Antelope Canyon to Zion National Park Road Trip

A road trip from Antelope Canyon to Zion National Park is an unforgettable adventure through the stunning landscapes of the American Southwest. This journey takes you from the iconic slot canyons of Antelope Canyon to the majestic beauty of Zion National Park. As you travel the scenic highways, you’ll experience the diverse natural wonders the area is renowned for. These wonders range from towering red rock cliffs to serene desert vistas. Whether you’re a seasoned road tripper or about to embark on your first adventure, the road trip from Antelope Canyon to Zion National Park promises unforgettable sights, thrilling desert experiences, and a profound connection with the remarkable beauty of the area. So, buckle up, embrace the spirit of exploration, and prepare yourself for an extraordinary journey.

How far is it Between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park?

The distance between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park is approximately 123 miles via US-89, the most direct route. The driving time can vary depending on traffic, road conditions, and the route you choose to take. However, it typically takes only 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive non-stop from Antelope Canyon to Zion National Park. There’s a huge amount to see on the way, so you should plan for a lot of additional time for breaks, sightseeing, and enjoying the scenic routes along the way.

The spectacular rainbow coloured slot canyons at Antelope Canyon
The spectacular slot canyons of Antelope Canyon are the starting point for this road trip.

Best Routes Between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park

There are two ways to travel between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park by road. The fastest and most popular route is following US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction before taking UT-9 W to Zion National Park. It’s a route almost entirely on the Utah side of the border. It’s also one with exceptional desert scenery. Throughout this guide, we refer to this route as the Direct Route. At 123 miles in distance and 2.5 hours in duration, it’s the shortest and quickest route by a considerable margin. 

The alternative to the Direct Route is the southern route. This looping route passes by Marble Canyon through Fredonia and the Kaibab Indian Reservation. It then loops back around and arrives at Zion National Park from the west. The route begins on US-89 but quickly switches to US-89A and twists and turns through the dramatic rugged landscape. Much of the route lies just south of the state border, meaning you’ll be in Arizona for most of the route. You eventually switch to Utah after passing through Colorado City. It’s a much longer route than the Direct Route, covering 188 miles and with a drive time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.  


Main Attractions


Driving Time

Direct Route on US-89

  • Lake Powell
  • Kanab
  • Coyotes Buttes
  • Old Paria

123 miles

2 hours 30 minutes

Southern Route via Marble Canyon

  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Marble Canyon
  • Waterholes Canyon
  • Gooseberry Mesa

188 miles

3 hours 45 minutes

Direct Route on US-89

The Direct Route commences at the spectacular Antelope Canyon, where you’ll begin your westbound journey. Shortly after exiting Antelope Canyon, you’ll pass through the charming town of Page, Arizona. You’ll also pass the vast reservoir that is Lake Powell. Both are excellent places to stop, even though the journey has just begun. 

The road trip continues north-westerly along US-89, crossing the state border into Utah and passing by the captivating Toadstool Hoodoos along the way. Continuing on, the road will lead you west, skirting along the Utah-Arizona state border, which offers opportunities for fantastic detours to Coyote Buttes and Old Paria, where you can explore these captivating sights.

The next major destination along the route is the pleasant town of Kanab. It’s an excellent place for a stopover with several good hotel and restaurant options. You’ll also want to explore the compelling attractions in the town. These include the Kanab Heritage House Museum and the Kanab Visitor Centre. From Kanab, you will then head north on US-89, passing the Moqui Cave and the junction that leads to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The latter attraction is worth a detour due to its remarkable beauty.

As you continue along US-89, you will eventually reach Mt Carmel Junction. At this point, you turn west onto UT-9 W and continue until you reach the town of Springdale, which is located near the eastern entrance of Zion National Park.

Southern Route via Marble Canyon

The Southern Route begins by departing Antelope Canyon and turning south on US-89. You’ll pass through the scenic Antelope Pass with its incredible vista before you reach the town of Bitter Springs. Here, you’ll join the US-89A and turn north towards Marble Canyon and Waterhole Canyon. These canyons are well worth a visit along the way and offer some excellent hiking.

Continuing on US-89A, you’ll experience an incredibly scenic stretch of road with many incredible viewpoints.  There’s also the House Rock Valley Overlook that is well worth a stop. Eventually, the road will lead you to the town of Fredonia. Just north of town is the fascinating Red Pueblo Museum and Heritage Park. From Fredonia, you will then enter the Kaibab Indian Reservation, where you should stop at the Pipe Spring National Monument.

After exiting the Kaibab Indian Reservation, you will continue along your route until you reach Colorado City. It’s a good place to stay overnight, and you can enjoy its excellent brewery. Crossing into Utah, the route continues westbound towards the town of Hurricane. On the way, you will pass by Gooseberry Mesa and the Jem Trail, two excellent biking and hiking destinations.

