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Zion N.P. Campsite: Alaska Trip
The weather here in Southern Utah is going to be great the rest of this week but there is a storm coming that will cool it off a bit here. However, our next destination is the Grand Tetons and they are expected to get snow next weekend so we decided to stay put where it’s warm rather than drive into cold and snow. That’s the wonderful thing about all your plans being written in Jello, it’s so easy to adapt to curve balls like changing weather patterns!
I’m writing this on May 15 and we are at a camp very near Zion NP off of Kolob Terrace Road, just east of the town of Virgin, UT. I had a favorite campsite in mind closer to Zion, but when we got there it had been closed by the BLM, so we had to scramble to find a back-up campsite. According to my map there is quite a bit of BLM land on this road so we decided to give it a try. The road runs alongside North Creek so it is very pretty and within one mile of State Route 9 the main road from Interstate 15 and Zion. As we headed up the road we noticed numerous tents and RVs on a wide spot along the river. They were obviously camping and had been there for a while, but it was equally obvious that it was not a formal campground. We needed a spot and this one looked great so we settled in here. No one we talked to knows who owns the land, they just know it’s free camping so that’s good enough for us! After we’d been here for three days a guy came by and said it was private land but available for camping by donation. He suggested $10 a day but said whatever we paid would be fine. I think we will be here for about a week and I will pay $20.
However, no excuse for complaining from us, we have a beautiful camp in the Cottonwood trees on a nice little creek with a Walmart about 15 miles away, what’s not to love? There’s nowhere I would rather explore than Zion National Park so I’m keeping busy photographing it. We are further from it than I’d like (about 20 miles) but it’s worth it. Yesterday I hiked along the Virgin River in the Zion Canyon and photographed it and tomorrow I will drive through the tunnel to the Plateau on the East side and photograph it. Expect lots of photos in future posts!
Finding this camp is pretty easy, but because I’m not sure of its ownership I can’t promise it will be available to you when you visit here. If you are coming from the west take SR 9 from Hurricane, UT to the tiny town of Virgin UT, and watch for signs that point to the left (North) to Kolob Reservoir. If you are coming from the East drive through Zion NP, through Springdale and through Rockville until you are almost in Virgin and start watching for signs that point to the right (North) to Kolob Reservoir. You’ll see what looks like a regular green street sign that says Kolob Terrace Road, turn on it and check your odometer. Drive up the road for almost exactly 1 mile and the road will drop down and be right along the river.
You can’t see the actual river, but you will see the thick Cottonwood trees growing alongside it. Right now there are quite a few tents and RVs tucked into the trees so it is easy to spot, but if you come in the off-season they may not be there. There are numerous little dirt roads that turn off of Kolob Terrace Road and run along the creek so just turn onto one of them and explore till you find an open campsite you like. There is also a dirt road that turns to the left and people are camping back there as well. It’s not as pretty as by the river but they can’t be seen from the road.
Here are some photos of this campsite with maps to it also.