Did spending more time outdoors, reducing stress, or increasing your fitness has made your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2022? A visit to Zion National Park may be just the answer.
Whether you’re already planning ahead for a summer vacation or thinking about scheduling a quick weekend getaway in your own cozy tiny home vacation rental this winter, there are a few things you should know about visiting the park in 2022. Keep reading to learn more.
COVID-19 Restrictions Remain Fluid
As you can probably guess, COVID-19 rules and restrictions continue to be a fluid situation in Zion National Park. As of the start of 2022, masks are still required inside of all park buildings. They are also required on the shuttle buses, regardless of guest vaccination status. Masks are not required outdoors within Zion National Park.
Angels Landing and Zion’s campgrounds previously closed in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect park guests. But both have reopened at this time.
If you’re planning a visit to Zion in the coming months, check out the National Park Service’s website to learn about updated COVID-19 measures and restrictions ahead of your trip.
Shuttle Operations are Suspended Until March, With Exceptions
One thing that sets Zion apart from many other national parks is its shuttle system. Because Zion Canyon is narrow, parking is limited, and the park draws more than 4 million annual visitors despite its relatively small size, a shuttle system is used.
When the Zion Canyon Shuttle is in operation, private vehicles are not permitted in the lower canyon. Instead, visitors must catch the shuttle in Springdale and ride it between different stops in the park. In addition to the Zion Canyon Shuttle, the Springdale Shuttle helps visitors get from hotels and parking lots in Springdale to the start of the park’s shuttle.
But during the winter months, when crowds thin out, both shuttles are suspended. From November to March, the shuttles are largely out of operation. During this time, visitors can drive their own vehicles into the park. However, on weekends and nice days, parking can still be challenging.
There are some exceptions to the shutdown. For instance, around the holidays, as well as weekends in February, both shuttles are back in operation. Full service begins in early March each year.
You May Need a Permit to Hike Angels Landing
In previous years, hundreds of thousands of people made their way to Zion with plans to take on Angels Landing. This beautiful, dangerous trail is definitely one of the park’s most popular. But crowding on the trail in recent years left park rangers and staff worried about the safety of hikers and the future of Zion’s natural resources.
In an effort to control crowds, the park is rolling out a new permit system in 2022. Beginning on April 1, 2022, anyone hoping to hike Angels Landing will need to obtain a permit in order to do so. You’ll have two chances to get a permit: the Seasonal Lottery and the Day-Before Lottery.
There will be 4 Seasonal Lotteries each year that you’ll need to enter several months ahead of your trip. For instance, if you want to hike Angels Landing just after the permit requirement starts in April, you’ll need to enter the lottery in January. As the name suggests, the Day-Before Lottery will be the last chance to grab any permits that haven’t been allotted.
Entering either lottery costs $6 and can be used to apply for permits for up to 6 hikers. If you win the lottery, you’ll also need to pay an additional $3 per person to get your permit.
Cyanobacteria Has Been Detected in the Virgin River
In 2020, park staff in Zion put out an alert about the presence of cyanobacteria in the Virgin River. Since that time, staff has continued to monitor the river and its tributaries for the presence of the bacteria. This does not mean that the bacteria are present. However, because this type of bacteria can bloom with little warning, it’s best to be safe during your visit.
Amidst their monitoring, park staff has warned visitors to avoid drinking or submerging their heads in the water. While it is safe to hike, avoid contact between the water and your mouth. If you’re planning to visit Zion with your pet, keep them away from the Virgin River to keep them from drinking the potentially dangerous water.
Planning Your Visit to Zion National Park
After two years of spending more time indoors than normal and missing out on travel, there’s never been a better time to plan a visit to Zion National Park. Whether you’re planning to hit the trails, take a scenic drive, or simply relax, The Dwellings makes for a great basecamp for your next visit.
Book your tiny home vacation rental today to take advantage of our Winter Promo. You’ll save 50% on your rental for stays between December 1, 2021, and February 28, 2022. If you want to hike Angels Landing before the new permit system is in place or want to visit the park when the shuttle service is suspended, this is a great opportunity to do so. Book your stay today to take advantage of this limited-time sale!