Camping is the perfect way to get in touch with nature, whether you prefer a more rugged backcountry experience, or whether you prefer to keep the comforts of home with you in your RV. Either way, by remaining in Zion overnight, you’ll be that much closer to all of the attractions you want to see the next day, and your family will love the experience.
Whatever your preferred camping experience, Zion has a way to accommodate it. There are campgrounds that can accommodate tents and RVs, and backcountry camping opportunities for the avid outdoorsman. We’ve compiled a list of some of the camping opportunities offered by Zion, so you can find one that fits your vision of your Zion experience.
Zion Backcountry camping
Are you an adventurous camper? Do you prefer camping when it’s just you and the elements, away from the crowds and the noise? If so, backcountry camping may be perfect for you, and Zion has backcountry camping opportunities galore. There are multiple trails which have back camping sites along them.
The West Rim Trail has 9 campsites. The Chinle Trail is another popular one, especially during the fall and winter due to the hot temperatures of the summer. Orderville Canyon is incredible for canyoneering, though you’ll need your own gear and experience.
Cable Mountain and Deertrap Mountain have no designated camping spots, so they are perfect for the backcountry camper who prefers total solitude. Remember, you’ll need permits for overnight hiking and backcountry camping.
Watchman Campground is an ideal place to stay in your visit to Zion National Park. It is located ¼ of a mile from the south entrance, and is open year round. The campground has 190 regular sites, 7 wheelchair accessible sites, and 6 group sites available. Watchman has tent sites, RV sites, drinking water, and flush toilets available. It is a short walk from the visitor center, the Zion Canyon shuttle system, and a nearby town where you can go to get groceries or eat a meal. Watchman is named for Watchman Peak, which rises above the campsite.
The Virgin River runs adjacent to the campground, and is surrounded by cottonwood trees. One thing to remember is that you will encounter insects at this campground. April and May often have infestations of tent caterpillars, which fall from trees, and July and August often have higher concentrations of ants. Of course, some insect encounters are to be expected when camping!
There are three trails that can be accessed from Watchman Campground. The Watchman Trail is a moderate trail that leads to Watchman Peak. The Archeology Trail is an easy hike to a nearby archeological site. The Pa’rus Trail is also accessible from this location, which runs alongside the river.
Reservations can be made between March and October. The RV sites can be reserved for $30 a night, and tent sites can be reserved for $20 a night. The group campsites depend on the number of people in the group. $50/night for 7-12 people, $90/night for 16-25 people, $130.00/night for 26-40 people.
South Campground is located ½ mile from the South Entrance to the park. It is home to 117 campsites, with three wheelchair accessible sites. However, the facilities and trails in this area are not wheelchair accessible, unlike the facilities at Watchman.
The campground offers tent sites, RV sites, drinking water, and flush toilets. South is open from February to November. Reservations are required, and can be made two weeks in advance. Tent campsites can be reserved for $20 a night, and group sites can be reserved for $50 a night.
There are three trails that can be accessed from South Campground. The Watchman Trail is a moderate trail that leads to Watchman Peak. The Archeology Trail is an easy hike to a nearby archeological site. The Pa’rus Trail is also accessible from this location, which runs alongside the river.
Lava Point Campground is a free, first come first serve option for camping in Zion. there are 6 primitive campsites, with pit toilets and trash cans. There is no water at the site, so be sure to bring your own supply. Lava Point Campground is more secluded than Watchman and South, located off of the Kolob Terrace Road.
It is a much further drive from the entrance to the park, taking about an hour and 20 minutes to reach it by car from the south entrance. Since the campground doesn’t take reservations, you want to arrive early if you are counting on staying in this location.
The sites may be more primitive, but the view of the sunrise from this location is absolutely unbeatable. There are both tent and RV sites available.
Camping in Zion National Park is an unforgettable experience, and one that you should absolutely take advantage of if you have the chance!