Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Explore National Parks by Taking the Shuttle

June 16, 2011, 10:21 am

Vacations are meant to be relaxing, not spent in traffic. If you are planning to visit a national park during peak season, consider taking a shuttle. Not only do you avoid the hassle of driving, but you’re helping reduce emissions and noise in the park.

  Acadia National Park

From late June and early October, cars are not needed to explore Acadia National Park. The Island Explorer offers free shuttle service from nearby Bar Harbor, ME into the park. There are a total of eight routes that all explore different sections of the park and surrounding area. By using the shuttle, visitors can access trailheads, campgrounds, visitor centers, beaches, regional airport and more. There is also an express shuttle for bikers.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain Park makes ditching your car an easy choice. The park offers three bus routes that travel to visitor centers. Shuttles are large, white busses that run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Moraine Park shuttle stops at a total of nine locations within the park, including the Glacier Basin and Moraine Park campgrounds. This is the main shuttle line that will take you to the most trailheads, sights, campgrounds and centers.

The Bear Lake shuttle operates inside the park and offers four stops, including Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Bierstadt Lake Trailhead and the Park & Ride. The shuttle ventures pass Sprague Lake and Glacier Creek Stables on its way to Bear Lake. If you are staying outside the park or looking for a way to get to Estes Park, the Hiker Shuttle runs directly between the Estes Park Visitors Center and Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Park & Ride in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Yosemite National Park

Being one of the most popular parks, Yosemite offers an extensive shuttle system and is one of the easiest parks to travel in without having to drive your car. Depending on where you want to go, there is a shuttle that will get you there. 

If you like to get out hiking early and come back late, don’t fret. The Yosemite shuttle operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and travels around the eastern part of the Yosemite Valley. The Express Shuttle and El Capitan Shuttle operate only in the summertime and run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The express shuttle runs from the parking lot to the Visitor Center, with no other stops.

Yosemite Area Regional Transport System (YARTS) transports visitors to and from the park to gateway communities. YARTS connects to transportation in Merced, such as Amtrek, Greyhound and Great Lakes Airlines at the Merced Airport.

Glacier National Park

The park provides visitors with the option of riding the free shuttle run by Glacier National Park. Park visitors are able to access many destinations along the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) while enjoying the spectacular scenery by riding on one of the Glacier’s environmentally-friendly passenger shuttle buses. The transit system offers two-way service along Sun Road between the Apgar Transit Center and St. Mary Visitor Center. In 2011, the shuttle will operate from July 1 through September 2. Buses run approximately every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on location and time of day, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Information is available at the Apgar Transit Center and St. Mary Visitor Center.

The East Side shuttle, run by Glacier, Inc., goes to locations that the free shuttle does not. The shuttle travels along the east side of the park and stops at many destinations that the park’s free shuttle does not. The East Side Shuttle begins operation on June 3, 2011, with its last run on September 25, 2011.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The city of Gatlinburg’s trolley service offers a daily shuttle, June through October, to three popular locations in the park. The service runs between downtown Gatlinburg and the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Laurel Falls Trail and Elkmont Campground at minimal cost to the rider.

Cherokee Transit, managed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, provides shuttle service between Cherokee, N.C., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Denali National Park

Shuttles play an extremely important role for visitors in Denali. The park only permits private vehicles to drive 14.8 miles into the park to the Savage River Bridge.

When you arrive at the park, there are a variety of busses that travel to different locations: shuttle busses, camper busses and tour busses. Camper busses are designed to take campers and their gear to their campgrounds.

Tour busses offer a narrated and guided tour through the park. Tours focus on differing topics such as history and wildlife. Tour tickets are separate from the shuttle. Tour busses are tan in color while shuttle busses are green. The green shuttle buses allow visitors to travel farther into the park and offer round trip transportation to Toklat, Eielson, Wonder Lake and Kantishna.

