Zion NP

11:08 p.m. on July 6, 2009 (EDT)
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301 forum posts

I was planning a trip to Zion to hike the Narrows top down, along with some other canyon hikes. Just found out that the campground is booked solid pretty much from now thru Labor Day. I'm bummed.

So, I'm looking for suggestions, either in the Zion area (or perhaps alternative camping near the park), or someplace else. I have a week and live (sort of) near San Diego.

I have a trip planned to Yosemite sometime next month, so that's out for now.


11:53 p.m. on July 6, 2009 (EDT)
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Try the East rim trail. Try to hitch a ride to the trailhead at the east entrance from the visitors center (really easy to do), spend the night just before you start coming down into zion canyon(temps will be nice), catch the shuttle bus back to your car at the visitors center. I did this hike over memorial day weekend, and got a permit that day by just walking in. Alot of people overlook this one, as they think the whole hike is in the pines. But its a great zion hike with some slots to explore here and there. Also check out Grand Staircase NM, Lots of slots there too and not far from zion. Permits to camp there are free. Just be careful this time of year, as you probable know, its monsoon season. Oh, and there is a campground just outside the east entrance.

1:43 a.m. on July 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the reply, Jake. East Rim trail is a definite possibility.

10:52 a.m. on July 8, 2009 (EDT)
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5,239 forum posts

Last fall when a friend and I stayed around the park to do hikes, we camped at the mouth of Coal Pitts Wash just west of Rockville. There is a little turnout just before the main road goes over Coal Pitts Wash on the right side going west. There are lots of Tamerisk and other bushes. We car camped there everynight setting up my tent, there were a few others there too. We usually got there about sunset.

1:03 a.m. on July 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks, Gary. I'll be sure to check that out.

3:01 p.m. on July 31, 2009 (EDT)
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If you travel with everything you need to be self-sufficient, you don't need to be in a campground. It is possible to "free camp" on public lands that aren't posted against it. Just outside the park entrances you can usually find side roads/tracks that lead into potential campsites. You just need your own water supply to go along with your food supply and camping gear. A rafter's table and camp stools completes the picture.

We do this all the time and rarely stay in established campgrounds. You are close enough to do all the park activities as day trips. Another tip - if you bring bikes, you can often drop the bikes at one end of a hike, drive to the other end and start hiking, using the bikes to return to your vehicle. Or do the bike shuttle first if you can't bear the thought of a bike ride in the heat of the day at the end of a long hike. Just lock the bikes to a tree or post or guard rail so they're there when you need them!

I forgot to mention that one should NEVER leave toilet paper or unburied human waste when free-camping. Ugh! Bring a small camp shovel or trowel and dig a cat hole well away from well-used camping spots. Pack out your tissue along with any other trash you generate.

April 22, 2018
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