Entrance fee per vehicle for Zion National Park is $30. But it is suggested/even mandatory to leave the car in Springdale and take the shuttle bus. As there are four of us, we would have to pay $15 per person to get in the park, instead of just $30. Am I missing something here?
Weekly passes are non-transferable and are valid for 7 consecutive days including the date of purchase. Weekly passes may be upgraded to annual passes within 7 days of purchase.
Private Vehicle: $30. Valid for 7 days. Admits private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants to Zion National Park, including both the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon areas.
Per Person: $15. Valid for 7 days. Admits one individual with no car to Zion National Park, including both the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon areas. Typically used for bicyclists, hikers and pedestrians. Youth 15 and under are admitted free.
So, no, you are correct in that for a car with 4 people, it would be considerably cheaper (half the price!) to take the car in. However:
Where To Park
Parking is limited inside Zion, and parking lots at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center commonly fill by mid-morning. To avoid parking hassles, park in the town of Springdale and ride the free town shuttle to the park. You can park anywhere along the road in town that does not have a parking restriction. To find the shuttle stops, look for the ''Shuttle Parking'' signs throughout town. If you are staying at a lodge or motel, simply leave your car there and take the shuttle to the park. Tune your radio to 1610 AM for additional information.
The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will close to traffic once all legal parking spaces are full
Parking is usually full by 10 am
So you'd have to aim for an early start, and be prepared for some hastle if you try to move your car later in the day, if you want to take your car in to the park. Note that if you do take the car in to the park, it is still possible to use the shuttle bus to get around (during shuttle bus season). So those are your options.
The "America The Beautiful" annual pass costs 80USD, lasts for a year, covers every national park, monument etc in the US, and gives entrance to:
A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person)
So if you were looking at paying $60 total for entry on foot, and think even one of you might visit another national park, monument, forest or grassland, then it would be well worth considering.
I have no source to prove this, but from several personal experiences, here is what you can do:
- you enter by car and buy a pass for the car.
- Turn right around and park outside
- Use the shuttle to enter the park. Show the receipt and up to four people can get in on it.
That was also recommended by a ranger that we asked about it.
This is from the 2013 and 2015 summers, and things can always change.
As others mentioned, if you go see multiple parks, it is cheaper and easier to get the 80 $ annual pass. It is always good for four people, even in the shuttle. Note that two people can sign it and use it independently, also in a later vacation. I recommend you put only one signature on it right away, so you have the option of adding someone else later.
As a Utah native who loves Zions, has lived in Southern Utah and well, generally treats that area as his backyard I can't help but answer this.
Answer: We are at the end of the summer season and school in Utah has already started, if your planning to go in the next couple weeks unless you are going on a Saturday, Sunday, or Labor Day, the parking lots aren't going to be crazy. So ignore the shuttle and take your own car in and save 30 bucks.
Now, there are 2 other parks in the area, I recommend getting the Annual pass as others have mentioned. Bryce Canyon is amazing. Then you should take the shuttle cause it's nice and relaxing after spending all day in the park.
As a note, if your not planning on hiking up on the rim on somewhere in Kolob canyon, then the bottom of Zions is considerably lower in elevation then the surrounding area and it can and will get over 100' F even late into September. Also Zions is subject to flash floods that close attractions like The Narrows or The Subway and these tend to happen in the afternoon. So you should think about getting an early start even if you aren't going on a weekend/holiday.
All that in mind, I've never had a problem parking at the visitor center if I got there by 7:30 - 8:00 am (even in the summer).
Finally as a bonus tip about 20 miles north of the Springdale/Zions turnoff on I-15 there is a short (3.5 - 4ish miles) beautiful, red rock hike to a waterfall that's $10 bucks (self pay, be honest, they use the money to clean the trail) and avoids all the congestion in Zions if that's your type of thing.