the dyrt
Zion National Park, UTAH
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Windy but beautiful

Ended up here as a last minute change in camping locations, and it didn’t disappoint. Spots are a little rough, with some concrete tables (a couple with missing benches) and other spots with old weathered wooden tables. Saw a mountain lion while out on a stroll in the campground, which was exciting. Will be back for sure, when it warms up and the cold wind that comes out of the canyon isn’t so bone chilling.

Beautiful but Loud

We arrived here late at night after we found out that Zion Campground was closed. It was an easy drive in but the only spot we found to camp was right off the dirt road so we laid out our tarp and hoped for the best. While climbing into our sleeping bags someone had a drone flying over our heads just out of reach and kept it there for about an hour. We yelled to ask them to turn it off but no one responded and it just kept buzzing overhead. Then about 12 am another group came barreling down the dirt road and set up shop super close to us apparently not seeing our cars nor us and proceeded to blast music and yell for about 30 mins until I flashed my headlamp at them and one of them immediately responded "sorry!" and got the group quiet. They must have thought they were alone.

The morning came and the drone was back for about 20 mins till I spotted the people up on the nearby cliff and asked them nicely to respect our privacy. They respected the request and took the drone elsewhere.

The view was incredible! If it weren't for all the ruckus it would have been a perfect start to the Zion foot of the trip. But unfortunately it is hit or miss with dispersed camping.

My favorite campsite

doesn't matter if your tent camping or using an RV I guess I'm kind of partial to this campground my family has had our reunions here for 100+ years. There are freshwater places where you can hook up and get fresh water and there is a RV clean-out spot, and there are restrooms.

For those that need it DuckCreekVillage down the road has a store, gas station, and cabins you can rent. You can also go online and reserve a spot if you need to or a cabin or whatever you like in the area

Quiet and Beautiful

This campground is quiet and out of the way from nearby Zion National Park. This is a great place to stay if the campgrounds near Zion are booked or you want to avoid the crowd, as long as you don't mind the 45 minute drive if you are going to Zion before or after staying here. The ground is mostly sand, except for the paved parking and driving areas. There are plenty of trees for shade, and a picnic table and fire ring are provided. Modern restrooms and showers are provided, but they are not the cleanest, though they are acceptable for a smaller campground in a secluded state park.

The real beauty of this campground is the nearby sand dunes. A short walk from the campground is the pedestrian entrance to the the Coral Pink sand dunes, which seem to go on for miles. There is a small shelter with informational plaques, and a path to where you can walk down to the dunes. Be careful though, because the dunes are very popular with dune buggy and off-road enthusiasts.


Watchman campground is inside of Zion National Park. Reservations are hard to get, I booked mine the moment they were released and when I was done booking they were all filled. You can easily walk to the visitor's center to hop onto a shuttle. There are also trail access points off of the campground. The views from anywhere in the sites are lovely. The bathrooms are well kept with flushing toilets. There is no store on site, and you can only buy firewood outside of the park. We were able to walk to buy it but it is a bit of a hike back while carrying firewood, I would recommend purchasing wood before you arrive. This is one of the nosier campgrounds that I have visited. There was loud music until 10pm from the town right outside the gates of the park, along side the campground. This is nice if you want to enjoy the social party scene, but less appealing when trying to enjoy the nature.

Loop D, site 20: Our site was wonderful! I would book this site again if we return. This site is along the back side of the campground so you have no neighbors behind you, just a beautiful view of Watchman. You are on the curve so there is extra space between you and your neighbors. There is ample space for a large tent, or 2 smaller tents on a marked tent pad. The bathrooms are 4 or 5 sites down the road. There is a fire ring and a picnic table. This site is one of the furthest points from the visitor's center in all of the campground.

Lava Point or Try the Back Country

Lava Point is a First come First Serve campground. It is small so get there early. You will take Kolob Terrace Road North. This will get you away from most of the crowds near Springdale. My suggestion is get a back country pass and take you pack and tent on one of the many side trails off of Kolob Terrace Road. You will see some beautiful country and you won't have to fight the crowds for a campsite. You are also at a higher elevation so it is a little cooler than down in the main park.

This is one of the most beautiful places on earth!

There is only one South Campground at Zion NP

You can check out my other reviews for Zion National Park. Make sure you don't get confused, there is only one south campground at Zion National Park. If you are looking for long term reservations then you need to camp at Watchman. if you can take the risk of a first come first serve campsite and you have missed your window for getting a site at Watchman, then take your chances, it is worth it. But get there early, before 7:00 a.m. The campground fills up quickly.

Zion is becoming more poular every year. Expect big crowds.

