All technical canyons within Zion National Park require a permit. Hiking the Narrows from the top-down and hiking the Subway from the bottom-up also require a permit, though these hikes are non-technical. Permits can be obtained by a number of methods:


Advanced Reservation Online: Over half of all available permits are secured using the advance reservation system. Reservations are available online during a three month time frame. On the fifth day of every month at 10:00 am MT, reservations for the next month become available. If they are still available, they can be made until 5:00 pm MT on the day before your trip.

Advanced Lottery Online: The Advance Lottery is for trips through The Subway and Mystery Canyon. Due to the popularity of these two areas, the park created an online lottery for reservations. The Advance Lottery does not run from November through March due to a low demand for permits. Advance Lottery applications are completed online. Entries must be submitted three months prior to your planned trip. Entries are limited to one request per individual per month. Entrants can request three prioritized dates. The non-refundable lottery application is $5.00.

Applicants will be sent a notification email on the fifth day of the following month with information about the status of their request. If a reservation is awarded, the permit must be obtained before the trip at a park visitor center. If there are spaces remaining after the lottery has run, they will become available through the advanced reservation system.

Last Minute Drawing: The remaining permits can be obtained through the Last Minute Drawing, 7-2 days before your trip date. In the small chance the Last Minute Drawing does not fill, walk-in permits become available the day before or the day of your trip date at park visitor centers.

Zion Express Membership: If you are a frequent visitor to Zion, consider enrolling in the Zion Express Membership. It allows members who have obtained a reservation to convert it to a permit online, three days before their trip. The entire permit process can be completed online. Stop by the Wilderness Desk to enroll.

Permit Cost:
1-2 people • $10.00
3-7 people • $15.00
8-12 people • $20.00

Special Consideration: To obtain a permit for Kolob Canyon you are required to call the Washington County Water Conservancy District to find the release flow from the Kolob Reservoir Dam. Flows above 5 cubic feet per second (CFS) are considered too high for canyoneering. The number is 435-673-3617 and they are open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.

Online Information: In 2011, the NPS allowed for comments and suggestions on the current permitting system. Approximately 150 comments were received. The system was updated for 2012 to make most permits available online for easier trip planning.

• Zion NP Canyoneering General Information can be found at: Zion NP Canyoneering – Plan Your Visit
• Zion NP Canyoneering Permit Information can be found at: Zion NP – Canyoneering Permits

Access Issues:

Goose Creek: Goose Creek is currently closed to canyoneering.

The National Park Service has designated the drainage as “Research Natural Area” due to owl inhabitants. 2007 – Opening Goose Creek Canyon Research Natural Area to canyoneering. The National Park Service Natural Resource Management Reference Manual #77 states: Research Natural Areas (RNAs) are part of a national network of sites designed to facilitate research and preserve natural features. RNAs are usually established in a typical example of an ecological community type, preferably one having been little disturbed in the past and where natural processes are not unduly impeded. The tract is set aside permanently and is managed exclusively for approved non-manipulative research; i.e., research that measures but does not alter existing conditions. Resource use should be managed to prevent any activity that could lessen the site’s integrity or permit interference with ongoing research projects. Consequently, camping, trail construction (except to provide essential access), vegetation management, range and pasture use, or mineral entry are not allowed. Any potentially disruptive recreational pursuits should not be allowed in these tracts because of the likelihood of negative effects on the ongoing research activity.

Oak Creek: The three forks of Oak Creek are closed to the public. Crossing private land is required to reach the top of the canyons and currently, only Zion Adventure Company has permission.

Emergency Information:

24-hour Emergency Response: 435-772-3322 or 911
Zion Canyon Medical Clinic is located in Springdale at 120 Lion Blvd. Phone: 435-772-3226.
   Directions: Zion Canyon Medical Clinic
Closest Hospitals are located in St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City.
All will require about one hour of drive time.
   St. George: Dixie Hospital
   Kanab: Kane County Hospital
   Cedar City: Valley View Medical Center


zion national park

photos: Michael Schasch

Heaps in Zion National Park

photos: Dan Ransom