Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Zion National Park Camping
Utah, September 14-20, 2017
clipbord   Trip Report : September 7-13, 2014
Trip Report : September 14-20, 2017
when Thursday, September 14, through Wednesday, September 20, 2017
where Zion National Park, Utah
description I realize this may seem a little early to be talking about yet another car-camping trip this year, with many of us busy preparing right now for John Richa’s Joshua Tree trip, coming up this Friday and then Lin Chao’s Oak Creek Canyon trip over this Memorial Day weekend. And even though the Zion trip is scheduled for over six months away in mid-September, I still need to get a fairly accurate idea of how many people might be interested in this trip so we can make the necessary campground reservations in mid-March. If you’ve never been to Zion National Park before, you may want to seriously consider this trip, viewed by many as the crown jewel among Utah’s five National Parks.

I’m planning on reserving adjacent individual campgrounds just as we did for the North Rim Grand Canyon trip last June. That worked out very well, in fact much better than our rather cramped Zion group site back in September, 2014. We reserved ten adjacent individual campsites on the North Rim, which gave us plenty of room to spread out, yet still seemed like one very large group site. But our Zion group site, even though the largest one available at the time, was cramped by comparison with only 17 tents.

Please note that this trip will be limited to the first 20 people to sign up, and please try to let me know if you plan on going by the end of the day this Thursday or Friday if at all possible. Also, please sign up only if you are seriously interested and committed to going on this trip. I realize that may be a little difficult to do six months in advance, but if we have a number of people who are just casually thinking about going and sign up, that’s not really fair to all the other people who wind up on a waiting list and then have to wait for months for some people on the main list to decide if they really want to go or not.

Assuming we have 20 people, we’ll be staying in 10 adjacent individual campsites in Loop C at the Watchman Campground, located within easy walking distance of the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, as well as the nearby town of Springdale. Watchman Campground is a full service campground with good drinking water and restrooms with running water and flush toilets, in addition to a table and a fire ring at each campsite. Each of these individual campsites can accommodate 2 vehicles, 2 tents, and up to 6 people.

Although there are no showers in Zion, public showers are available in nearby Springdale. Also note that National Park rules forbid the use of solar or sun showers. Campground cost is $10 per night per campsite with a Senior Pass. Total cost per campsite will be $60 for the six nights we’ll be staying in Zion, to be divided among those people staying at each site. Since I can only get one individual site at this discounted rate with my Senior Pass ($20 per night without the pass), just as we did on the North Rim trip I’ll need to line up nine volunteers with a Senior Pass to each reserve their own site.
Details to follow later, but ten of us will need to make these reservations on the morning of March 14 to ensure that we get the desired ten adjacent sites in Loop C. For those who do not wish to camp, please let me know that right away. The nearby town of Springdale has plenty of good accommodations that you can check out and reserve for yourself.

Meanwhile, following is the tentative trip itinerary for the September Zion trip. This itinerary could possibly change from day to day, primarily due to the weather. Normally mid-September is fairly dry since we’re past the usual summer monsoon season, but with the weather you never know for certain. But, weather permitting, we will do our best to do and see everything on this list.
September 14
Road trip (400 miles) from Phoenix to Zion, stopping for lunch along the way.
Set up camp in Watchman Campground and prepare for individual dinners
September 15
Hike several short, easy trails to start with: Emerald Pools & Grotto Trails.
Optional lunch at Zion Lodge Café and then hike from Canyon Junction to the Zion Visitor Center via the scenic Pa’rus Trail that runs parallel with the Virgin River. At the Visitor Center take time to browse and see the continuously running film on Zion National Park.
Get a headcount for those interested in the Narrows and pick up all necessary gear in Springdale.
Return to campground and prepare for the potluck dinner.
September 16
Hike the Narrows as far as Orderville Canyon and then Wall Street, if possible. (Wall Street is about one hour beyond Orderville Canyon in the Narrows).
We will decide on alternative hikes and a designated hike leader for those not wishing to do the Narrows.
Dinner in Springdale (we’ll save the rest of the potluck dinner for Sunday night).
September 17
Drive Kolob Terrace Road to Kolob Lake. Then backtrack to Lava Point Overlook.
Time permitting, we’ll check out parts of the Wildcat Canyon Trail, Hop Valley Trail, Left Fork Trail, Grapevine Trail, & Right Fork Trail—all located off the Kolob Terrace Road.
Return to campground and finish the remaining potluck dinner.
September 18
Hike the West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout, Angels Landing, and beyond.
Return to campground and prepare for individual dinners or dinner in Springdale.
September 19
Hike the Echo Canyon Trail and Observation Point Trail (8 miles RT).
If time allows, drive back up Kolob Terrace Road and do one or two hikes.
Return to campground and prepare for individual dinners or dinner in Springdale.
September 20
Take down camp and pack all gear away.
If time permits, check out the scenic Canyon Overlook Trail on the way out.
Road trip (400 miles) from Zion to Phoenix, stopping for lunch along the way.
weather Zion National Park
Meet For those who wish to caravan together to Zion, we will meet at our usual I-17 & Bell Road location (SW corner) between Fry’s and Denny’s at 8:00 AM on Thursday morning, September 14. From here, we will drive to Flagstaff and then on to Zion.
Drive With a couple of gas stops, a lunch stop, and numerous rest stops and photo ops along the way, this trip will take between 7 and 8 hours. If we can leave close to 8:00 AM, we should arrive at Watchman Campground in Zion by about 4:00 PM (5:00 PM Utah DST).
•  Take I-17 to Flagstaff.
From Flagstaff, take Highway 89 north through Cameron and Bitter Springs into Page.
From Page, continue on Highway 89 northwest past the west end of Lake Powell and through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.
Continue heading west to Kanab, Utah.
From Kanab, continue north on Highway 89 into Mt. Carmel Junction.
From Mt. Carmel Junction, head west on Highway 9 into Springdale, which is one mile south of Zion National Park.
Total mileage is about 400 miles from Phoenix to Zion.
updated October 5, 2017