This is my fifth year hosting the Cinco de Mayo Camping Trip for the Vegas Hikers Meetup. I figure there are probably some folks here too that would enjoy a fun and frugal weekend in one of the best national parks around. If you haven't been before, ZION IS AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL and only 3 hours away. Personally, I think it's 10 times better than the Grand Canyon, and I go half a dozen times a year. <3
We have the E-4 group site at Watchman Campground in Zion for Friday and Saturday nights. Come for one or both, and choose from several incredible hikes all weekend (Emerald Pools, Hidden Canyon, Angel's Landing, Observation Point, Watchman Overlook, Kolob Arch)
This campsite is for tents only, with parking for 8 cars, so carpools with 3 or more people get first dibs on parking. The rest can drop off your stuff and park nearby at the Amphiteater or Visitors Center just a few minutes walk away. There's a water pump, flush toilets, fire ring with grill grate, and picnic tables. There are no showers, electricity, or pets.
CAMPSITE COST: $10 pre-pay per person. We go rain or shine. We had to pre-pay for the site and the park does not provide refunds. You may sell or give away your spot any time. The price covers camping ($3 per person, per night) and group supplies (firewood, plates, cups, napkins, silverware, and garbage bags.)
TRAVEL COST: $10-30 -- Unless someone in your car has a National Parks Pass, the park charges $25 per vehicle to enter, plus your share of gas money to your carpool driver. Watchman Campground is right past the Visitor Center, which means a short walk to catch the free shuttle buses that take you to all major trailheads, or the city of Springdale. When you enter the park, turn right immediately, and follow the road past the Visitor's Center. Tell the camping attendant you're at site number E-4, and I pre-paid, so they'll give you a parking pass.
The drive is about 300 miles round-trip, so you should pay your carpool driver $10-30 to fairly split the cost of gas and park entrance fee. If you have your carpool worked out in advance, go up any time from wherever's convenient - check-in opens at noon on Friday. The Cannery garage 4th floor is a great departure spot. It takes 3 hours to get up in there, and remember Utah is an hour ahead of us if you want daylight to hike and set up camp on Friday.
Friday Starlight Potluck at 8pm, and the theme is Mexican Fiesta.
My spring camping trip is family-friendly, as long as your kids are cool. If they scream and cry about dirt and bugs, leave them at home!! :-) We also do an annual adults-only camping trip in September for hiking Zion Narrows.
If you're not a hiker, there are plenty of sights to see along the free shuttle bus route, and the tourist town of Springdale right outside the gate (and the shuttle can take you there too.) Enjoy a walk along Main Street to see little shops and galleries, and party with us 'round the campfire.