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    Zion National Park – Where to Camp, Glamp, or Boondock

    What type of camping experience are you looking for?  Do you want something close to the park or something away from the crowds? Do you want conveniences and amenities or a back-to-nature experience?  Whatever you are looking for, you can find it in the beautiful surroundings of Zion National Park.

    How Much Does it Cost to Camp Near Zion NP?

    The cost of camping in and around Zion National Park ranges from free (boondocking) to $499 and up for glamping. Costs vary depending on location and type of camping facilities.

    OptionCost (per night)Amenities
    National Park Campgrounds$20 tent
    $30 RV
    Fire pits, picnic tables, water stations, flushing toilets.
    Seniors/Golden Age Access pass receive 50% off
    individual campsites
    Forrest Service Campgrounds
    $21
    Fire pits, picnic tables, water stations, flushing toilets.
    Seniors/Golden Age Access pass receive 50% off
    individual campsites
    Private Campgrounds$60 and upFull hookups, swimming pools, activities and laundry facilities. Cabins also available at some locations
    Glamping$110-$499Luxury bungalows, canvas tents, yurts or covered wagons
    BoondockingFreeNothing. Can do this on some federally owned land and some private businesses
    Camping options at near Zion National Park

    National Park Campgrounds

    There are three campgrounds inside the park:  Watchman Campground, South Campground and Lava Point Campground (1 hour 20 minute drive from Zion Canyon – currently closed).  Watchman and South are located right next to each other at the south entrance of the park.  They are walkable to the shuttle pick-up.  These campgrounds are along the Virgin River and nestled inside the beautiful walls of the canyon.

    These campgrounds are full almost every night from mid-March to late November, so be sure to PLAN AHEAD.  Reservations can be made six months in advance for Watchman Campground and up to two weeks prior for South Campground at www.recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777.  Lava Point Campground is 1 hour 20 minute drive from Zion Canyon and is currently closed.

    Camping inside the park has definite advantages. You are camping right inside the canyon, surrounded by the beauty of Zion. Watchman Campground and South Campground are just inside the south entrance and within walking distance (1/4- 1/2 a mile) to the shuttle pick-up – no need to drive and wait in line to enter the park. The city of Springdale with shops and restaurants is right down the road with shuttles taking visitors from the Zion Visitor Center to the town.

    Each campsite allows a maximum of six people, two tents, and two vehicles. Any type of automobile, RV, trailer, motorhome, boat trailer or cargo trailer counts toward the limit.

    Watchman Campground – South Entrance
    190 Regular Sites 7 Wheelchair Accessible Sites 6 Group Sites 18 walk-in tent only sites
    $30 Electric Sites $20 Tent – No Electricity $50-$130 Group Sites
    Group sites are tent only. E1 holds 15-30 people ($130/nt) E2 holds 15-25 people ($90/nt)
    E3 holds 20-40 people ($130/nt) E5 holds 7-15 people ($50/nt) E7 holds 20-40 people ($130/nt)
    Open year round. Reservations accepted up to six months in advance. Loop A is first come/first serve
    January 21-February 21 and November 30-December 21, 2021. All campsites are reservation only all other times of the year.
    Picnic table and fire pit in each site. Flush toilets, dump station.
    No generators allowed. No vehicles taller than 12’6″
    Pets allowed on leash.
    Watchman Campground
    South Campground – South Entrance
    114 Regular Sites 3 Wheelchair Accessible Sites
    $20 individual sites $50 group sites (currently closed)
    Open March 15-October 31, 2021. Reservations accepted up to two weeks before arrival.
    Picnic table and fire pit in each site. Dump station.
    Generators allowed 8:00 am to 10:00 am and 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. No vehicles taller than 12’6″
    Pets allowed on leash
    South Campground
    Lava Point Campground – 1 hour 20 minutes from South Entrance
    Typically open May through September (temporarily closed until further notice)
    6 primitive campsites. Pit toilets. No running water.
    Cost: FREE
    First come/first serve. No reservations.
    Vehicles longer than 19′ are not permitted on the road to the campground.
    Generators allowed 8:00 am to 10:00 am and 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
    Pets allowed on leash.
    Lava Point Campground

    If you are bringing a large RV into one of the campgrounds, keep in mind Large vehicles coming from the east side of the park will need to obtain a tunnel permit in order to pass through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. This includes vehicles 11’4″ tall or taller or 7’10” wide or wider, including mirrors, awnings and jacks. The permit instructs rangers posted at both ends of the tunnel to convert two-way tunnel traffic to one-way for the larger vehicles.

