Cycling in Zion National Park

National Parks
Feb 2016

One of Utah’s must-see destinations, the cycling options in Zion National Park are stellar and is one of the best ways to explore Zion’s scenery.  Road biking is a great way to see Zion National Park, read on for tips to consider when planning your cycling trip to Zion. Cycling through Zion National Park is a great way to experience the elegant contrasts of rugged geologic grandeur and peaceful riversides that characterize the canyon country of Southern Utah. While biking the roads in Zion, you’ll experience this incredible juxtaposition as you pedal beneath the Virgin River’s calm cottonwood trees, all the while surrounded by the Zion’s soaring red rock cliffs. 

Bicyclists riding down a road at Zion National Park.


The 3 Best road bike rides in Zion

1. Pa’rus Trail

Beginning at the Zion entrance station and winding about 2.5 miles out along the Virgin River, this bike-and-hike only trail is an easy and beautiful sight seeing route. It is almost flat and is suitable for any type of bike. Use the Pa’rus trail to bypass Hwy 9 on the way to Zion Canyon Drive or to hop on the climb up to Zion’s Mt. Carmel Tunnel.

2. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

This is the premier route to cycle and sight see in Zion. The Scenic Drive begins at the entrance station and passes all of Zion Canyon’s major landmarks, ending at the entrance to the Virgin River Narrows. Cycling to the Narrows and back in Zion is a popular way to see the park. The canyon climbs over 500 ft. on a steady grade followed by a flat reprieve. As the road is closed to all public traffic, the only vehicles passing you will be the occasional shuttle bus or car headed to the Zion Lodge. Bring a bike lock for use at the Narrows Trailhead, and enjoy a flat walk alongside the Virgin River to where the canyon becomes a narrow slot.

3. Mt. Carmel Tunnel Climb

From the intersection of Zion Canyon Drive, head east on Hwy 9 for an uphill challenge. This is the best road bike hill climb in Zion. Gaining 900 ft. in just over three miles, the climb to Zion Tunnel brings spectacular views as well as a burn in the legs! Plan to ride it as an out-and-back, as biking through the mile-long Mt. Carmel tunnel is not allowed. There are plenty of new vistas on the other side to visit by vehicle later, though! CAUTION: the tunnel climb bike route lacks a bike lane and has some exposed areas, though the lanes are wide enough to accommodate passing traffic.


Best Hotels for Cyclists near Zion

There are many advantages of staying in Springdale when visiting Zion. The picturesque town is directly outside the park’s west entrance and is a “gateway” to the park. Springdale has diverse lodging and dining options and as well as local artists, shops, and a small movie theater. The park shuttle stops at multiple locations throughout the town, making it easy to get to and from your hotel. The shuttle can carry two bicycles if you’d like to skip the ride in or out of town. Find the full information on the Zion shuttle here.

Our Lodging Picks in Springdale

Springdale also offers a full service bike shop, Zion Cycles. They offer a wide range of maintenance and replacement parts should you end up with any mechanical issues, and also carry rental bikes if you prefer not to travel with your own.

Visit the Zion Cycles Website.

Stay at Zion Park Lodge

If you’d rather stay within the National Park, Zion Lodge is nestled in a gorgeous river bend of Zion Canyon. The only lodging option in the park, it also houses an on-site restaurant (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and gift shop. Though Zion Canyon Drive is closed to all other public traffic from April-October, you can drive to the hotel if you have a reservation. We recommend reserving rooms as early as possible, as space is very competitive in peak season.


Zion Permits & Fees for Cyclists

There are no special permits needed to ride a bike in Zion.

If you opt to stay in Springdale and access the park by shuttle, foot, or bicycle, you’ll pay the per person National Park entrance fee: $15, valid for 7 days. Youth 15 and under are admitted free.

If you’d like to stay at Zion Lodge or keep the option to drive through the park to the East Side and cycle some roads outside of Zion, or to see Kolob Canyon’s additional scenery on the western edge of the park, you’ll pay the National Park private vehicle fee: $30, valid for 7 days. Youth 15 and under are admitted free.