The Closest Airport to Zion National Park – Local Tips for Traveling to Zion
Dreaming of a visit to the stunning landscape of Zion National Park, but not sure how to get to this incredible corner of southern Utah? If you’re looking for the closest airport to Zion National Park, your two best options are Las Vegas International Airport and St. George Regional Airport.
St. George Airport is only an hour away from the west entrance to Zion, but it is only a regional airport so it has much more limited flights. The Las Vegas airport is about a two and a half hour drive from Zion National Park, but it is an international airport, and you can fly there from just about anywhere.
Here I’ll give you the insider tips for traveling to Zion, including all the airport options and the best places to stop along the way from Las Vegas to Zion National Park.
Las Vegas International Airport to Zion
The closest major airport to Zion National Park is Las Vegas International Airport, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from the Springdale entrance to Zion. While this isn’t technically the closest airport to Zion National Park, it offers the most flight options from the most places, making it very convenient.
Driving from Las Vegas to Zion
It’s easy to rent a car at the airport to make the drive from Las Vegas to Zion. To get there, you’ll head north on I-15, crossing briefly through Arizona before entering Utah. A little past St. George, take UT-9 east to Springdale and the west entrance to Zion National Park.
Where to Stop, Eat, & Stay Along the Way from Las Vegas to Zion
While it’s only about a 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas to Zion, so you could drive straight through, there are also lots of cool opportunities to stop along the way and make it into a fun little road trip.
Here are some of my favorite attractions worth visiting on the drive from Las Vegas to Zion:
VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK
Just outside of Las Vegas, you’ll find Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada which features a breathtaking landscape of red sandstone formations, petrified trees, and petroglyphs. If you stop for a visit, be sure to hike to the breathtaking Fire Wave and check out the cool White Domes!
VIRGIN RIVER GORGE
The main attraction on the way from Las Vegas to Zion is the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona which you drive right through! I-15 was engineered to run through the gorge along the Virgin River, so the drive will take your breath away with rocky cliffs towering above you for many miles.
There aren’t a lot of good places to pull over in the Virgin River Gorge, but once you reach the east side of the gorge, Cedar Pockets is a perfect spot to stop. This is a cool little area that not a lot of people know about, and it has a picnic area as well as a campground. You can also stretch your legs here on a short hike to a scenic overlook with beautiful views or hike down to the Virgin River below.
SNOW CANYON STATE PARK
Snow Canyon State Park is located just north of St. George, so it’s only a slight detour to see the amazing Petrified Sand Dunes on a quick hike here. The Lava Tube Trail is another unique hiking experience in Snow Canyon with three caves to explore.
RED CLIFFS DESERT RESERVE
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is a large area north of St. George with a varied landscape which encompasses the transition area between Mojave Desert, the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau. The City Creek area is great for kiddos, while the Red Reef, Red Mountain, and Millcreek sections provide a deeper desert wilderness experience.
SAND HOLLOW RESERVOIR
Not far outside Zion near Hurricane, Utah, Sand Hollow Reservoir is a great place to splash around in the summer. Little kids will especially love playing on the beach on the south side of the lake, while bigger kids and adults will definitely want to check out the cliff jumping on the north side.
For more info about many of these places and other great destinations in the area, check out my post on awesome day trips from Zion National Park!
WHERE TO EAT
Poke Susshito - For a quick bite on your way out of Las Vegas, Poke Susshito offers fresh and tasty poke bowls in a casual spot in a strip mall just off of I-15 in North Las Vegas.
Wood Ash Rye - If you’re not hungry at the start of your road trip, it’s worth the wait to treat yourself to a fancy meal at Wood Ash Rye in downtown St. George. Breakfast, brunch, and dinner all feature regionally sourced ingredients used in creative dishes.
WHERE TO STAY
The Advenire in St. George is a luxury boutique hotel that is the perfect place to spend the night on your way from Las Vegas to Zion. It’s a gorgeous lodge with modern amenities…plus a rooftop terrace and Wood Ash Rye restaurant.
St. George Regional Airport
For a shorter drive, the closest airport to Zion National Park is St. George Regional Airport, which is just an hour away from the west entrance of the park. But the flights into St. George are very limited, so it’s not an option for most people. You can only fly into St. George from Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and seasonally from Dallas.
Other Airport Options to Get to Zion
If you’re looking for a longer road trip to explore more of Utah, the Salt Lake City airport is approximately a 4.5 hour drive from Zion. You could also fly into the Phoenix airport, which is a 6.5 hour drive from Zion. Although this is a longer drive, it would be a great option if you want to take a detour to see the Grand Canyon on your road trip to Zion!
Tips for Traveling to Zion National Park from Las Vegas
One big thing to know when flying into Vegas and driving to Zion is that Las Vegas is in a different time zone than Zion National Park. Las Vegas is on Pacific Time, so it is an hour behind Zion, which is in the Mountain time zone.
Also, if you drive through Arizona during your visit, keep in mind that Arizona does not observe daylight savings time, so it might be on a different time than Las Vegas or Zion.
Basically, always double check the current time when you’re driving from Las Vegas to Zion…especially when you have a flight to catch! :)
I hope these insider tips for where to fly into and stops along the way will prove invaluable as you plan your Zion adventure!