Planning a stay at Zion National Park vacation rentals this summer? If you’ll be heading to the country’s second most-visited national park anytime from March to November or around the holidays, you’ll likely find yourself preparing to ride the Zion Canyon Shuttle.
This unique park feature was launched in the early 2000s to help minimize car traffic in the narrow Lower Canyon of Zion National Park. The shuttle makes it easy to get from point A to point B both in the park and in Springdale. But figuring out where to catch it, how to avoid long lines, and where to hop off can get a little complicated.
Before arriving at your Springdale vacation rentals, it’s a good idea to learn the ins and outs of the Zion Canyon Shuttle. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to riding the shuttle system in 2022.
What is the Zion Canyon Shuttle?
The Zion Canyon Shuttle system actually features two different shuttle loops. One is located inside the park. This shuttle takes visitors to a number of stops in the Lower Canyon of Zion National Park. The other shuttle makes a loop through Springdale, Utah. Visitors can use this shuttle to travel to restaurants, shops, and their Springdale vacation rentals. It also provides access to the entrance to the park.
The National Park Service first launched the shuttle system in 2000. It was started in response to the growing levels of traffic in the park. Zion’s Lower Canyon features most of the park’s most popular overlooks, trailheads, and other attractions. But it also lacks parking.
As parking spaces would fill early in the day, the Lower Canyon would become crowded with traffic. Often, tourists were making their own parking spaces along roadways. This was not only a safety concern for hikers, walkers, and bikers but also damaged the local plant and animal life.
Today, the shuttle system is the only way for visitors to get to the Lower Canyon for much of the year. Unless you’re staying at the Zion Canyon Lodge, the only accommodation in Zion National Park, you’ll have to hop on the shuttle to get to the Lower Canyon from March through November each year. The shuttle is also in operation around busy holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Where Do You Park to Hop on the Shuttle?
The Zion Canyon Shuttle system may have been designed to help with traffic. However, it didn’t completely alleviate parking troubles. To hop on the shuttle, visitors first need to park their cars. There is a parking lot at the Zion Visitor Center. But this lot is small and fills up early in the day. There are also limited parking options within Springdale.
The easiest way to find parking is to stay at Springdale vacation rentals and hotels that are close to shuttle stops for the Springdale Shuttle. When you stay at Watchman Villas, you can leave your car parked at your vacation rental. Walk straight out to a shuttle stop that will take you to the entrance to Zion and the first stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle.
Riding the Zion Canyon Shuttle System
It is free to ride to the Zion Canyon Shuttle. However, guests will still need to pay to enter the park. The Zion Canyon Shuttle schedule changes each year. From May 22 to September 18, 2022, the Zion Canyon Shuttle will start running at 6 a.m. at the Visitor Center. The last shuttle leaves the Visitor Center at 6 p.m. The final shuttle out of the canyon from the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop will leave at 8:15 p.m.
The Springdale Shuttle will begin running at 7 a.m. The first shuttle leaves from the Majestic View Lodge, at Stop 9. The last shuttle will leave the Zion Canyon Village, Stop 1, at 9 p.m. daily.
There is no eating or smoking allowed while on any of the buses. Water is the only beverage allowed. Pets are allowed in certain parts of the park. But they are not allowed on the shuttle buses. You can bring a bicycle or stroller onto the bus. However, you will need to be able to load it onto the bike rack at the front of the shuttle on your own.
Booking the Best Zion National Park Vacation Rentals
Now that you know everything you need to know about riding the Zion Canyon Shuttle and Springdale Shuttle in 2022, it’s time to start planning your visit. The first thing you’ll want to do is book the best Zion National Park vacation rentals.
One of the first features you’ll want to look at, especially when visiting during the busy summer season, is how close your Springdale vacation rentals are from the nearest shuttle stop. Having a shuttle stop within walking distance means that you can leave your car parked at your vacation rental, and avoid having to find parking in Springdale. This makes it easy to hop on the shuttle early in the day and ride to the park before lines begin to form. When you’re done exploring, you can hop back on the shuttle and ride back to your vacation rental for some rest and relaxation.
At Watchman Villas, our Zion National Park vacation rentals are just steps away from one of the stops on the Springdale Shuttle. Each of our one- and two-bedroom private villas features fully-equipped kitchens, luxurious amenities, and outdoor living spaces. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a long summer adventure, our Springdale vacation rentals are the perfect basecamp for your stay!
Reservations for our villas are filling up fast for summer 2022. Book your stay today to guarantee your spot at the best Zion National Park vacation rentals!