From Hurricane, you head north towards La Verkin, and it’s here that you turn east along UT-9 E. Along the road, you’ll pass through the towns of Virgin, Grafton, and Rockville before finally reaching Springdale, where the journey concludes at the entrance to Zion National Park.

Zion canyon in Zion National Park
The dramatic landscape of Zion National Park is the final destination on this road trip.

Best Things to see Between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park

There’s no shortage of attractions between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park. The area is crammed with incredible landscapes, surreal geological features, and some fascinating history. Regardless of the route you choose to take, you’ll find no shortage of places and attractions to stop at along the way. 

Direct Route


Page, Arizona, is a charming town in the heart of the American Southwest. It’s renowned for its spectacular natural landscapes and outdoor adventure activities. Situated near the Arizona-Utah border, it’s a vibrant destination that’s a gateway to some of the most iconic attractions in the region. Page is also home to the shimmering waters of Lake Powell, a boater’s paradise and a haven for water sports enthusiasts. 

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a spectacular desert oasis spanning over 186 miles in length. The massive reservoir was formed by the Glen Canyon Dam. The lake boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters that stretch across dramatic canyons and towering red sandstone cliffs. The lake’s huge 2,000-mile-long shoreline makes it a popular destination for boating, fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. 


Kanab, Utah, is a charming and picturesque town. It’s known as the “Gateway to the National Parks,” given its proximity to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park. Majestic red rock canyons, towering cliffs, and expansive desert vistas surround the town. It attracts many visitors, particularly hikers, mountain bikers, and off-roaders. In addition to its natural wonders, Kanab is also home to a rich history and culture. There are opportunities to visit historic sites and museums and even participate in film tours here, as the town has served as a backdrop for numerous Western movies.

The Wave

The Wave in Utah is an otherworldly geological formation that has become an iconic landmark and a bucket-list destination for hikers and photographers alike. It’s located in the Coyote Buttes North area of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. This mesmerizing sandstone rock formation showcases undulating layers of vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, creating a dreamlike and surreal landscape. Access to this natural wonder is limited and requires a permit as park authorities strive to protect its delicate beauty. 

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is another park with a  unique landscape. Spanning over 3,700 acres, the park is renowned for its striking coral-colored sand dunes, sculpted by the force of the wind over thousands of years. This surreal and ever-shifting terrain offers a giant playground for outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore the dunes on foot or by sandboarding and off-roading. 

Moqui Cave

Moqui Cave is a hidden gem on the route that offers a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural artifacts. It’s located near Kanab and showcases a remarkable collection of ancient artifacts, geological formations, and curiosities. Visitors can explore the cavernous chambers adorned with various stalactites and stalagmites. You will also find an extensive display of Native American artifacts and fossils. From dinosaur tracks to ancient tools, the Moqui Cave provides a glimpse into the region’s rich geological and cultural past. 

Coyote Buttes

Coyote Buttes, located within the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in Utah, is an otherworldly destination. It’s known for its breathtaking rock formations and unique geological features. Coyote Buttes is divided into two sections: Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South. The North section is famous for its iconic landmark, “The Wave” (see previous). The South section is equally stunning, featuring intricate rock formations like the “Teepees” and the “Brain Rocks.”

Access to Coyote Buttes requires a permit due to the delicate nature of the park. It means that if you’re lucky enough to get one, you’ll have the park virtually to yourself.

Old Paria

Old Paria, also known as Paria Ghost Town, is a hauntingly beautiful relic of the past. It’s nestled in the desert landscape of Southern Utah near the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. This abandoned town provides a glimpse into the region’s rich history and the rugged lives of the early settlers.

Once a bustling community in the late 19th century, Old Paria is now a ghost town with weathered buildings, decaying structures, and remnants of its former inhabitants. Surrounded by stunning desert vistas and towering cliffs, Old Paria’s picturesque setting adds to its mystique and allure. 

Toadstool Hoodoos

The Toadstool Hoodoos in Utah are located near the town of Kanab. These unique geological structures live up to their name and resemble giant toadstools with large mushroom-like caps perched atop slender stems. The hoodoos result from millions of years of wind and water erosion, sculpting the soft sandstone into fascinating shapes. The vibrant colors and intricate details of the Toadstool Hoodoos make them a real favorite for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Given the volume of attractions in the area, the Toadstool Hoodoos often get overlooked. However, this off-the-beaten-track destination is worth a few hours of your time.

Southern Route via Marble Canyon

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona is an awe-inspiring natural wonder. This iconic landmark is formed by the sweeping curve of the Colorado River as it carves its way through the sandstone cliffs. The sheer magnitude of the horseshoe-shaped bend, combined with the contrasting colors of the emerald-green river against the red rock walls, creates a mesmerizing vista that leaves visitors in awe. 

