October 21, 2023

Park Hours to Know to Visit Zion in the Off-Season

Like most national parks, Zion National Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This means that while the days may be shorter, you won’t have to worry about the park closing early during the off-season. And, you are free to visit on holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

However, many of the park’s services do begin closing earlier at the end of the summer season. If you’re planning a visit to the park and Cliffrose Lodge during the off-season, these are the operating hours you need to know.

Zion Canyon Visitor Center

The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is the first stop for many visitors to the park year round. This is a great spot to pick up a park map, talk to a ranger about trail conditions and closures, and to purchase some souvenirs from your trip.

During the summer months, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center stays open until 8 p.m. With the sun setting after this time for most of the season, the visitor center stays open to serve the many visitors making their way into the park this time of year.

But as the days get shorter and the crowds in the park thin, the visitor center, as well as many other services in the park, shorten their hours. During the off-season, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Kolob Canyons Visitor Center

Many first-time visitors to Zion National Park don’t realize that the popular ZIon Canyon is only one of two sections of the park. The second section is called Kolob Canyons. It’s located around a 45 minute drive from our Zion resort, and is not accessible from within Zion Canyon.

There is a second visitor center for this section of the park. During the off-season, you can visit this center between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Wilderness Desks

Visitors hoping to do some backpacking or to take on a challenging through-hike of The Narrows will need to get a Wilderness Permit. You can pick up these permits at one of the two Wilderness Desks.

The first is the Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk. Located at the ZIon Canyon Visitor Center, this desk is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the park’s winter off-season.

The second desk, the Kolob Canyons Wilderness Desk, is only open from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. this time of year.

Zion Human History Museum

The Zion Human History Museum features exhibits and displays dedicated to the history of the people who have lived in or passed through what is now Zion National Park.

The museum remains open during the off-season. Their hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily this season.

Zion Nature Center

During the summer, the Zion Nature Center is where young visitors can earn their Junior Ranger Badges, and all guests can learn about the park’s unique ecosystems and wildlife. However, you won’t be able to visit the center during the off-season, as it does close from late fall through winter.

Zion Canyon and Springdale Shuttle

Much like the visitor centers and wilderness desks, the Zion Canyon and Springdale Shuttles both shorten, and eventually cease, their daily operations during the off-season.

Starting on September 18, both shuttle loops begin operating on a reduced schedule. At that time, the Zion Canyon Shuttle continues operating starting at 7 a.m. However, the last shuttle will start to depart the canyon at 7:15 p.m. On November 5, that schedule is further reduced, with the last shuttle departing the canyon at 6:15 p.m.

Starting on September 18, the first shuttle on the Springdale loop departs at 8 a.m. and the last shuttle departs at 7 p.m. Starting November 5, the last shuttle begins departing at 6 p.m.

On November 26, the Springdale Shuttle and Zion Canyon Shuttle both cease operations for the season. This means that guests must drive their personal vehicles to trailheads and other destinations within the Lower Canyon. The only exception is a brief time period around the holidays, when the shuttles once again offer a limited daily schedule.

Planning an Off-Season Visit to Zion National Park

While the operating hours of park services may be shorter this time of year, there’s no shortage of reasons to plan a visit to Zion and Cliffrose Lodge during the off-season. From cooler temperatures to fewer crowds, to the unique chance to experience Zion as it turns into a sparkling winter wonderland, winter might just be the best time of year to visit the park. In fact, it’s often referred to as Zion’s Secret Season.

Ready to start planning your own visit to our Zion resort during the Secret Season? Book your stay at Cliffrose Lodge today!

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