Environment

Zion National Park to ban RVs from main road in 2026

Officials hope that this change will reduce collision likelihood, overweight transits on road bridges and lane-crossing

SPRINGDALE, Utah — Zion National Park has announced plans to begin rerouting large vehicles on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway to alleviate traffic concerns.

According to a press release from the park, this change, which is scheduled to take effect in mid-2026, will impact vehicles that are more than 11 feet four inches tall, seven feet 10 inches wide, 35 feet 9 inches long, or over 50,000 pounds.

Due to Zion’s landscape, the highway features tight turns, switchbacks and steep grades. According to recent engineering and traffic studies, large vehicles such as recreational vehicles or motorcoach buses cross the centerline in approximately 18 locations where the road’s turning radius cannot accommodate them, posing public safety concerns.

The Zion-Mt Carmel Highway view from the Canyon Overlook trail.
The Zion-Mt Carmel Highway view from the Canyon Overlook trail. Photo: NPS // Ally O’Rullian

Vehicles that exceed the safety qualifications will still be able to enter the park and drive on open roads, but If they are too large to drive on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway they will be rerouted to alternate roads surrounding the park. This detour can add an estimated ten to 40 minutes to trips, depending on the route and destination.

“These changes reflect months of discussions to find the best way forward to manage the historic Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and increase driver safety,” said Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent. “Our goal is to protect drivers, meet modern safety standards and ensure the integrity of the road and tunnels so that we continue to enjoy scenic drives on the historic Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.”

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway was designed and built in the 1920s and 1930s, and is designated as a historic landmark. Park officials said that when the road was designed, vehicles were smaller, moved at slower speeds and weighed far less than modern day vehicles. Expanding the historic road could be detrimental to the surrounding landscape, and would be “prohibitively expensive.”

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