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Mount Carmel Junction

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Canyon Country : Mount Carmel Junction
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Mount Carmel Junction , Mount Carmel and the other small towns of Orderville and Glendale form a rural community known as East Zion, which is located in Utah's Canyon Country, near the east entrance to Zion National Park.


Mount Carmel Junction is located in a beautiful valley, 12-miles east of Zion National Park, and is not a town per-say, but instead is a vacation area with lodging, shopping, golf and scenic beauty.

Mount Carmel Junction (Mt. Carmel Jct.) is located 12-miles from Zion National Park, 60 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park, 45 miles from Cedar Breaks National Monument, 22-miles from the Cedar Mountain section of Dixie National Forest, and 12 miles from the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and while this is a hikers destination it is also a place for golfers, and off-road enthusiasts because the hills around Mount Carmel Junction are riddled with 4-wheel drive tracks, and so is the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Wilderness areas include Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Paria Canyon and Ashdown Gorge Wilderness area. Just 85-miles from Mount Carmel Junction is the entrance to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, and another 10-miles is the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Get in[edit]

Beyond this east entrance sign for Zion National Park, the park opens up to the slickrock beauty of weathered Checkerboard Mesa

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (SR-9) runs the length of Zion National Park, from its south entrance to its east entrance. Continue out the east entrance to find East Zion and Mount Carmel Junction, then from Mount Carmel Junction travel US-89 north toward Bryce Canyon National Park, or turn right to head to Grand Canyon National Park. This location is ideal for anyone that wants to visit Zion, [Cedar Breaks National Monument]], Bryce Canyon National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park.

Get around[edit]

Private vehicles and tour buses are the only way to travel in this area, because it lacks public transportation. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, through Zion National Park, never closes, but large vehicles need to travel from 8 AM to 8 PM (earlier during the non-peak season) when there is assistance (escorts) at both ends of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Escorts stop all traffic on one-side of the tunnel allowing bigger vehicles (RV's and tour buses) to travel in the center of the tunnel. The immediate east side of Zion National Park and Mount Carmel Junction has only small communities where the focus is on park visitors. One-mile north of Mount Carmel Junction is the small town of Mount Carmel, and another 4-miles is Orderville with a population of less than 600. It has an elementary school and a high school, and then another mile past Orderville is Glendale, Utah, which is where an entrance to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is located. There are picnic tables, restrooms and a GSENM kiosk at Glendale entrance to the Grand Staircase-Esclante National Monument.

See[edit][add listing]

Pine Creek Waterfall is just a short hike off the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (SR-9) in Zion National Park
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - The towering White Cliffs shine from US-89, bypassing Mount Carmel Junction to Zion and from Mount Carmel Junction on the way to Bryce Canyon.
  • Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway - From Mount Carmel Junction through Zion, note the following:
  • Checkerboard Mesa - A unique mesa with impressive crossbedding found along SR-9 just after entering the park.
  • East Temple - Rising up high and seen shortly beyond Checkerboard Mesa.
  • Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel - A 1.1 mile tunnel blasted through the mountain connecting the east side of the park with the south side.
  • Great Arch - The blind arch is seen just after leaving the south side of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
  • Switchbacks - They begin when leaving the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel on the south side, allowing for a thrilling drive to the canyon floor.

Do[edit][add listing]

