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Old 03-01-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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From Los Angeles to Zion National Park

During spring break, I'd like to take my wife and kids to Zion. I've been many years ago, but w/o an AS. Any suggestions on where to stop and spend the night if I get tired between Zion and LA, and where to stay once in Zion?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Michael
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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We stayed at the Zion River Resort and Campground. It is about 12 miles from Zion, but if you want full hookups and a clean and well maintained facility, this is it.

Web site: Zion National Park RV Park and Campground

If you want to stay in the park, then Watchman has spectacular scenery, but only electric hook-up and dirt roads. It is a little rougher but it is in the park.

Read the reviews at: RV Park Reviews :: Zion National Park, Utah ( UT ) - RV Parks and Campground Reviews

Zion is spectacular! we will go back in October when the days are cooler and the crowds are less.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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Hello Michael - Welcome to the Forum!

What month are you going? Any pets along? We were there about 3rd week of May. It's getting pretty warm by then.

You can dry camp in the park. Reservations would help. I remember watching an Airstream one afternoon try to enter without a reservation. They drove away and returned early the next morning and waited for a site to open up. They got in.

Springdale is very close on the south side of the park. We stayed at Zion Campground & RV Park. The shuttle to the park stops right near this place. Otherwise it's a tough spot to recommend because the sites are so crammed together in the limited space. Neighbors either side of you will be 12-15 feet away at the most. The adjacent campsite's charcoal grill stand was about 3' from the side of my Safari. I was prepared to loan them my RoadTrip grill and pay for their spot if they'd have pulled out a bag of charcoal. A fair number of tent campers or maybe a group along the outside edge. Bathroom/shower house is functional but busy. It's one of those "there for the park, not the campground" type of places. Can't say I'd use it again but then Zion isn't in our plans. Functional to those whose satisfaction is internal rather than fulfilled by their surroundings.

Speaking of luxe... We also spent a night at Zion River Resort in Virgin. WORLD of difference! Also costs a lot more. Very well maintained; laundry. Nicest bathrooms we've ever seen in an RV Park.

If you'll stay for multi days, Zion River Resort allows an easy side trip to the Kolob Canyons branch of Zion NP. Cruise out to the overlook. Higher elevation = cooler. There will be people around but not even a fraction of what the main park has. We did a day hike on the Taylor Creek trail and loved it. The La Verkin creek trail is a horse/mixed use trail I believe.

Is there another RV park between Springdale & Virgin? hmm...

Going up to Bryce?
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Looks like Las Vegas and Lake Mead National Recreation Area are about halfway. So, it depends on which area you are interested in. There are several nice RV resorts in Las Vegas with full hookups, or you can camp or boondock on Lake Mead.

For more information on National Parks, Recreation Areas, etc., see the following link:

Lake Mead National Recreation Area - Campgrounds (U.S. National Park Service)

Other areas on this site also contain information on Zion National Park, including camping. There are several RV resorts just outside the park, but you should check to see if they are open.

Bryce National Park is nearby; however it's a little farther north, higher in altitude, and it's still winter there, so camping may be limited. I'd check the weather and make a couple of phone calls (e.g., Ruby Inn, Bryce NP Visitor Center, etc.) before driving there.

Don't forget about the National Parks Annual Pass. At $80/year, it's a bargain; and you'll probably get your money's worth on this trip alone, if you visit Lake Mead, Zion and Bryce. And, it's good for 12 more months of park entrance fees for you and everyone in your vehicle.

If you are 62, the Senior Pass is just $10. It's a lifetime pass with a half-price discount in many National Park, National Forest and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds (not valid for some campgrounds run by concessionaires).
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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Last fall, we used Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane, UT as a base camp for the area, and it worked out fine for a couple of daytrips to Zion, about a half hour+ away. The park has very large campsites, full-hookups, reasonable rates, showers, a small lake nearby, a lot of paved interior roads for easy biking, and there’s a convenient Wal-Mart and fuel in nearby Hurricane. The downside is that it can be hot, as in very hot, and there’s really no shade. If you enjoy the austere beauty of the desert as much as I do, you’ll probably like it; if you don’t, you’ll probably find it somewhat desolate. If you’re planning an extended stay in the area, this may be a reasonable option; however for just a couple of nights, I might suggest checking options in the couple of small towns between Hurricane and Zion NP. We didn’t stay there, but drove past Zion River Resort driving from Hurricane to Zion, and it looked like an attractive, albeit pricey, short-term solution. It’s priced at double+ Sand Hollow, and Steamy1 gives me the impression that it is/was not quite to his liking; but it looked nice driving past, and it was fairly close to Zion.

