Switchbacks on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
Zion-Mount Carmel Highway:
Q. When was the road built?
A. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway was constructed 1927-1930 at a cost of $1,896,000.
Q. Do I have to pay the $25 dollar entrance fee if I'm "just passing through" Zion National Park on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway?
A. Yes. The US Congress has designated Zion National Park as a US Fee Area. During the months of April through October travel through Zion can take up to 1-2 hours, so driving around Zion can often be quicker. Fee Exemptions are made for locals in surrounding communities who must meet certain criteria.
Q. Why do I have to pay a tunnel escort fee?
A. Zion National Park charges $15 for oversized vehicles to be escorted through the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel on Highway-9. The purpose of the fee is to offset the cost of ensuring safe passage for oversized vehicles. The Zion Tunnel has been the site of several minor and some serious and fatal vehicle accidents through the years. With the tunnel escort system in place, safety for all vehicles has improved greatly.
Q. How many times can I go through the tunnel in my oversized vehicle for the $15 fee?
A. The fee is good for two trips through the tunnel with the same vehicle in a seven day period.
Q. Do I get a discount on the tunnel fee if I have a Golden-Age/Access Passport?
A. No. There is no discount for Golden Age or Golden Eagle Passport holders.
Q. What are the size limits for an oversized vehicle?
A. Any vehicle that is 11 feet 4 inches high or higher and 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider needs an escort. Any vehicle 13 feet high or higher cannot pass through the tunnel.
Length restrictions are 40 feet for a single vehicle and 50 feet for any vehicle combination.
This information is also listed on the back page of the 2010-11 Zion Winter Map and Guide. Visitors must pay for the escort at the entrance stations - not at the tunnel.
Q. Will I be following an "escort vehicle" through the tunnel?
A. No. Park rangers are stationed at both ends of the tunnel and will convert traffic flow to a one way direction. When it is safe for you to drive your oversize vehicles down the middle of the tunnel, rangers will allow you to proceed.
Q. How long is the tunnel?
A. 1.1-miles. It was completed in 1930 by the Nevada Construction Co. The project took 3-years to complete and cost $1,896,000.
Q. What is the elevation gain up to the tunnel and how far is it from the visitor center?
A. The elevation gain is 800 ft. and approximately 6-miles from the visitor center.