Zion National Park is a nature preserve in Southwest Utah, famous for its red, pink, and cream-colored sandstone cliffs standing against the blue sky. It is also known for being home to several exotic animals and plants, and the most exciting part for the visitors is exploring the hidden canyons and caves in the area.
So, if you have a trip to Utah lined up, we suggest taking the route from Las Vegas to Zion National Park. Why? Because although the drive is short, there are several amazing spots on the way that you wouldn’t want to miss!
Therefore, today we will tell you all there is to know about the drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, the distance between the two places, where to stop, and where to stay.
How Far is Zion National Park from Las Vegas?
To get to Zion National Park from Las Vegas, you must fly to Las Vegas in case you live in another state or country. Once you reach the Harry Reid International Airport, the distance from there to Zion National Park is approximately 160 miles if you go via Interstate 15.
How Long Do I Need to Road Trip From Las Vegas to Zion National Park?
The drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is almost 2 ½ hours long. However, we suggest not to zoom your way to Zion; instead, stop at the numerous sights and attractions along Interstate 15, and make your road trip worth it!
Can You Day Trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas?
Of course, you can! The distance from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is almost 2.5 hours long; therefore, if you want to get to Zion straight away, you can easily reach there by noon if you leave around 9 am.
Or, you could explore Las Vegas a bit and then head toward Zion. Regardless, you can easily reach there before sunset and see some beautiful sights before calling it a day.
However, as we said earlier, there’s plenty to see and explore even during the 2.5-hour drive. So, take it slow, and plan your road trip so that you can easily stop on the way, enjoy the beautiful attractions, or even stay the night at one of the stops and then reach Zion to explore the park afresh.
Best Time to Take a Road Trip From Las Vegas to Zion National Park
The best time to take a road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park depends on your preference. If you travel during the summer, you might come across a lot of crowds and traffic on your way, as it’s the peak time for people to plan trips.
However, if you decide to go in the winter, the crowds will be less, and you’ll get a lot of quiet time to explore the hidden treasures along the way.
Therefore, if you love the hustle and bustle of tourists, you can go from Vegas to Zion National Park in the summer, but if you prefer some intimate time with your friends and family, then plan a trip in the winter.
Interesting Stops on the Las Vegas to Zion Road Trip
The road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park has quite a few places where you can stop and enjoy nature. Here are some of the scenic stops that are worth visiting:
1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
As you start your journey towards Zion National Park from the Las Vegas strip, you will find the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area 20 minutes to the west of the strip. The conservation area is spread over an expanse of 200 acres and has a 13-mile scenic drive through the park. Other activities at the Red Rock Canyon are hiking and horseback riding. You will find several hiking trails in the area with different difficulty levels.
If you’re not a fan of hiking, you can check out the Mojave Desert plants and the beautiful rock formations. You can also come across the wildlife inhabiting the area, like mules, sheep, deer, birds, and the desert tortoise.
Pro-tip: There is no cellphone service inside the park, so plan accordingly, and keep lots of water with you.
2. Valley of Fire State Park
Once you leave Red Rock Canyon and get back on Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to Zion, you’ll come across the Valley of Fire State Park around 50 miles up at Exit 75. It is famous for being one of Nevada’s largest and oldest parks.
But there’s more! The Valley of Fire State Park is less crowded at any time of the year, giving you lots of time to explore it peacefully. You can start by heading toward the visitor center, where you can see a film about the history of the park. From there, you can check out the hiking trails with some incredible rock formations. Plus, if you get lucky, you might spot the mighty Bighorn sheep in the park.
If you check out all the hiking trails and the byway through the park, you can easily spend 5 to 6 hours in the Valley of Fire State Park.
3. Virgin River Gorge
If you’re done with hiking and want to simply sit and take in the beauty of nature, you should definitely stop at the Virgin River Gorge, which comes on the way as you drive along Interstate 15. The gorge is 10 miles long and was carved out by the Virgin River in Northwest Arizona.
While there are no activities to do at the Virgin River Gorge, it is truly a sight to behold and a perfect spot for taking memorable breathtaking pictures.
4. St. George
You’ll be a little more than an hour away from Zion National Park when you continue your journey from the Virgin River Gorge toward the city of St. George. With a population of almost 85,000 people, this is the city where you can stay the night before heading toward Zion. After all, you’ll be tired and hungry from all the hiking and exploration at the Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park!
