Planning a trip to Utah’s breathtaking national parks can be a thrilling adventure, especially when you’re looking to explore both Zion and Bryce Canyon. These two gems of the American Southwest captivate travelers from around the world with their towering sandstone cliffs, serene slot canyons, and vibrant hues. But choosing the perfect base for your explorations between these two parks can be a bit overwhelming. So, let’s talk about where to stay between Zion and Bryce Canyon to give you a seamless, unforgettable experience.
Located just 1.5 hours apart, Zion and Bryce Canyon boast unique landscapes and diverse recreational activities catering to a range of outdoor enthusiasts. Zion entices with its stunning canyon views, dramatic hanging gardens, and popular hikes like Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. Meanwhile, Bryce Canyon enchants visitors with its remarkable hoodoos, star-studded night skies, and fascinating geological formations.
Whether you’re seeking to immerse yourself in nature or simply want a comfortable spot to rest between your adventures, finding the right place to stay between these two national parks is essential. Kanab, Utah has emerged as a popular choice for its strategic location, only 30 minutes from Zion’s east entrance and 1.5 hours from Bryce Canyon’s main entrance. Not only does it offer convenient access to both parks, but it also serves as a gateway to other southern Utah and northern Arizona attractions. With a variety of lodging options, dining experiences, and recreational activities, Kanab is an ideal spot to situate yourself as you embark on a journey through Zion and Bryce Canyon.
Where To Stay
Choosing the Right Location
When planning a trip between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, choosing the right location to stay can greatly enhance your experience. This section will discuss factors to consider when selecting a place to stay, including proximity to attractions, scenic views, and budget considerations.
Proximity to Attractions
One of the main aspects to consider when deciding where to stay between Zion and Bryce Canyon is the proximity to the national parks and other nearby attractions. Kanab, Utah is a popular choice as it is only 30 minutes from Zion’s east entrance and 1.5 hours from Bryce Canyon’s main entrance. Staying closer to the parks will save you valuable time, allowing you to maximize your time spent exploring the parks.
Seeking a stay with beautiful views? Zion Mountain Ranch offers an option with a unique experience. Located in Mt. Carmel Junction, this historical ranch offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Similarly, the Desert Pearl Inn in Springdale is nestled along the river, providing guests with picturesque scenery to enjoy from their accommodations.
Budget plays a significant role in choosing the right place to stay between Zion and Bryce Canyon. Prices for accommodations in the area can vary greatly, so it is essential to find a place that suits your budget without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
- Budget-friendly options: Look for basic motels or campsites for an affordable yet comfortable stay.
- Mid-range accommodations: Consider quality lodges and inns offering a good balance between price and comfort.
- High-end accommodations: Luxurious hotels and resorts are available for those willing to splurge for an extravagant experience.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that Bryce Canyon National Park is home to more than 170 bird species and 59 species of mammals, including mule deer? This makes visiting the park a great opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.
Things to do
If you’re looking for activities between Zion and Bryce Canyon, consider exploring scenic drives, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, or even stargazing during clear nights at these two national parks. With so much to see and do, your experience visiting these beautiful parks will undoubtedly be a memorable one.
When planning a trip between Zion and Bryce, finding the perfect place to stay is crucial. Here are some lodging options to consider during your visit, broken down into four categories: Hotels and Motels, Vacation Rentals, Campsites, and RV Parks.
Hotels and Motels
Several hotels and motels are available between Zion and Bryce, offering comfortable accommodations and convenient locations. Some options include:
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Kanab – Located in Kanab, UT, this hotel has an 8.8/10 rating and is situated 20 minutes from Zion and 50 minutes from Bryce.
- Best Western East Zion Thunderbird Lodge – This hotel in Mount Carmel offers easy access to both Zion and Bryce Canyon and includes a golf course and restaurant on-site.
Vacation rentals, like cabins and lodges, can provide a cozy and unique lodging experience during your visit. Some popular options are:
- Tiny Home Escape in Kanab, UT – This prime location is situated 20 minutes from Zion, 50 minutes from Bryce, and 90 minutes from the Grand Canyon. You can book your stay here.
- Desert Pearl Inn – Located along the river in Springdale, this inn offers a memorable experience between the two national parks. More information can be found on Tripadvisor.
Outdoor enthusiasts may prefer to stay at a campsite during their trip. Here are some options:
- Panguitch – A historic small town offering mostly boutique motels, inns, and bed and breakfasts. Panguitch is 30 minutes from Bryce’s entrance and about 1.5 hours to Zion’s visitor center at the south entrance. More information is available on this website.
