Seeing Zion National Park in person is a magnificent and exciting experience, but it’s important to plan your trip with the weather in mind. You may be wondering if Zion is open year-round, what the weather will be like, or what will be open while you’re there.
Zion is open 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. You can enter and exit the park as you please, even if the entrance station isn’t open and collecting fees.
My name is Ash, and I’m a former park ranger. I’m from Utah, so you can find me visiting Zion year-round. I can’t wait to help you plan your trip to Zion National Park.
I’ve got a ton of information for you about visiting Zion year-round, including the hours, closures, and weather you can expect while you vacation in this breathtaking national park. Let’s get started!
Is Zion National Park Open Year-Round?
Zion is open 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. This means that if you want to hike a trail at sunrise, you will be able to get in, and if you want to stargaze at 2 a.m., you’ll be able to get out.
But it doesn’t mean that all of the activities and points of interest will be open for you at all times.
- The visitor centers and museums don’t stay open 24/7
- The entrance stations are not always staffed
- Campgrounds may not be operational
- The roads through the park may close due to snow or ice
- Trails may be closed due to construction or unsafe conditions
Closures of this nature are common year-round, so let’s discuss what may be closed even if the park itself is open.
Operating Hours for Zion National Park
Zion Canyon Visitor Center Hours
The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is the park’s main visitor center, and it’s conveniently located near the town of Springdale. This is where you’ll catch the park shuttle, pick up wilderness permits, and find the main park store. The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open year-round, but the hours vary depending on the season. You can find the current opening hours and dates here.
Typically, the visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer months, with shorter evening hours in the spring, fall, and winter. The visitor center is usually completely closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The nearby Zion Human History Museum is open in the spring, summer, and fall with shorter hours than the visitor center. It’s completely closed during the winter months.
Kolob Canyons Visitor Center Hours
The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center is a small visitor center located in the remote Kolob Canyons section of the park. This part of the park is about 40 miles from the main area of Zion near Springdale.
The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center is open year-round, but the hours vary depending on the season. You can find the current opening hours and dates here.
Zion Entrance Station Hours
Zion National Park has three different entrance stations — the South Entrance is located the Springdale, the East Entrance is on Highway 9 near Mt. Carmel, and the Kolob Canyons Entrance is at the visitor center of the same name.
These entrance stations are open year-round, but the hours vary and are not published. Each station will almost always be staffed early in the morning until late at night during the summer, with shorter hours during the spring, fall, and winter.
If the entrance station is staffed, you will be required to pay the park entrance fee before exploring Zion’s main trails and viewpoints.
If the entrance station is not staffed, you can drive on through.
Zion Canyon Shuttle Hours
The Zion Canyon Shuttle is a mandatory shuttle — you must take it and cannot drive your own vehicle along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive if it’s running. This shuttle travels to many of the main trailheads in the park, including Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, and the Narrows.
This shuttle typically runs from the end of February to the end of November plus the week of Christmas/New Years. The hours vary depending on the season, but during the summer the shuttle usually runs from about 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Common Closures in Zion National Park
Zion Lodging Closures
Zion has three in-park campgrounds, the Watchman Campground, the South Campground, and the Lava Point Campground. To choose which campground will best serve your needs, read all about camping in Zion. The Watchman Campground is open year-round, and the South and Lava Point campgrounds are open seasonally.
The Zion Lodge is the only hotel in the park, and it is open year-round. Restaurants in the lodge are the Red Rock Grill (open year-round) and the Castle Dome Cafe (open seasonally).
Common Road Closures in Zion
The popular activities in Zion typically stay open year-round thanks to mild off-season temperatures and snow that melts fast on the valley floor.
You can expect the main roads through the park (Highway 9 and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive) to stay open year-round. A few things to note about these roads — Highway 9 has a tunnel that requires entry during specific hours with a permit if you’re in a large vehicle or towing an RV. And the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive requires the use of a free shuttle for most of the year…you cannot drive your own vehicle here if the shuttle is running.
These roads will occasionally close after large snowstorms or heavy rainfall/flash flooding. These temporary closures typically last a day or two at most, weather-permitting. Check the current conditions in the park here. The Kolob Canyons Road (located off I-15 near Cedar City, UT) is also open year-round, weather-permitting but this area stays much colder than the rest of the park so closures are more common.
