May 8, 2023

Dates to Know to Visit Zion in 2023

Planning to visit Zion in 2023? Besides booking your stay at Cliffrose Lodge, there are a few dates that you should know to help you better plan your trip.

From a few days that you can enter Zion National Park for free to the chance to grab a permit to hike Angels Landing, keep reading to learn the dates that you need to know.

Angels Landing Lottery Dates

If hiking Angels Landing is one of the things that you’re looking forward to doing when you visit Zion in 2023, there are a few important dates that you’ll need to know.

Starting in April of 2022, the National Park Service launched the Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program. Now, hikers hoping to take on Angels Landing will need to present a permit if they want to hike past Scouts Lookout. Permits are available in two lotteries; the Seasonal Lottery and the Day-Before Lottery.

If you’re planning a last-minute visit to Cliffrose Lodge, your only option may be to enter the Day-Before Lottery. As the name suggests, this lottery opens daily and allots permits for the following day. But if you’re planning to visit Zion later in the year, you can plan in advance to increase your chances of getting a permit to hike Angels Landing by entering the Seasonal Lottery.

Right now, the Seasonal Lottery opens four times per year and awards permits for the following season. If you are planning a stay at Cliffrose Lodge this summer, unfortunately, you’ve already missed out on the Seasonal Lottery. But you still have two more chances to enter for dates later in the year.

The dates you’ll need to know if you want to hike Angels Landing later this fall include:

  • July 1 to July 20: The Seasonal Lottery opens for hiking dates between September 1 and November 30, 2023.
  • October 1 to October 20: The Seasonal Lottery opens for hiking dates between December 1 and February 29.

If you’ve missed the Seasonal Lottery for the dates that you’re planning to visit Zion, you can still enter the Day-Before Lottery. And if you don’t get a permit, don’t fret; there are plenty of other incredible trails to enjoy during your Cliffrose Lodge stay!

Zion Canyon Shuttle Dates

For most of the year, the Zion Canyon Shuttle allows visitors to the park to travel within the Lower Canyon while it’s closed to private vehicle traffic. While the shuttle can be a great resource to get around, and is important for protecting the park, riding it does take a little extra planning. For instance, you’ll want to book a stay at a Springdale resort, that way you can ride the Springdale Shuttle to the park’s entrance and avoid the hassle of finding parking.

In 2023, the Zion Canyon and Springdale Shuttles began their operation on March 11. They are set to operate daily until November 26. They may also operate around the Christmas holiday, though dates will be announced later in the year.

Free Entrance Days

Looking to save a little money while planning to visit Zion in 2023? One option that can save you some cash is to visit the park during a Free Entrance Day.

Every year, the National Park Service hosts five Free Entrance Days. On these dates, entrance fees for all national parks, monuments, battlefields, and other NPS properties are waived, allowing all guests to enter free of charge. For parks like Zion, which charges an entrance fee of $35 per passenger vehicle or $20 per person for those entering on foot, this can save you quite a bit of money on your day in the park.

Two of the 2023 Free Entrance Days have already passed. The first was on January 16, the birthdate of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the second was on April 22, Earth Day and the start of National Park Week.

But you still have three more chances to enter your favorite park for free. The dates you need to know in 2023 are:

  • August 4: The anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • September 23: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Visiting Cliffrose Lodge on one of these dates will allow you to enter Zion or nearby Bryce Canyon National Park free of charge. However, unless you’re only planning a quick trip to the park or enjoying other activities out of the parks during your visit, this may not save you as much as you’d think.

The regular entrance fee to Zion and Bryce Canyon allows for entrance to the park for seven consecutive days. The Free Entrance Days only provide entry on that date. So if you know that you’ll spend more than one day in Zion, you’ll wind up paying the entrance fee anyway. 

A better way to save money might be to purchase a national park annual pass. For just $80, this pass allows entry into any NPS property for two cardholders and up to three guests for a full year.

Planning to Visit Zion in 2023

From Free Entrance Days to the Angels Landing Seasonal Lottery, these are a few dates to know when planning to visit Zion in 2023. Knowing these dates and starting your planning early can help you make the most of your visit. 

Staying in a resort close to the entrance to Zion is another great way to make the most of your trip. When you book a stay at Cliffrose Lodge, you’ll enjoy easy access to the Springdale Shuttle, allowing you to get to the park early in the day to beat the crowds or enjoy an incredible hike.

Ready to start planning your own Zion adventure? Book your stay at Cliffrose Lodge today!

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