SOUTHERN UTAH

Zion National Park plans to reroute large vehicles in 2026

Jun 5, 2024, 11:01 AM

The Zion-Mt Carmel Highway view from the Canyon Overlook trail....

The Zion-Mt Carmel Highway view from the Canyon Overlook trail. Zion National Park will begin rerouting large vehicles away from the Mt. Carmel Zion highway starting in the Summer of 2026. (NPS / Ally O'Rullian)

(NPS / Ally O'Rullian)

MT. CARMEL, Utah – Zion National Park will begin rerouting large vehicles away from the Mt. Carmel Zion highway starting in the Summer of 2026.

According to a press release from Zion National Park, large recreational vehicles or buses cross the Zion/Mt Carmel highway at 18 turn locations. Some vehicles exceed the 50,000 lb. weight limit of highway bridges. When large vehicles reach the park tunnel, they often need an escort through. This means traffic at one end of the tunnel comes to a standstill.

Park Spokeswoman Amanda Rowland said these tunnel escorts happen nearly fifty times a day.

To address this, large vehicles will reroute from the park’s east entrance beginning in mid-2026. Any vehicle taller than 11 feet, 4 inches and wider than 7 feet, 10 inches will be rerouted.

“The goal,” Rowland said, “is that if they’re too large to safely drive on the Zion/Mt. Carmel highway, they’ll drive around the park on existing roads.”

Additionally, any vehicle longer than 35 feet, 9 inches or any vehicle weighing more than 50,000 lbs. will be rerouted.  Vehicles exceeding the limits will still be allowed to enter the park and drive on open roads. However, drivers should plan ahead for a 10-40 minute detour, depending on the route and destination.

Taking the time needed

It will be about two years to complete the changes. Rowland said this will give Zion’s partners enough time to get ready. She offered tourism as an example.

“Tour companies that travel through the park plan their route typically eighteen to two years in advance,” she said. “The goal is to mitigate the effects this may have on our partners.”

Rowland says the park is coordinating with local authorities, the Office of Tourism and UDOT. The park’s regional partners plan to improve Zion’s roads in the future.

Zion will keep the public updated through social media and news releases.

Michael Camit is a reporter for KSL NewsRadio.

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Zion National Park plans to reroute large vehicles in 2026