The Zion Canyon Visitor Center operates from 8am until 7pm in the summer, with shorter hours the rest of the year when the park is not as busy. The building is open for visitors every day except Christmas day. In the front of the center is a shady patio where rangers give outdoor talks. Nearby are displays with maps and attractions, showcasing many of the adventures to do both inside the park and beyond its east gate. Rangers are available to answer questions about Zion and hand out backcountry permits, which are needed for all overnight hikes and technical slot canyons, within the park boundaries. Information about trail conditions, roads and weather forecasts are also available there. The center is near the south entrance on the main highway in the park, the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, (SR-9) which can be traveled without getting on the Zion Canyon Shuttle. Keep in mind that you do not have to get on the shuttle to enjoy the main scenic drive through the park or to access all of the park's hiking trails. A map and a newspaper with park information will be given when entering either the south or east gate, but for those who would like extra souvenirs the Visitor Center carries a large variety of items. When visitors want to experience Zion Canyon they usually leave their vehicle at the Visitor Center and hop on the shuttle there.
Kolob Visitor Center
What to do in Zion - The Visitor Center offers a wealth of information on Zion’s trails and other things to do within the boundaries of the park. Zion's true beauty is discovered when hiking its trails. There are all types of paths, from the easy Riverside Walk and strenuous backcountry treks to hiking through the waters of the North Fork of the Virgin River, a hike known as the Zion Narrows.
Free Tours - There is a 90-minute free shuttle ride that all visitors can take, but tickets must be obtained in advance and are available at the information desk at the Visitor Center. There is also an outstanding free movie that plays throughout the day at the Zion Human History Museum.
Junior Ranger - The program is year-round and available to kids ages 6 to 12. Children can earn a badge by completing an activity booklet. Those under 6 are not left out at Zion, since they can become a Junior Ranger helper by simply completing an activity sheet. Zion National Park also offers an outstanding, classroom-like Junior Explorer program each summer. The Junior Explorer program is held at the Zion Nature Center located at the entrance of the South Campground.
Ranger Programs - Zion offers free interpretive programs each April until October. The current schedule of ranger walks and talks are posted at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and at the nearby Zion Human History Museum. There are walks and talks throughout the day, and even some nighttime activities. Talks include Zion geology, folklore, flora, fauna and history. The walks are usually 1 to 2-miles long. The day time talks held at the Zion Human History Museum are about 20-minutes long.
Environmentally Friendly Visitor Center Zion’s Visitor Center was built to conserve energy and to be environmentally friendly. Some of the electricity for the building is from a photovoltaic solar energy system that is mounted to the roof. Efficient lights are used, indoors and out, to conserve energy. Trombe walls , which are walls that store absorbed solar heat were also part of the construction. Natural ventilation cooling is used to a large extent. The current Zion Human History Museum is the old Visitor Center.
Accessibility - Zion is perhaps the most accessible National Park in Utah. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is designed with a ramp leading from two handicap parking spaces and with accessible rest rooms. Many of the ranger talks are handicap accessible as well. The South Campground and the Watchman Campground both have handicap accessible campsites that can be reserved. Service dogs are permitted on a leash anywhere in the park. The Zion Canyon Shuttle is also handicap accessible.
Accessible Trails - The accessible Pa'rus Trail has a nice wide paved path that is great for wheelchairs, strollers and bikes. The lower Emerald Pools is a wonderful paved and shady path to a must-see section of this popular and classic trail. The Riverside Walk (Gateway to the Narrows), which begins at the Temple of Sinawava, is accessible with assistance or for use by motorized wheelchairs.
First Aid - First-aid is available at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The closest hospitals from the south entrance is in Hurricane and from the east entrance the nearest is in Kanab.
Zion National Park, Utah
History of the Thunderbird
Stay in the heart of the parks, Mount Carmel Junction, and visit the treasures of the Southwest and Utah.
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park