Best Campgrounds in Zion National Park – Just Go Travel Studios

Best Campgrounds in Zion National Park

Utah Zion National Park

While the Zion National Park is one of the few parks with ample lodging in nearby Springdale.  At just a few hundred yards outside of the main park entrance, it is certainly a great option.  However, if you are able to pack your own gear, camping in Zion National Park offers the ability to skip the crowds trying to get in the park, which can involve waiting over an hour during peak months of the year!

Not only do you get to have easy access to the park in the morning, but you also get to sleep among some of the most amazing landscape you can find. 

There are only a couple of campgrounds in Zion, so picking the best campground in the park really isn’t something that you need to worry about, as both are great options!  We hope this guide helps you find the best campground in Zion for you that fits your needs.

ZION NATIONAL PARK CAMPGROUNDS: OVERVIEW

Zion National Park is no secret and can be quite crowded.  However, it is 35th in size and only has room for two campgrounds (aside from the primitive campground options).  Because of the limited camping options, you’ll want to be sure you grab reservations well ahead of your trip if at all possible.  However, even if you haven’t planned ahead, feel free to check in early in the morning to see if any sites are available.  Both of the campgrounds accept reservations, but all backcountry and primitive camping is first-come, first-served.

If you are in need of camping supplies, the best option is to grab them in nearby Springdale, UT.  If you are coming in from the east, then there are limited supplies in Mt. Carmel Junction at the end of Highway 9.

Zion national park itinerary

Ahead of your visit, check out our Zion National Park itinerary.  This downloadable guide covers the best hiking trails, what to pack, what to see in the area and multi-day sample itineraries for travelers of all activity levels.

 

ZION NATIONAL PARK CAMPING

Zion national park campgrounds map

Map of the main entrance area to Zion National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service

South Campground:

  • Location: The South Campground is located just north of the Zion Canyon Visitor Center on the east side of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. Directions from Springdale, UT to the South Campground.
  • Accessible via:
  • Reservations: Offered year-round, opened up 2 weeks in advance of camping dates. South Campground Reservations.
  • Capacity: 117 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: No / No / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and no showers.
  • Nearby: The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is located just a short walk away. Also within walking distance of the South Campground is the Watchman Trail.  This moderate trail is 3.2-miles (round-trip) and climbs about 650 feet in elevation on the way up to an amazing overlook that provides great views of Zion Canyon.  You can also take the easy Pa’rus Trail.  this is a 3.3-mile (round-trip) hike that heads up to the Human History Museum along the Virgin River.  There is river access for swimming as well!
  • Additional details: Since the South Campground is located in a prime area, the campsites are relatively small and packed in. Only a few campsites offer shade.  While not full of creature comforts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better location!  Click here for the latest information on the South Campground

Watchman Campground:

  • Location: The Watchman Campground is located on just south of the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Turn off to the Visitor Center from the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and continue for about 200 yards.  Directions from Springdale, UT to the Watchman Campground.
  • Accessible via:
  • Reservations: Offered year-round in most of the campground, with some loops only open February through November. Watchman Campground Reservations.
  • Capacity: 190 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: Yes / No / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and no showers.
  • Nearby: The Watchman Campground is located near the South Campground, so the nearby attractions are the same: The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is located just a short walk away. Also within walking distance of the South Campground is the Watchman Trail.  This moderate trail is 3.2-miles (round-trip) and climbs about 650 feet in elevation on the way up to an amazing overlook that provides great views of Zion Canyon.  You can also take the easy Pa’rus Trail.  this is a 3.3-mile (round-trip) hike that heads up to the Human History Museum along the Virgin River.  There is river access for swimming as well!
  • Additional details: The Watchman Campground is a bit more out of the way than the South Campground, so it can be a bit quieter (less road traffic). It is plenty busy though, with 50% more capacity. Still, this is a great place to call your “home base” when visiting the park.  Click here for the latest information on the Summit Lake South Campground

ZION NATIONAL PARK CAMPGROUNDS - GROUP CAMPING

Group camping is only offered at the Watchman Campground. 

CAMPING OUTSIDE ZION NATIONAL PARK

Since camping inside of Zion National Park is quite limited and reservations usually need to be made well in advance, you may need to look outside of the park.  Numerous campgrounds are located in nearby Springdale, UT or in Mt. Carmel Junction, UT.  These will typically have better access to shower facilities, services and hookups for larger RVs and campers.

If you are looking at boondocking, there is a great selection of free campgrounds near Zion National Park.  However, be advised that they can fill up so you may have to get to the spots early in the day to be sure you can get one.  Be sure to leave it better than you found it, though!

FURTHER INFORMATION ON ZION NATIONAL PARK FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS

Narrows Zion Nationa park poster

  • After your trip, send us a photo and we’ll work with you to create a custom, vintage travel poster.  We have worked with thousands of customers!

Custom national park posters from Just Go Travel Studios

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