For visitors to Zion National Park, South Campground is an ideal place to stay. Reservations for South Campground are available 14 days ahead of arrival. Located near the parks south entrance, the campground is just a short walk from the main visitor center, the Zion Canyon Shuttle System and the adjacent town of Springdale. The canyon and most of the parks trails are only accessible by shuttle bus from approximately the end of February until the end of November each year. South Campground is open from approximately March 1st to the Monday after Thanksgiving in November. For reservations more than 14 days ahead of arrival, please check Watchman Campground which offers reservations six months ahead of arrival.
Zion is known for its dynamic geologic history. The South Campground and Amphitheater were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the early 1930s. The project was completed and opened to the public in the spring of 1935. The Virgin River, a narrow but powerful river that has carved out the canyon over time, runs adjacent to the site. Cottonwood trees surrounding the campsite turn golden in the fall. Although the campground is moderately forested, most of the campsites are in partial to full sun but visitors can cool off in the cold river when temperatures peak during summer. Be Advised: The months of April and May bring an unusual infestation of Tent Caterpillars, which fall from trees onto tents, tables, and unsuspecting campers and can make it quite uncomfortable to sit outside. The months of July and August in particular bring a higher concentration of ants in the campsites, which seem to come out especially after the monsoons, but are present all summer long. August and September bring meat eating yellowjackets. Insecticidal treatment by visitors is not permitted.
Hikers can access three trails directly from the facility: the Watchman Trail, a moderate trail that ascends the peak behind the campground; the Archeology Trail, which offers a light hike to an archeological site; and the Parus Trail, a paved walking and biking trail that runs alongside the river, and the only trail in the park that allows dogs. The Zion visitor center and the park shuttles are a short walk from the campground where additional hiking trails are available. Many popular rock climbing routes are within a short shuttle bus ride into the main canyon.
Flush toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, firepits and a dump station are provided at this facility. Four group sites are available that can accommodate RVs and tents. There are no hook-ups in this campground. Generators can be used during specific hours. Use of OHVs and ATVs is prohibited in Zion National Park.
The town of Springdale has shopping, art galleries, shower facilities, restaurants. equipment rental businesses, gas stations, markets, bike rentals, library and health clinic.
Day Use Area: Amphitheater
South CG is situated near the VC and the Watchman CG. We had a “walk-in” site on the riverbank (no river access, though, due to intense shrubbery and a fence). These walk-in sites are just across the Pa’rus trail from where you park your car - there’s no real distance to carry your things, so don’t let that deter you! These walk-in sites were a little nicer because you’re slightly more spread out, but the Pa’rus trail traffic is running between your site and your car. We didn’t have any issues with noise. Considering that the CG was full, it was surprisingly quiet. The specific site we stayed in, #72, was covered in anthills and ants. The camp hosts were helpful, but apparently this is a recurring problem with site #72, so I’d just select a different spot. The other walk-to sites didn’t seem affected by the ant problem. We put our tent in front of the car on the paved parking pad, which was ant-free.
This campground is great for exploring Zion National Park. Each campsite has a fire pit and picnic table. There are restrooms with running water and electricity. Only a short walk from a shuttle station and Visitor’s Center. We also had deer around our campsite every morning and evening.
Seems like a crazy title BUT have you ever sat around the campfire and had it raining caterpillars? Literally? There is apparently an invasion of caterpillars in Zion right now(end of April), millions of caterpillars everywhere.. Beyond the take-over this is a beautiful campground with the Virgin River at its side. Our Family enjoyed this campground tremendously, our 5 year old loved the caterpillars even more! Speaking of tiny humans be sure to pick up their Junior Ranger Program either at the Visitor Center(off season) or the Nature center(peak season) and they too can Earn a nifty Junior Ranger Badge! With plenty to do for all ages in the nearby museum there are also 2 trails that are accessible from the campground, the watchman trail (moderate 3.3) and the Pa’rus trail that is paved for handicap and cyclists with gorgeous views of the swift Virgin River. I would advise everyone to make your reservations 2 weeks in advance! We got lucky but spent half the day just waiting to know IF we could get a site. The town of Springdale just on the outside of the park is accessible from the campgrounds with a Market and several gear outfitters. Not to mention the Zion Brewery which was fantastic too! Overall great experience even with all the creepy caterpillars!
This campground was great for us! Large campsites, ours held our car and an 8 person tent with plenty of room to cook, hang out, and kick a soccer ball around. Bathrooms are clean and drinking water is cold! It's also GORGEOUS with amazing views of The Watchman from the site and two hiking trails next to the campground. Be sure to book online ASAP (2 weeks in advance is the earliest allowed) because these sites fill up super fast.
Stayed here in the winter and had a lovely time. The park was pretty empty, and this gave me a chance to explore so many great areas, including The Narrows, with limited interruption. Highly recommend Zion in the winter!
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.
Beautiful new campsites with partial shelter. Newer part of the campground features group sites. Great access to the park and shuttles!
The South Campground in Zion is less popular than the Watchman Campground. There seemed to be less RV's in South, which for me is always a plus. I visited at the very beginning of October and if was still very warm, the temperature never seemed to drop at night. All I needed to sleep was a blanket, and not even my sleeping bag.
Upon arrival, the campground hosts chose a spot for me based on the current availability. The challenge with camping in the park is that as soon as spots are empty they are taken so there is a constant turn over and you just take what you can get.
The sites themselves are not all the private but a conveniently located to bathrooms, water, and trash. Unfortunately I was placed right behind one of the bathrooms and the sites are such that people were walking through on their way to and from the bathrooms.
There is a river that runs along one side of the campground and if you're really lucky, you may get one of those sites. There are a few spots where you can access the river to relax or for a quick dip.
The Pa'rus trail runs through the campground which makes is easy to get to the Visitors Center and shuttle stop (roughly a 5 minute walk). The town of Springdale is not far away and easy to get to through the southern pedestrian entrance.
If you're looking for a hike and want to forego the shuttle lines and/or the crowds of Angles Landing (or maybe it just isn't your thing) I suggest the Watchman Trail that leaves from the Visitors Center.
Went to Zion for the weekend to hike the narrows and hidden canyon. This time around, we decided to camp at one of the established campgrounds.
Pros: located near the entrance, therefore convenient.
Cons: have to book weeks ahead of time, there’s a $20 a night fee, and a sea of people, therefore no privacy.
To avoid the crowds, I would suggest camping on Kolob road (see my previous post). Even though it’s 30 minutes from Zion and considerate a primitive campground, it is free, next to a stream, and with not crowded
This is by far on of my favorite National Parks. The campground is fairly large (100 + spots) but very hard to secure a spot, make sure to book ahead of time! Zion has some rules about booking ahead so check the website to know when to make a booking. We managed to get a spot last minute but it was a walk in spot. These are a problem if you have a lot of stuff but you can avoid some crowds with them. The views right from the campground are incredible and the rest of the park is overwhelmingly fun.
The campground has plenty of vault toilets, picnic tables, water and trash bins. There are other campgrounds in the park as well as outside if this is full. Caution that the grounds outside the park can be pricey and are nothing special.