    Private Campgrounds

    There are many private campgrounds in close proximity to the park. Below is a list of several that are within a one hour drive. Keep in mind, vehicles coming through the eastern boundary of the park will need to pass through the Zion tunnel and switchbacks. RVs will need to pay an “escort” fee to go through the tunnel. Unless otherwise noted, the distance shown is to the south entrance of the park. The list is not complete, but shows campgrounds with a variety of services and amenities.

    CampgroundDistance from
    Park & Location
    Price Amenities
    Zion Campground
    & RV Resort
    .7 miles
    Springdale
    Tent: $59
    RV full hookups $69-$79
    Swimming pool, playground, BBQ grills,
    showers, laundry
    Zion Crest
    Campground &
    RV Park
    8.2 miles
    to east entrance
    RV $99
    Tent: $39
    Internet, full hookups, laundry,
    pets allowed
    Zion River Resort13.5 miles
    Virgin
    $41-$82 depending on
    season and hookups
    Swimming pool, social hall,
    game room, activity area,
    playground, off-leash dog area,
    store, laundry, showers, shuttle to
    Zion (March to October), Wi-Fi, cable
    Zion Family Ranch
    Campground
    23.2 miles
    to east entrance
    Glendale
    Tents only
    $59
    Fire pit, kayaks, WiFi, showers, flush
    toilets, fishing, pets allowed, fresh water
    ponds
    Zion Wright Family
    Ranch
    22.9 miles
    Virgin
    $35Off-grid primitive camping, bring water.
    No tables. Porta potties and fire rings on site.
    Pets are allowed. Horseback rides (fee)
    Zion Ponderosa
    Ranch Resort
    7.9 miles
    to east entrace
    Orderville
    Tent: $49
    RV: $110
    Laundry, showers, internet,
    pets allowed
    Red Ledge RV
    Park
    45 miles
    Kanarraville
    RV: $30-$36
    Tent: $23
    Hookups, WiFi, dump station,
    playground, showers, laundry
    Willow Wind RV
    Park
    24.3 miles
    Hurricane
    $50-$75WiFi, hookups, showers, clubhouse,
    cable
    Zion West RV31 miles
    Leeds
    RV: $45-$47
    Tent: $25
    Showers, laundry, internet
    Cedar Breaks
    RV Park
    60.8 miles
    Cedar City
    $35.50Hookups, WiFi
    Kolob Campground37.4 miles
    Private, gated
    area near Kolob
    Reservoir
    $37Adjacent to boat ramp and dock.
    Potable water and vault toilet access
    available adjacent to camp. Water sport
    rentals available nearby.
    Quail Creek
    State Park
    Campground
    44 miles
    Hurricane
    $25Open year round, reservations
    boat ramp
    Private Campgrounds

    Glamping

    “Glamping” refers to glamour camping.  The term was officially added to the dictionary in 2016. 

    Glamping may be an appealing choice for those who are looking for a back-to-nature experience without giving up modern conveniences. Accommodations include luxury tents, tiny houses, yurts, covered wagons, cabins, teepees, and even tree houses.  “Luxuries” can differ greatly.  Some include kitchens and bathrooms.  Others have shared showers and kitchen facilities.  You can choose from a wide variety of options for the amount of “glam” you want in your camping experience.

    Glamping venues are typically in rural, off-the-beaten-path areas but in close proximity to favorite national parks and tourist areas.  Sites may be very remote, out on a ranch or associated with a resort with amenities such as pools and activities.

    Glamping near Zion National Park can be found in neighboring communities of Glendale, Orderville, Springdale, Virgin, Leeds, Hildale, Hurricane, Kanab and St. George, UT.  Costs start around $110 per night and go to $500+.   

    Places book up early for the popular season, so plan ahead if you want to have the glamping experience.

    Glamping Hub is an online resource for glamping adventures throughout the country.  Airbnb also has glamping options.  Resorts and ranches with glamping accommodations near Zion National Park include:

    Zion Wildflower Resort – Virgin. Amenities: Covered wagons, canvas tents and bungalows. Luxury bathhouses with lockable bathrooms. Yard games. Complimentary bicycles. Seating areas and hammocks spread across the property.

    Zion Wildflower Resort

    Zion Glamping Adventures – Hildale. Amenities: One and two bed tents. Firepit, grill and picnic table. Shared outdoor shower and outhouses. Yard games.

    Zions View Camping – Hildale. Amenities: One and two bed tents. Chairs, picnic table and fire pit.

