While the closest airport to Zion National Park is technically Cedar City Regional Airport (25 minutes from it), the truth is that there are other options that are available which are also nearby, but there are pros and cons to going to all of them and in this post I’m going to help you choose the best option (there are 7).
Here are the closest airports to Zion National Park (in order):
- Cedar City Regional Airport (officially it’s airport closest to Zion, it’s a 25 minute drive to it).
- Kanab Airport (30 minute drive from Zion).
- St. George Regional Airport (1 hour drive from Zion).
- Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport Las Vegas (3 hour drive from Zion).
- Provo Airport Utah (3-4 hour drive from Zion).
- South Valley Regional Airport (3-4 hour drive from Zion).
- Salt Lake City Airport (4-5 hour drive from Zion).
Based on this list, you would think that the first 3 options are the best right? Well there are 4 catches to keep in mind with all of them:
- Most of these airports are local airports (not major).
- Because they are local, most major airports do not have direct flights there.
- The flights to these places are typically more expensive (including renting cars).
- You can fly into these airports, but there are usually 1-2 stops along the way, adding more flight time overall to your trip.
For example, let’s take Cedar City, the airport closest to Zion:
There are flights from major cities like NYC that’ll take you there, but you will have to make stops in other major cities and in this case, it’s usually Las Vegas or Salt Lake City first, then taking connecting flights to Cedar City Airport. The total flight time (I looked this up) on average is around 17 hours of (stop/s included). Here is an example:
In my opinion, that’s too long so if you’re looking for direct flights to an airport closest to Zion, you can technically omit 5 of the options above since it would likely have similar results (unless you are OK with the higher costs and extra stops).
You’re way better off in my opinion landing in a major airport, then driving to Zion directly because it’ll be far less travel time (provided you drive directly there). Therefore, out of the 7 options above, that leaves 2 worth considering for that:
Here are the the 2 major and closest airports to Zion National Park:
- Las Vegas (McCarren International Airport). It’s over 150 miles from the park.
- Salt Lake City Airport. That’s over 300 miles from the park.
While it will require you to drive 3-5 hours to drive to the park from there, you have several advantages with these options that you wouldn’t get if you went with the other local airports above:
- These 2 major airports allow for more flexibility (many direct flight options available).
- No need for layovers or multiple stops (adding countless hours to your trip).
- Less costly for both the flight and car rentals.
- Way more places to see along the way to the park (details coming up).
I’ve personally visited used both of these options to get to the park multiple times and find it to be the most direct and flexible. But now I want to share specific directions and advantages of using them.
How to get to Zion National Park from Las Vegas McCarren International Airport:
- Fly into Las Vegas.
- I recommend renting a car at McCarren Rent a Car Center (10 minute drive from the airport, but it has the most options).
- Drive 3 hours to Zion National Park (it’s a long but good scenic drive).
- Stay on the western end of the park (good hotels).
- Flexible flights.
- Cheaper to fly in and rent cars there.
- You can see more than just Zion.
- You can do hikes near Las Vegas too.
- You can also visit Kanab Utah.
- You can also explore more of the Mighty 5 National Parks.
- You can explore Page Arizona (3 hours from Zion). It also has an airport, but it’s 4 hours to get to Zion then.
- You can check out Bryce Canyon National Park (1 hour drive from Zion).
- Las Vegas is also one of the closest airports to the Grand Canyon and you can drive here too after Zion.
- This airport opens the doors for you to see Zion and do more awesome day trips from Las Vegas in general.
- You can even fly out of Salt Lake City (no need to drive back to Vegas) and make an awesome road trip out of this (I recommend this approach).
How to get to Zion National Park from Salt Lake City Airport:
- Fly into Salt Lake City.
- Rent a car directly from inside the airport (most options).
- You can drive straight on interstate 15 to get close to the park (4 hours).
- You can also elect to drive through Arches National Park first (3 hours) and work your way down to Zion while seeing the other national parks (my recommendation).
- Again, this option has more flexibility than landing in local airports (cheaper, shorter flights, cheaper car rentals).
- More to see on the way (Nebo Loop Scenic Byway, Provo, Park City, Moab, etc…).
- Again, go through the Mighty 5 National Parks and start by seeing Arches National Park (then make your way down to Zion).
While most people elect to go directly to Zion, I want to strongly recommend you explore more than just this park. The other national parks in Utah are just as incredible and worth seeing. My Mighty 5 National Parks article will help you properly plan a trip through all of them.
What to do once you’re in Zion National Park:
If you’re staying there for one day, you can read my Zion National Park article here for one day hikes, itineraries and things to see, and it will also help you plan a multiple day trip there too. Also make sure to know if the weather in Zion National Park is good for your trip.
For the best hikes and options there, I recommend that no matter what you plan that you try to see these places:
- Canyon Overlook trail (a short but amazing hiking trail to an incredible overlook in the park).
- Angels Landing (a tough and scary hike, but with an amazing payoff view at the end).
- Observation Point (basically Angels Landing but less scary and higher).
- The Narrows (water hike through a scenic canyon).
- The Subway (you need to win a lottery to get a permit here, but if you can get it, make this your top priority in the park).
And these are just basic things to see when you go there as there are many more hikes, trails, overlooks and things to do and this is just in 1 park by the way. If you decide to fly into the major airports on this list and then drive through the other national parks, you will have a seriously awesome road trip that will be unforgettable.
At the same time if you only want to stick to Zion National Park, you can also have an amazing trip there too, whether for 1 or more days but you may be limited on which of the above spots to see, so you can take a look at some Zion National Park photos and select the hikes/locations based on whichever you think are most beautiful.
Other questions about airports near Zion National Park:
What airport do you fly into to go to Zion National Park?
My advice would be to fly into Las Vegas McCarren airport to get to Zion National Park. It’s 3 hours from it.
What is the closest airport to Zion and Bryce Canyon?
Kanab airport is the closest to both Zion and Bryce Canyon as it takes only 25 minutes to an hour to reach them.
Other things to know:
There’s certainly nothing wrong with visiting any of the other closer airports to Zion on this list. It’s just that you have to be ready to make some sacrifices in time and spending more (money and time in this case).
By flying into either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, the only con is the time it takes to reach the park from there, but on the flip side, you will have a plethora of other advantages on your hands (cheaper prices all across, direct flights, way more places to see and more).
For me, I prefer the major airport options for the above reasons and having personally done them, I highly recommend you do that too. I’ve made other related posts like this one on airports near Acadia National Park, and also others like the closest airports to Yosemite National Park and have so far found similar things as with Zion and airports near it.
If you have any questions about this topic, want to suggest more airport options, or perhaps questions about exploring the park, you can do that below!