Aspen Trees on nearby SR-14 near Cedar Mountain in Dixie National Forest
  • Maynard Dixon Gallery! Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, Mount Carmel, 13-miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 435 648-2239, [6]. For over fifty years, Maynard Dixon painted the life and landscape of the American west. Dixon's home and studio are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and located in Mount Carmel.
  • Play Golf! Thunderbird Golf Course, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, Mount Carmel Junction, 12-miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 435 648-2188.
  • Horseback rides, climbing wall, canyoneering, zip line, ATV tours, paintball games, kids camp, go-carts, petting zoo, massage therapy, jeep tours, Harley rentals, rodeo lessons, tennis courts Zion Ponderosa Resort, drive 3 miles from Zion's east gate, then up North Fork Road, Toll Free +1 800 293 5444.
  • Horseback rides, ATV tours. Zion Mountain Ranch, Drive 3-miles from Zion's east gate, then up North Fork Road, Toll Free +1 800 648.2555, [7].
  • Upper Red Cave, (3-mi/4.8 km 4WD or hike, the slot is about 1-mile/1.6km hiking one-way). This is one of the most amazing slot canyon adventure you can do with out a harness and rope, and it's right in Mount Carmel.
  • Lower Red Cave, (6.3-mi/10.14 km) 4WD or hike, the slot is about 1 mile/1.6 km hiking one-way). Although this canyon has the same name as the upper version they are completely different slot canyon joined together by a long sandy wash.
  • Red Hollow, (3.2-miles/5.2 km round-trip). A fun family hike into a short, narrows slot. This one is 5 miles up the road from Mount Carmel Junction, in Orderville.
  • Zion ATV tours ATV Rides, Mild To Wild Rhino Tours 145 Zion Park Blvd Springdale, UT 84767 Toll Free: +866-964-7961.
  • Spring Hollow, (1.2-miles/1.9 km round trip). This is another wonderful family hike that begins just off SR-9 and leads into a nice slot canyon suitable for kids.
  • Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon, (.75 mi/1.2 km to explore the slot, it takes about an hour of four-wheeling in soft sand to get to the slot canyon.) This one takes a bit of four-wheeling, but it takes you to an amazing slot canyon that families can hike.
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes, The dunes are just 11-miles from Mount Carmel Junction where families can dig their toes in the sand and play. At the dunes there are two great pictograph locations that families can visit. Both pictograph locations require four-wheeling and hiking to get to them.
  • East Fork of the Virgin River, This one is not for the faint of heart. Hike from Mount Carmel Junction through the amazing slot canyon of Parunuweap. The route ends at Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park. Ropes are not needed but this is a tough route. Imagine the Zion Narrows in a pristine and wild setting and you have Parunuweap.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Thunderbird Gift Shop [8] Drive 12-miles from Zion's east gate +1 435 648-2262 You will find high-end handcrafted Indian jewelry, dream catchers, rugs, drums and dolls as well as Utah rocks and fossils.
  • White Mountain Gift Shop [9]Drive 12-miles from Zion's east-gate +1 435 648-2030 They have lots of turquoise and silver Navajo jewelry, replica bow and arrow sets, dream catchers, dolls, pottery, figurines, t-shirts, sweaters, caps, leather hand bags and leather cowboy hats.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Cedar Breaks is one of the many places people visit when staying in East Zion - Mount Carmel Junction and nearby communities of Orderville, Mount Carmel and Glendale.
  • Buffalo Grill, (Drive 3-miles from Zion's east-gate), +1 800 648.2555, [1]. Buffalo meat is the choice of fare at the Buffalo Grill.  edit
  • Thunderbird Restaurant, (Drive 12-miles from Zion's east-gate), +1 435 648-2262, [2]. Charming decor and tasty home style food. A busy restaurant that has a diverse menu and even serves wine and beer. Don't miss their "Ho-Made" pie!  edit
  • Golden Hills Restaurant, (Drive 12-miles from Zion's east gate), +1 435 648-2262, [3].  edit
  • Backerei Forscher, (Drive 17-miles from Zion's east gate), +1 435 689-1848, [4].  edit
  • Wild Boar Bistro, (Glendale - 18-miles from the east-gate of [[Zion National Park]]), +1 435 648-2778, [5]. It's a one of kind of dining experience and the owner will tell you - "It's terrible... but people keep coming back" The Wild Boar Bistro is known as one of the best eateries in the Southwest. The atmosphere is laid back for sure, but the food is fantastic. Rattlesnake, rabbit and buffalo give an idea of what's on the menu. and drinks are served, on tap or in the bottle.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Willis Creek in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is another place people visit when staying in East-Zion - Mt. Carmel Junction

