Camping In Zion National Park

Tent camper? If you are, Zion has three designated campgrounds, two that might seem overly populous, but that's the draw of Zion Canyon. The other requires a ride, but you'll find solitude at the end of the road.

South and Watchman campgrounds are in Zion Canyon. Both are located near the park's south entrance at Springdale. This part of the park is desert. There are few trees to provide relief from the heat. Some campsites get shade for part of the day, but many get no shade at all. Summer temperatures exceed 95°F (35°C) and lows rarely dip below 65°F (18°C); staying cool is a challenge. Remember these temperatures and the possibility of a sunny campsite when planning. The Virgin River runs along the edge of each campground; there are a few riverside campsites.

All campsites are drive-up and allow a maximum of two vehicles. Only one RV or trailer is allowed. Any RV including motorhomes, cabover campers and camper vans, or any trailer including 5th wheels, pop-up campers, and cargo or boat trailers are vehicles and count toward the limit. Each campground has overflow parking for excess vehicles. Each campsite allows a maximum of six people and two large tents or three small tents (1-3 persons); plan accordingly. Check out time is 11 a.m.

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The Watchman Campground. NPS photo.

Comfort stations provide flush toilets, cold running drinkable water, and trash containers, but no showers or electrical outlets. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit with attached grill. Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Pets are allowed on a leash no longer than six feet. Hiking in the park with pets is allowed only on the roads and Pa'rus Trail.

The small town of Springdale is adjacent to Zion Canyon; pay showers, a small market, firewood, Laundromats, a limited medical clinic, and restaurants are available. Springdale can be reached from the campgrounds by car, foot, bicycle, or free shuttle (April through October).

From March through mid-November, the park-wide camping limit is 14 nights. An additional 30 nights is permitted the rest of the year. These limits apply to all park campgrounds.

The Lava Point Campground is about a 1-hour drive from Zion Canyon on the Kolob Terrace Road. There are no campgrounds in Kolob Canyons, though there are some nice backcountry campsites.
Camping in Zion is popular; all campgrounds are often full by early afternoon on weekends and holidays. During June, July, and August, the campgrounds are full every night. Reservations at Watchman Campground are recommended if you would like to guarantee a camping spot. If you are unable to make a reservation, the earlier in the day you arrive, the better your chance of getting a campsite.