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VegasHikers Message Board Hiking and Outdoors Related Discussion › FAQ: Camping in Zion National Park

FAQ: Camping in Zion National Park

Cynthia D.
Grapevine, TX
Post #: 890
Zion National Park is my favorite weekend getaway in Las Vegas. Our Meetup group camps are a great way to experience this treasure with new friends, whether you enjoy hiking in Zion or strolling the nearby tourist town of Springdale.


Q: What does my $10 pay for?

A: Campsite fee for two nights ($3 per person, per night), and group supplies like firewood, paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and garbage bags. I paid $220 deposit for the campsite and it's not refundable. You're always welcome to sell or give your spot to anyone any time.

Q: What other costs are there?

A: Park entrance is $25 per car, or they accept the National Parks Pass for free entry. If you leave the park, get a re-entry receipt. Share the cost of entry, gas, wear-n-tear, and cleanup with your carpool, around $15-30 per person depending on the car and how many people. If you arrive late at night, the booths are closed and you're on the honor system to go pay in the morning.

Q: What if it rains?

A: We go rain or shine. (Weather Forecast:­) No worries, afternoon showers are common during monsoon season, and a little rain in the forecast scares off the crowds, while you'll get to see roaring waterfalls that are normally dry.

Q: How do I get there?

A: Arrange carpools in the event comments by posting if you can drive, when you're leaving, and how many you can fit. I recommend meeting at Cannery on Craig Rd, on the 4th floor of the parking garage, park along wall closest to Craig. The drive is simple: Take I-15 north (120 miles) past St. George, Utah. At Exit 16, take State Route 9 east (33 miles) to the park. (Google Map:­) Just follow the signs, and watch for a tricky right turn in La Verkin. When you arrive at the park, pay the toll booth and turn right toward the Visitors Center. Watchman Campground is at the end of the road. When you reach the camp host booth, tell them our site number and they'll give you a parking pass. There's only room for 8 cars at the site, so if you have less than 3 people in your car, you will drop off your gear at our camp, and then park your car at the Amphitheater or Visitors Center, just a few minutes walk up the street.

Q: When do we leave and get back?

A: Check-in opens at noon on Friday, so your carpool can leave as early as 8am. If you're joining us for potluck dinner on Friday night around 8pm, you need to leave Vegas by 3:30pm (3-hour drive, plus Utah is +1 hour ahead.) Our site must be clean and empty at 11am Sunday, so pack up and move your car if you'd like to stay longer on Sunday. Parking is free throughout the park, or in Springdale. If you leave the park, get a receipt so you can re-enter without paying the toll again.

Q: Why are some people missing?

A: Some people get backcountry permits to sleep in the wilderness, for example Narrows Top-Down, or the East Rim and West Rim trails. If you have a canyoneer permit for the day or overnight, comment with details and perhaps folks will join you. Some people rent their own single campsite as well, so feel free to RSVP with us for free, so you're in the conversation and photos. Some people sleep in their cars, some people wander off to sleep with other people, and some people are eaten by mountain lions. Circle of life, folks.

Q: Poppa, what's the campsite like?

A: There's a bathroom with flush toilets and sink. There's a fire ring with a metal grate for cooking. It gets crowded at mealtime, so consider bringing a camp stove, or ready-eat foods. There are several fantastic restaurants in Springdale, so some people don't bring any food at all. There are a few trees, so a hammock is possible (unless too many people bring them.) When you arrive, please set up your tents close enough that we can all fit. Please do not set up close to the fire area, because people need room for their chairs, and to walk at night without tripping on poles and ropes.

Cynthia D.
Grapevine, TX
Post #: 891

Q: What do I bring?

A: There are two minds on packing, "car camping" versus "backpacking." What you pack depends on how much luxury you want, versus how much gear you want to lug around. Luckily, we park next to the camp, so you don't have to carry your stuff very far. But if you're carpooling, space gets to a premium and you need to pack lighter. If you're missing something, you can rent gear at REI, or use the event comments to ask to borrow or rent from a Meetup person. A lot of campers have a lot of extra gear they could loan you.


Cynthia's example for a weekend in Zion
  • Tent, hammock, or bivvy
  • Sleep pad or air mattress & pump
  • Sleeping bag, blanket, and pillow
  • Lantern, flashlight or headlamp, and fresh batteries
  • Wash cloth, hand towel, and biodegradable soap, or baby wipes
  • Personal toiletries
  • Camp chair
  • Rope
  • First aid kit and personal medications
  • Firewood and fire starter (*provided by Meetup for this trip.)
  • Trash bag and recycle bag (*provided by Meetup for this trip.)
  • Cook gear: Stove, fuel, pan, plate, bowl, utensils, cup, sponge, bio dish soap, napkins, can opener, bottle opener, knife.
  • Hard plastic container to store all food (chipmunks raid the campsite and will chew through backpacks and tents to get food. If your container is soft, hang it from a tree.)
  • Cooler (dry ice lasts longer, or there's ice in Springdale)
  • Meals, snacks, drinks, water container
  • Hiking shoes and comfy campsite shoes
  • Bug spray, sunblock, UV lip balm, hat, sunglasses
  • Clothes, jacket for cool nights, rain gear just in case
  • Backpack or waistpack
  • Camera, cell phone, alarm clock (if needed)
  • Ear plugs
  • Optional Bonus Gear:
  • Small plastic ground tarp for under the tent.
  • Small broom or whisk to clean tent when you pack up.
  • Hammer for pounding in tent stakes.
  • Travel games, book, ipod, binoculars, etc for leisure time


1. Pets are not allowed on this trip. The park allows service animals, but not on the shuttle bus, and the owner must stay with the animal at all times ... which basically leaves you locked down at the campsite and visitor center, and we will not dogsit for you to go sight-see.

2. The park's Quiet Hours start at 10pm, and the Rangers strictly enforce it. You are free to stay up and party quietly as late as you want, as long as the people in other tents cannot hear you talking/laughing/singing/moaning. This means breaking up into small groups, and speaking softly. We get one warning, and then you are literally asked to pack up and leave.

3. Avoid glass containers.

4. No firearms, fireworks, illegal or controlled substances. Zion is federal land (expensive tickets you can't lawyer down), and Utah does not recognize Nevada permits.

Cynthia's cell 702-717-1412 (very poor reception in the park, I prefer text!!)


... will be easy, because Zion has excellent trail descriptions posted at the Visitors Center. Usually on Friday night, the group will discuss who wants to do which trails when, and small groups form plans. It's a very DIY-friendly park, since the free park shuttle takes you to every trailhead, and almost every trail is practically paved and easy to follow.
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