The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

"Oversized vehicles" exit the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
If your vehicle is 11'4" (3.4m) tall or taller or 7’10” (2.4 m) wide or wider, including mirrors, awnings, and jacks, you will need a tunnel permit.
 

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.

A study by the Federal Highways Administration in early 1989 found that large vehicles could not negotiate the curves of the tunnel without crossing the center line. To ensure safety, the National Park Service began traffic control at the tunnel in the spring of that year.

Rangers posted at both ends of the tunnel convert two-way tunnel traffic to one-way for larger vehicles. This allows for safer passage.

This service, for which a $15 dollar tunnel permit fee is charged, was provided for over 32,832 oversized oversized vehicles in calendar year 2019.

The tunnel is open to large vehicles on a regular schedule when rangers are present to manage traffic. Those hours are:

  • November 6 to March 31: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • April 1 to September 30: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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.


 
Tunnel vehicle restrictions
If your vehicle is 11'4" (3.4m) tall or taller or 7'10" (2.4m) wide or wider, including mirrors, awnings, and jacks, you will need a tunnel escort.

Obtaining a Tunnel Permit

  • Have your vehicle measured at the entrance station when you arrive at the park. Any vehicle that is 7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) in width and/or 11 feet 4 inches (3.4 meters) in height or larger is required to have a tunnel permit.

  • Pay $15, in addition to the park entrance fee, for the tunnel permit at the entrance station before proceeding to the tunnel.

  • Drive to the tunnel during the tunnel hours of operation (posted seasonally).
  • Tunnel traffic control will be provided by friendly NPS rangers.
  • Your $15 tunnel permit is good for two trips through the tunnel for the same vehicle within seven days of purchase.

Prohibited in the tunnel

  • Vehicles over 13 feet 1 inch tall
  • Semi-trucks
  • Vehicles carrying hazardous materials
  • Vehicles weighing more than 50,000 pounds
  • Single vehicles over 40 feet long
  • Vehicles and trailers with combined length over 50 feet
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians
 

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.

 

Your Safety

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.

When approaching the tunnel be aware of your surroundings and slow down. Watch for tunnel rangers, pedestrians and other traffic. Please DO NOT STOP in the tunnel. Please proceed beyond the tunnel kiosk before attempting to turn around at either side of the tunnel. Obey all traffic directions from the tunnel rangers.

BE AWARE that rangers at the tunnel are conducting traffic control operations.

Please DO NOT STOP in the tunnel or try to turn around at either tunnel entrance.

 

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.

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 Park Newspaper. Visitors must pay for the one-way traffic control service at any Zion entrance station - not at 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: November 17, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.

Springdale , UT 84767

Phone:

435-772-3256
If you have questions, please email zion_park_information@nps.gov. Listen to recorded information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers answer phone calls from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already speaking with someone else.

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