A Bikers Guide to Zion National Park

Imagine pedaling through a canyon so grand that every turn reveals towering cliffs, lush green valleys, and incredible views. As Utah’s most visited National Park, there is no shortage of amazing things to see and do, and also no shortage of crowds.  If I could shout ONE THING from the rooftops to all visitors of Zion National Park it would be that the best way to see Zion Canyon is by bike. I love this ride so much and our kids would rather bike the canyon any day than have to be packed onto a crowded and slow shuttle bus. It’s simply amazing!

biking zion national park

Here, I’m going to show you how you can have one of the best adventures in Zion, and escape the crowds at the same time by biking through Zion.  Whether you’re a family looking for a leisurely ride or a solo adventurer seeking solitude and stunning landscapes, biking through Zion’s iconic scenery provides an unforgettable experience. Ditch the shuttle crowds and discover the park at your own pace, immersing yourself in the natural beauty that makes Zion a true gem of Utah.

biking zion national park

Getting into Zion National Park with Bikes

Zion is getting busier and busier each summer. When you visit, the ideal situation is to drive in the Springdale entrance and park at the visitors center, but that parking lot often fills early in the day. Driving in will cost $35/vehicle.

The alternative is to pay for parking in Springdale and bike to the bike/pedestrian entrance. There, you have to pay $20/person to get in, though we’ve never had a problem getting our whole family in with just our National Parks Pass.

pedestrian entrance zion national park
bike/pedestrian entrance station at Zion

Zion Biking Regulations

Biking in Zion National Park is right up there with exploring epic canyoneering routes, but it’s important to follow the park’s regulations to keep both yourself and other visitors safe. 

Bikes are welcome on all park roads and the Pa’rus Trail, but they’re not allowed on hiking trails, off-road areas, and cannot be ridden through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. If you need to use the shuttle buses, there are front bike racks available on most buses, available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must be able to load and unload your bike by yourself if you plan to use the shuttle bus to transport your bike.   

biking zion national park
single file riding only

Here are some other bike regulations for biking in Zion:

  • Always ride single file on the right side of the road.
  • Helmets are highly recommended.
  • Cyclists must follow all traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Bicyclists must yield and stop for shuttle buses.  If a shuttle bus comes up behind you, you need to find a safe place to pull over and stop until the shuttle bus can pass.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way.  Always announce your passing verbally or with a bell or other noise making device.  If pedestrians do not move, it is the cyclists responsibility to stop and wait for them.  
  • Bicycle groups are limited to groups of 6 people.  If you have more people than that, you will need to split up into groups that are separated by at least ¼ mile.  

Best Places to Ride Bikes in Zion

Southern Utah is packed with great places to ride (like our favorite St George bike trails), so it’s no wonder that Zion has lots of great biking. Whether you just want to bike for a day, or do multiple days worth of biking, here are the best places to ride bikes in Zion.

The Pa’rus Trail, Zion Canyon

The Pa’rus Trail starts at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and provides a scenic route to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, avoiding the need to ride on UT-9 (the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway). This multi-use path is shared by both pedestrians and cyclists, so it’s crucial to ride considerately and slow down, ensuring safety for all visitors. Cyclists must adhere to all traffic signs, including stop signs, and note that the side trail to the Human History Museum is off-limits for bicycles.

biking zion national park pa'rus trail

As you ride down the Pa’rus trail, there are several bridges and tight corners.  Be especially cautious here to avoid collisions.  The trail here is wider than a traditional sidewalk so there is room to pass and move around, but still remember to be aware of others. 

biking zion national park
biking the pa’rus trial

The Pa’rus Trail is a perfect starting point, especially for families. This 1.75-mile paved path runs alongside the Virgin River, offering easy, scenic riding from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to the South Campground.  We love doing this ride on a warm day because there are plenty of cottonwood trees growing along the river that offer fantastic shade.  It’s short enough that little kids can ride it, but long enough that you get to see a variety of scenery.

biking zion national park
Pa’rus trail bridges

Biking Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

If you’re looking to go farther (which I highly recommend), keep going up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  This is the route that the shuttle buses take and goes all the way up the canyon to the Temple of Sinewava.  From the Visitors Center to the end of the canyon road, it is 8 miles.  Going away from the visitors center, you’ll have a slight uphill most of the way, which means that the return trip is almost all downhill.  

biking zion national park
The start of the Zion Canyon Road that you’ll ride along

If you’re biking Zion Canyon, make sure to take a bike lock with you so that you can park your bike and check out some of the hikes and scenic views.  All of the major stops and trailheads have bike racks available, so it’s a great way to turn your bike ride into a full-day adventure.  

biking zion national park
biking Zion Canyon
biking zion national park
In front of Angels Landing

If you’re in good shape, biking Zion Canyon can be about the same speed as taking one of the crowded visitor shuttles, but saves you the time needed to wait in line, and is a much more relaxing way to see the canyon.  Going down the canyon by bike is much faster than taking a shuttle.  

On our last visit, we biked the canyon with our kids (ages 6-16) and when we were going up, we were passed by 2 shuttles, and on the way down, we passed 4 shuttles (which were stopped…you cannot pass them while riding).    As an added bonus, there are several pull-offs between shuttle stops that you can stop at on a bike that most regular visitors to the park will never see or experience.  

Biking the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and Getting Through the Mount Carmel Tunnel With A Bike

If you’re a serious cyclist and have car support, ride the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.  The climb is steep and intense, but it will give you some of the best views of the park.  The only problem is that bicycles and pedestrians are not allowed in the Mt Carmel Tunnel, so you will need a car to transport both you and your bike through the tunnel.  While rangers cannot drive you or your bike through the tunnel, cyclists often have luck hitchhiking through the tunnel, and putting their bike in a truck.  

Biking in Kolob Canyon

Kolob Terrace Road starts near the town of Virgin and ascends into the high country of Zion, reaching elevations over 8,000 feet. The road is known for its steep grades and sharp curves, making it a challenging ride, especially for less experienced cyclists. The route offers no shoulder, so cyclists need to be particularly cautious and aware of traffic.  There is significantly less traffic in the Kolob area of Zion, but cyclists need to use caution here.  

Tips for Biking in Zion

I want to shout it from the rooftops that biking is the absolute best way to see Zion Canyon.  It’s fun, beautiful, and give you some peace and quiet that can be lacking in many parts of the park.  Here are our top tips for biking in Zion National Park:

Rent a bike in Springdale:  If you don’t live nearby, consider renting bikes.  There are several bike shops in Springdale where you can get bikes of all sizes, kids bike trailers, and even ebikes.  Then you can bike directly from the bike shop, into Zion National Park through the bike/pedestrian entrance.

biking zion national park
Biking Through Springdale

Remember to bring plenty of water and snacks: There are limited places to refill bottles along the routes. When you get to the Zion Canyon Lodge, refill your water there, since it’s one of the easiest places to get water and it’s about halfway up the canyon.    

biking zion national park
Zion Canyon Lodge is an easy place to stop with plenty of bike parking

Starting your ride early: This helps to avoid the midday heat and gives you the chance to experience the park in the serene morning light. Or, plan to stay late.  In the summer, the sun sets after 9pm, and the shuttles stop well before that, so if you want the park all to yourself, stay late!

biking zion national park

Leave a Comment