Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) was constructed in the 1920’s to create direct access to Bryce Canyon from Zion National Park.
At the time of its completion in 1930, this 1.1 mile tunnel was the longest non-urban road tunnel in the United States.
The tunnel shortened the travel distance from Zion to Bryce by 70 miles.
A study by the Federal Highways Administration in early 1989 found that large vehicles could not negotiate the curves of the tunnel without crossing the center line.
To ensure safety, the National Park Service posts rangers on either end of the tunnel to convert two-way traffic into one-way for large vehicles.
Once out of the tunnel, you come to an overlook of one of Zion’s most iconic sandstone formation – Checkerboard Mesa – marked by its cone shape and cross-hatching pattern.
While visiting Zion, we stayed at Canyon Vista Lodge in Springdale for two nights. Although this bed and breakfast place does not offer breakfast on promise, we received vouchers to a couple of restaurants in town.
Of the two restaurants we sampled, Wildcat Willies seemed more popular – judging by the queue. However, the food was unremarkable, the decor dowdy and the service rather indifferent.
Which left us with Oscar’s Cafe – a lively Mexican eatery
with great chili and breakfast burritos and friendly service.
Their black Angus ribeye steak is superb. And you can’t beat this view!
Arkansas Al’s Steakhouse
Address: 2400 Zion Park Blvd. Springdale, Utah 84767
Phone: (435) 772-0665