Summer is coming, and for many families in the United States, it can mean one thing: a trip to Zion National Park. One of the sources of pride of Utah, the park features some of the surreal natural landscapes formed millions of years ago. But how can families make the most of the trip? Here are four pointers:
1. Try Riding ATVs and UTVs
Walking with the family is fun unless it’s scorching hot, and toddlers start throwing tantrums and screaming at the top of their lungs. Parents can save themselves from a massive headache by considering a mode of transport fit for the park’s terrain: ATVs and UTVs.
Some Zion National Park tours can offer both along with a professional guide who knows the best trails by heart. They can also ride with the little ones or parents less confident in maneuvering the vehicles.
Note: For those bringing backpacks, they can benefit from utility vehicles, which have enough room for storage.
2. Maximize the Shuttle Buses
The national park welcomes millions of visitors a year, with thousands of them driving their vehicles or rented camper vans. To avoid traffic congestion and potential damage to the natural landscapes, visitors need to roam around the area in shuttle buses instead.
These are free shuttle buses that run every seven to ten minutes. They also cover two routes:
- Zion Canyon Shuttle, which starts at the visitor center and includes nine stops
- Springdale Shuttle, which brings visitors to the pedestrian entrance of the park and travels through many accommodation options in the area
They operate like hop-on, hop-off buses, so families can ride them as often as they like. These vehicles can also run through weekends from early morning to late evening. For a complete guide on their 2020 bus schedules, visit their official website.
Note: When their shuttle system is available, which is for most months of the year, no private vehicle can get into the park. Camper vans can be in campgrounds near the south entrance. The park also offers free parking, but if it’s full, families can leave their cars in Springdale and take the bus to the entrance of Zion.
3. Teach Kids How to Be Safe
Zion National Park is massive! It spans almost 600 square kilometers—about ten times bigger than Manhattan. Deep inside are hundreds of trails, canyons, rivers, and streams that might confuse people where to go.
The chances of wandering off are high. While parents hope this won’t happen, they can improve the children’s safety by teaching them how to read maps and compasses. Other tips include:
- Teaching them the necessary information they can share to park rangers in case they get lost
- Investing in locator beacons that send signals of their location
- Pointing them to facilities that have park staff, such as the ranger station and lodges
4. Plan for a Few Days’ Trip
Families can come across dozens of guides on short trips to Zion National Park. They can even visit for only a full day. It might not be enough, though, to immerse oneself on the beauty of the surroundings, especially if children come along.
For the best experience, families can consider a week’s trip to the park. This way, they don’t need to rush getting a spot on the bus. They can spread out their activities to avoid burning out the little kids. They can also have sufficient time to learn more about the park, orient the children on safety guidelines, and feel less stressed during the holiday.
Not all the best roads are less traveled. Some like those in Zion National Park are worth the hassle, especially during the summer. Families can make the experience even more memorable with the tips above.