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Mount Carmel Junction[dead link], Mount Carmel and the other small towns (Mount Carmel, Orderville, 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 is less a destination in its own right and more a convenient stopover between the many national parks in the area.

Get in[edit]

Mount Carmel Junction sits at the junction of US Highway 89, which heads north toward Bryce Canyon and south towards the Grand Canyon, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (UT 9), which runs the length of Zion National Park before continuing east and terminating at US 89.

Private vehicles and tour buses are the only way to travel in this area. There is no public transportation. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, through Zion National Park, never does close, but large vehicles like RVs can only travel from 8AM to 8PM when there is an escort at the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. The escorts stop all traffic on one side to allow the bigger vehicles like RVs and tour buses to travel in the center of the tunnel. On the immediate east side of Zion National Park and Mount Carmel Junction is a tourist stop. One mile north is the small town of Mount Carmel, which is mostly a farming community. Another four miles is Orderville, which is the town with the most population in the area. Another mile past Orderville is Glendale, where you will find an entrance to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


There's very little to see in the town proper; Mount Carmel acts mainly as a gateway to other attractions, namely Zion National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, with others passing through on their way to Bryce Canyon or the Grand Canyon.

  • The towering White Cliffs of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are visible from the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and along US 89 north of town.
  • 1 Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, 2200 State St., +1 435 648-2653. 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.


Aspen Trees on nearby Highway 14. Cedar Mountain in Dixie National Forest
  • Thunderbird Golf Course, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, +1 435 648-2188.
  • The Zion Ponderosa Resort and the Zion Mountain Ranch (see below under Sleep) offers lots of recreational activities, like horseback rides, ATV tours, and more.
  • 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 adventures 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, it is a completely different slot canyon joined with the upper 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.
  • Spring Hollow. (1.2 miles/1.9 km round trip). This is another wonderful family hike that begins just off UT Highway 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.
  • 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.


  • [dead link] Apple Hollow Gallery, +1 435 648-3048. In Glendale. Local artists have put together a classy showcase of handmade gifts for sale to the public.
  • Thunderbird Gift Shop, +1 435 648-2262. Here 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, +1 435 648-2030. 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.
  • JDC Gift Shop, Orderville, +1 435 648-3200. JDC - "Just Darn Cool" - is a rather charming, quaint shop with local handcrafted gifts.


  • Buffalo Grill, toll-free: +1-800-648-2555. 3 miles from Zion's east gate. Buffalo meat is the choice of fare at the Buffalo Grill.
  • [dead link] Buffalo Bistro, +1 435 648-2778. Glendale. It's a one of kind of dining experience. Ron, the owner, will tell you - "It's terrible. but people keep coming back." 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. Drinks are served, on tap or in the bottle.
  • Thunderbird Restaurant, +1 435 648-2262. 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!
  • Broken Arrow Restaurant at the Arrowhead Country Inn, toll-free: +1-888-821-1670. W-Su 5-9PM. Just across the street from Maynard Dixon's home studio and the Bingham Art Gallery. Smell the freshly baked bread, the home-made BBQ sauce, and the slow cooked baby-back ribs. Good dishes include maple glazed salmon, Southwestern chicken cordon blue, and the rib-eye steak Sonora. Enjoy the antique furnished dining room, or relax in the sun-room. Try a Mt. Carmel Mudslide dessert - special bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream, a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a splash of whiskey caramel sauce.
  • Golden Hills Restaurant, +1 435 648-2262. Low prices and a big salad bar make this restaurant stand out.


The Buffalo Bistro, Thunderbird Restaurant, and Broken Arrow Restaurant (see above under Eat) all serve beer and wine.


  • Best Western East Zion Thunderbird Lodge (Junction of US-89 & SR-9), toll-free: +1-888-848-6358. Great lobby and many of the rooms have log cabin furniture. Great for those who are looking for moderately priced rooms with nice amenities.
  • East Zion Riverside Lodge (Junction of US-89 & SR-9), +1 435 648-2203. 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.
  • 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, toll-free: +1-800-648-2555. 3 miles from Zion's east gate, in the national buffalo preserve. A working guest ranch with large family lodges and smaller guest cabins. The cabins are rustic and nice and set in a field near Zion with roaming buffalo.
  • Golden Hills, +1 435 648-2268. A budget motel.
  • Arrowhead Country Inn, toll-free: +1-888-821-1670. Just across the street from Maynard Dixon's home studio and the Bingham Art Gallery. Charming bed and breakfast nestled at the base of the picturesque White Cliffs. They also have private cabins.
  • [dead link] The Cabin, +1 435 648-2199. 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.
  • [dead link] Mount Carmel Motel, +1 435 648-2323. This older motel is the ticket for budget travelers. It's cleaner than most.
  • Starlite Motel, Orderville, +1 435 648-2060. The new 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.
  • Windwhisper Bed and Breakfast (2 miles past Glendale), +1 435 648-2162, +1 435 632-8410. 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, +1 435 648-2156, . This historic 1927 hotel was a boarding house hotel and is now furnished throughout with period antiques. They have 7 bedrooms and 4 porches.
  • East Zion Riverside Lodge - Rental House, Junction of US-89 & SR-9, toll-free: +1-888-848-6358. This gorgeous and large house has an indoor pool and lots of historic charm.
  • East Zion Resort, Orderville, Utah, toll-free: +1-833-378-9466. Spend the night in a yurt, glamping tent, treehouse, treetop cabin, or tiny home.

Camping and RV parks[edit]

Backcountry camping[edit]

There is a ton of Bureau of Land Management 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!

Go next[edit]

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
  • Zion National Park, 12 miles to the west. 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.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, 60 miles to the northeast. So close to Zion National Park that many that visit it also come to Bryce. Bryce Canyon has jaw dropping beauty.
  • The Grand Canyon, 85 miles to the south (North Rim). 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.
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument, 45 miles to the northwest. 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.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 9 miles to the east. 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.
  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park 11 miles to the south. A great little park of sand dunes located nearby. 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.
  • Cedar Mountain, 22 miles away in Dixie National Forest.
  • Red Canyon, 47 miles away in Dixie National Forest. 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 an aspen and spruce forest. Both are in Dixie National Forest.
  • Paria Canyon, 60 miles away. Home to the popular rock formation known as the Wave. A hot spot for photographers and hikers alike.
  • Lake Powell, 95 miles to the east. Scenery and water galore.
Routes through Mount Carmel Junction
Salt Lake CityRichfield  N  S  KanabPage
Junction Zion National Park  W  E  END

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