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Best Western East Zion Thunderbird Lodge, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, Mount Carmel Junction, 12-miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 888 848 6358. Great lobby and many of the rooms have log cabin furniture. Best Western is always great for those who are looking for moderate priced rooms with nice amenities.
  • East Zion Riverside Lodge, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, Mount Carmel Junction, 12-miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 888 848 6358, [10]. This is a wonderful vacation house with an indoor pool and conference center inside and it's right at the edge of a golf course.
  • Clear Creek Family Ranch, Drive 3-miles from Zion's east-gate, then up North Fork Road, Toll Free +1 866 292-1460, [11]. Vacation home rentals. Perfect for group vacations.
  • Zion Ponderosa Resort, Drive 3 miles from Zion's east gate, then up North Fork Road, Toll Free +1 800 293 5444,. The Ponderosa is not the sort of resort most of us think of, its more of a vacation ranch. Ignore the resort part and go there for fun activities, planned days and rustic cabins.
  • Zion Mountain Ranch, Drive 3 miles from Zion's east gate, then up North Fork Road, Toll Free +1 800 648.2555, [12]. The cabins are rustic and nice and set in a field near Zion with roaming buffalo.
  • Golden Hills, Mount Carmel Junction +1 435 648-2268 Drive 12 miles from Zion's east gate. [13]. A budget motel.
  • Arrowhead Country Inn, Mount Carmel, 13 miles from Zion's east entrance, just across the street from Maynard Dixon's home studio and the Bingham Art Gallery, Toll Free +1 888 821.1670 , [14]. Bed and Breakfast lovers will adore this charming inn nestled at the base of the picturesque White Cliffs. They have recently added private cabins to the menu.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
  • The Cabin, Mount Carmel, 13 miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 435 648-2323, [15]. This is a cute and clean budget cabin. If you are looking for a nice, but inexpensive place to stay this is a great option.
  • Mount Carmel Motel, Mount Carmel, 13 miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 435 648.2323, [16]. This older motel is the ticket for budget travelers. It's cleaner than most.
  • Starlite Motel, Orderville, 17 miles from Zion's east entrance. The owner has character and the rooms show it. You have to see these to believe them. This is an ideal place for those looking for something really different. +1 435 648-2060
  • Windwhisper Bed and Breakfast, 18 miles to Glendale from Zion's east entrance and then the Windwhisper is another 2 miles, +1 435 648-2162 or +1 435 632-8410, [17]. A charming cabin and breakfast. You stay in your own cabin but the owners come in the morning and actually cook you breakfast in your cabin.
  • Historic Smith Motel, Glendale, 18 miles from Zion's east entrance. +1 435 648-2060 [18] This Historic 1927 hotel was a boarding house hotel and is now furnished throughout with period antiques. They have 7 bedrooms and 4 porches. Quaint!
  • East Zion Riverside Lodge - Rental House, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, Mount Carmel Junction, 12 miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 888 848-6358, [19]. This gorgeous and large house has an indoor pool and lots of historic charm.
Bryce Canyon is 60 miles from Mount Carmel Junction and after visiting Zion National Park many head over to Bryce. The photo is Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon

Camping and RV Parks[edit]

  • Mount Carmel Trailer Park, Mount Carmel, 13 miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 435 648.2323, [20].
  • East Zion Riverside RV Park, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, Mount Carmel Junction, 12 miles from Zion's east entrance, +1 888 848-6358, [21].
  • Bauers Canyon Ranch RV Park, Glendale, 18 miles from the Zion's east entrance, +1 435 648.2564
  • For backcountry camping, there is a ton of BLM land in the White Cliffs east of Zion, south of the main road, some of which is free, beautiful accommodations right next to the expensive national park!

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Utah's most visited National Park, with visitors in the millions each year. Zion is a hikers mecca and even those just out for scenic drives will be in awe.

So close to Zion National Park that many that visit it also come to Bryce. Bryce Canyon is one of those places that has jaw dropping beauty.

One of the seven wonders of the world and one of the most visited parks in the USA. The North Rim however only gets a small percentage of the total visitors. This rim is the more spectacular of the rims but its rustic setting keeps visitors to a minimum when compared to the commercial and populated South Rim.

This is a spectacular monument that rivals Bryce Canyon National Park. It gets less visitors but its beauty certainly does not pale with the other parks.

Two-million acres of wilderness to hike and enjoy. There is nothing commercial about this place, but if you want to hike in beauty and solitude, it's magnificent.

A great little sand dunes located near Zion National Park. There is hiking and ATV and 4WD trails. Most people come to the dunes to walk out on the boardwalk and play a bit in the sand.

Red Canyon is by Bryce Canyon and as with Bryce its loaded with unique hoodoos and hiking. Cedar Mountain is a whole different world of hiking, fishing and fun in a aspen and spruce forest. Both are in Dixie National Forest.

  • Paria Canyon 60 miles The Wave! A hot spot for photographers and hikers alike.
  • Lake Powell 95 miles Scenery and water galore!

Routes through Mount Carmel Junction
Salt Lake CityRichfield  N noframe S  KanabPage
Junction I-15.pngZion National Park  W noframe E  END

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