Tickets for any one of the busses can be purchased online or at the Wilderness Access Center at the entrance of the park.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Free bus service from East Stroudsburg to Milford by Monroe County Transit Authority operate two new routes, Saturdays and Sundays, from April 30 to Oct. 30. These routes stop at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. For those visiting during the week, hop on the bus and take the “Yellow Route” to the National Park entrance at stop 14. A bus ticket is required.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Visitors who are not staying overnight in the park can leave their vehicles at Bryce Canyon Lodge, North or Sunset Campground. Board the shuttle at the Shuttle Staging area, located near Ruby’s Inn or Ruby’s Campground. The shuttle operates daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from late May through mid September. The shuttle is free with paid admission and arrives at the stops about every 12 to 15 minutes. Most stops are located near the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater in the northern part of the park. To learn more about how the shuttle system at Bryce works and exactly where it goes, take a virtual ride! Visit http://www.nps.gov/brca/photosmultimedia/etours.htm

Colonial National Historical Park

From April 15 through October 31, 2011, the Historic Triangle Shuttle will provide shuttle service from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center to and from the Jamestown and Yorktown areas. The free shuttle provides service to both Jamestown and Yorktown depart the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center every hour and half-hour between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily.

Zion National Park

The Springdale Shuttle stops at six locations in Springdale. The Zion Canyon Shuttle loop stops at eight locations in the park. The transfer between loops is made at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Riding the shuttle is free. In 2011 the Zion Shuttle System will begin operations in Zion Canyon and the town of Springdale on April 1, 2011 and will run through October 30, 2011. 

Grand Canyon National Park

Shuttle buses arrive every 10 to 15 minutes on most routes and stop at most concession facilities, parking areas, campgrounds and scenic overlooks. Shuttles generally operate from one hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset, even later in the Village area. During the summer of 2011 a shuttle will run between Canyon View Information Plaza and the village of Tusayan. There are a total of four shuttle bus routes: Hermit Rest, Tusayan, Village and Kaibab/Rim Route. There is also a Hiker’s Express Shuttle offered.

Sequoia National Park

Hop on one of the Sequoia shuttles that blends in with it’s surroundings–each shuttle is designed with a giant sequoia tree on the side. There are three routes taking visitors to destinations near the Giant Forest and Lodgepole. Shuttles for the Route 1 (Giant Forest-Green) stops every 15 minutes at Lodgepole visitor center & campground, General Sherman Tree and Giant Forest Museum. Route 2 (Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow-Gray) stops every 15 minutes at Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow and Giant Forest Museum. Route 3 shuttles stop every 30 minutes at the Lodgepole visitor center & campground, Wuksachi Lodge and Dorst Creek Campground. You can reach all of the shuttle destinations through transfers. The free shuttle runs from May 26 through September 25, seven days a week. 

The Visalia shuttle allows visitors to be transported from Visalia to the park with ease. For $15 roundtrip, visitors can stop at the Giant Tree Museum, Longpole Visitor Center, General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock and more!

Valley Forge National Historical Park

The Revolutionary shuttle leave from the Visitor Center Lower Parking Lot and stops at nine locations through the park. The shuttle stops running at 6 p.m. and the last shuttle pick-up from the lot is 5:20 p.m. All shuttle are handicapped accessible and run every 20 minutes. The total roundtrip ride on the shuttle is 40 minutes. Shuttles are also equipped with bike racks. June 18 – September 5: Daily (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Mount Rainier National Park

The free weekend shuttle in Mount Rainier Runs from June 24 through September 4, 2011. Visitors can ride the weekend shuttle to Paradise, with an option to begin outside the park in Ashford, Washington or inside the park at Longmire and Cougar Rock. By riding the shuttle, you can help reduce emissions and enjoy stunning views. Visitors will also avoid the hassle of finding a parking place, which can be difficult in the summer. For more information and time tables, visit the Paradise shuttle site.

Photo by: NPS