St. George is quite a scenic city with spectacular red rock formations and mountain views. If you reach the city by late evening, you can get a place to grab a bite and call it a day. However, in the morning, you can spend some hours exploring this beautiful city and visiting its many historical sites.
These include the Brigham Young Winter Home, a historical site from the 1800s that has been turned into a museum with guided tours every day. Then there’s St. George Temple, but as it’s under construction, you can only see it from the outside and click a few pics.
From here, you can check out the various state parks and recreation areas in St. George.
5. Snow Canyon State Park
While in St. George, your stay won’t be worthwhile if you don’t visit the Snow Canyon State Park!
The Park is spread across 7400 acres and has a variety of activities for visitors. For starters, you can make your way through the scenic park on horseback and have an experience of a lifetime. Then you can head over to the 38 miles of hiking trails, walk around the 3 miles of paved trails, or rent a bike and ride across the bike trails. There’s plenty to do for everyone!
Apart from riding and hiking, you’ll find breathtaking views of the park surrounded by canyons made of red and white sandstone and the remains of the lava flow and lava tubes caused by the now-extinct Santa Clara volcano. One hundred eighty million years of water and wind activities have shaped the park into the geological wonder it is today.
So, you don’t want to miss experiencing the beauty of the Snow Canyon State Park at any cost!
6. St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site
If you’re a dinosaur lover, we have great news! There’s a real dinosaur discovery site in St. George!
From Jurassic and Triassic era fossils to dino footprints from 200 million years ago, you will find everything you have grown up seeing in the Jurassic Park movies! And to make things even more fun, there’s a museum with jaw-dropping dinosaur exhibits and displays.
So, if you’re traveling with kids who love dinosaurs as much as you do, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site is a must-visit place.
Now that you have rested for the night in St. George and explored some of the interesting places it has, it’s time to head back to Interstate 15 and continue your journey toward Zion National Park.
Around 10 miles from St. George, take Exit 16 onto Highway 9. A few miles down this highway, you will come across the beautiful town of Hurricane. This town is approximately 40 minutes away from the East entrance of Zion National Park.
Hurricane is a small town with a population of almost 18,000 people. It is famous for its peach and pecan orchards, a lot of open space, and large expanses of green fields. While in Hurricane, we suggest checking out the Sand Hollow State Park and the Warner Valley Dinosaur Track Site with 400 fossiled dino tracks.
Apart from this, if you want to sit back and relax, head over to the Coral Cliffs Cinema 8 to enjoy a movie. You will surely feel fresh and rejoiced with comfortable seats and a unique sensory experience.
After enjoying a relaxing time in Hurricane, you can drive back to Interstate 15 and make your way toward the small town of Springdale. This is the last stop before you reach Zion National Park, as it is located next to the park’s East entrance and is known as the “Gateway to Zion.”
This is where you can rest for a bit, have a meal, or even stay the night. You will find many hotels, restaurants, and gift shops to freshen up in this town.
Because this is where your amazing road trip from Las Vegas ends and the memorable time in Zion National Park starts!
Where to Stay Near Zion?
Now that you have finally reached Zion National Park from Las Vegas, it’s time to search for a place to stay.
You could stay in one of the lodges or campgrounds inside Zion National Park, or you could find a good hotel in the nearby towns.
As Springdale is the closest town to Zion National Park, you’ll find plenty of places to stay. You can book a room at the Nama-Stay Suites or the high-end Cable Mountain Lodge for a relaxing stay. Both these hotels offer shuttles to take you to Zion.
You will find many great places to stay in St. George, including the Inn On the Cliff, Hampton Inn, and Hyatt Place. You can also find several campgrounds for camping and glamping, like St. George RV Park and the Snow Canyon Campground.
The road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is hardly 2.5 hours long. But we suggest stopping at the various sites and towns along the way if you want to make the most of it.
From beautiful red rock canyons to several state parks and bustling towns full of historical buildings and grasslands, you will find a number of interesting stops on the way.
So, make the 2.5-hour long trip last 2.5 days or more, and stop and explore everything that lies between Las Vegas and Zion National Park!
Next Up: Check out all the interesting things to do between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park
© Family Road Trip