Planning to visit Zion National Park in 2022? If this isn’t your first visit, you might be surprised to learn about a few changes coming to the park this year.
From a new permit system for a popular hike to increasing crowds, keep reading to learn what you need to know to plan your next visit to Zion.
The Park May Be More Crowded Than Years Past
Starting in early 2021, national parks across the country began experiencing a surge in visitor numbers. After more than a year of shutdowns and travel restrictions, millions of Americans, as well as plenty of international travelers, were eager to get away. National parks offered outdoor adventure, as well as an opportunity to continue practicing some social distancing.
This trend is likely to continue in 2022. But while this may mean more crowds on popular trails and at overlooks, and longer lines for shuttle buses, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a fun visit to Zion National Park.
If you prefer to enjoy iconic trails and overlooks without the crowds, consider visiting the park during the off-season. The busiest times of year in Zion are the summer months, and especially holidays and weekends. But weekdays in the early fall, or anytime during the late fall, winter, and early spring see fewer visitors than the rest of the year.
For those who do need to travel during the busier times of the year, don’t fret; with a little pre-planning, you can still enjoy a relaxing visit to the park. If you have your heart set on visiting the lower canyon, plan to get to the park very early in the day. You can even plan to leave the park in the middle of the afternoon when crowds will be heaviest, and return in the late afternoon.
Staying close to the heart of the action at Watchman Villas makes this easy. You can roll out of bed in the morning and hop straight on the Springdale Shuttle from the on-site bus stop. You can also easily head back to your private Villa for a nap or lunch in the afternoon.
Accommodations May Fill Up Fast
Getting to the park isn’t the only thing you’ll want to get an early start on if you’re planning to visit Zion in summer 2022. You’ll also want to plan to book your accommodations as early as possible.
As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 begins to fade, many people are eager to get back to a more normal way of life this summer. For many families, this means the return of a summer vacation. With so many families eager to get away again this year, most will be booking their trips early in the year. As a result, the best accommodations will no doubt sell out fast this summer.
To guarantee your choice of dates, and your pick of our beautiful private Villas, be sure to book your summer 2022 stay early.
Masks May Be Required on Shuttles
As of March 2022, some restrictions are still in place in Zion National Park to help keep guests safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, guests are required to wear a mask while riding the Zion Canyon shuttle or the Springdale Shuttle, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
At this time, guests are no longer required to wear a mask while in park buildings, like the Zion Lodge or the Visitor Center. However, keep in mind that restrictions can change at any time. You can check out the park’s website ahead of your trip for the most up-to-date information on park restrictions and health mandates.
Guests Will Need a Permit to Visit Angels Landing
Dreaming of hiking to the top of what is perhaps Zion’s most iconic trail? You’ll need to check out this change coming to the park in 2022.
As of April 1, 2022, visitors hoping to hike Angels Landing during their visit will need to obtain a permit in order to do so. The experimental permit program was developed to help reduce crowding on this popular trail. Previously, crowds not only threatened the delicate natural landscapes of the park but also put guests at risk. As lines formed at the trailhead, visitors were left stranded with very little shade in hot temperatures, with no access to water fill stations.
Permits will be required year-round for hikes to Angels Landing and will be allotted through two lottery systems. The first will open a couple of months before each permit time period. This first lottery will follow these deadlines and open dates:
- Lottery for hikes between April 1 and May 31 opens on January 3 and closes January 20
- The Lottery for hikes between June 1 and August 31 opens April 1 and closes April 20
- Lottery for hikes between September 1 and November 30 opens July 1 and closes July 20
- The Lottery for hikes between December 1 and February 28, 2023, will open October 1 and close on October 20
A second lottery will open each day and will award any available permits to guests to hike to Angels Landing the next day. Entering any of the lotteries will cost $6 to enter up to 6 hikers. If you are awarded a permit, you’ll also need to pay an additional $3 per person to obtain the permit.
Planning a Visit to Zion in 2022
If you’re planning a visit to Zion in 2022, things may be different than you remember from years past. But with a little pre-planning, you can still enjoy a fun, safe adventure in the park.
Ready to start planning your next visit? Book your stay at Watchman Villas today to guarantee your choice of dates and private villa for your trip!