    Under Canvas Zion – Virgin. Amenities: Luxury tents with private bath that can accommodate up to four people. Private deck. Wood-burning stove.

    Under Canvas Zion

    Zion Ponderosa Ranch – Orderville. Amenities: Wagons sleep 6 and includes breakfast. Glamping tents with furnishings and wooden decks. Pool.

    Zion Ponderosa Ranch

    Base Camp 37 – Kanab. Amenities: Luxury tents. Shared kitchen and grills. Shared showers. Nightly smores. Solar power.

    Zion Luxury Camping – Hildale. Amenities: Luxury tents. 13 tents. Shared bathrooms and showers. Daily housekeeping.

    Whispering Pines Glamping Resort – between Zion and Bryce National Parks. Amenities: Covered wagons. Private shower/bathroom. Microwave, fridge. AC/heat. Common area with waterfalls, horseshoe pit, pavilion, trampoline, swings, and hammocks.

    Whispering Pines Covered Wagons

    Hi-Road Tiny Cabins – Mount Carmel. Amenities: Tiny cabins – 400 sq. ft. Full bathroom, AC, WiFi. Can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children.

    Forest Service Campgrounds

    Forest Service campgrounds are generally inexpensive and offer basic services such as flush or vault toilets and water. Owners of an Interagency Senior/Golden Age or Interagency Access pass receive a 50% discount on individual sites. Here are a few near Zion NP.

    CampgroundDistance from ParkCostReservations or
    First Come/First Serve
    Navajo Lake Campground
    27 sites
    May 28-September 20
    53.9 miles to
    east entrance
    $21First come/first serve
    Duck Creek Campground
    (temporarily closed)
    93 sites
    May 28-September 20
    48.6 miles to
    east entrance
    $21Reservations
    1-877-444-6777
    Spruces Campground
    (temporarily closed)
    28 sites
    53.1 miles to
    east entrance
    $21Reservations
    1-877-444-6777
    Red Canyon Campground
    37 sites
    April 30-October 11
    60 miles to
    east entrance
    $21First come/first serve
    Forest Service Campgrounds

    Boondocking (free camping)

    Boondocking is commonly referred to as free camping. It could be an overnight stay in a Walmart parking lot, but most likely it involves camping off-the-grid and away from services.

    Being self-sufficient is a necessity. Supplies and services need to be accessed from nearby towns or brought from home. Near Zion National Park, the cities of Hurricane, LaVerkin and Springdale have whatever might be desired. The Maverik in LaVerkin has a free dump station. There is a Walmart in Hurricane. The town of Springdale borders the south entrance to Zion NP and is filled with restaurants and shops.

    Almost all federally owned land is free to camp on.  With Utah made up of 64% federal land, there is a lot of acreage available for camping.  Areas may be very remote and not accessible for RVs; however, there are some nice boondocking areas in the vicinity of Zion National Park.

    Boondocking sites on the east side of the park include sites along the Zion-Mt. Carmel highway (SR 9) and a couple of spots near the Mt. Carmel Junction (SR-9 and SR-89). As shown on the map below, there are sites on both sides of the road. The area on the east side of the road is an old gravel pit that has several large sites. On the west side of the road, there are quite a few sites along the river. You would not want to tow an RV into the park from these areas because of the tunnel and switchbacks, but camping along the road and then driving into the park can be convenient and enjoyable.

    Boondocking sites near the south entrance of the park can be found along Sheep Bridge Road, the Smithsonian Butte Byway and Kolob Terrace Road. The close proximity to the park and to the city of Springdale make these sites especially appealing. Sheep Bridge Road is just past Virgin on the south side of UT-9. The free camping is about a mile past the day-use sites. The Smithsonian Butte Byway is south of Rockville. Camping here must be done at least ½ mile from the Byway. The Kolob Terrace Road runs north from the town of Virgin and is about 15 minutes from the south entrance. The road can be rough and may not be advisable for larger RVs.

    Whatever your camping style, it can be found in or near the wonders of Zion National Park. My first choice will always be to camp within the park itself at Watchman or South Campgrounds. To camp along the river and be able to gaze up at the beautiful cliffs of the canyon and see the sun on the canyon walls is a site that continues to leave me in awe of this beautiful place.

    If you are ready to plan your trip to Zion, check out our trip planner here

    ABOUT US

    We’re Matt and Cheryl, and we’re in the Rockies. :) We are both teachers. Cheryl teaches special ed, and Matt teaches American history. We love the American West and the national parks. We want to help you have a great vacation on your next trip to the Rockies.

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