Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel
The tunnel holds a strategic point along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway within Zion National Park. It’s easily visited—driven through, in fact—on the way in or out of Zion’s eastern and southern entrances. Nearly all Zion sightseeing tours strive to drive through the tunnel—as do longer outings visiting both Zion and Bryce Canyon. While the structure has large windows looking out on the Zion scenery outside, stopping inside is not permitted.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bikes and pedestrians are not allowed through, and vehicles over 13 feet and 1 inch tall (4 meters) are also prohibited from entering.
- Even if driving through, visitors must pay the park entrance fee.
- Rangers usually post at both ends of the tunnel to manage traffic.
- Six tunnel windows cut into the sandstone cliffs offer outdoor views.
- Vehicles wider than 7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) or taller than 11 feet 4 inches (3.4 meters) must obtain a tunnel permit.
How to Get There
The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel is inside Utah’s Zion National Park on State Route 9—also called the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Park Scenic Byway— between the park’s southern and eastern entrances. To reach it, head for either gate and stay on Route 9. The nearest towns are Springdale to the south and Mount Carmel Junction to the east.
When to Get There
Zion is open 24 hours a day year-round, and visitors are required to purchase an entry pass before entering. The Zion-Carmel Highway can have heavy traffic—drivers can avoid it by visiting during the early morning or evening. With mild weather, blooming wildflowers, and seasonal shuttle service, spring is generally thought to be the best time to visit Zion National Park—but there isn’t really a bad time to go.
Exploring Zion National Park
Travelers visiting the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel are likely on their way to Zion—Utah’s first national park. The park offers some of the most scenic canyon country in the US, with forest trails, waterfalls, emerald pools, and hanging gardens. After checking out the famous tunnel, leave enough time for visiting the Zion Human History Museum, scenic drives along Kolb Canyon, and stargazing along the Pa’rus Trail.