The town of Springdale is base camp for most Zion climbers. It's
a pretty darn cute town: think of a mini Moab in a more
spectacular setting. For
most shopping, you can drive 30 minutes to Hurricane or 50
minutes to St. George.
Zion is in southwestern Utah, along US 9, about
25 miles east of I-15 (view
Air Travel. St. George has a small airport,
about 50 minutes west of Zion, with pricey scheduled flights to
Salt Lake City and Burbank. The closest larger airport is the McCarran
International in Las Vegas, about a 2.5 hour drive. Salt
Lake City Airport is a 4.5 drive to
Car Travel and Shuttle Bus. You can reach most Zion climbs
by the free
shuttle bus that runs between March and October. During this
time you can't drive inside the main Zion Canyon. The exception
is if you are doing a one-day big wall in which case you can get
a car permit at the visitor center. When the shuttle bus is not
running (November-February) you can drive your car into the canyon
and park below your climb. Take the shuttle from outside the park
in and avoid the $30 entrance fee. If you pay the entrance fee,
its good for a week. Or pay $80 and visit all parks for a year
with the National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass
Driving Distances to Zion:
Bishop, CA: 7.5 hours
Denver, CO: 9 hours
Lake Tahoe: 11 hours
Las Vegas, NV: 2.5 hours
Los Angeles, CA: 6.5 hours
Salt Lake City, UT: 4.5 hours
San Francisco, CA: 11 hours
Yosemite: 10.5 hours
Spring and fall offer the best climbing conditions. Winters are
unpredictable and summers are scorching and crowded. Temperatures
in the sun and shade differ dramatically. With no wind, 65° in
the shade can mean 100° in the direct sun. Always bring plenty
of warm clothes and water. Some routes are closed for peregrine
falcons from March-September. You will need to consider the water
flow of the Virgin River when approaching climbs on Angels landing.
In the spring and early summer it can be quite cold and tricky
Fall: Climbing temperatures are often ideal from mid-September
to mid-November with temperatures ranging from high-80s to mid-60s.
It can be scorching in September, but few storms will be encountered.
Winter: Winters can be extremely cold unless you are climbing
in the sun. Before heading to Zion, check the weather to make sure
that the high temp is at least 50° for climbing walls and
40° for the crags and boulders. Snowstorms are
frequent and may last for days. Nighttime temperatures dip well
below freezing even in the best winter conditions. The area
usually doesn't get more than a few feet of snow each winter. All
that said, if you can climb really fast on a south-facing wall,
winter can be ideal. There are no crowds and aid temps in the
sun can feel like 60 or even 70.
Spring: Daytime temperatures begin to climb into the 60s
and 70s in March. However, cold nights and possible snow can be
expected into early April. Mid-April to mid-May offer good climbing
temperatures, with more frequent wind and rain than in the fall.
The tourist crowds show up in mid-April.
Summer: Temperatures hover around 90-100°. Climb the
most north-facing walls possible. Cragging at the Tunnel Wall in
the early morning or late afternoon is a popular option.
weatherfive day forecast for Zion
Closures and Permits
Many walls are closed from March-September for peregrine falcon nesting.
Visit the NPS
Zion Climbing site for a list of closed cliffs. You need a
permit from the Visitor Center to stay overnight on a big wall.
climbers per day are issued permits for the most popular walls.
Visit the backcountry
reservation site to see which walls have the 12 climber limit
and to learn about paying an additional $5 to
reserve a permit. (Even with a reservation, you
still need to pick up your permit at the Visitor Center
and pay $15.)
Depending on the season, Zion is a great place to hang out. Climbers
visit the town in the spring and fall. Winters are empty and peaceful. Great camping abounds and
motels are moderately priced during the off-season.
Camping in Zion National Park
- The South Campground is located near the South Entrance and Visitor
Center. It costs $20 per night and is open from March 13 to October
31 on a walk-in basis (it fills up early in the day).
Campground is also located near the Visitor Center . It costs
$20-$30 per night and is open year round. Reservations are
accepted for camping from late March through October or by calling
(877) 444-6777. Campsites are available on a first come/first
serve basis during the off season.
