Five brand-new electric shuttle buses have been put into operation this week at Zion National Park. These buses mark the beginning of a completely fresh electric fleet, funded by a $33 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Jeff Bradybaugh, Superintendent of Zion National Park, expressed optimism about the future of the Zion Canyon Shuttle System. He acknowledged the pivotal role of partners such as Zion Forever, the National Park Foundation, US Department of Transportation, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Clean Cities, the Town of Springdale, and neighboring communities in Washington, Kane, and Iron Counties.
These electric buses will replace the park’s aging propane-powered vehicles, some of which have been in service for over two decades.
Zion NP Shuttle Buses’ Background
In the year 2000, the National Park Service initiated a free shuttle service in Zion Canyon and the Town of Springdale. This system was meticulously developed in collaboration with Springdale, the Federal Highway Administration, Utah Department of Transportation, and input from various state, county, and municipal partners. Shuttle buses transport millions of passengers annually and have effectively alleviated traffic congestion, allowing visitors to fully appreciate Zion Canyon. In the summer of 2023, Zion celebrated the system’s 90 millionth boarding.
Since the inception of the shuttle system, Zion’s visitation numbers have surged from approximately 2.4 million in 2000 to a record-breaking 5 million in 2021. Even with visitation consistently surpassing pre-COVID figures, Zion is implementing additional enhancements to ensure the continued success of the shuttle system.
This above news story is based on a press release from the National Park Service, which was issued on September 21, 2023. You can read the original release here.
Transportation Options at Zion National Park (eco-friendly)
At Zion National Park, you have several convenient transportation options to explore the park and reduce your environmental impact:
- Zion’s New Electric Shuttle: As noted above, Zion’s new electric buses will serve as the primary mode of transportation inside the park. It operates from early spring through late fall.
- Springdale Shuttle: If you’re staying in Springdale, you can take advantage of the town’s shuttle system, which links various accommodations and restaurants with the Zion Shuttle System. It’s a convenient way to access the park without worrying about parking.
- Walking and Hiking: For a more hands-on encounter, you can explore many areas of the park on foot. There are numerous trails suitable for different fitness levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes.
- Biking: If you enjoy biking, you will find designated bike lanes within the park and the town of Springdale. You can bring your bike or rent one locally to pedal around and access various scenic spots.
- Private Vehicles: If you prefer the flexibility of driving, you can use your private vehicle in the off-season or during early mornings or evenings when the shuttle system isn’t operational. Keep in mind that parking is limited, so arrive early to secure a spot.
By choosing the eco-friendly transportation options, you’ll not only enjoy the natural beauty of Zion National Park but also contribute to its preservation for future generations.
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Feature image: nps.gov