a VirtualTourist member from Houston
We will be in Las Vegas for several days in December. We were thinking of taking a day trip to Zion. Has anyone been there in December? The shuttle does not seem to be running and the park hours are reduced. Is it worth the trip or will the roads be closed? Any help would be appreciated.
The shuttle doesn't operate in the winter because it doesn't need to. Visitation is very low so there aren't enough people to really make it worth while to have the shuttle. I have never been in the winter but from video and pictures I've seen, Zion can be gorgeous in the winter under fresh snow, but snow can be rare except up at the higher elevations, which, unless you're hiking, you probably won't be going to. The main road into Zion Canyon is open all year and plowed in the winter. The average high in December and January in Zion Canyon is still in the low-50s Farenheit so if it does snow, it won't last very long. Zion is also in a semi-arid area so it doesn't get much precipitation anyway. As for park hours, the park itself is open 24 hours a day every day of the year. It looks like the only place that closes in the winter is the Zion Human History Museum. The main visitor center is open 8am-5pm all year. Even the Zion Lodge is open year round. I would say, go for it! In December it could feel like you have the park to yourself! You can get a lot of information at the Zion National Park website here http://www.nps.gov/zion/home.htm. Hope this helps!
You're saying "day trip" and that would be no problem. You'll be able to drive all thru Zion and probably get in a short hike or two. It's about 3 hours from the Strip to Zion. That's how I saw it the first time.
Definately worth the trip and have some bumbleberry pie at the bumbleberry inn in springdale along the way! I recommend staying overnight, you will have more time to enjoy it and lodging is very cheap that time of year. Just check the roads and weather before you go.