UT - Zion National Park South CG

Discussion in 'National Parks, Forests and ACOE Campgrounds' started by NJGuy, May 25, 2011.

  1. NJGuy

    NJGuy Active Member

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    Apr 20, 2010
    We returned yesterday after a 2 night trip. This CG of 128 sites fills quickly, so we arrived alittle before check out time of 11:00 AM. Located in a narrow valley with soaring sandstone cliffs on both sides, CG offers great views. The CG itself is in a cottonwood grove, providing an oasis from desert just a few miles away. Zion NP is the 8th most popular national park in the nation. Many campers have rental motorhomes or rental cars with tents, including many international campers. Camp sites are moderately close and in plain sight of each other. Water spigots are non threaded and are located behind bathrooms. Younger campers, although relatively quiet, stayed up beyond Quiet Hours and could still be heard talking around roaring fires. We live an hour away, so we will return when it colder and less busy.

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  2. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    How are the temps during the month of August there? We are starting to plan our trip out west and we are discussing Zion and Rocky Mountain NP's. Of course we would need to stay at a CG we could make reservations at within the park.
     
  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    The couple of times we've been there in August it has been in the mid-upper 90s during the day. Usually cools off nicely at nights, though I remember one trip where it did not as much. It was also windier than usual that time - we were ground camping and I woke up one morning like a reverse silhouette, as I was outlined with the fine dust that came through the no-see-um netting.
    It is a great park, though this is one of the campgrounds where we've encountered a lot of semi-clueless (or worse) campers, our theory is that it is one of the easiest parks to access for non-campers who rent an RV or pick up some tent-camping supplies to have a "park experience".

    When we were there in April, we stayed in the electric loop in Watchman (the one which takes reservations), which seemed a bit quieter than the tent-only loops have been. They were building new restrooms, in that campground, we couldn't tell if they were going to do the same in South, the FCFS campground that is no too far from Watchman.
     
  4. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    May 20, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I was there last year in mid-September when the average high is 90 and the average low is 60. It was 104 the day I pulled in. In August the average high is 97 and the average low is 67. Expect triple-digit days.

    South CG is FCFS while Watchman takes reservations and has electric. Neither is the kind of CG I like to stay in (see other posters' comments about noise, crowding and lack of privacy) but it is convenient for touring the park. The shuttle bus stop is convenient to both CGs, which are right next to one another. You can walk to it from anywhere in either CG. The buses run very frequently and are a super way to get around the canyon. That's good because you have no choice. Private cars are prohibited in the canyon north of the museum. You can also walk from either CG into the physically adjoining town of Springdale for anything you need including showers.

    It's really a place you have to see if you are interested in the great natural beauty spots in the USA.

    Zion Canyon from Emerald Pools Trail
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    The Patriarchs in IR
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  5. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    Thanks folks, good info!

    UT, nice pics!!!
     
  6. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Mar 8, 2011
    We passed through Zion in mid-August. It was around 103 during the day, but as others have noted, at night the temps drop significantly, and in the absence of humidity, are quite pleasant.

    That said, we love the park but prefer to camp in the Dixie National Forest a little under an hour east, or boondock on BLM land outside the park to the southwest. No crowds, similar spectacular scenery.
     
  7. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Active Member

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    Jul 19, 2011
    Can anyone compare/contrast South CG vs. Watchman? I've heard that South is more shady?
     
  8. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    South is somewhat more shady, but there are certainly sites with shade in Watchman - though the tent worms had eaten all the cottonwood leaves when we were there at the end of April. They were much worse in Watchman than in South, it sounded like it was raining in some places.
    We have only stayed in the Watchman area that permits pups on that trip, so are more accustomed to the tent-only loops, which have a good amount of shade. Some of the trailer sites are mostly in the sun, but others are under trees.
     
  9. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

    14,279
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    May 20, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    There wasn't really isn't a big difference in my experience. In either case, you will probably have a bit more shade if you can get a site along the river. When I was in Watchman for one night (cancellation by the reservation holder) I was out in the sun and when I moved over to South I found a site that was not on the river (none available) but did have a good-sized tree which shaded the site most of the day.

    The bottom line, as I mentioned earlier, is that neither of these campgrounds is very desirable from an aesthetic point of view. They are crowded, have essentially no privacy and are near the highway. You don't go to a place like that to sit around in camp; you go to have a base from which to tour the park all day long.
     
  10. JungleJim

    JungleJim New Member

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    Feb 25, 2008
    We were just there this past August (2011). We decided to stay at Cable Mountain Lodge. http://cablemountainlodge.com/
    It is the last thing before the park entrance. We just walked along the path by the river right into the park. Extremely nice place for the money.

    We didn't mind the heat at all. When you're from Northern Ohio, 90°F in Utah with low humidity just doesn't seen bad. The locals were complaining about the high humidity....we just laughed [:D] We visited all 5 National Parks in Utah....loved them all!!!
     

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