From Las Vegas to Zion National Park: 4 Best Ways to Get There
Zion National Park is a relatively small (224 square miles) national park in Southern Utah. The compact size means you can explore a lot of the park in a day. The highlight of the park is Zion Canyon, a deep canyon carved by a river, similar to the Grand Canyon. Zion Canyon is 15 miles long with sheer walls in places almost 2,500 feet tall.
Less than a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, the sheer natural wonder of Zion National Park makes for a long but great day trip. Once you arrive, it's easy to get around, as the Zion Canyon and Springdale shuttles serve the small town adjacent to the park (Springdale) and all the areas inside the park. The free shuttles run on weekends during February and daily from March through November. When the shuttles are running, private vehicles are not permitted to enter the park.
If you leave Vegas by 7am, you'll be at the park gate by 10am and can spend the whole day here. Then you can head back to Vegas to arrive in time for dinner. You'll find several options available for getting from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, from driving yourself, right through to a a helicopter adventure.
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1. From Las Vegas to Zion National Park by Tour
The easiest way to visit Zion National Park from Las Vegas is to do a tour and leave the driving to someone else. Viator's Zion National Park Luxury Bus Tour makes it easy to visit the park and to also learn about the area on the way. They pick you up at your Las Vegas hotel, provide snacks, water, and a picnic lunch, as well as Zion park admission. You get six hours to enjoy the park, then they drive you back to your Vegas hotel that evening. You can hike around and make use of the park's free shuttle service, which serves all the popular viewpoints and areas.
You'll get to see the Virgin River Gorge outside the park and the incredible sandstone cliffs inside. The guide will give you an itinerary to explore popular destinations in the park on your own including Emerald Pools, Riverside Walk, and Weeping Rock.
Another good tour is one that takes you to two national parks in Utah, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Viator's Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks Small-Group Tour from Las Vegas takes care of all the details and allows you to focus on enjoying both Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park.
The tour starts with a pickup at your hotel at 6am, followed by a drive to Zion National Park. The drive takes about three hours and a continental to-go breakfast is served on the bus. You spend an hour exploring the park on a guided drive and then you get some time at the park's visitor center.
Next, it's on to Bryce Canyon National Park, which is about two hours away. You stop for a picnic lunch and then spend a few hours exploring Bryce Canyon and visiting the main viewpoints. After Bryce Canyon, the guide drives you back to your Las Vegas hotel, where you'll arrive around 9pm.
1. From Las Vegas to Zion National Park by Car
Another way to get from Las Vegas to Zion is to jump in a car and drive. It's about 160 miles, and the drive usually takes about two and a to three hours hours. Start the trip by getting on I-15 heading north out of Las Vegas. After traveling for about 55 miles, you'll come to the Valley of Fire State Park, which is worth a stop and drive-through.
The Valley of Fire Scenic Byway is a 10-mile road that goes through the park, offering many view stops along the way. Get back on I-15, and about 100 miles outside Las Vegas, you'll go through the Virgin River Gorge. With soaring cliffs on either side, it's a nice break from the barren desert scenery. Next stop is St. George, Utah, where you'll take exit 16 to UT-9, which is a 30-mile road leading to the Zion National Park entrance.
3. From Las Vegas to Zion National Park by Bus or Shuttle
National Park Express is a private bus company that provides bus service connecting many national parks and tourist destinations in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. The buses make frequent rest stops and have restrooms onboard. They also have free Wi-Fi and charging outlets at every seat.
You can also take the Greyhound bus from Las Vegas to Zion. You would buy a ticket from Vegas to St. George, Utah, the closest stop to the park. Once you're in St.George, the St. George Shuttle will take you to the Zion visitor center.
Shuttles run four times a day, and the one-way fare is $70. The shuttle also runs between Las Vegas (airport) and Zion. The journey takes 5.5 hours, and the fare is around $105 each way.
4. From Las Vegas to Zion National Park by Helicopter
A few of the Las Vegas tourism helicopter companies offer a Zion National Park excursion. You don't land in Zion - it's an air tour. The entire experience lasts between three and four hours.
The trip starts in Las Vegas, and most helicopter companies do pickups at your hotel. Some fly from the Las Vegas Heliport, which is right off the Strip; others fly from Boulder City. You make the short flight to Zion, fly around to see the park's highlights, then return back to Vegas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do in Zion National Park?
The best thing to do when you get to Zion is to get a map from the park office and then hop on the shuttle bus that takes visitors through Zion Canyon. Plan out your stops before you get on. This is a scenic ride but you'll want to get off a few times to make the most of your day.
Hiking trails in Zion offer some of the best ways to see the landscape and hiking is one of the most popular activities in the park. Along the bus route are several good hiking trails of various lengths. Some of these are just short walks to waterfalls and are good options for families. If you want a little more adventure, there are some much mores serious hikes in the park.
If you have your own car, the options expand. You can drive to some of the high points and see other areas of the park. For a complete look, see our guide to the best things to see and do in Zion National Park.