Zion shuttle returning in Utah’s busiest national park, but you’ll need a reservation

In recent years, Zion National Park has toyed with the idea of a timed-entry system to reduce overcrowding, but the proposal has never gone over well with Utah’s political leaders who helped scuttle such a plan developed for Arches National Park. Now the coronavirus epidemic is forcing reservation protocols upon one of Utah’s most popular and crowded tourist destinations.

Starting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Zion will resume its idled shuttle service and require all those visiting Zion Canyon to make reservations to use it, thus eliminating recent gridlock caused by private vehicles. Reservations can be made online, each costing $1. The goal of reservations, which will be needed through year’s end to ride the shuttle, is to ensure park visitors won’t queue up in big groups to board at the visitor center.

Bringing the shuttles on line will increase access. If they don’t go to a system with timed-entry tickets, they would have worse lines than normal summers because there are fewer seats in the shuttles [to provide social distancing]. Private vehicles will be barred from the canyon, but the 6.2-mile road will remain open to those entering on bicycles.

Also on July 1, Zion, the busiest of Utah’s “Mighty 5″ national parks, will resume collecting entrance fees, set at $35 per vehicle or $20 per person entering without a vehicle.

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