In it’s 232 square miles, Zion National Park has a vibrant, diverse ecosystem. From high plateaus to deep sandstone canyons, visitors can enjoy magnificent green gardens, a 162-mile river, natural springs, and glittering waterfalls.
Ready to learn more about how to navigate the beautiful terrain? Discover everything you need to know about RV camping in Zion National Park with this comprehensive article!
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If you are planning to visit Zion National Park, one of the biggest things to take note of is its incredible natural history. With geological formations dating back 250 million years, the area has hidden gems around every bend. Get ready to dive into the diverse nature of Zion with these incredible facts!
Archeological evidence shows that people have been visiting the area for over 10,000 years.
Cliff houses and rock paintings in the canyon were left behind by the Anasazi people 800 to 1,500 years ago.
Zion National Park used to be virtually inaccessible to visitors due to poor road conditions and limited railway. However, in 1919, when Zion National Park became a national park, people wanted to explore it. To make the area accessible, a 25-mile road was built and completed in 1930, connecting Zion to the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. A 1.1-mile tunnel cuts through the sandstone cliffs and has windows that give visitors spectacular views of the area and opens up to even better views. The road and tunnel are regarded as an engineering feat!
Water traveling from a natural spring in the park takes about 1,000 years to reach the rocky surface.
In Hebrew, Zion means “a place of rest and relaxation.”
The park has more than 1,000 species of plants, 78 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles, seven species of amphibian, eight species of fish, and 291 species of birds, including the endangered California Condor.
The park covers 147,551 acres, with the highest elevation reaching 8,726 feet and the lowest point sitting at 3,666 feet.
About 2.5 million people visit the park each year.
Photo Credit: Instagram User @chiara.chiarinaa
Whether you are an experienced camper or a first-time RVer, all are welcome to enjoy the natural wonders of Zion! Ready to get started? Check out these top campgrounds in Zion National Park!
Amenities: Watchman Campground is by far one of the best Zion National Park RV sites due to its convenient location. Located right inside the park, you are only a fourth of a mile away from the South Entrance, near a shuttle stop that can transport you around the park, and right on the banks of the Virgin River. The site is equipped with a dump station, bathrooms, cold drinking water, picnic tables, fire pits, and grills. However, there are no full hookups, and generators are not permitted on site.
Capacity: 115 RV sites
More information: Watchman Campground
Amenities: South Campground is located a half-mile from the southern entrance to the park. There, you can find potable water and a dump station. Also, generators are permitted during certain times. While the South Campground doesn’t have many amenities, it’s the perfect location for those who want to get up close and personal with nature at Zion National Park!
Capacity: 117 RV sites
More information: South Campground
Zion River Resort
Amenities: This is one of the best RV parks near Zion National Park, located only minutes away from the park. The camp sits right along the Virgin River and offers incredible mountain views. There, you’ll find full hookups, a pool, a hot tub, a sauna, showers, wifi, cable, a game room, camp store, laundry facilities, and a dog park. Zion River Resort is a prime spot for family fun!
Capacity: 112 RV sites
More information: Zion River Resort
WilliowWind RV Park
Amenities: Just a short 30-minute drive from Zion National Park, WillowWing RV Park is conveniently located in an area where they can enjoy nature near town. This campsite offers full hookups, restrooms, showers, wifi, cable, laundry facilities, a fitness center, a dog run, a picnic area, and fire pits.
Capacity: 176 RV sites
More information: WilliowWind RV Park
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort
Amenities: Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort is one of the closest RV parks to Zion National Park that has full hookups. There you will find a pool, a hot tub, wifi, laundry facilities, picnic tables, a camp store, and a clubhouse. Additionally, the campsite has tons of activities for kids, families, and friends. For instance, this RV site has horseback riding, pony rides, ATVs, guided hikes, and tons of kids’ activities to keep the family busy.
Capacity: 61 RV sites
More information: Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort
Photo Credit: Instagram User @jordanbanksphoto
Did you know Zion National Park is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day?
Whatever time of year you plan on visiting Zion, it’s important to prepare for seasonal weather conditions.
We’ve compiled a guide to what each season is like in the park. Keep reading to learn the best time to visit Zion National Park for RV camping!
From December to February, the weather is often cold and wet.
Temperatures can reach as high as 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit with lows that drop below freezing at night.
Park shuttle buses are typically closed in winter but open during the holidays. Snowplows regularly clear roads during winter storms; nonetheless, driving conditions may still be poor and roads hard to navigate. Additionally, roads at higher elevations may not be accessible without winter gear.
Want to avoid crowds? Winter is the least crowded time to visit Zion National Park.
Popular winter activities include hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife viewing. Wild turkeys, golden eagles, bald eagles, deer, elk, and Bighorn sheep are common in winter.
In March and April, wildflowers bloom, and day temperatures can reach 30 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Though the most rainfall of the year occurs in March, the mild temperatures, vibrant spring colors, and glimpses of baby animals make this a lovely time to visit the park.
