Zion is one continuous area, but three roads lead into the park’s interior. Zion Canyon is by far the most popular region. You will find most facilities and trailheads along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Zion – Mount Carmel Highway (UT-9), which provide access to the canyon. Ultra-popular hikes through Zion Narrows and to Angel’s Landing are located in this region. If you follow UT-9 west, beyond the south entrance, you will reach the small town of Virgin. Here, Kolob Terrace Road winds its way in and out of the park before terminating at Kolob Reservoir. Kolob Terrace Road provides access to Lava Point Primitive Campground and numerous trailheads including the nontechnical and technical trails to The Subway (permit required, even for a day-hike). Far away from the crowds of Zion Canyon, in the park’s northwest corner, is Kolob Canyons. This region has a visitor center, a scenic drive, and a few trailheads including the scenic hike to Kolob Arch.
Download the Zion National Park map here.
Camping & Lodging (ZION)
The Three Patriarchs | Watchman above the Virgin River
Zion has three drive-in campgrounds. South and Watchman Campgrounds are located along the Virgin River’s shoreline near the south entrance and main visitor center. These campgrounds have running water and flush toilets. Watchman has 63 sites with electrical hook-ups for RVs. No sites have full hook-ups, but a dump station is available for campers. Watchman also has seven group campsites that can accommodate 9 to 40 campers. They are tent-only sites, which cost $3 per person per night. Watchman Campground accepts reservations for camping from early March through mid-November. You may reserve a campsite up to six months in advance by calling (877) 444-6777 or clicking www.recreation. gov.
Lava Point is a primitive campground located about a one-hour drive from Zion Canyon Visitor Center on Kolob Terrace Road. There are six campsites situated at 7,890 feet, where it’s roughly 15°F cooler than other frontcountry campgrounds. Pit toilets are available, but water is not. Rapidly changing weather conditions can make Kolob Terrace Road impassable to 2WD vehicles, and visitors should check road conditions at the visitor center or park website prior to departure. All campgrounds often fill by early afternoon on weekends and holidays. They fill every night during the summer months.
The only in-park lodging is provided by Xanterra Parks & Resorts at Zion Lodge, situated in the middle of Zion Canyon. Guests of the lodge are allowed to take their own vehicles down Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The accommodations are basic, but how much time do you plan on spending in your room anyway? Red Rock Grill is on-site for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Visit www.zionlodge.com or call Xanterra Parks & Resorts at (888) 297-2757 to make your reservation. See the What’s Nearby section for nearby lodging and dining.
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