No Free Camping in Zion

October 28, 2013  |  Utah

Saturday we drove 5 hours from Moab to Zion. We had a few ideas on where we could stay. One was a free boondocking spot we saw on freecampsites and the other a cheap BLM spot in St. George.

We decided to try the St. George location first, because it has designated spots and since we were arriving late in the day and we figured it was the better bet.


We drove through 2 of these tight tunnels to get to the campground only to find that the one spot that was available and could fit us was so un-level it would require us to stack our blocks 6 high. To give you some perspective, the most we’ve ever done is 4.

From there we headed over to the boondocking spot which turned out to be permanently closed to protect the riparian zone.

Well, we didn’t feel like paying $50+ a night for camping at an RV park where we would spend the majority of our time inside working rather than enjoying what Zion has to offer, so we spent the night on the street and decided to head to Lake Mead in the morning.


Before we settled in, we saw a police officer and asked if it was ok to park on the street (pictured above) overnight. He said it was and then he and Brian chased a turkey back into it’s pen (sorry no photo of that)!

2013 Cost of Camping:
117 nights paid camping
184 nights free camping
301 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $3,201.29
Daily average cost of camping: $10.65


previous post: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | next post: Back at Lake Mead


  1. I would just pass out at the tunnel thing. Just faint. You’re brave.

  2. Yikes! That tunnel is so skinny. I wish I would have told you a little more about our camping experiences in Zion to save you some trouble. I could have told you that the one on freecampsites is closed :( Also, not sure if you tried the first-come first-serve campground in the park or not. That is where we ended up. It was cheap and from there you could hop on the shuttle to explore the park. The bad part was that is was very busy and everyone decided to have smoky fires all day even though it was like 90 degrees! Anyway, I was thinking about you guys this weekend and wishing I had warned you that the camping situation was not the best in Zion. Glad you made to Lake Mead and we can’t wait to join you in few weeks.

    • We’ve stayed in the park before. Unfortunately we don’t get cell there so we wouldn’t have been able to stay for the week.

      Lake Mead is awesome. There is a LOT of trash over by your spot, but we’ve decided not to clean it until you come so nobody takes it!

      • That’s strange because when we were there last spring we had great service. Both Verizon & AT&T. Anyway I am sure it’s quieter at Lake Mead. Thanks for keeping our site trashy so no one takes it :) We’ll be arriving the weekend of Nov 16-17

  3. The National Park has an RV park right inside the West entrance for $20 a night and still has full Verizon coverage.

    Zion at this time of year is worth it. If you have not already moved on, I seriously recommend staying.

    • Hmm, maybe it’s changed since last time we were there. In 2006 we stayed one night inside the park but had to leave because of cell service.

  4. Sorry to hear about all your trouble finding a spot. We did go through those tunnels (car only)! Definitely tight! The RV park between Zion and La Verkin goes to half price Nov.! You were just a little too early.

    Have fun in Lake Mead!

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