Best camp sites in Zion/Bryce
May 18, 2011 10:06 AM   Subscribe

What are the most awesomely beautiful camp sites in Zion and Bryce in late May? Also where's the cheapest place to buy supplies?

We have 9 nights and not much to do other than hike, read, talk/not talk, and gaze at stars. Where should we pitch camp?

We don't have reservations. We're willing to hike in, we're willing to pay for hotel rooms if it doesn't work out, and we're willing to go try different area parks/attractions if you tell us about them. I want to spend more time in nature and less time in the car.

I'm looking for the most beautiful campsite(s) you lovely folks have ever seen - values include silence, vistas, flowers, access to trail heads, water sources, and relative ease of access.

Also appreciated - tips on where to buy supplies, and thoughts other adventures/on canyoning guides.

Merci Bien!
posted by jcrcarter to Travel & Transportation around Utah (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The thing about Zion and Bryce is that the main parts of the parks are actually quite small. You could camp anywhere inside the parks and still have easy access to everything, especially with the free Zion shuttle system. With Zion, you can also hotel it anywhere in the neighboring town of Springdale and still take the shuttle.

In Zion, I've always stayed in the Watchman campground, right at the entrance to the valley. This is "car camping." You'll have all the amenities there, and it will certainly be full. Same with the South campground. Lava Point doesn't have water, so I've never been.

The three main campgrounds in Bryce are pretty much equal in quality and access, as the main part of Bryce is essentially a large cul-de-sac.

Best thing to do in Bryce is to get up early and watch the sunrise. Best thing to do in Zion is hike to the very tippy top and the pointy end of Angel's Landing -- start your hike early, as there will be no shade at the top. But oh my. One of the best vistas in the whole wide world.

Don't forget Cedar Breaks, which doesn't get as much human traffic as Zion/Bryce. It is equally as pretty.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:43 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've stayed in Watchman, and it's pretty standard family camping. I've also camped on BLM land about 7 miles outside Springdale. It's called Mosquito Cove. Sand dunes, not really sites even, just flat spots, previously constructed fire pits and pretty trashy. It's free though, and if you're lucky enough to get a spot right next to the Virgin River, it's actually not too bad. No water, wood or any other campground amenities. I found the people to be a bit more social as well; lot's of climbers and other colorful people. This was in mid July, though so have no idea what it might be like this May.

Oh, and even in July, no mosquitos, thankfully, but there were some slightly annoying biting ants. Not a big deal, really. I spent most of my time hiking in Zion.
posted by a_green_man at 4:33 PM on May 18, 2011

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