The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
Construction of the 1.1 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel began in the late 1920s and was completed in 1930. At the time that the tunnel was dedicated, on July 4, 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its type in the United States. The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) provides direct access for travel between Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Zion National Parks. Learn more about the tunnel project's history and construction.
Tunnel Traffic Control for Oversize Vehicles
Before 1989, large vehicles, including tour buses, motor homes, and trailers, were involved in more and more accidents and near misses in the tunnel due to an immense increase in the volume of traffic and in the size of vehicles passing through the tunnel.
Do not drive a large, oversize vehicle through the tunnel when rangers are not present to manage traffic. Standard sized passenger vehicles can go through the tunnel whether rangers are present or not, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Obtaining a Tunnel Permit
Prohibited in the tunnel
The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel today
Today the tunnel is basically the same as it was upon its completion over eighty years ago. However, because of the softness of the sandstone through which it passes, much reinforcing has been done and concrete ribs now give added support to the the tunnel's entire length. Collapse of a sandstone pillar west of Gallery #3 in 1958 broke the top out of that gallery and flushed tons of debris into the tunnel, causing its closure for several weeks. Because of that collapse, the tunnel is now monitored electronically twenty-four hours a day to warn park officials to the danger of a reoccurrence.
The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel is one of the busiest areas in the park. Through the years there have been major and minor accidents as well as many close calls involving pedestrians, oversize vehicles, tunnel ranger staff, and regular vehicle traffic.
Frequently asked questions about the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, including the tunnel, was constructed from 1927 to 1930 at a cost of $1,896,000.
Yes. The US Congress has designated Zion National Park as a US Fee Area. You are required to pay the entrance fee to enter the park. Fee exemptions are made for locals in surrounding communities who must meet certain criteria.
Zion National Park charges $15 for oversized vehicles for the one-way traffic control service through the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel. 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 numerous vehicle accidents through the years. With the tunnel one-way traffic control system in place, safety for all vehicles has improved greatly.
The fee is good for two trips through the tunnel with the same vehicle in a seven day period.
No. The fee is the same for everyone who is driving an oversized vehicle.
Any vehicle that is 11 feet 4 inches high or higher and 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider needs the one-way traffic control service. Any vehicle 13 feet 1 inch high or higher cannot pass through the tunnel.
You will not follow an escort vehicle. 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.
1.1-miles. It was completed in 1930 by the Nevada Construction Co. The project, including building the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, took 3-years to complete and cost $1,896,000.
The elevation gain is 800 ft. and approximately five miles from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.
Last updated: October 25, 2023