Zion — it was amazing! Most likely our favorite national park yet. From towering canyons to gorgeous grottos and legendary scenery, it’s not surprising why the first settlers saw it as a sanctuary in the Utah wilderness.
To drive into the park we braved the 13’ Zion Tunnel with our 12’ 6” RV and wound down the switchbacked Zion – Mt Carmel Highway into the valley and neighboring Springdale, UT. (For fellow RVers, note you need to purchase a permit to transit the tunnel at certain times as they block traffic to allow you to drive through the middle to be at the highest part of its ceiling).
Thankfully, even with the crowds of spring break, we secured a spot in the Watchman Campground after a cancellation (typically fully booked six months in advance), letting us stay within the park for most of our visit. The campground is beneath the restful shadows of the Watchman tower rock formation and nestled in a bend of the Virgin River, making it one of our best spots to date.
Being there gave us a great outpost to:
- Hike the Emerald Pools and Kayenta Trail cut along the cliff side and ended at a rewarding view of Lower Emerald Pool
- Walk up to Weeping Rock and play in a waterfall and grotto cut into the sides of the Zion canyon cliffs
- Take the Zion shuttle up Zion Canyon road for a rainy day of sightseeing and lunch at the lodge
- Encounter caterpillars up close, study deer from nearly as close, and earn Jr. Ranger badges
- Enjoy “beach” time at the Virgin River banks throwing rocks, balancing on half sunken logs, and moving more sand around than a 100 years of erosion
- Stroll into town for ice cream, fresh made meals and the best matcha latte ever
Next stop: the art installation, Seven Magic Mountains, just outside of Vegas!