Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, State & National Parks
Zion’s National Park for RVers
While on our road trip this summer we made it a point to go to Zion’s National Park. With breathtaking views, it was a brief but impressive stop that we would recommend to anyone driving through southern UT.
Will My RV Fit?
During the peak season (translation: When there is no snow) Zion’s seeks to minimize traffic by forcing everyone onto trams that run through the park. This is a great idea for environmentalists, but part of their idea didn’t involve expanding parking very much. Hence, for the entirety of Zion’s RV park there are about 20 RV parking spaces, only half of which are pull through. In fact, parking in general is very limited. This meant that some of those precious RV spots are taken by tiny desperate cars. We were not happy about this, but since those people come from foreign countries, we couldn’t voice our complaints. We ended up lane hogging until we were able to fight for a spot 20 minutes later. If you want to park an RV in Zion’s go early. We also learned that the roads in the canyon are tight, cramped and had little turn around space. Yes, you have spacious expansive views and very little wiggle room.
What to See
After all that effort we hopped on a tram and went up the canyon. If you are like me, you want the one hour experience. You want to to see the best views, visit a museum or two and then move on. Interestingly enough, this meant taking the tram up to the the Ghrotto and taking one of the many hikes (aka short walks) up to the Emerald Pools. I’d recommend stopping by the human history museum both for what it provides but also because it’s short and sweet.
Don’t forget the Tunnel
To actual go “through” the park to points eastward you need to take the The Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Cut straight out of the cliff side in the 1920’s this tunnel is one of the highlights of the the trip. The downside is, they have severe limits on WHEN (not if) RV’s can go through. Vehicles 11’4” tall or taller, or 7’10” wide or wider, which is just about every RV ever made, require one-lane traffic control through the tunnel. Large vehicles cannot travel in a single lane through the tunnel. This means you need to have an “escort” that takes you through the tunnel one way. You get to rule both sides of the road. The catch is, it requires a $15 permit fee you need to pay at the entrance to get in. That fee gives you a “round trip” if you are looking to do a loop through southern Utah.
Outside the Park
Whether you take the tunnel or not, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t pay attention to the views on the way in and the national parks around. With the many plateaus and scenic vistas you drive around and over, the views were breathtaking. So much so that I made my kids put down their video games (not an easy task), and to look out at the impressive views.
Where to Stay
We would highly recommend the Zion’s RV RV Park. A ten minute drive from the entrance to Zion’s, this RV park had all the surrounding scenery you could ever want out of a park. The park itself was top notch….with clean facilities, lots of pull throughs, a store that you could get lost in.
When to Go
Southern Utah isn’t exactly known for it’s mild weather. With summer desertlike heat and winter snow, its best to visit Zion’s in the late spring or early fall when the crowds die down and you catch the fall foliage or the the winter runoff.