Every winter, you can count on the upper portion of the Kolob Terrace Road (a side road near Virgin, UT) to close for the season due to snow. This road is not plowed.
Otherwise, you can reach almost everything in the park when the roads are safely cleared! This park is fantastically accessible year-round.
Common Trail Closures in Zion
You’ll only find one trail in Zion that closes down somewhat predictably, and it’s one of the park’s most popular trails. The Narrows hike closes down when water levels in the river are too high or if a flash flood watch has been issued. You’ll want to take these closures extremely seriously — this hike can be incredibly dangerous under these conditions.
The Narrows is a unique hike that travels up the Virgin River through a beautiful slot canyon. Because you have to hike through the river, the water levels need to be below 150 CFS for it to be safe. During the spring, water levels can be much higher than this as the snow runs off the mountains and into the river, so the Narrows is typically closed for portions of April and May every year.
Even if the hike is open, talk to a ranger and check the flash flood information before you begin hiking the Narrows. Flash floods happen in this area, and people die every year because of these flash floods. This is especially common in July and August during the park’s monsoon season.
Other temporary trail closures may happen due to construction projects or unsafe conditions, so check the current conditions in Zion before you go.
What is the Weather Like in Zion National Park?
Even though Zion is open year-round, not all months are created equal! You can find exciting things to see and do in Zion at any time, but because this area is at the junction of a high and a low desert, you may experience extreme heat, flash floods, or snow during your trip.
Take a look at the average highs and lows (in degrees Fahrenheit) and precipitation levels (in inches) at Zion National Park:
|Avg High (F)||54||59||66||75||86||95||100||95||91||79||64||54|
|Avg Low (F)||30||34||39||45||54||63||70||68||61||48||37||30|
|Avg Precipitation (“)||1.8||2||2||1.3||0.7||0.3||1.2||1.5||1||1.3||1.4||1.6|
Winter in Zion
Zion winters are mild, but snow is not unheard of. If snow falls, it will stick around in the higher areas of the park (Kolob Canyons, Kolob Terrace, West Rim Trail, etc.) and often makes for icy hiking conditions on trails like Angels Landing or Observation Point. Snow typically melts quickly in the lower elevations and along the main park roads, so the Pa’Rus Trail and Emerald Pools are great options for this time of year.
Daytime temperatures typically hover in the 50s but will dip below freezing at night. The winter months bring in more than half of the park’s precipitation, so expect some blustery days.
This time of year brings a wave of peace and calm to the park that is rarely experienced by most people. If you don’t mind the cooler temperatures and the possibility of snow, it’s a beautiful time to be in Zion!
Spring in Zion
Zion is gorgeous in the spring! You’ll find vibrant wildflowers and lots of greenery this time of year. Temperatures usually hang out in the 60s and 70s, but there can be some lingering snow and ice in the higher elevations.
Spring is not a quiet time of year to visit the park. If you decide to visit at this time, expect it to be busy with spring breakers! If you have your heart set on hiking the Narrows, you’ll want to visit at a different time — it’s commonly closed due to high water levels in April and May.
Summer in Zion
Summer is the high season in the park, which means that everything is open and operating on extended hours. It’s extremely crowded and busy at this time, and temperatures are usually in the high 90s or 100s!
Summer in Zion is monsoon season, so be prepared for large storms that can roll in and bring flash flooding.
Traffic and crowding in Zion can be terrible.
Did you know that it’s common to wait an hour or more to enter the park or catch the shuttle?
Are you hoping to see the best sights without getting stuck in traffic, circling parking lots, or being surrounded by people?
Stay ahead of the crowds with this Zion Itinerary. You will see all of the can’t-miss spots, plus get lodging and dining guides, driving directions, and insider tips!
Autumn in Zion
Autumn in Zion isn’t necessarily quiet and crowd-free, but it’s a nice time to be in the park. A visit during October or November brings cooler temperatures, bluebird skies, fall colors, and perfect hiking weather. Closures are rare, so you should have no problem exploring the whole park!
So now you may be asking yourself, when is the best time to visit Zion?
There are a lot of variables to think about when planning your trip to the park. Click here to see my specific recommendations for the best times to visit Zion.
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