As time counts down for Washington lawmakers to pass a budget, we’ve tried to compile some information on a possible federal government shutdown and what to do if you plan to travel to Zion this weekend or next week. The Zion area is a patchwork of federal and state lands; a shutdown would restrict access to hikers and tourists in some, but not all, federally-managed areas.
Please note: Agencies do not announce their FULL plans until after the shutdown occurs (midnight Friday), but this information has been passed along and mentioned as the best information so far.
Would Zion National Park be closed?
Yes, Zion National Park would be the resource most affected by the shutdown. Visitors would be allowed about 48 hours to leave the Park. During a shutdown, the Park shuttle system, bathrooms, campgrounds, Visitor Center and parking lots are closed. The scenic drive would be gated, but Highway 9 would be open to through traffic. No parking would be allowed along the highway during a closure.
Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon National Park would also be closed in a shutdown.
Are there other recreation options in the Zion Area?
The good news is, there are LOTS of them. The best way to find out about good hiking options OUTSIDE Zion National Park is to come visit us at our store in Springdale, so we can show you maps and give you detailed instructions. Because many of the hiking trails and resource areas outside Zion see very few visitors, they don’t have the quality of descriptions and literature the Park’s trails do. But these same areas outside the Park are the places we go to walk our dogs (dogs aren’t allowed in the Park, find solitude, or simply explore the new and different. We are happy to share these adventures with you – just ask us!
Would your guided trips be cancelled?
We do not expect to cancel our canyoneering, rock climbing, mountain biking trips or Unimog Overland tours, as all these trips take place on BLM or Forest Service lands. These lands will be unstaffed during a shutdown, but not closed to recreational or commercial guided trips. Since these lands aren’t typically “staffed” anyways, there will be no effective difference.
We’re crossing our fingers that Washington figures this out by midnight and everything remains open! Either way, please do give us a call or stop in for information about our area and your visit, as we’d love to help you have a great time enjoying Zion’s majesty.