The route to Zion NP from the east passes Mt. Carmel on Utah 9 and heads through the Zion Mt Carmel tunnel. The tunnel is about a mile long and very dark. Headlights are required and there are signs warning drivers to remove their sunglasses. The tunnel is extremely narrow. Oversized vehicles cannot pass through if a car is coming in the opposite direction and must be escorted through the tunnel for a $10 fee. The Mt Carmel highway is steep and some points and has switchbacks, but the scenery is worth the drive. Its a great alternative to the drive from Hwy 15 and a good way to get to Bryce Canyon NP from Zion.
The park service runs a free shuttle service along Zion Canyon Road during the months of May through October. Since this is the busy time of year, the road is closed to traffic other than the shuttle, except for those staying at Zion Lodge, who have limited access to reach the lodge. The shuttles run every 5 minutes and stop at 7 or 8 points along the way, including the Zion Museum, Court of the Patriarchs, Zion Lodge and the Temple of Sinawawa, where a one mile trail leads to the Virgin River and the Zion Narrows.
Save yourself some time of trying to find a parking space in Zion. Take the shuttle instead. When you enter Zion National Park from the south, you'll first see a visitor center. Leave your car here and jump on the free hop-on, hop-off Zion shuttle bus. In the summer, the shuttle scheduel is frequent (about every 6 min), and the driver gives great narration.
By car the Zion National Park is to be reached best and the drive over the winding road in the East of the park offers spectacular views.
Inside the park the scenic drive connects various places of intrest, but for the best things one has to still walk a few miles along excellent guided trails. Beware of the flashflood-warning at the beginning of The Narrows. If present danger excists, do not enter the Narrows or be ready to be flushed out.
We drove to Zion and left the car at the Visitor Centre car park and took the shuttle bus into the canyon. You can drive through some of the park on scenic byway 9 and we did this when we where leaving to drive up to Bryce Canyon. As we climbed higher through the park the scenery changed to the snow capped rocks you see in this photo.
There are no cars allowed in some areas and you must get on the shuttle bus
Your drive through Zion National Park will be enhanced by driving a vehicle with drop- top or a sun roof.