Waterfalls are seasonal in Zion National Park and can usually only be seen in spring. This is because the falls are caused by melting snow and early spring rains. They are sights you don’t want to miss!
If you love to hike and have an affinity for natural beauty, spring may be the best time to visit! While crowds are not their busiest, they can increase three-fold in March, compared to February, especially during spring break.
From May to September, temperatures often reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainstorms are common from July to September, and flash flooding often occurs.
Moreover, summer is the busiest time of year, with nearly half a million visitors per month. Crowds are especially high during holidays. To avoid crowds, avoid visiting the park during the Fourth of July, Memorial Day weekend, and Labor Day weekend.
Due to its popularity, summer offers many fun activities! For instance, hiking, canoeing, ziplining, rock climbing, horseback riding, and ranger-led programs are popular.
Want to avoid the hot weather? Cool off on the tall Kolob Canyon, which reaches more than 8,000 feet in elevation. The five-mile scenic drive offers some incredible sights to see!
Another great place to cool off is the mostly-shaded Riverside Walk. There, you can step into the refreshing Virgin River water, right at the entrance to the Narrows.
During October and November, you will experience mild temperatures and fewer crowds.
If you want to avoid the intense heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter while also avoiding large crowds, fall is by far the best time of year to go!
Cooler temperatures are optimal for hiking, but temperatures are known to vary by 30 degrees each day, so dress in layers.
Some of the best activities include hiking, biking, and horseback riding during this time of year.
Zion’s shuttle bus services operate in fall but run less frequently.
Zion National Park offers many fun activities for people of all skill levels. Want to relax with some lakeside strolls? Or perhaps challenge yourself with a challenging hike? Zion has it all! Keep reading to learn about some of the best things to do in Zion National Park!
Do you like rock climbing? The 2,000-foot sandstone cliffs at Zion National Park are world-renowned for their climbing.
Get a permit to go on one of the greatest outdoor adventures around! Otherwise known as canyoneering, the activity involves route finding, rappelling, problem-solving, swimming, and hiking.
One of the most interesting parts of Zion National Park is The Subway. No, it’s not a form of transportation. It’s a natural route that permit-holder visitors can do with an experienced guide or a detailed route map.
If you start at the bottom of the trail and work your way up, you’ll find yourself on a strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike that requires route-finding, creek crossing, and scrambling over boulders. If hiked from the top down, you will experience a challenging 9.5-mile hike that requires rappelling skills, 60-feet of rope, extensive route-finding experience, and swimming through several deep pools of water.
One of the most famous hiking spots is Angel’s Landing, which is a magnificent photo spot that juts into the canyon. The landing stands 1,488 feet above the Virgin River. However, the 2.2-mile hike can be dangerous due to steep switchbacks and dropoffs. If you are a hard-core adventurer, come prepared for a challenging hike and a spectacular view!
For a more relaxing activity, visit The Human History Museum, which displays the rich history of Zion National Park. The museum opens in spring and closes after Thanksgiving.
Ranger-led activities allow you to gain hands-on experience as you learn about the area’s geology, plants, animals, history, and more.
Other fun things to do in Zion National Park include backpacking, bicycling, birding, hiking, horseback riding, and stargazing.
The adventure doesn’t stop there—keep reading to learn more tips and tricks to navigating the vast Zion National Park!
Photo Credit: Instagram User @life.with.winnie
When visiting anywhere, it’s important to stay safe and come prepared! Check out these tips on visiting the area!
Weather can be unpredictable, often changing 30 degrees within the same day. Pack clothes for different weather conditions—hot or cold, rain, or shine.
The summer months can be hot, so take the necessary precautions to prevent heat-related illness. When hiking, take frequent breaks, drink lots of water, and wear sunscreen.
There likely won’t be any cell service while you are hiking, when you are in the canyons, or when visiting the backcountry, so come prepared on your hikes and travel safely.
The entrance fee for zion National Park is $35 per vehicle, with a maximum of four people per vehicle for a week.
Camping is popular in Zion National Park, and campgrounds can fill up by mid-morning. From mid-March through late November, campgrounds are full almost every night, so be sure to make a reservation before you go!
Photo Credit: Instagram User @jordanbanksphoto
Tips for RV Rental Travel for Zion National Park
If you don't own an RV but still want to experience camping in Zion National Park, renting an RV is a great option. Here are some tips for renting an RV for your Zion adventure.
Research and book in advance: RV rentals can be in high demand, especially during peak visiting times. It's best to research and book your rental well in advance to ensure availability.
Consider the size and amenities: Depending on the size of your group and your preferences, choose an RV that suits your needs. Consider the number of beds, kitchen facilities, bathroom amenities, and overall comfort.
Check for restrictions and requirements: Different rental companies may have specific rules and requirements, such as minimum age restrictions, mileage limitations, and driver's license requirements. Make sure to review these details before booking.
