Las Vegas to Zion National Park Road Trip

Mar 18, 2024

Tags:guidescenic routesNVtravelUT

valley of fire state park during golden hour in clark county nevada between las vegas and zion national park

Take an unforgettable road trip from the bustling city of Las Vegas to the serene landscapes of Zion National Park. This journey will take you through some of the most picturesque terrains in the Southwest, offering a blend of adventure, tranquility, and awe-inspiring natural beauty. Let's map out your road trip itinerary, ensuring each stop enriches your experience and maximizes the adventure that awaits.

Get Directions HERE: Zion National Park

Park Admission: $20-35

Planning on Visiting a Few National Parks or Federal Recreation Lands? Get a Pass for $80

Can You Take a Day Trip from Las Vegas to Zion?

Yes! Depending on what entrance you enter, Zion National Park is only 2.5-3 hours away from Las Vegas, Nevada. But don’t be surprised if you get there an hour later- you’ll cross into a different time zone one hour ahead. 

For a shortened Las Vegas to Zion day trip itinerary, scroll down to the bottom of this article.

Day 1: Departure from Las Vegas

Morning (8:00 AM - 10:00 AM)

  • Start in Las Vegas: Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at a local favorite, such as the Egg & I, known for its wide selection of breakfast items to energize you for the day ahead.
  • Preparation & Departure: Ensure your vehicle is road trip ready. Check your tire pressure, oil level, and gas tank before leaving. Las Vegas to Zion National Park is approximately a 2.5 to 3-hour drive (160 miles via I-15 N).

Late Morning (10:00 AM - 12:00 PM)

  • Scenic Drive: As you leave Las Vegas, the landscape transforms from cityscapes to vast desert views. Take I-15 N towards Utah, enjoying the changing scenery.

Stop 1: Valley of Fire State Park

fire wave in valley of fire state park las vegas to zion national park road trip

Afternoon (12:00 PM - 3:00 PM)

  • Exploration and Lunch: About an hour away from Las Vegas, take a detour to explore the Valley of Fire State Park. This park offers stunning red sandstone formations and ancient petroglyphs. Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the park's natural beauty.
  • Key Sights: Don't miss the Fire Wave and Elephant Rock. Allocate about 2-3 hours to explore and enjoy the area.

Stop 2: St. George, Utah

scenic picture of the historic downtown of saint george utah las vegas to zion national park road trip

Late Afternoon (4:00 PM - 6:00 PM)

  • Stretch and Explore: Before the final leg to Zion, stop in St. George for a stretch. Visit the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site or simply enjoy a coffee break.
  • Dinner in St. George: Try local eateries like the Painted Pony for a taste of Southwestern cuisine, ensuring you're well-fed before arriving at Zion.

Arrival at Zion National Park

scenic picture of the milky way over zion national park las vegas to zion national park road trip

Evening (7:00 PM onwards)

  • Check-in to Accommodation: Whether you’re staying inside the park at Zion Lodge or at a nearby hotel in Springdale, settle in and relax after the day's journey.
  • Stargazing: If energy permits, don’t miss the opportunity for some stargazing. Zion’s clear skies offer an incredible view of the stars.

Day 2: Exploring Zion National Park

scenic picture of a sunrise over canyon overlook utah las vegas to zion national park road trip

Early Morning (6:00 AM - 9:00 AM)

  • Sunrise at Canyon Overlook: Start your day early with a sunrise view from Canyon Overlook. It's a relatively easy hike and offers one of the most breathtaking views of the park.
  • Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation or grab something from a café in Springdale.

Morning to Afternoon (9:00 AM - 3:00 PM)

  • Hike The Narrows: Spend your day exploring The Narrows, one of Zion’s most famous hikes. Remember to check the weather and water conditions before you go. It's a unique slot canyon hike, requiring wading through the Virgin River.

scenic picture of a hiker hiking the narrows in zion national park road trip from las vegas to zion national park

Late Afternoon (3:00 PM - 6:00 PM)

  • Relaxation and Exploration: After your hike, take some time to relax. Visit the Zion Human History Museum to learn about the park's history or simply enjoy the scenery at one of the many viewpoints.

Evening (6:00 PM onwards)

  • Dinner in Springdale: Conclude your day with dinner at one of Springdale’s restaurants, offering views of the park's majestic cliffs. Bit & Spur Restaurant and Saloon is a popular choice for its Mexican-inspired dishes and local brews.

scenic picture of springdal at night with the lights and mountains in the background road trip from las vegas to zion national state park

Day 3: Departure from Zion National Park

Morning (Flexible Time)

  • Leisurely Breakfast and Check-Out: Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and check out of your accommodation.
  • Optional Short Hike or Scenic Drive: If time allows, take a short hike like the Emerald Pools trail or drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway for some last-minute views.

Return to Las Vegas (Flexible Time)

  • Journey Back: Head back to Las Vegas at your leisure, reflecting on the natural wonders and serene landscapes you’ve explored.

This itinerary offers a blend of adventure, relaxation, and exploration, making your road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park a truly memorable experience. Remember, the journey is as significant as the destination, so take your time, enjoy the views, and make the most of every moment.

