it also makes planning a visit a little more tricky than it was before.
Will you need a reservation to get into Zion? Keep reading to find out, and to learn which other national parks will require advance reservations in 2023.
Do You Need a Reservation to Visit Zion National Park?
You will not need a reservation to visit Zion National Park in 2023. While Zion is one of the most popular national parks in the country, the National Park Service has opted not to require a timed-entry ticket or advance reservation.
Instead, the park has taken other measures to help alleviate crowding. One is the Zion Canyon Shuttle. The shuttle system has been in service since the year 2000 and helps to eliminate parking and traffic in Zion’s narrow Lower Canyon.
You won’t need a reservation to ride the Zion Canyon or Springdale Shuttles, either. Simply get in line at one of the many shuttle stops located in Springdale, at the entrance to Zion National Park, or throughout the park, and ride it to any of the other stops. No tickets are required to ride the shuttle. However, you will still need to pay in order to enter Zion National Park.
You can ride the Springdale Shuttle without paying to enter the park, as it stops just outside of the entrance to Zion. This means that you can use this shuttle to explore Springdale’s many stores, restaurants, and other attractions, and leave your vehicle parked at your Springdale Utah vacation rentals.
Getting a Permit to Hike Angels Landing
While you won’t need a reservation or ticket to enter Zion National Park, depending on what you plan to do in the park, you may need a permit.
In 2022, the National Park Service launched a pilot permit program for Angels Landing. This popular—and dangerous—hiking trail has seen hundreds of thousands of hikers a year for several years now. In order to alleviate crowding on the trail and to protect hikers and the park’s delicate plant and animal life, the permit program sought to limit the number of hikers on the trail at once.
Now, hikers will need to enter one of two lotteries to get a permit to hike this trail. The first is a Seasonal Lottery, which awards permits for the following season. The second is the Day-Before Lottery, which awards permits for the following day. It costs $6 to enter each lottery for up to six hikers, as well as $3 per permit if you receive one.
You can still hike much of the trail, including the famously challenging Walter’s Wiggles, without a permit. A permit is only required for those hoping to hike past Scouts Landing. This final section of the trail is where the narrow ridgeline, with chain handrails, is located.
Of course, if you don’t get a permit for Angels Landing, there are plenty of other trails you can enjoy during your Zion lodging stay instead!
Other Activities That Require a Permit
In addition to hiking Angels Landing, there are a few other activities in the park that require a permit.
You will need a permit to:
- Rock climb
- Go canyoneering
- Hike some sections of The Narrows
- Kayak or raft on the Virgin River
Choosing Your Zion Lodging
Now that you know that you won’t need a reservation to enter the park, it’s time to start planning your next visit to Zion National Park. That means choosing the best Zion lodging!
With its convenient location close to the entrance to Zion and with easy access to a stop on the Springdale Shuttle line, Watchman Villas is the best base camp for your national park adventure. You can leave your car parked at your Springdale Utah vacation rentals, and ride straight to the entrance to the park. This also makes it easy to return to your rental for a meal or a quick afternoon nap!
Ready to plan your 2023 visit to Southern Utah? There’s never been a better time! Right now, when you book a stay of two or more nights before March 15, you’ll enjoy a 40 percent discount on your entire booking! Book today to take advantage of this deal!