Plan your itinerary: Decide on your desired itinerary and the duration of your trip. Knowing how long you plan to stay in Zion National Park will help you determine the rental duration and associated costs.
Familiarize yourself with RV operation: If you're new to RV camping, take some time to familiarize yourself with the operation of the vehicle. Many rental companies provide orientations and guidelines to help you get started.
Pack essential RV supplies: While the rental may include some basic supplies, it's a good idea to bring essential RV camping gear such as bedding, cooking utensils, camping chairs, and outdoor equipment.
Plan for RV campsite reservations: Just like traditional campgrounds, RV campsites in Zion National Park can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. Make reservations with the Zion Canyon visitor center or direct to the campground in advance to secure your spot.
Plan for fuel and waste disposal: Understand the fuel consumption of your rented RV and plan accordingly. Additionally, familiarize yourself with waste disposal stations near the park for emptying your tanks when needed.
Additional Details for Traveling to Zion National Park
Traveling to Zion National Park can be an exciting adventure, whether you're coming from within Utah or outside the state. Here are some additional details to consider for your journey.
From Within Utah
The closest major airports to Zion National Park are Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS). Both airports offer rental car services, which can be convenient for accessing the park.
If you're driving from within Utah, there are several routes to consider. From Salt Lake City, take I-15 South and follow signs for Zion National Park. The drive from Salt Lake City takes approximately 4.5 hours. Another option is to fly into St. George Regional Airport (SGU), which is about a 1-hour drive from the park.
From Outside the State
If you're flying from outside the state, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) is a popular choice due to its proximity to Zion National Park. Renting a car from the airport is a convenient option for transportation.
From Las Vegas, take I-15 North and follow the signs for Zion National Park. The drive from Las Vegas takes approximately 2.5 hours.
Transportation Options Within the Park
Zion National Park operates a convenient shuttle system that provides transportation to various points of interest within the park. The shuttle is a great way to access trailheads, scenic spots, and other popular sites.
If you prefer to drive your RV within the park, note that certain areas may have restrictions on vehicle size. Be sure to check the park's regulations regarding vehicle length, height, and other limitations.
Instagram-Worthy Photo Locations
Zion National Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, providing countless opportunities for capturing Instagram-worthy photos. Here are some popular photo locations within the park.
This iconic slot canyon offers unique photo opportunities with its towering walls and the Virgin River running through it. Capture the dramatic light and reflections for breathtaking shots.
Hiking up to Angels Landing rewards you with a spectacular panoramic view of Zion Canyon. Capture the stunning vista from this vantage point.
These picturesque pools and waterfalls provide a serene setting for capturing the beauty of Zion. The lush greenery and cascading water make for stunning photographs.
Canyon Overlook Trail
This short and scenic trail offers breathtaking views of Zion Canyon and the surrounding landscape. Reach the overlook for incredible photo opportunities.
The Weeping Rock area features a unique rock alcove that "weeps" with water. Capture the contrast of the dripping water against the vibrant greenery.
If you're lucky enough to secure a permit for The Subway hike, you'll be rewarded with an incredible natural formation resembling a subway tunnel. Capture the intricate details of this unique spot.
Utah is home to many other social-media-worthy spots like the Bryce Canyon National Park among other national parks.
Animal Species You Might Encounter
Zion National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. While exploring the park, you might encounter various animal species, including:
Mountain lions (rarely seen)
California Condor (endangered)
Various bird species, including hummingbirds and woodpeckers
Remember to observe wildlife from a safe distance and refrain from feeding or approaching them. Respecting their natural habitats is crucial for their well-being and your safety.
When Are Peak Visiting Times During the Year?
Zion National Park attracts visitors year-round, but certain periods experience higher visitation levels. The peak visiting times include:
Spring Break (March to early April): Many families and college students visit the park during this period, leading to increased crowds.
Summer (June to August): The summer months are the busiest time in Zion National Park, with nearly half a million visitors per month. Crowds are especially high during holidays and weekends.
Fall Foliage Season (late September to mid-October): As the leaves change color, the park becomes popular for its beautiful fall foliage, attracting a significant number of visitors.
Holiday Weekends: Holiday weekends such as Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend often see increased visitation to the park.
To avoid large crowds, consider visiting Zion National Park during non-peak times or on weekdays. Early mornings and weekdays tend to be less crowded, providing a more peaceful experience.
With all this information at hand, you'll be well-prepared to embark on an unforgettable RV camping adventure in Zion National Park. Enjoy the stunning landscapes, engage in exciting activities, and create lasting memories in this natural wonderland!
Are you ready to start your RV adventure at Zion National Park?
Rent your RV with the lowest-priced, most practical RV rental company in the nation: Cruise America. Each RV comes equipped with air conditioning for the hot summer months, a heating system for the cold winters, and a generator. Additionally, you’ll have your own shower, fresh water toilet, gas cooktop, refrigerator, and microwave.
Additionally, each RV is pet friendly so you can bring your furry friend along with you on your adventure!
Rent your RV today with Cruise America!