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Camping Trip: Zion National Park, Utah

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.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey Everyone, Had a great time and loved meeting everyone. Thanks Cynthia for organizing the meet up. Had such a great time and will be attending the next one. Uploaded some photos. Enjoy.

    May 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Agnes

    Thank you Cynthia, we had a wonderful weekend meeting and mingle with everyone at the campsite plus an awesome hikes.

    1 · May 5, 2013

  • Shasta

    Thanks Cynthia for your wonderful hostess skills. I had a great time and met a lot of nice people who were awesome helps with my novice tent camping skills and love affair with catepillars.

    May 5, 2013

  • Valerie

    We had a wonderful time camping with you!

    May 5, 2013

  • Bruce

    I will not be there.

    May 3, 2013

  • Linda B.

    Sadly, it looks as if I'm not going to make this trip....I have a project for work due Monday, and lots of work to catch up on. I'll have to try to hit Zion sometime during the summer.

    May 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have dogs and no doggie caare person. 3 dogs and a cat. I prefer someone to stay here at my house with them. I can pay 50.00 for the whole trip and all they can eat if anyone knows anyone. I hope for next year. Thanks, Jean

    May 2, 2013

  • calli

    I have not camped since I was 7 years old with girl scout group, so do not know how to set up a tent, but I want to be in Zion for the first time to enjoy the natural beauty and hike, do not want to wait for 6-12 months for another chance, do not mind to sleep in my car for 2 nights, and to get chance to learn camping, I can drive and have a national parks pass, could I join you all?

    May 2, 2013

  • Valerie

    We have a National Parks pass and room for 2 more in our car. We also have kids, though, for those who are allergic

    April 17, 2013

    • Shasta

      oh yeah! Message didn't come to my inbox...Sounds great, will meet you there. Let me know if we need any supplies.

      April 24, 2013

    • Valerie

      I am just seeing this thread. We are leaving around noon.

      April 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I posted an FAQ page on the hiking meetup, please read it for any trip prep you're doing for this weekend - http://www.meetup.com/VegasHikers/messages/boards/thread/34051492/

    April 30, 2013

  • Melissa

    Hi Cynthia!! We're going to make it out there for Cinco de Mayo with you all. We have the baby now which means we'll be staying at a hotel (he's a little young to camp) We look forward to hanging with you all around the campfire. See you soon! :)

    1 · April 1, 2013

    • Valerie

      I am bringing my kids, as well. They are 6.5, 4 and 1.5. How old is your baby? I look forward to meeting you.

      April 28, 2013

  • Don

    Are they allowing firewood? I can bring a bunch if needed. Is 11:00am on Friday the earliest we can set up camp?

    April 25, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      No fire restrictions currently in effect, so more wood is always welcome. I use the grop money to bring 6 bundles, and that gives normally gives us plenty, but if we have big bonfire afficionados, bring more! ;)

      April 27, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Noon on Friday is the earliest we can check-in at camp. My carpool is meeting at Cannery at 230pm if anyone wants to caravan.

      April 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It snowed in Zion last week ... supposed to be in the 80's next weekend. Springtime is always a gamble! :-D

    We've always been lucky with the weather on this trip, but we're still watching the caterpillar report with caution, lol.

    April 22, 2013

  • Mystère D.

    Fun fun! I'm looking forward to Zion! I've visited there years back and remember how beautiful it is. I've always wanted to camp in the park, so this is my chance. So excited! :O)

    April 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can't go this time, but I would love to go in the future. I have a question about the group supplies. Firewood costs I understand because generally people need to do something to cook food, but do you mean that all the other items on the list are throwaways? I never throw away bags full of plastic and paper when I go camping...or at home, either, for that matter. It's ecologically unsound and economically wasteful. I use metal and cloth. Would you please consider having people bring their own reusable utensils, plates, cups etc. so that there's no need for multiple garbage bags?

    April 2, 2013

  • Linda B.

    I'll be leaving Vegas after work (school) on Friday, about 4:00, and can probably take a passenger (or two).

    April 2, 2013

  • Linda B.

    Yay, Cinco de Mayo trip! I missed it last year. Cynthia, I'll put a check in the mail to you since I don't do paypal. I've really been missing Zion!

    April 2, 2013

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