- Lava Point is a first come/first serve, primitive campground
with 6 sites and limited facilities (no water). Lava Point is located
off the Kolob Terrace Road, about a 1-hour drive from the Zion
Canyon Visitor Center. This is a seasonal campground (closed in
winter). No reservations, no fee. Just outside the park there is
free camping on BLM land of Highway 9 next to the Virgin River.
There are no facilities so bring your own water and hold your poop
for the NPS Visitor Center.
There are a lot of nice motels in Springdale. The better priced ones are:
- Bumbleberry Inn (435) 772-3224)
- Majestic View (2400 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-0665)
- Quality Inn (479 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-03237)
- Terrace Brook Lodge (990 Zion Park Blvd (435)772-3932)
- Zion Park Motel (865 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-3251)
There are low-priced motels in nearby Hurricane.
Here are some of our favorites in Springdale:
- Breakfast - The Pioneer Lodge (828 Zion Park Blvd; (435) 772-3009)
- Cafe - Oscar's
Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-3232) breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Pizza - The Pizza Noodle (868 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-3815)
- Cafeteria - Sol Foods (995 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-3100) breakfast and lunch. Great patio.
- Bar/Dinner - Bit and Spur(1212 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-3498)
- Thai Food - Thai Sapa (198 Zion Park Blvd (435) 772-0510)
Outside of Springdale: If you are driving through
Hurricane near breakfast time stop by the Main
Street Café. It’s kind of the unofficial center
of town where the local ranchers and folks often carry on conversations
across the whole dining area. It’s
good food and you will be entertained by the local color.
Sol Foods Market (995
Zion Park Blvd. (435) 772-3100) has the largest grocery selection
in Springdale. For a supermarket, drive 20 miles west to Hurricane. There
is a Farmer's
Market supermarket in La Verkin at the junction
of SR 9 and SR 17.The biggest close Super Market is Lin's in
You can fill water bottles at the Visitor
Center, Human History Museum, Zion Lodge, Grotto,
Temple of Sinawava, and all campgrounds in the park.
You will only find 3.2% alcohol content beer in Utah
supermarkets. If you want the good beer and booze you have to go
to the liquor store at the Switchback and
pay a premium.
Post office is located at 625 Zion Park Blvd.
Showers for $5 at Zion Mountain School - (868 Zion Park Blvd (435) 633-1783)
There is also a coin laundry at the Quality Inn.
There is an ATM at Zion Bank at 921 Zion Park Blvd
Wireless internet at Pioneer Lodge Cafe at 838 Zion Park Blvd
There are two places in Springdale to buy gear:
- Zion Rock and Mountain
Guides - (1458 Zion Park Blvd. (435) 772-3303) Full gear selection
and some rentals.
Zion Outdoor Center - (868 Zion Park Blvd. (435) 772-0990) - Basic
selection of climbing gear, guidebooks, and some climbing gear
Here are the guiding services in Springdale (they are
not allowed to guide in Zion but can guide in nearby areas):
- Red Desert Adventure -
- Zion Mountain School -
- Zion Guru -
(792 Zion Park Blvd. (435-632-0432)
- Zion Adventure Company -
(868 Zion Park Blvd. (435) 772-0990) - Some climbing gear rental
- Zion Rock and Mountain
Guides- (1458 Zion Park Blvd. (435) 772-3303)
There are a lot of great hikes in the park. Some of the favorites
are: Chinle Trail, Coalpits Wash, Angel's Landing and Cable Mountain.
There are also a number of great slot canyons you can learn about
on Tom Jones' web
site. A popular tourist option is to hike The
Narrows. There is world-class mountain biking just
outside the park all within a 40-minute drive: Gooseberry
Mesa, The Jem Trail and Hurricane Rim Trail. Bike
Zion has topos and a lot more info. Even closer
to the main riding areas is Over
the Edge Sports (435-635-5455) Coral Cliffs
movie theatres in Hurricane have a discounted “retro” night
on Thursdays $5 (normally $9.00) on select current films.
Virgin River Gorge
St. George Sport Climbing