Jem Trail

The JEM Trail in Arizona is a thrilling and scenic mountain biking and hiking trail. Located near Virgin, the trail winds through the stunning desert landscape of the Hurricane Cliffs. It provides breathtaking views of the surrounding red rock formations and the expansive vistas. Whether you are a seasoned rider seeking an adrenaline-pumping ride or a beginner looking for a memorable introduction to mountain biking, the JEM Trail delivers an unforgettable and immersive journey through the captivating beauty of Arizona’s desert terrain.

Gooseberry Mesa

Gooseberry Mesa in Utah is another mountain biking paradise that attracts riders from around the world with its exhilarating trails and stunning desert scenery. Perched high above the town of Hurricane, this mesa offers a diverse network of trails suitable for all skill levels.  Gooseberry Mesa’s reputation as a world-class mountain biking destination is well-deserved, as it offers a blend of adrenaline-pumping descents, rock features, and undulating terrain that keeps riders coming back for more. 

Pipe Spring National Monument

Pipe Spring National Monument in Arizona is a fascinating historical site. It provides a glimpse into the pioneer and Native American history of the American West. Located near Fredonia, this national monument preserves the fortified Mormon ranch known as Pipe Spring Ranch. The ranch served as a vital oasis and refuge for travelers and settlers in the arid desert. Visitors can explore the meticulously restored buildings, including the historic fort and pioneer cabins. The well-informed tours teach you about the challenges and triumphs of the early pioneers who sought to establish a community in this rugged frontier. The site also honors the Kaibab Paiute Tribe, showcasing their cultural heritage and connection to the land. 

Aerial view of Horseshoe Bend
Spectacular Horseshoe Bend is one of the best stops along the Southern Route.

Red Pueblo Museum and Heritage Park

The Red Pueblo Museum and Heritage Park celebrates the rich Native American history and culture of the region. The museum offers a comprehensive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays. It showcases the heritage of the indigenous Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni tribes. Additionally, the outdoor Heritage Park features reconstructed traditional dwellings, known as pueblos, and interpretive trails that aim to educate visitors about the daily life, customs, and spiritual practices of the Native American communities. 

Marble Canyon

Marble Canyon, Arizona, is another hidden gem nestled within the awe-inspiring landscapes of the American Southwest. The canyon offers a breathtaking vista of sheer cliffs, towering mesas, and the majestic Colorado River, carving its way through the rugged terrain. This remote and serene destination is a hugely popular destination for hikers. Visitors can also embark on exhilarating river rafting trips along the Colorado River, marvel at the stunning views from Navajo Bridge, or explore nearby attractions such as Lees Ferry and the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. 

Waterholes Canyon

Waterholes Canyon is a scenic slot canyon that showcases the remarkable power of water. While not as famous as its nearby counterparts, like Antelope Canyon, Waterholes Canyon offers a more intimate and secluded experience. Visitors can hike through the canyon, navigating its twisting corridors and marveling at the unique textures, colors, and patterns etched into the rock. The canyon’s ethereal beauty, with shafts of sunlight filtering through narrow openings, creates a magical experience.

Other Major Attractions in the Area

While there’s no shortage of attractions close to the different routes between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park, there are some exceptional attractions slightly further afield. If you have the time, it’s worth considering adding one or more of these attractions to your itinerary. 

Bryce Canyon

Although it’s a bit farther from the direct route between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon is a remarkable natural wonder that’s worth the detour. The park is famous for its vibrant orange and red rock formations called hoodoos, which create a breathtaking landscape.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

This vast and remote wilderness area in southern Utah offers incredible opportunities for hiking and exploration. The monument features stunning slot canyons, waterfalls, natural bridges, and unique geological formations.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Located in southwestern Utah, Cedar Breaks showcases stunning amphitheaters filled with vibrant red, orange, and white rock formations. The park offers several overlooks and hiking trails, providing awe-inspiring views.

Red Canyon

Situated along Utah State Route 12, Red Canyon is often called “Little Bryce” due to its similarities to Bryce Canyon National Park. The area features striking red rock formations, hiking trails, and scenic drives.

Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre
Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre is home to the largest collection of Hoodoos in the world.

Best Time to Road Trip Between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park

Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park experience a similar climate, characterized by extreme temperature fluctuations between hot summers and cold winters. As a result, the most desirable time to visit is typically during the spring and autumn months when the weather is pleasant and temperatures are comfortable in the high 70s. These seasons usually have minimal rainfall and clear skies, creating ideal conditions for hiking and photography.

Opting for a visit in spring or autumn also allows you to avoid the peak summer months. During June to August, when summer vacations are in full swing, these destinations tend to attract many tourists. Consequently, you may encounter larger crowds, higher prices, and limited availability. By planning your visit before or after this peak period, you can avoid the drawbacks of the influx of visitors and enjoy a more relaxed experience.

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