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Old 01-30-2013, 08:54 PM   #1
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Zion

I am starting to plan a couple weeks in the Zion National Park area in may/june with the X5 and the Airstream. Recommendations on places not to miss? Any fun mild 4x4 locations? Good campgrounds?

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-Dwight
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:49 AM   #2
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Dwight, there are just tons of hiking trails at Zion, so many that we could only do a few of them during our week there a few years back. And all were fantastic! I do not recall seeing any trails that permitted 4X4s, however. I've heard that there may be some outside of the national park.

Without a disabled sticker, you won't be permitted to take your vehicle into the park very far. It's all by bus. However, you'll find that the bus runs often; it's quiet; and the park is very pleasant without all the traffic.

We camped at Watchman Campground with reservation. Absolutely huge site, which included power, water and dump station use. It was a perfect place to camp, walking distance to the main visitors center.


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Old 01-31-2013, 07:57 AM   #3
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Since the dog is going with us, there is only one trail that he can go on. We will likely do some shorter hikes an leave him in the trailer. I have found what looks to be a couple fun places to head off the roads. Tuweep overlook and sublime point look possible, but I need to do more research still. My largest question right now, is how full is the area in late may/early June? Can I just wing it or do I need reservations to get in to campgrounds? I don't have a generator that can run the AC yet and if it is hot the dog will need AC.

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-Dwight
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:16 AM   #4
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Watchman is the only NP campground in the park. You may not be allowed to leave your dog alone in the trailer inside the park, check the NP website. There is a campground on the eastern entrance that looks a little seedy. There are plenty of private campgrounds at the western outfitters as well as several outfitters including 4wd. A classic hike is either up or down the Virgin River Canyon.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:49 AM   #5
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Watchman is the only NP campground in the park. You may not be allowed to leave your dog alone in the trailer inside the park, check the NP website. There is a campground on the eastern entrance that looks a little seedy. There are plenty of private campgrounds at the western outfitters as well as several outfitters including 4wd. A classic hike is either up or down the Virgin River Canyon.
We stayed at that "seedy" campground. Nice and shady and all the sites are on the edge of a great trout stream. You can use the pool across the street at the motel which owns the campground. You can leave the dogs in the trailer and the best of all was the price, $15 + tax per night for full hook up.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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In Springdale, the private Zion Canyon Campground is in the heart of town action and an electric hookup allows you to have cool for the dog during the day. Sites are right on top of each other though. I would have paid my neighbor not to use the grill that was 3' from my Safari but they never showed any inclination to use it.

At Virgin, Zion River Resort is a really fancy campground but fairly removed from Zion. We spent 2 nights in Springdale and finished up with a night at Zion River Resort. The latter is closer to the Kolob Canyon section of Zion and I heartily recommend Kolob for some nice hiking up the forested canyon and generally cooler temperatures.

We visited in May. The Pa'rus trail that allows dogs is quite open and sunny. The heat dragged down our dogs during the evening walks we took there. Early morning would have been better.

Elsewhere at AIR you can read about the Snow Canyon State Park at St. George. We wanted to camp at Cedar Breaks Nat'l Monument but it doesn't open until they clear the snow -- usually Memorial Day or so. And Cedar Breaks doesn't allow even leashed dogs on trails if I recall.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:02 AM   #7
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We are booked at Watchman the first week of June. Just adopted a new dog last week. Surely hope he is allowed to stay in our trailer while we are out!! Maybe we will run into each other!!
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:52 AM   #8
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There are two RV-friendly campgrounds in Zion NP: the smaller South Campground (no hookups, but nice shady sites) and the Watchman Campground (electrical on many sites). The Watchman Campground takes reservations. I would strongly recommend them, as people make reservations for this popular campground well in advance, and it tends to fill up. If you go to the website www.nps.gov/zion just page through the info till you find this feature. Alternatively you can go to www.recreation.gov . The South Campground (which is actually north of the newer Watchman CG) is first-come first serve. Warning: RVs start lining up at 9:00 am waiting for campers to leave.

There is a smaller campground at Lava Point, but it is high, very primitive, and perhaps not suitable for a long trailer.

Alternatively, check out the gateway communities of Springdale (Virgin, Rockville, Toquerville, La Verkin) UT for RV parks.

Once you get to Zion, drop in at the Visitor's Center, and explain to the ranger or volunteer what you are interested in. There are hikes of all lengths and ability levels. Most are of the steep up-and-down variety; and some are not for people (like me!) who are afraid of falling off of big heights (like 1000-foot drop-offs.) Most National Parks really restrict dogs on trails, but there is one nice, easy trail parallel to the river where they are allowed.

If you are really adventuresome, try the West Rim trail, or some of the hikes in the northern Kolob section. Other good half-day hikes are the East Rim Trail and "Walter's Wiggles" up to Scout's Lookout (the continuation to Angel's Landing is for the brave at heart.)

The buses run non-stop and are very convenient.

4x4 trips would take you out of the park, but if you can find the nearest BLM office (which might be this one St. George , see: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__g...ecreation.html ) they should be able to advise you.

Have a wonderful trip! We'll be there in March.

Jeanne
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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When I say Zion area, I am including the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce, etc. Any recommendations which places to hit and for how long? It sounds like things may be busier than I had hoped and I need reservations for at least a significant portion of the trip.

-Dwight
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:25 PM   #10
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If you have never been there the views at Bryce canyon are unbelieveable. Havent camped there so maybe someone else will chime in.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by morgandc View Post
When I say Zion area, I am including the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce, etc. Any recommendations which places to hit and for how long? It sounds like things may be busier than I had hoped and I need reservations for at least a significant portion of the trip.

-Dwight
Glad to hear you are including the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in your tour in that area...we did that too when we did Zion (stayed in Watchman Campground ) ....Don't miss the North Rim when you're that close. Get a reservation at the North Rim Campground inside the park...it's about a mile from the Lodge and close to everything, and a completely different experience from the South Rim. If you camp outside the park you'll have a good drive to get to the Canyon... I think we were at Zion for 3 nights and the North Rim for 4 nights. You might want to be in each a bit longer if you plan to do a lot of hiking and side trips.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:52 PM   #12
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Total 'plus' recommendation on the North Rim. We reserved about this time of year and still had some days blocked out. Turned out there was a WBCCI rally that had reserved out the place May 23-24-25. We did a lot of waving as they were departing while we drove in.

We staged the night before at a private campground a 30 minute walk west of Jacob Lake, an hour+ north of the north rim. Though small, Jacob Lake has a nice restaurant/gift shop/gas station all-in-one -- can't miss it. You'll smile at all the Harley tour groups speaking German or French.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:07 AM   #13
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If you have never been there the views at Bryce canyon are unbelieveable. Havent camped there so maybe someone else will chime in.
tim
The two campgrounds within the park are first-come, first serve. Campgrounds - Bryce Canyon National Park We've stayed a couple of times at a RV park close by, called Ruby's Inn, and can recommend it. During the high season, Bryce also asks visitors to leave their vehicles behind and take one of the frequently-running buses to tour the park. It does stop at Ruby's Inn, as well, and I think some of the other RV parks just outside the national park boundary.

Bryce and the North Rim are high in elevation, so can get frosty during the shoulder seasons.

Bryce Canyon has some nice hiking, either loop trails down into the formations, or a gentle and very long trail along the rim.
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