Las Vegas to Zion National Park Day Trip Itinerary

4:00 AM - 7:00 AM: Drive to Zion National Park

  • Start your journey early to maximize your time in the park. The drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours (160 miles) via I-15 N.
  • Pack a breakfast to eat on the way or stop at a café near Zion for a quick bite as you approach the park.

7:00 AM - 9:00 AM: Enter Zion National Park

  • Arrive at Zion National Park. Pay the entrance fee or use an America the Beautiful pass for access. Head to the Visitor Center to pick up a map and any last-minute recommendations from the rangers.
  • Take the shuttle bus from the Visitor Center to your first trailhead. Private vehicle access is limited in the main canyon, and the shuttle system offers convenient stops at major points of interest.

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM: Hiking the Watchman Trail

view at the watchman trail zion national park road trip from las vegas

  • Begin your exploration of Zion National Park with a hike on the Watchman Trail. This trail offers a moderate 3-mile round trip hike that is less crowded than other popular trails, providing a peaceful experience of the park.
  • The trailhead is conveniently located near the Visitor Center, making it an accessible starting point after your arrival. The hike offers stunning views of the Watchman Spire, lower Zion Canyon, and the Springdale town. It's an excellent opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture the morning light bathing the landscape.
  • The trail usually takes about 2 hours to complete, including stops for photos and to enjoy the views. Make sure to bring water, wear sunscreen, and have a hat, as the trail can be quite exposed to the sun, even in the morning.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Scenic Drive on Zion-Mount Carmel Highway

view on the zion-mount carmel highway in zion national state park

  • After your hike, take a scenic drive on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. This route offers incredible views of the park’s unique geology, high plateaus, and a series of switchbacks. Stop at pullouts to enjoy the vistas and capture photos.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM: Lunch at Zion Lodge

  • Stop for lunch at the Zion Lodge. Enjoy dining in a historic setting with options for various dietary preferences. Alternatively, pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many scenic spots along the river.

1:30 PM - 4:00 PM: Hike the Emerald Pools Trail

view of a walking bridge over the emerald pools trail zion national park springdale utah road trip from las vegas

  • Spend your afternoon hiking the Emerald Pools Trail, a moderate hike that leads to a series of beautiful pools and waterfalls. The Lower Emerald Pool is easily accessible, while the Upper Emerald Pool offers a more secluded setting. The round trip to the Upper Emerald Pools and back is about 3 miles and offers diverse scenery, including waterfalls, cliffs, and lush vegetation.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Riverside Walk

view of the riverside walk along the virgin river in zion national park road trip from las vegas

  • Conclude your active exploration with a peaceful walk along the Virgin River. The Riverside Walk is a paved, easy trail that offers stunning canyon views, hanging gardens, and possibly wildlife sightings. It's a perfect way to wind down and reflect on the day’s adventures.

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Canyon Overlook Trail at Sunset 

  • The Canyon Overlook Trail is a relatively easy, 1-mile round trip hike that offers stunning views of Zion Canyon. The path leads you to one of the most iconic overlooks in the park, providing a panoramic vista that's perfect for watching the sunset. The trail can be completed in about an hour, but you'll want to allow extra time to find the perfect spot and settle in for the sunset.

7:30 PM: Begin Your Drive Back to Vegas

  • Depending on where you’re staying in Vegas, it will take you approximately 3 hours to get back from this trailhead. Begin your journey back to Las Vegas. The return trip is a perfect time to share stories and photos from the day. And if time and energy allow, consider stopping for dinner in St. George or Mesquite to enjoy a meal before concluding your trip.

10:00 PM - 10:30 PM: Arrive Back in Las Vegas

  • Depending on stops and exact departure time, expect to arrive back in Las Vegas in the late evening.

Las Vegas Motorcycle Rentals for Your Zion Excursion with Riders Share

Planning a Zion National Park trip presents a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and what better way to enhance your experience than by exploring the open road on a motorcycle? Riders Share offers you the perfect opportunity to do just that. With a wide selection of motorcycles available, you can find the ideal bike that suits your style and comfort, ensuring your ride is nothing short of spectacular. Imagine cruising through the vast landscapes, with the wind in your hair and the breathtaking scenery of Zion unfolding before you. 

The convenience of renting in Las Vegas allows you to begin your journey with ease, providing a seamless transition from the neon city lights to the natural wonders of Zion. Riders Share makes the process straightforward and hassle-free, ensuring your focus remains on the excitement of the journey ahead. Opting for a motorcycle ride to Zion not only promises an exhilarating adventure but also offers an intimate connection with the beauty of the park, making your trip an unforgettable experience.

The Perfect Day: Zion National Park Trip from Las Vegas

Going from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the amazing views in Zion National Park is, well, unforgettable. It's all about starting your day in the busy city and ending it watching a beautiful sunset at one of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States (or world, for that matter). Imagine leaving the city's noise behind and finding yourself in the quiet beauty of Zion, from a peaceful morning hike to catching the last rays of the sun at Canyon Overlook.