Zion Teacher Guide

Educational Field Trips

Zion National Park features stunning scenery, sandstone cliffs among the highest in the world, diverse plant and animal communities, and Ancestral Puebloan, Paiute, and Mormon pioneer history. It’s a wonderful outdoor classroom for school groups.

Entrance Fees

The entrance fee is US$20 per car or US$10 per bus passenger (age 16 and younger are free). Most groups visiting for educational activities will not be charged provided they are sponsored by accredited educational institutions. A fee waiver must be requested in advance.

  • The entrance fee is US$20 per car or US$10 per bus passenger (age 16 and younger are free). Most groups visiting for educational activities will not be charged provided they are sponsored by accredited educational institutions. A fee waiver must be requested in advance.
  • Fee Waivers Granted to educational institutions whose curriculum relates specifically to the resources at Zion National Park. Applications may be obtained from the park by calling 435 772-0177. Mail completed applications to the Fee Program Manager (address above) at least two weeks before your visit. Include a letter on official school stationary which states the educational purposes of the field trip and how it relates to Zion. Recreational field trips do not qualify for a fee waiver.
  • Oversized vehicles are required to pay the US$10 tunnel escort fee if traveling through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. This fee cannot be waived.
  • Hiking If your group plans to hike we recommend adequate supervision (one teacher per 10 students for younger groups). Easy frontcountry trails suitable for larger groups include the Pa’rus Trail (paved, 1.7 miles one way, start at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center) and Riverside Walk (paved, 1 mile one way, start at Temple of Sinawava.) See Zion Map & Guide for more trail information. •For information on backcountry trails see Zion Backcountry. Maximum group size on backcountry trails is 12 people.Teaching in Zion
  • Begin your visit at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibits, a 3-dimensional map of Zion Canyon, and short videos on hiking trails and geologic processes are available. If you choose to visit the bookstore, please divide large groups into small, class-sized groups.
  • Most of the exhibits are outdoors. They can be used to enhance your field trip experience. Exhibits are arranged in three topics. For larger groups, the best way to tour the exhibits is to split up into three smaller groups and tour the exhibits individually. The following is a list of discussion questions for students to think about or discuss:

Water at Zion

  1. What has and still is creating Zion Canyon? Discuss how it does it.
  2. Name one thing you can do to reduce erosion on the trails and have a safevisit.

Zion’s Diversity

  1. Name two reasons why so many different species of plants and animals are able to live in Zion Canyon.
  2. Name and/or discuss at least one plant and/or animal that lives in the different habitats of Zion. (such as lower vs. higher elevations, desert vs. hanging gardens.)

Zion as Refuge

  1. What is the main characteristic that drew humans to Zion Canyon?
  2. Compare and/or contrast the use of the canyon by both the Southern Paiutesand the Mormon settlers.


Visitor Center Parking - There is a passenger drop-off in front of the flagpole on the southeast side of the visitor center. This is a drop-off only. Once passengers have been unloaded, buses must park in the RV Parking section in the rear of the parking lot.

Parking Along the Scenic Drive

Teaching in Zion

For The Bus Driver

Post the red permit visibly in the lower right windshield. Speed limit is 20 mph. Do not pass anywhere along the scenic drive. The road is narrow, slow down when meeting a shuttle bus coming from the opposite direction.

Do not park or stop in or along any shuttle stop. Buses may unload at trailheads, however, parking is only allowed at the following areas:

  • Zion Lodge
  • Grotto Picnic Area, along the river side of road only. Watch for passing shuttles as children cross the road.
  • Temple of Sinawava, in parking area away from the shuttle stop. Please ensure there is plenty of room for shuttles to pass safely.
  • Restrooms Available at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, Zion Museum (museum opens in 2002), Zion Lodge, Grotto Picnic Area, Weeping Rock, and Temple of Sinawava. Restrooms are not available along the trails. Use restrooms before hiking.
  • Be Prepared Any visit to Zion will include some outdoor walking and exploring. Students should wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Hats and sunscreen are recommended on sunny days and rain gear on cloudy days. Each child should carry a water bottle.Driving the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

April to October

  • The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, past Canyon Junction, is closed to private vehicles when the shuttle system is in operation. Once you have applied for either a fee waiver or fee exemption you will receive a red permit that allows you to take your school buses along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This red permit covers school buses only. Anyone in a van or passenger vehicle must travel on the school bus or use the shuttle system.

November to March

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to all vehicular traffic when the shuttle system is not in operation. The rules for parking remain the same with two exceptions:

  1. Buses may park in the shuttle area at the Grotto Picnic Area and may use shuttle stops as drop off points for trailheads.
  2. Picnicking Grotto Picnic Area, on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive has restrooms and picnic tables. Please remember to search the area for litter when finished. Use recycling bins for aluminum cans.

Help Preserve Zion

Teaching in Zion

  • Zion National Park is a special place set aside to be protected and preserved for future generations. Please help take care of your national park. Remember, everything in a national park is protected, from the rocks to the plants and animals. To ensure the protection of Zion and a memorable experience, please follow these guidelines.
  • Choose the Right Trail Choose a trail that is best suited for the size, age, and ability of your group.
  • Stay on established trails Walking off established roads and trails causes trampled plants and excessive erosion.
  • Do not feed wildlife Feeding wild animals is illegal and can cause injury or death to the animal or the human. Keep your distance. Keep wildlife WILD.
  • Take only pictures, leave only footprints! Enjoy rocks and flowers but leave for others to enjoy too.
  • Carry out all trash Zion is your park. Keep it clean and beautiful.For Additional Information Contact:

Education Coordinator
Zion National Park
Springdale, Utah 84767
(435) 772-0165

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