Zion National Park
We made the unfortunate decision to drive into Zion National Park on a Sunday. We left Bryce about 9:30am and arrived at the east entrance around 11am. Traffic was heavy. Looking at a map, we determined that many of the desirable viewpoints in the park were accessible only by the shuttle bus, so we decided to go directly to a parking area and get on a bus. The first obstacle we encountered was getting through the 1.1-mile tunnel near the east entrance. Because it was carved out of a mountain in the 1930s and is fairly narrow, a limited numbers of cars and campers are allowed to go through at a time. That means that you must wait in a line near the entrance for a time to enter to be made available. After that 20-30 minute wait, we were through the tunnel and on our way. But, the problem was that the traffic volume in the park was heavy and slow, and when we got to the Visitors Center, no parking was available. We kept moving, never finding parking even in the overflow lots. We never saw more than we could see from the car and a few busy pullouts along the way. We exited through the south entrance, turned around and re-entered, once again waiting to go through the tunnel on the other end and back to Bryce Canyon Lodge. One interesting tidbit. The roads in the park are colored asphalt, the red color of the rocks in Utah. You can see that in the first photo.
That said, Zion is a beautiful park. Unlike Bryce Canyon, you are down among the cliffs. They are close to you and you are constantly looking up at them. We regret not being able to go on the shuttle to less accessible areas of the park, but my photos, many of them from the car, will tell you what’s there and how disappointed we were not to see more. Enjoy.