Camp Zion National Park: Is It Difficult? No!

Think you’re ready to camp Zion National Park?

Nestled in the heart of Utah’s majestic landscapes, Zion National Park beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its awe-inspiring canyons, towering cliffs, and serene river valleys. For many, the ultimate way to experience Zion’s natural wonders is by camping within its boundaries.

However, the question arises, due to its popularity: Is it hard to camp Zion National Park?

The short answer, unfortunately, is: It depends.

Read on to learn more about what determines how hard it is for you to get that unforgettable, scenic camping spot in Zion!

Understanding Zion’s Popularity

Zion National Park, renowned for its stunning scenery and diverse range of outdoor activities, attracts millions of visitors each year. Yep, millions.

Its popularity peaks during the spring and fall, when the weather is most favorable to hop in the RV, do some hiking, rock climbing, and exploring. This surge in visitors directly impacts campsite availability, making it challenging to find a spot during these peak seasons.

Man and woman at their private camping site in Zion National Park with their truck, their tent set up, kissing and enjoying themselves by the fire pit. Photo by Katie Musial.

Camp Zion National Park In These Ways


Developed Campgrounds

Zion offers three developed campgrounds:

    1. South Campground
    2. Watchman Campground
    3. Lava Point Campground

These campgrounds provide amenities like restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings. However, their accessibility and facilities make them highly sought after.

Back-Country Camping

For the more adventurous, Zion also offers back-country camping. This option requires a permit and is ideal for those seeking a more secluded and primitive camping experience.

Glamping Resorts

Near Zion National Park, glamping resorts offer luxury camping with amenities like furnished canvas tents, often including comfortable bedding, climate control, and sometimes private bathrooms, blending outdoor adventure with comfort.  

RV Parks

The RV parks around Zion provide amenities for those traveling with recreational vehicles, including hookups for electricity, water, and sewage. Many also offer additional facilities like showers, laundry, and Wi-Fi, catering to a convenient and comfortable RV experience.


A variety of cabins are available near Zion, from rustic to modern. These cabins often feature amenities like kitchens, private bathrooms, and comfortable living areas, offering a cozy, home-like setting close to the natural beauty of the park.

Tips For Booking A Campsite


Advance Reservations

Most campsites in Zion can be reserved six months in advance. Mark your calendar and be ready to book right when reservations open, especially for peak-season stays.

Utilize Online Resources

Websites like are your go-to for making reservations. Create an account in advance to streamline the booking process.

Understand The Booking Window

Familiarize yourself with the specific booking windows for each campground. For example, Watchman Campground accepts reservations six months in advance, while South Campground operates on a 14-day rolling basis.

Consider Weekdays & Off-Peak Seasons

Increase your chances by planning your trip on weekdays or during the off-peak seasons (late fall and winter).

Explore Nearby Campgrounds

If Zion’s campgrounds are full, consider staying at nearby state parks or private campgrounds. These alternatives often have more availability and can still provide convenient access to the park.

Two women hiking in Zion National Park amidst a beautiful, sweeping rocky landscape with Utah foliage. Photo by Frances Gunn.

The Back-Country Camping Approach


Obtain A Proper Permit

Backcountry camping in Zion requires a permit. These are available online and in-person, with a portion reserved for walk-in visitors.

Plan Your Route

Research backcountry routes and campsites to find the one that best suits your skill level and interests. Zion offers a range of backcountry experiences, from easy overnight hikes to challenging multi-day treks.

Be Prepared For Self-Sufficiency

Back-country camping means minimal amenities. You’ll need to carry in all your camping supplies, including water, food, and a way to treat water.

Leave-No-Trace Principles

It’s crucial to adhere to Leave No Trace principles in the backcountry. This includes packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and respecting wildlife.

Alternative Camping Options


BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Lands

Surrounding Zion are BLM lands where dispersed camping is allowed. This option is free and offers a more rugged experience, but with fewer amenities.

Private Campgrounds

In the vicinity of Zion, numerous private campgrounds offer additional amenities like showers, Wi-Fi, and sometimes even pools. These can be a great alternative, especially for families or those seeking more comfort.

Seasonal Considerations



Zion’s summer can be extremely hot, making camping less comfortable. If you choose to camp during this season, be prepared for high temperatures and pack plenty of water for the family.


Winter in Zion is less crowded, but cold temperatures and snow can make camping challenging. Ensure you have the right gear for cold-weather camping.

Enjoy A Successful Camping Experience


Arrive Early

If you’re aiming for a first-come, first-served campsite, arrive early in the morning, as these spots fill up quickly.

Check Cancellation Policies

Keep an eye on cancellation policies and check frequently for openings. Last-minute cancellations can be your ticket to a campsite.

Be Flexible

Flexibility with your dates and campsite preferences can significantly increase your chances of securing a spot.

Prepare for Wildlife

Zion is home to diverse wildlife. Store food securely and know what to do in the unlikely event of a wildlife encounter.

Respect Park Rules & Regulations

Adhering to park rules, such as fire restrictions and noise levels, ensures a pleasant experience for everyone.

Let’s Secure Your Zion Camping Trip!

To camp Zion National Park successfully can be challenging, especially during peak seasons. However, with proper planning, flexibility, and a bit of luck, you can find the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Zion.

With BookOutdoors, enjoying the best that Zion National Park has to offer is as easy as selecting your dates & booking. Check out our available Zion camping, glamping, RV parks and cabins today. Let your journey to Zion begin in style.

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