Zion National Park expects high visitation President’s Day Weekend
Thousands of Zion National Park visitors are expected over the President’s Day Weekend beginning Feb. 16. The Town of Springdale, Zion National Park, and Utah Department of Transportation are asking those with flexible plans to consider visiting the park at a less crowded time.
“Limited parking and roadway congestion are always issues in Zion Canyon during holiday weekends, and President’s Day weekend is no exception” said Springdale Mayor Stanley J. Smith. “If visitors are coming to Zion for the holiday, we want them to understand the situation before they arrive.”
Exacerbating the already narrow State Route 9 through Zion Canyon is UDOT’s reconstruction project, which includes one-way traffic, flagging, and traffic stoppages leading into and out of the south entrance of Zion National Park. Although the project is being done over the lowest park visitation time period, to accomplish the extensive reconstruction of SR-9 work will be ongoing through mid-April. Recent high-visitation weekends during the construction project have generated traffic stoppages of 90 minutes or longer as a mass of automobiles enter Springdale en route to the park.
Springdale, Zion National Park, and UDOT are working together to manage conditions and set expectations for park visitors this President’s Day weekend.
“If you can’t shift your travel to lower volume dates, plan ahead and know that traffic is expected to back up at several locations in the town and when entering and exiting the park,” said UDOT project manager Chris Hall. Parking is extremely limited. Visitors choosing to walk from Springdale may need to walk up to three miles to reach the pedestrian entrance to Zion National Park located in Zion Canyon Village.
To facilitate visitor access, Zion National Park will resume weekend-only in-park shuttle service Feb. 17 and has opened additional parking for early arrivals. Some additional overflow parking is available in Springdale.
“We are incorporating additional traffic and vehicle parking options to maintain a safe and enjoyable visitor experience at Zion Park with the delays and scarcity of parking we ask for everyone’s patience and attention to safety whether a driver, passenger, or pedestrian,” said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh.
Shuttle buses will depart the park’s Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 7 a.m. heading up the canyon to designated trail head stops with the last bus of the evening returning from the Temple of Sinawava (stop 9) at 6:45 p.m. back to the Visitor Center. This same schedule will operate Feb. 18 and again the weekends of Feb. 24 and March 3.
The town shuttle will not run those weekends. Full season daily shuttle services in the park and in Springdale, pending road construction, will begin March 10 and run through late fall.
UDOT is fully reconstructing SR-9 through the Town of Springdale, improving utilities and drainage and adding wider sidewalks and bicycle lanes. The project is being constructed during the lowest park visitation timeframe to reduce impacts to traffic and businesses and is on schedule to be completed mid-April.