http://www.zionriverresort.com/location.html

As to in-route layover spots between LA & Zion, that’s more problematic from my perspective. Since I’m from northern California, westbound I typically leave I-15 at Barstow, and pick up highway 58 heading to Bakersfield, and ultimately I-5 and north. While satisfactory transit stops probably exist, I’ve not found them, or my rhythm of the day’s drive is such that my route between Vegas and Bakersfield tends to be a straight-through. My last run between Hurricane, UT and Bakersfield, CA, 425 miles, is much more than I like; but I was heading back to the barn, and I couldn’t identify a satisfactory mid-point that didn’t also adversely impact my next day drive home. Eastbound is fundamentally the same, though there are many options in Las Vegas, or further east in Mesquite, NV, or St. George, UT.

As Steamy1 noted, I also suggest checking RV Park Reviews for options in small towns along the way, or proximate to your destination.

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:25 PM   #6
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We went last summer, from LA to Zion. We're not crazy about Vegas, and we were meeting up with friends from Arizona (TBRich on the forums... what a great trip we had!), so we stayed at Lake Mead RV Village. It's nice and clean, big place, and they have full hookups. We stayed a couple of nights. You could stay there and then take the kids to go see Hoover Dam. It's kind of amazing and lots of fun, and maybe the kids will enjoy that. Then from there we drove around the lake on Northshore Road, which eventually meets up with and turns into Highway 169, then up through Overton and Logandale, and then I-15 to St George, and eventually to Zion via Utah 9 through Hurricane. The drive around Lake Mead is gorgeous, lots of red rock and scenic views; much more interesting, at least in my opinion, than taking the freeway back through Vegas and all the way to St George. Then when we got to Zion, we stayed at Watchman campground in the park. It's really pretty with amazing scenery all around. The Virgin River flows through the campground, with some of the sites situated right on the river. It's really pretty. They only have electric hookups as I recall, but there are water spigots, and a dump station on the way out of the campground. We didn't look at any of the other campgrounds in the area, so I can't give any opinion about them, but I was really happy about our stay at Watchman. It was particularly fun because our two sites were right across the road from Ric and Rita and their shiny Airstream! How nice to make more Airstream friends! It was Airstream Alley at Watchman Campground for a few days.

What great memories to make with your kids. I'll never forget going there as a kid with my family. I think I was 5. Man, that was a long time ago!

The first picture is at Lake Mead RV Village. Next is a stop on the drive around Lake Mead. Third picture is Airstream Alley at Watchman Campground. Fourth is our little Bambi and the group of us eating cheesecake. Thanks Ric and Rita... I'm still battling that spare tire around my middle!
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:36 PM   #7
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Kamiak, Tehachapi would cut about an hour off of your drive from Hurricane to Bakersfield. There are a couple of campgrounds there; however, we have not yet stayed at them. You may wish to check out the following campgrounds in/near Tehachapi:

* Brite Valley (Lake)

* Tehachapi Mountain Park

If you use the Gilroy cutoff to get to the 101 and jump off of I-5 near Los Banos, there is a really nice campground near San Luis Reservoir, below the dam to the northeast, which has easy access.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:04 PM   #8
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Phoenix,

Thanks very much. You're right about Tehachapi, I do need to check those places out. But it seems once we get rolling through the hills there, we say to ourselves that we'll just hang in there another hour and we'll hit Bakersfield, stay at the River Run RV Park, gas up at the nearby Costco, and grab a cup Starbucks on the way out town on 58 in the morning.

