- Las Vegas To Zion Canyon
- Zion National Park
Las Vegas To Zion Canyon – Paved roads are often the way to go for the average traveler – but when you go from the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas to the sandstone walls of Zion National Park, the journey takes a little more time. Driving 160 kilometers can be done in just over two and a half hours. But any good road trip is about the adventure, and there’s a lot to explore between Las Vegas and Zion, especially deep in the desert. From local food stops to miles of scenic hikes and a deserted ghost town, make your road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park memorable with the two-day itinerary below.
Leave the traffic and noise behind as you exit Las Vegas and continue north into the heart of red rock Country.
Las Vegas To Zion Canyon
Start the trip with a short detour east of Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and see what the red rock hype is all about. Walk along the park’s 13-mile Scenic Drive at leisure and don’t forget to use the towpaths. There are 26 mountains on the official list if you want to stretch your legs on the trail. The Calico Tanks trail, in particular, provides a great introduction to the area; it is a 2.5 mile intermediate trail that runs between the bath and the natural tank. After a short climb at the end, hikers are rewarded with a distant view of downtown Las Vegas.
A Family Road Trip From Las Vegas To Zion National Park
Are you looking for something simple? Take the two-mile Moenkopi trail from the visitor center for the best panoramic views. Summit-baggers can opt for the arduous five-mile hike to Turtlehead Peak, a prominent sandstone formation. Don’t be fooled by the short distance – it’s hard.
Note: Advance reservations are required to enter the Scenic Drive between 8 AM and 5 PM from October 1 to May 31. Admission is free with an America the Beautiful Pass.
It’s no secret how the park got its name: the rocks give off a warm glow when the sun hits their bright red Aztec sandstone, creating what appears to be the Valley of Fire. This state park contains amazing rock formations, many petroglyphs, and gnarled trees. Keep an eye out for some of the park’s rarest wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep. While there are many hikes to choose from, Fire Wave, White Domes Loop, and Atlatl Rock are the best ways to experience the beauty of the park.
End the day at Nielsen’s Frozen Custard in St. George, Utah. What started as an addition to Steve and Debbie Nielsen’s family farm in Bountiful, Utah quickly became a custard sensation. Today, there are five locations in Utah and one in Las Vegas. It is still a true family business with three generations of Nielsens working in different areas.
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The restaurants have a vintage feel with neon signs and cozy red booths. Their food is good, sure, but you’ll come here mostly for dessert. Nielsen specializes in “concrete” – thick shakes made with custard and whatever toppings you like. The options are as limitless as your imagination. Caramel-pineapple-cashew, if you want – why not?
St. George is full of lodging options, from campgrounds to motels and every hotel that comes to mind. There are many places to stay. Consider the Best Western Plus Abbey Inn, which has a year-round heated pool for those chilly, desert evenings. For something sweeter, The Avenire offers midwestern-meets-western rooms with an elegant restaurant and bar, while Inn on the Cliff is a modern boutique hotel with private balconies and a restaurant overlooking the St. George and the red stones in the distance.
If you would like to set up camp, the best place is Snow Canyon State Park. If you like red stones, go here. It is undoubtedly as beautiful as the national parks and will give you a taste of what to expect at the end of your Las Vegas to Zion road trip. If you’re camping here, wake up early to catch the sunrise at one of Utah’s most popular state parks.
The second day you drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, the towns get smaller and smaller. It doesn’t take long for shops and fast food restaurants to give way to views of the expansive red rocks.
Rv Trip To Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon & Grand Canyon
Start the day by indulging your inner paleontologist. Utah is rich in prehistoric and archaeological sites. The relics in St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site were discovered recently (in 2000), but that’s just a blink of an eye in geologic time. Today, the site preserves fossils from around the world and has the largest collection of swim tracks – scratch marks on the bottom of a muddy lake made by dinosaurs swimming across – in the world. In addition to the archaeological remains and interesting exhibits, they also have a fossil preparation lab where visitors can watch volunteers and paleontologists at work.
Water in the desert? Definitely. This man-made lake has water activities ranging from relaxing on the beach or having fun with kayaking and fishing to more adrenaline-pumping activities like wakeboarding and jet-skiing. It’s almost 100 meters deep, so you can even dive into deliberately sunken planes, boats and cars.
If you prefer watery terrain, the park has ATV and OHV rentals that you can use to explore 62,000 acres of trails and sand dunes.
Road from Las Vegas to Zion National Park in February? It’s time to coincide with SkyFest, when hot air balloons launch just outside the nearby Sand Hollow Resort at sunrise.
Zion National Park
Don’t be fooled by the name: this place offers more than just great coffee and home baked goods. The main location on State Street offers a menu full of sandwiches, burgers, salads, and pizza (try the “Beetza Pizza” for something different).
If you’re looking to blow the whistle after a day of exploring, River Rock has a variety of local Utah wines and beers on tap. In addition to indoor seating, they have a dog-friendly outdoor deck with views of the basalt canyon and Virgin River.
Soon? River Rock also operates a drive-thru offering drinks and baked goods. It is just off Highway 9 on the way to Zion National Park.
The ghost town of Grafton is a few miles off the main road so it won’t be too far of a detour. Originally settled in the mid-1800s, it had a school, church, post office, and community center. The abandoned lot is now a tourist attraction and filming location, most notably 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Today, visitors can see the preserved remains of a schoolhouse, several houses and a cemetery.
Days In Zion National Park: The Complete Guide
The asphalt road turns to clay just after the turn to Bridge Road. Although any vehicle can drive through the terrain, the mud can be very fast, so you’ll probably want to avoid it during or just after a heavy rain.
Stay in Springdale, just outside the south entrance of Zion National Park. This gated community is full of art galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants, clothing, a dog park, rock and crystal shops, and more. It has all the comforts of a big city while retaining its local vibe. Because the park is so popular, you’ll have plenty of options (assuming it can fill up quickly).
For more information, see Matador’s article on the best places to stay near Zion National Park, including options for luxe glamping and lodges as well as other budget-friendly hotels and motels. If cabins are more your vibe, check out this list of cabins near Zion, including tiny homes, A-frames, and spacious cabins perfect for a large group near the park. And if you’re a dedicated Airbnb-er, check out our selection of the best vacation rentals near Zion National Park, from geodesic domes to luxury apartments to cozy tipis with private hot tubs.
Springdale will generally be more expensive than outlying towns, but the location makes it easy to beat the crowds at the park (and find parking near the visitor center). It also means you can walk to a free shuttle stop to avoid the hassle of parking all together.
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Zion National Park truly showcases the beauty of the desert. With its orange-colored cliffs and volcanic cliffs, spectacular night skies, and adventure attractions, it’s hard not to be intimidated by visiting this park.
Tips for a day trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park Is there a shuttle from St. George to Zion National Park?
Fortunately, there is a shuttle from St. George to Zion National Park. Artistically, it is called St. George Shuttle, and a specific route is the Zion Connection. It runs four or five times a day, depending on the season, and takes about an hour from St. George to Zion. Although you don’t need a reservation, it is recommended, especially during the busy tourist season (almost every spring, summer, and fall).
In two words: beautiful desert. And in another word: short. It only takes about three hours to get to Zion National Park from the point
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