For travelers with an RV, there are several parks available to accommodate your needs:
- Zion River Resort – This full-service RV park and campground offers a variety of amenities and is located near Zion National Park. Further information can be found here.
- Ruby’s Inn RV Park and Campground – Located near Bryce Canyon, this RV park is open year-round and provides a range of facilities and services. Check out their website for more details.
Fun Fact: The distance between Zion and Bryce is approximately 78 miles, making it an ideal road trip for nature enthusiasts. Explore the beautiful landscapes, unique rock formations, and an array of wildlife during your visit.
Things to do: Don’t forget to make time for the variety of activities and attractions available in both Zion and Bryce National Parks, such as hiking, scenic drives, stargazing, and photography.
Halfway Towns and Communities
When planning a trip between Zion and Bryce Canyon, consider staying in one of these charming halfway towns and communities. Besides lodging options, they offer interesting attractions and activities to enhance your travel experience.
Orderville is a small, rustic community located just under an hour from Zion National Park. The town itself offers a laid-back atmosphere, perfect for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story: Orderville was founded by Mormon pioneers in 1875 as a way to practice the United Order. Even though the experiment ended in the early 1880s, the town continued to grow and develop.
Things to do: While in Orderville, don’t miss visiting the Red Hollow Slot Canyon, a true hidden gem in the area. Additionally, you can explore local shops, dine at charming restaurants, or take scenic drives in the surrounding nature.
Mount Carmel Junction
Mount Carmel Junction is located at the intersection of US Highway 89 and State Route 9. This small community is known for its cozy feel and offers a range of accommodations, including motels, B&Bs, and RV Park options.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story: Mount Carmel Junction is home to the historic Thunderbird Restaurant, famous for its “Ho-Made Pies” since 1931. The unique spelling was an innocent mistake that turned into a fun and memorable attraction.
Things to do: Take advantage of its proximity to Zion National Park and embark on several beautiful hiking trails. There are also great opportunities for wildlife spotting and photography.
Kanab is considered the best place to stay between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks due to its central location. This charming town offers a variety of lodging options, dining experiences, and activities to suit every traveler’s taste.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story: Kanab is often referred to as “Little Hollywood” because of its history as a popular filming location for Western movies and TV shows. You can visit the Little Hollywood Museum to learn more about this fascinating history.
Things to do: While staying in Kanab, you can visit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, join a guided tour to the nearby Vermilion Cliffs, or explore the beautiful slot canyons in the area. Kanab also boasts a lively arts scene with galleries and local events happening throughout the year.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Zion and Bryce Canyon is during spring (late April to May) and fall (September to October). During these periods, you can expect pleasant temperatures and smaller crowds. However, if you prefer a winter adventure, consider visiting between December and February for a unique experience, but be prepared for colder temperatures and possible road closures due to snow.
Booking in Advance
Since these parks are popular destinations, it’s recommended to book accommodations and activities well in advance. By making reservations ahead of time, you’ll have more options and better chances of securing your preferred lodging, especially in Kanab, a popular base for exploring both parks. Remember to reserve permits for any necessary activities, such as hiking The Narrows in Zion.
Altitude and Weather Preparedness
Visitors should be mindful of the altitude and weather changes in these parks. Zion National Park’s altitude ranges from approximately 3,666 to 8,726 feet, while Bryce Canyon’s ranges from 8,000 to 9,000 feet. To avoid altitude sickness, stay hydrated and allow time for acclimatization.
Weather in the parks can be unpredictable, with temperature fluctuations and sudden storms. Bring layers to accommodate changing conditions, and check the weather forecast before setting out on any hikes or activities.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that Bryce Canyon isn’t actually a canyon? It’s a collection of natural amphitheaters filled with unique geological formations called hoodoos! These fascinating structures are a must-see during your visit to the park.
Things to Do
There are countless activities to enjoy at both Zion and Bryce Canyon, including:
- Hiking: popular trails like Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point at Zion; Navajo Loop and Queens Garden in Bryce
- Scenic drives: Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and Kolob Terrace Road in Zion, 18-mile scenic drive through Bryce
- Stargazing: both parks offer excellent conditions for night sky viewing, with Bryce hosting an annual Astronomy Festival
- Photography: make sure to capture the breathtaking beauty of these parks, and don’t forget to snap photos of the diverse wildlife and plant life.