Zion National Park

Free Camping Around Zion National Park

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Sometimes you want to experience nature in its most glorious form. In fact, that is what draws most people to a national park like Zion. But if you really want to experience it, for some people, camping is the only way to go. Camping is fun, peaceful, adventurous, and most importantly, it is cheap. And if you can find a good place to camp, it is free.

Luckily, there are many free campgrounds in Utah, and a lot that are close to Zion national park. Here are some of the best.

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Lava Point

Lava point is a free campground, but since it is located inside of Zion national park, it will cost an entry fee to get into the park. If you are staying at Zion for a couple of days it is definitely worth staying at lava, as you will save on entry fees for two days. The campground is equipped with pit toilets, trash cans, but no water. Vehicles on the road are also restricted to those that are shorter than 19 feet. Lava point is the only free campground inside of Zion, so it can be very busy at certain times of the year, and lots are available first come, first served.

Little Black Mountain Petroglyphs

The cool thing about camping in this area is that the site in itself is an experience to be had. There are over 500 individual rock-art designs and elements surrounding the base of a huge mesa. This campsite is in Arizona, just on the border of Utah, and about a couple of hours’ drive from Zion. As you have to find your own camping in the surrounding areas, this is camping at its most raw. Do not expect services of any kind, although you can use pit toilets when the site is open.

Sand Cove Reservoir

Sand Cove Reservoir is a prime fishing location, so for those who enjoy fishing as much as camping, it is an excellent place to camp. It is public land, and people are free to camp anywhere along the dirt road that leads to the creek. However, it is worth checking the Bureau of Land Management website for certain restrictions in the general area. If you require any special amenities, you will have to bring them with you, but rest assured that the scenery in this area is truly spectacular.

And if You Fancy Something a Little Nicer…

There are a number of lodges, hotels, inns, motels, and bed and breakfasts in Zion and the surrounding areas. The only one that is inside Zion national park is Zion Lodge, where you can rent a cabin. It will definitely cost you more than a campground, but reviews are generally very good. Other options include Zion Mountain Ranch, which is just outside of the park, and assorted motels and inns around the area and surrounding cities. These might be your best bet if you are planning on heading to Zion in winter months. We all love to camp, but sometimes you just have to stay indoors!

Vincent Stokes is a freelance writer and avid traveler.  He is an avid camper and fan of national parks and writes to help people make the best of their vacation.

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Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane grew up not wearing a helmet, drinking from the hose and not wearing a seat belt. She managed to survive and now spends her time developing websites, drinking coffee, and eating chocolate.