Exploring Zion National Park is something every out-door enthusiast should put on their bucket list, but we think if you really want to have the full experience you should go camping at one of the many locations the park and surrounding areas offer. Whether you are an avid mountaineer, RV traveler, or strictly into Glamping, Zion has a spot for you. Here is a list of our favorite spots when we are exploring the park.

In The Park:

Did you become an eagle scout at age 13? Maybe you backpacked through Europe in college spending more than one night underneath the stars. If you are experienced and enjoy “roughing it” you will love camping in Zion. The park has three official camp sites inside the park, South Campground, Watchman Campground, and The Lava Point. There are several campgrounds only a short drive from the park if these sites don’t work for your family.Zion National Park Camping

  • South Campground:
    South Campground is located ½ mile from the South entrance of the park. Campsites cost about $20 and range upwards if it is a large group site.  There are over 100 campsites (including a few wheelchair accessible) but they are only available on a first -come first- serve basis. Campsites fill up during the early hours of the day and it has been noted that campers will start coming to claim spots as early as 5:30AM. There are no RV hookups available at this location, so this spot is primarily for tent camping.
  • Watchman Campground:
    Watchman Campground is located only a short ¼ mile from the South entrance of the park. A great feature of this campground is you are able to reserve a spot in advance online. This site is primarily occupied by reservations from March to November, but with it’s 176 campsites it has been known to accommodate a few last minute travelers.  This ground does provide RV hookups but there is limited access so be sure to book early. Campsites here range from $20-$130 depending on how many tent spots you need and if you need electric hookups.
  • Lava Point Campground:
    The Lava Point Campground is about an hour and twenty minutes from the South entrance of the park and only provides six primitive campsites. These grounds are easier for tent camping but people have been known to take their RV as well. Lava point provides pit toilets but no running water. This is a first-come, first-serve, basis campground but provides a truly spectacular experience of camping in Zion. There is no fee for this campground and it is well secluded from any other campground providing a quite evening in nature.

Outside the Park:

If you are making your first trip to Zion, it may be easier to find a campsite outside the park. There are also several grounds that include running water, showers, and convenient RV hookups just outside the park gates.

Camping RV

  • Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort:
    This campground is located just outside the South entrance gates in Springdale, Utah within walking distance to the official Zion National Park visitor center. It is just next door to the Quality Inn (which is under the same management) this means campers can enjoy laundry facilities, pools, and showers. There is specified areas of the campground just for tent campers and spacious areas to park your RV.
  • Zion River Resort RV Park and Campground:
    Zion River Resort is really popular for RV’s it is about a 20 minute drive from the Park but provides luxurious amenities such as paved parking, fire pits, well maintained landscape and even WIFI! If you don’t want to drive yourself to Zion the site offers shuttles to the park for a nominal fee. This is a great spot for families who aren’t experienced campers.
  • BLM Campgrounds:
    The Bureau of land management also offers several campgrounds in the Southern Utah area. BLM land can range from manicured campgrounds to back country deserts, where the only noise you will hear is from the wildlife. Most sites on BLM land are free to stay at, or only charge a very small fee for the night. Click Here to see what areas they currently have available.

With any campground you stay at, please be responsible and make sure to clean up for the next person. Check campground rules to determine the best way to handle waste management, and be sure to check for fire restrictions before you camp.

We hope you enjoy your time camping and have an even better time exploring the park. While you are in the area be sure to come ride with us and we will show you some reasons why we believe this corner of the world is worth your time.

Have a favorite place to camp in the area? Drop us a message in the comments!

Zion National Park is an excellent place to expand your adventuring repertoire, and a location that many people place on their bucket list for its unique offerings. One particularly adventurous attraction, is the vast and extraordinary climbing routes scattered throughout and around the canyon. In an effort to provide you with an insider look, we asked professional climber and geology expert Fallon Rowe about climbing in Zion and what she recommends for the novice climber all the way to expert.

Beginning Climbers

Even if you have never been in a climbing harness, there is still a place for you in Zion National Park. While Zion is known for its many trad climbs and multi-pitch ascents there are many beautiful spots to try your hand at bouldering or regular sport climbing. If you have never climbed before we suggest taking a guided climbing tour, there are several businesses surrounding the canyon that provide all the expertise and gear that you need to get close and personal with the grand rock formations the canyon provides. Fallon recommends checking out Cerberus Gendarme, this climbing location provides several routes of all levels that will fit anyone’s sport climbing needs.

Zion National Park climbing Fallon Rowe

Fallon on Headache -PC: Fallon Rowe

Advanced Climbers

If you are an experienced climber and are looking for a longer climb Fallon recommends the three following routes:

The Headache This climb is a 5/10 trad climb with 3 pitches. This route is well protected with breath taking views. (pictured below)

Monkey Finger – This climb is a 5/12 big-wall trad climb that is for experienced climbers only. This 9-pitch route has a lot of variety in the climbing so if you only have one day out of your trip to get climbing in, this is an excellent route to try.

Moonlight Buttress – Considered by some to be one of the best trad climbing routes in the world, moonlight buttress is an experienced climbers dream. This is a 10-pitch route that will take all day to complete. Plan to bring lots of water and know that you may need to aid climb on areas of this route.

Zion National Park climbing Fallon Rowe 2

Fallon Gearing Up – PC: Fallon Rowe

Gear to bring

If you are trying out climbing for the first time we recommend going with a guided tour company who can help provide you with the climbing gear you need, but you will still want to pack good hiking shoes, sunscreen, water, a flashlight, and a jacket. The basic climbing gear such as, helmet, harness, shoes, chalk, belay device, and rope are essential to any climb. When going bouldering, it is important that you always wear a helmet and we highly recommend using bouldering crash pads to prevent injury. When climbing a more advanced route you will need to bring at least a double rack of cams and nuts, tape, and be sure to bring extra containers for water. Fallon also recommends bringing a GPS device, as some routes are off trail and the canyon can get difficult to navigate if you end up descending in the dark.

Zion National Park Climbing Fallon Rowe 3

Sqeeze and Play – PC: Fallon Rowe

When to go

Zion National Park can get hot in the summer, so if you plan to incorporate climbing into your trip we suggest going in the early spring (March & April) or fall (October & November). If you decide to go during these times it is essential that you watch the weather reports for rain. Zion provides the unique experience of climbing on sandstone, however, sandstone becomes very brittle and dangerous when wet so be sure to wait at least 2 days after every rain storm before climbing to allow the rock to dry out. If your trip happens to get rained out, there are several climbs on granite in the surrounding areas of the park.

Snacks to pack

When going on a climbing trip it is important to pack light snacks that you can carry with you. You don’t want to eat anything too heavy as it can make it difficult to continue climbing and make your experience less enjoyable. Fallon recommended bringing light packaged items like fruit snacks, granola bars, or trail mix as well as a few items to sustain you in case the climb takes longer than anticipated like protein bars and jerky.

Transportation

Zion National Park provides a shuttle bus throughout their season, so be sure to study the schedule before you plan a climb or hike. The shuttle system shuts down typically around 8 p.m. so be sure to plan plenty of time to get to your bus stop before the end of the night. During the off season for the park, you can drive your personal vehicle to any of the shuttle stops.

Be sure to let us know if you have any favorite climbs or advice for climbing in Zion National Park!