You're also right about the campground below San Luis Reservoir, and they have hookups. And electricity can be a good thing in the Valley during the summer. I've reconoitered that park, but haven't actually stayed there because when we're in that part of the country, we're usually at Toscano in Los Banos, spending the night in their parking lot. There's also a convenient stop a little further north on I-5, near Patterson, near the interchange between I-5 & I-580. Kit Fox RV Park is a little pricey for what you get, poorly maintained, unlevel sites, but "ok" for a one-night-stand. We've found that we can stay there, prep for returning the AS to storage, dump, then leisurely head on to the Bay Area in the morning.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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Hello.
If you stay in the Nat.Park at Watchman be sure you have rservations.The resort can be very noisy if you stay by the maint.garage,the workers carry on in rude fashion most of the day.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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We were lucky to drive in and get a spot inside the park without a reservation a couple of Junes ago, the timing was good because we got there right around checkout time. I am glad that we did, we were able to walk to the shuttle stop for transportation inside the park. No private vehicles allowed inside the park.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamiak View Post
Last fall, we used Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane, UT as a base camp for the area, and it worked out fine for a couple of daytrips to Zion, about a half hour+ away. The park has very large campsites, full-hookups, reasonable rates, showers, a small lake nearby, a lot of paved interior roads for easy biking, and thereís a convenient Wal-Mart and fuel in nearby Hurricane. The downside is that it can be hot, as in very hot, and thereís really no shade. If you enjoy the austere beauty of the desert as much as I do, youíll probably like it; if you donít, youíll probably find it somewhat desolate. If youíre planning an extended stay in the area, this may be a reasonable option; however for just a couple of nights, I might suggest checking options in the couple of small towns between Hurricane and Zion NP. We didnít stay there, but drove past Zion River Resort driving from Hurricane to Zion, and it looked like an attractive, albeit pricey, short-term solution. Itís priced at double+ Sand Hollow, and Steamy1 gives me the impression that it is/was not quite to his liking; but it looked nice driving past, and it was fairly close to Zion.

http://www.zionriverresort.com/location.html

As to in-route layover spots between LA & Zion, thatís more problematic from my perspective. Since Iím from northern California, westbound I typically leave I-15 at Barstow, and pick up highway 58 heading to Bakersfield, and ultimately I-5 and north. While satisfactory transit stops probably exist, Iíve not found them, or my rhythm of the dayís drive is such that my route between Vegas and Bakersfield tends to be a straight-through. My last run between Hurricane, UT and Bakersfield, CA, 425 miles, is much more than I like; but I was heading back to the barn, and I couldnít identify a satisfactory mid-point that didnít also adversely impact my next day drive home. Eastbound is fundamentally the same, though there are many options in Las Vegas, or further east in Mesquite, NV, or St. George, UT.

As Steamy1 noted, I also suggest checking RV Park Reviews for options in small towns along the way, or proximate to your destination.

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/
Sorry if it was not clear, but we really liked the Zion River Resort in Virgin. Lot's of shade now; the trees in the picture on the web site have grown. Everyone is correct that it is pricier than some, but I think there is a value proposition with the facilities and the service. We liked the sites by the pool that did not have the fire pits. I preferred not having smoke coming through the window. it was quiet, and clean, with dog walking areas. We will stay there again without a doubt.

We stayed on a special promotion of stay two-nights get the third free.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:46 PM   #12
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Sorry 'bout asking on Bryce. Spring break? Bryce will still be snowed in.

A pic of Taylor Creek Trail -- easy grades, low flow (at least in May):

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Don't know how well your family travels. 387 miles from LA is Snow Canyon S.P. just north of St. George. Zion is just a few hours from there. Very nice sheltered sites with elec/water; reservation recommended. Two roads in -- use the north entrance on UT-18 unless you want to navigate a warren of housing developments just north of Santa Clara. We arrived at full spring bloom in mid-May. It's warm there most anytime (impossible in summer). Snow Canyon State Park (fossilized sand dunes!):

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Old 03-01-2012, 05:51 PM   #13
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While we're on the topic. Opposite side than the approach from LA -- The Mt. Carmel Junction entrance to Zion is easily navigable by RVs. But there is almost bare-nothing out that direction. Little camping and fewer places to eat.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:04 PM   #14
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The KOA in Barstow/Yermo is very convenient on and off the 15. Its typical high desert type scenery, all gravel, quite basic, but nearly all pull through and very easy to get on and off the freeway. I actually like high desert and try to get a spot near the back fence where there is an opening to the desert outside. Last summer enjoyed a great lightning show.

Zion River Resort has very nice grounds and backs up to Virgin River. I use it as a tank filling/emptying area before staying in Watchman in Zion.

One time I stayed in Desert Skies RV resort in Mesquite. It looks like they're trying to sell lots, but some are rented to RVs. I spent a peaceful summer night there.

I'm not certain, but it sure appeared RVs were staying in the big lot behind Buffalo Bill's in Primm NV. At least quite a few there (in a very sparsely populated parking lot) late in the day when I drove thru the area. Pic is Watchman campground.

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