The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Zion National Park

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Are you headed to Zion to explore the wonders of the Virgin River, hike the Narrows, or enjoy the view at Angels Landing? Zion National Park has over 90 miles of hiking trails to explore.  Camping in Zion National Park maximizes your time in the park.  You can sleep under the stars and enjoy the high cliffs.

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Sleeping in a tent is a must to do experience Zion National Park.

Camping at Zion National Park

Things to Know about Zion Camping

  • There is a 14-day camping limit from March to mid-November.  This limit is in effect park-wide.
  • Watchman Campground is the only campground open year-round.
  • Zion National Park is extremely hot during the summer, the majority of campsites have no shade or partial shade.  Be prepared for this.  Riverside spots a few and far between.
  • Make a reservation if at all possible. Sites fill up fast and any remaining first come first serve spots will be claimed by 8:00 am during the height of summer.
    • Zion National Park first come first serve camping is offered at Lava Point and South Campground.  Several campgrounds outside the park offer first come first serve camping.
  • Each tent campsite can have up to 6 people. There is space for two tents and two vehicles at the campsite. The campsite has a picnic table. Many of the campsites have a fire pit. Please double-check the fire regulations and ensure your fire is completely out before going to bed.
  • Please do NOT leave any food, utensils out, or any scented items out. This includes toothpaste, toothbrush, chapstick. Pretty much put everything but what you are going to sleep into your car.  This includes your cooler. Wildlife have been known to raid campsites and human food is dangerous.
  • If using a hammock in the campground, please only use trees larger than 10 inches in diameter.  Please pad your straps as to not damage the tree.  Only 2 hammocks per tree and the hammock must be inside the campsite footprint.

Zion Tent Caterpillar

If camping during April and May be prepared for the invasion of native southwestern tent caterpillars (Malacosoma incurvum). The Tent Caterpillars live and feed on the Fremont cottonwoods in many of the zion campgrounds.

During peak years (every 8-10 years), the caterpillars will cover every surface they can.  I would check with NPS and avoid the campground if in a peak year (or a non-peak year if afraid of bugs).

Photo Credit – NPS Photo/Marc Neidig

Getting to Zion National Park

The closest airport to Zion is the McCarran International Airport (LAS). McCarran Airport is located about 2.75 hours from Zion. The closest major airport is Salt Lake City International which is about 4.5 hours from the park.

While there is no public transportation to Zion National Park, access to the Zion Canyon is limited to shuttle buses.

Estimated Drive time to Zion National Park

  • Las Vegas, Nevada – 2.75 hours
  • Flagstaff, Arizona – 4 hours
  • Salt Lake City, Utah – 4.5 hours
  • Phoenix, Arizona – 6 hours

Zion is a centrally located park.  It is within driving distance of Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Phonxiz.  All three cities have an international airport and the concentration of national parks in the surrounding area makes it easy to visit multiple parks in one road trip.

Where to camp in Zion National Park?

Zion Campground Map

Campgrounds in Zion National Park

  • Lava Point Campground
  • South Campground
  • Watchman Campground

Campgrounds near Zion National Park

  • Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort
  • Zion River Resort RV Park and Campground
  • Hi-Road Campground
  • The Riverside Ranch
  • Willowwind RV Resort
  • Temple View RV Resort
  • BLM Old Highway 89
  • BLM Twin Hallows Canyon
  • BLM Smithsonian Butte
Camping in Zion National Park - View of the Zion Canyon Walls

Zion National Park Camping

** All Campground prices are valid as of 20 November 2019.

Lava Point Campground

Lava Point Campground is located about 1 hour and a half north of Zion Canyon along Kolob Terrace Road.  This campground is a primitive campground that is reached by a narrow road with steep grades.  It is not recommended for large RVs and trailers.  During the late spring or early fall check the road conditions before driving out to this campground.

SeasonJune – October
Number of Sites6 sites
Fee per nightN/A
Reservations AvailableNo, first-come-first-serve
Max RV Length19 ft
RV Hook-upNo
RestroomsVault Toilets
WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Zion Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeMid-morning during summer
Closest General Store Virgin, Utah

South Campground

South Campground is located 0.5 miles from the South Entrance. This campground is located near the visitor center and shuttle pickup area.  The campground is located next to the Virgin River.  There are a handful of sites that are walk-in sites that have riverfront views.

**ADA park visitors should note that none of the bathrooms in South Campground are ADA compliant.  You will have to travel 0.3 miles to the Watchman Campground for an accessible restroom.

SeasonMid May – End of September
Number of Sites117 sites (110 tent sites, 4 group sites, and 3 accessible sites)
Fee per night$20 per site and $50 for the group sites
Reservations AvailableNo, first-come-first-serve
Max RV Length45 ft – RVs are limited to 12.5 ft in height
RV Hook-upNo
RestroomsFlush Toilets
WaterHot Water
ShowersNo(additional charge)
Max Length of Stay14 Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyLimited availability
Laundry Facilities No
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Zion Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeReservations are a must. They are available two weeks ahead of time.  
Closest General Store Springdale

Watchman Campground

Watchman Campground is located 0.25 miles from the South Entrance.  The campground is nestled at the base of the Watchman rock formation.  Watchman is the most developed of the three campground and electric sites are available.

SeasonYear-round
Number of Sites 176 sites (2 wheelchair accessible sites, and 6 group sites)
Fee per night $20 for Loop C, D, and F

$30 for Loop A and B Group sites range from $50 to $130

Reservations AvailableYes
Max RV LengthNone but vehicle height is limited to 13 ft in many sites.
RV Hook-upNo, but electric sites are available.
RestroomsFlush Toilets
WaterHot Water
Showers 
Max Length of Stay14 Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyN0
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Zion Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeUsually fully reserved during June to September
Closest General Store Springdale

Which is campground did you pick for your camping in Zion National Park adventure?

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Jennifer Melroy

    Jennifer is a long time national park blogger and the founder of National Park Obsessed. She is a dedicated National Park lover who is working on visiting all 62 US National Parks. She has currently been to 53 of the National Parks. She is dedicated to sharing her knowledge of the Parks with others and helping them learn to love the parks as much as she does.

    Jennifer Melroy has 124 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Melroy

    2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Zion National Park

    • 22 Feb 2019 at 9:39 pm
      Permalink

      This post is so helpful as I’m planning to finally get to Zion in April and most likely will be camping. Always knowing which sites you can reserve in advance are super helpful. And, I never would think to be aware of caterpillars covering everything!

      Reply

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