Frequently Asked Questions about Zion Canyon

Q. Can I drive my private vehicle into Zion Canyon?
A. From March through November, access to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is by shuttle bus only. Private vehicles are allowed to access the Scenic Drive only when the Shuttle System is not in operation. Starting July 1, 2020 -- tickets are required to ride the Zion Canyon shuttle, and must be reserved in advance. More information here

Q. Can I bicycle into Zion Canyon?
A. Bicycles are allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Due to safety concerns cyclists are required to pull over and stop when approached from behind by a shuttle bus. Do not pass a moving shuttle bus.

Q. What is a red permit? Do I need one?
A. Red permits are issued for overnight guests of the Zion Lodge. They are required to park in the lodge parking lot.

Q. Can commercial buses enter Zion Canyon?
A. Commercial tour buses can only drive directly to the Lodge if they have advanced reservations at the Zion Lodge. Commercial buses are not allowed to drive anywhere else in the canyon from March through November. Commerical buses are able to park in designated areas only - not in the shuttle stops. More information on commercial tours here

Q. Are food services available in Zion Canyon?
A. Zion Lodge operates a restaurant year round and a snack bar during the busy season.

Q. Is there any camping in Zion Canyon?
A. No. Closest camping is available in Watchman and South campgrounds, located near the south entrance.

Q. Where can I go swimming in the canyon?
A. Anywhere in the Virgin River. Tubing is not allowed within the park, but may be done in Springdale. Swimming is not allowed in the Emerald Pools. July 2020: see News Release on cyanobacteria in the Virgin River.

Q. How often do rock falls occur in the park & does anyone ever get hurt?
A. Rockfalls are very common in Zion.

A few of the more famous rockfalls and slides.

4800 years ago, referred to as the Sentinal Slide, a slide occurred forming a lake at least 350 feet deep and perhaps three miles in length.

A rock fall occurred at Red Arch Mountain (above the present-day Grotto Picnic Area) around 1880, causing the enlargement of the arch and covering a spring.

60,000 tons of rock that fell in 1958 over one of the windows of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.

5,000 tons of rock at the end of the Narrows Trail on August 1, 1968.

A large slide from Bridge Mountain occurred in December 1990, across from the Human History Museum.

The 1995 landslide: At approximately 2:00 am, April 12, 1995, a naturally occurring landslide blocked the Virgin River in Zion Canyon about 1/2 mile north of the main park road. The slide, over 500 ft long, consisted of over 100,000 cubic yards of rock and soil that slid down the steep, west embankment of the Virgin River, completely damming it. As a result, a lake began forming behind the slide. Following the path of least resistance, the river carved a new course through the roadbed, washing away 200 yards of the upper canyon road. About 430 people were trapped at Zion Lodge, upstream from the landslide, until an emergency detour road was carved from the east wall of the canyon adjacent to the new course of the river. This took 22-hours to complete.

No visitor has ever been killed by a rock fall in the history of Zion National Park.

Last updated: July 13, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767


Recorded park information available 24 hours a day. Phones are answered 9 am to 4 pm Mountain Daylight Time. You can also send your questions to us at

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