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
In my opinion, this campground is a means to an end… It's simply the most convenient place to camp if you want to take advantage of Zion and all the amazing hikes. We arrived super late because of traffic and the entrance to the park was closed so we couldn't get in to camp - we had to (illegally) sleep in our car until morning. The campground is right at the entrance and is nicely spaced out. In all honesty, we didn't spend much time at the site because we were out hiking the Narrows, Angels Landing, and anywhere else we could possibly wander. There's a great restaurant nearby inside the park, with a big grassy area out front. Mule deer everywhere!
Do yourself a favor and take the free shuttle to the Narrows, even if you only hike in a quarter mile (which most people do).
Decently spaced out sites (though it varies) with good trees for shade but no privacy. Sites near river are optimal for views and night time privacy and the sound of the stream, but during the day expect to have a lot of trail walkers go by.
Chances are high you will see loads of Mule deer at camp. Views of the canyon at sunset are outstanding.
This campsite is conveniently located inside Zion Park. It is nice because unlike the other campground it is on a two week rolling reservation so you don’t have to plan 6 months out—downside is it fills up quickly. We camped in a tent spot right by the trail and a short walk to the virgin river. Pros: decent shade (for Zion) and easy access to the water. Cons: ridiculous amounts of ants (from what I could tell most of the spots near the trail/river have that problem). I was stoked to wake up under the red cliffs and be able to relax in the river for sunset. Ants were definitely a headache but considering the views we made the most of it. Also plenty of deer roam through the campground adding to its beauty.
Beautiful campground in Zion. Within walking distance of the visitor center and shuttle into Zion canyon. The campsites are up against the river which is a great place to cool off.
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.