South Camp Ground is amazing, but it doesn't take long term reservations

South Campground is gorgeous. It is great if you are willing to take the risk for the first come first served. I am traveling from too far away to take that risk so I always stay in Watchman. If I lived closer I would take a shot at staying in South Campground. My advice, get there early because it fills up fast!

I used my Sony Camera rather than my Iphone for these pics. I think they turned out much better than my Watchman pics.

There is only one Watchman

Don't be confused when you see two Watchman campgrounds. There is really only one campground and you need to book it six months in advance. It is so beautiful and so much fun. If you want to be around some amenities though, skip Springdale and drive an hour west to St. George and make sure you stop off at In and Out Burger. Especially if you live in the midwest like me.

Book 6 Months in advance

Zion National Park is one of my favorites. This is the second time I have been here in the last four years. This time we spent a whole week here with the kids. It was awesome but it is tough to find a spot if you don't make your reservations six moths in advance. Make sure you book it early. It fills up fast

Love this place

Really love this campground! It's small but nice. Good distant between sites and it's a really beautiful place with great hiking.

Quiet spot

Nice, peaceful spot in the National Forest. Not much in the way of amenities, just a toilet. Really liked the sites being more set back in the trees.

Nice and quiet!

This spot is right off the hwy but very peaceful. Lots of great tree cover. Best part is you can have your dogs here!

Great spot

Beautiful new campsites with partial shelter. Newer part of the campground features group sites. Great access to the park and shuttles!

In the thick of it

Excellent campground but not much privacy. This is a beautiful place with some much needed shade! Some sites are close to the creek and others are right off the road. Great place to camp if you need to hit the shuttle early to start your hike!

Small But Great Location

Let me just start by saying if you are trying to make it to this spot you might want to make sure you do so early, it is very small and with only 6 spots it gets packed quickly. If trying to get here on a weekend, GOOD LUCK! I recommend weekday excursions here since you cannot reserve and it is first come first serve.

So what makes this spot so appealing?? Well to start with it is FREE!! Yes, in all the camping which you have to pay for out by Zion this one is one of the few you will find that have limited amenities and is in fat free to visit. Of course with that being said it is popular.

Not all vehicles can make it out to this site and depending on what the weather has been a smaller lower car might struggle in some places if there is wash out in the region. I made it in my small Nissan on the day I visited only to find it was already occupied.

The sites here are pretty basic, no running water at the sites at all. Pit toilets were well maintained and stocked. Each campsite was large enough for comfort from your neighbors and had a picnic table and fire ring. The camp is at a high enough elevation that it gets pretty cool up there at night. I'd say at any given time it is probably 10-20 degrees cooler than the lower areas of Zion. I had on a light jacket exploring the camp and a wind nearly cut right through me mid day.

One of my favorite things about this camp was the access it has to the West Rim Trail, you can access it quickly from this area. Along this trail you can get some of the best overlooks in the park at some of the highest points. You can also use this trail to walk almost entirely around the park from big trail to big trail.


  • Bring everything!! Make sure that includes lots of water because you will not find a water spigot anywhere near you and if you plan on hiking from this camp you will need it.

  • Try a solar shower here, there are great sunny spots to set up a solar shower and let it heat up midday.

  • Check weather conditions. This area has signs posted about frequent lightening, you can avoid this by simply checking the weather to see if you are at risk.

Easy access to hikes and clean!

Amazing campground if you want to get out and explore Zion. Right next to the first shuttle stop, there you can take the shuttle to Angels Landing, Overlook, the Narrows or walk over to the visitors center. We stayed in Area A which was also quick walk to the local pub and store to rent dry suit gear for the narrows. Bathrooms were amazingly clean and onsite staff was nice and helpful. I would stay here again!

Quiet, Close to Zion

This is BLM land so its free, and no amenities. Pack it in and pack it out. You drive down a gravel road into a ravine. There's a large gravel lot to the left and a bit of a half loop near a river on the right a little further down the road. There is shade here from plenty of trees. Continuing on the road, there are horse corrals on the left and beyond that, a large group site. There were lots of scout tents up there. Beyond this, the road turns sandy and hard to navigate unless you have a 4x4. We turned around here and stayed at the first lot we found. There was a big RV already there and a passenger car. Plenty of space for the three of us and maybe 2 more. Being into the ravine made it a quiet night but a very cold morning. No shade here. This BLM area is close to the east side of Zion and Mt Carmel town. Good restaurant in Mt Carmel.

Convenient to Zion

This is BLM land, which is free to camp on. Pretty easy to find. Right off the Highway 9, near Hurricane Utah. Get your supplies before you go from town. Conveniently located, just west, to Zion park. Being close to Zion the views of the mountains from this land were spectatuclar. The place is also close to Maverick gas station that offers free dump stations. The road to the camp area is gravel and a bit rutted. Would recommend you drive the road slowly and you'll be fine. There were some class A RVs that made it down the road just fine. Once you get to the area, there's plenty of obvious places to pull over and camp. The place had quite a few campers and tenters, probably due to proximity to Zion. But everyone was a respectable distance away. There was enough space for all and enough to feel you had some privacy. There was a lot of trash around. Not sure why folks didn't pack it out. There are no amenities here including trash cans. It all has to be packed in and packed out. No toilets either.

tiny but useful

Lava point is pretty deep into the park, so it takes a little while to get here from the south entrance. It's a very tiny camping area, with like five or so sites. Also, I think its only open during the on season and closes around the fall time.

While you're in Zion, you gotta check out some awesome trails. Angel's landing is a great hike. Don't do it if you're afraid of heights though, because there are some pretty sketchy spots. Also check out The Narrows. You're walking through water the whole way, so make sure you get some good socks and shoes. Also check out the museum in the park.

Busy Camp With River Access To Narrows

When we traveled here we were fortunate enough to snag a spot at Watchman, which is pretty difficult to do unless you plan to go well in advance. My tip is to try to plan during the week after school has come back into session, it is still warm enough but there are a few less travelers here at that time, still pretty busy. (Campground Website)

Settling into the site it was laid out pretty well with standard amenities, the bonus to this site is the restrooms are heated, much needed on those cold windy mornings. Just helps you start your day freshening up in a little comfort. There are no showers here so by freshening up I mean anything you can do from a standard sink or you can walk to the Zion Outfitters for a shower and pay for the service there.

The site itself was pretty flat and hard packed which was great for sleeping with a sleep roll but not so great for staking the tent. Had to use the method of wetting the ground to secure and drive in the stakes before camping. Not staking the tent is NOT an option, the wind here will get strong enough to blow it away if you are not secure.

I did notice that some sites were equipped with different amenities, typically occupied by RVs and though I didn't explore a lot around these and be nosey it looked like maybe electric was available. (Full Campground Map)

At night it was really quiet after 10 except the whipping of the wind. I noticed the following morning a few people who had taller tents were struggling with repositioning them because they had caught to much wind and it had made them buckle or they had lost their rain flaps. It was pretty chilly and I can't imagine being one of those hikers looking to do the Narrows on days like the one I was there. Still I did notice people packing their gear and wetsuits for the long hike as early as sun up.

Book Your Visit To Watchman


  • Opt for metal stakes instead of plastic ones, they drive a bit more easily into the hard packed dirt and set to hold more securely in the gusty winds.
  • Use your America The Beautiful Pass fo admission and save big while also getting into the park more quickly.
  • Bring a jacket. Even during the warmer months a light jacket is a good thing, temps do drop at night here and it can get quite chilly with winds very rapidly.
Every year stop!

Great for the kids! Heated pool and adult only hot tub. Planned kid events and close to local attractions. Excellent Rzr trails near the camp. Paved for bile riding

Incredible views, a little crowded.

The views from the site were incredible and had access to one of the trails. Also right next to the visitors center to catch the shuttle. Campsites are very close together which made being right next to screaming kids a little unbearable. Our site was also on a slant which made use continually slide to one end of our tent all night. Overall it was convenient and a beautiful campsite.

Beautiful! High up on a mountain, on a lake

Beautiful campground on a lake. During the winter there's alot of snow, so it's hard to camp up there then. Perfect during the summer. No reservations & free camping.

Great for Kids

Lots of fun for kids. Horseback riding, putt putt golf, pad boards, cabins, tents and Rv sites.

Best Resort to date!

Excellent service and great for Kids.

Lots to offer

Both primitive camping and full hook ups. Lake is nice for fishing and boating, but has concerns of swimmers itch. Come prepared. Lots of rzr riding.

Excellent get away

Very few rv sites and no hook ups so be prepared.

Great spot - In the Park

Great campground and definitely a spot I'd want to stay again when back in Zion. It can book up, but they have good spots with decent privacy and its a very clean and nice campground. Wake up to views in Zion, doesn't get much better! Also right next to the visitors center and walking path into park and into down. Great spot! And does have cell service there.

Good in a pinch!

Stayed here one night in our camper van. Not a lot of rv spaces (completely full when we showed up late on a Saturday night) so we opted for a tent site which was cheaper anyways and they had plenty of open slots for a Saturday. It probably helped that it was rainy for the tent sites.

Good location, about 5 minutes down the road from Zion's east entrance. And zion is just amazing! Highly recommend taking a few days here!

The grounds have nice showers and restrooms along with coin-op laundry and foosball tables. Decent wifi (writing this review here) and nice couches in lounge area.

And the view is amazing to wake up too here! See photos.