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Old 03-04-2019, 02:30 PM   #1
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Road and trail closures in Zion NP

Yesterday Zion National Park announced closure of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, State Rt. 9, the road that runs E-W through the park via the tunnel. A retaining wall failed during a storm and the road is closed "long term": https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/news/...rom-storms.htm

This closure adds a long detour for those planning to travel between Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP. There are several trail closures in Zion, too. All this is not good timing for our Zion trip next week.
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Old 03-07-2019, 03:43 PM   #2
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We are headed there too for our first escape voyage April 1st. Sounds like we'll be doing some extra driving.
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Old 03-07-2019, 06:38 PM   #3
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I am going there in September.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:36 PM   #4
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If you're hoping to stay at one of the two campgrounds inside Zion, and you don't have reservations by now, it may be too late.

Lots of people during the prime summer months. On some summer days you need to get into one line in order to get into the *real* line. An hours wait at the main entry station is common. Since the East entry is closed, that means that even more cars will be lined up at the West entry.


2018 National Park Recreational Visits
1 Great Smoky Mountains National Park 11,421,200
2 Grand Canyon National Park 6,380,495
3 Rocky Mountain National Park 4,590,493
4 Zion National Park 4,320,033
5 Yellowstone National Park 4,115,000
6 Yosemite National Park 4,009,436
7 Acadia National Park 3,537,575
8 Grand Teton National Park 3,491,151
9 Olympic National Park 3,104,455
10 Glacier National Park 2,965,309

When you get there, if you're looking for options to Zion, send me a PM. I'm quite familiar with that part of Utah. Perhaps I can help you out.

Enjoy your travels.

Ed
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Old 03-07-2019, 10:55 PM   #5
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If you're hoping to stay at one of the two campgrounds inside Zion, and you don't have reservations by now, it may be too late.
Yep, WAY too late. They can be booked solid a year in advance. We like the smaller and more intimate areas because they're easier to get into and quite beautiful in their own right. We particularly enjoy Kodachrome Basin SP.

20170928_103452.jpeg
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:57 AM   #6
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What is the recommended off season time? Is February/March feasible or would weather be an issue? November/December better?

Zion (All 5 in Utah really) is very high on our list!
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:40 AM   #7
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What is the recommended off season time? Is February/March feasible or would weather be an issue? November/December better?

Zion (All 5 in Utah really) is very high on our list!
The average weather in the Springdale/Zion area tends to be rather pleasant in the winter. There are electric hookups at some sites in Watchman in case you need a heater. Stay outside the published reservation window and you should not have a problem finding a nice site if you pull in between Monday and Wednesday.

https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvis...nd-climate.htm

We go winter camping in the St. George, UT area because you tend to have the place somewhat to yourself although there are more and more people crowd avoiding people doing the same. We're heading there in a week, or so, to give our new Escape it's first tryout. Not to Zion because it will be packed plus we've been there lots of times but to some BLM disbursed camping areas we enjoy near the Hurricane/Virgin area.

Now when you get to the higher elevations where Bryce Canyon is, it's going to be colder.

It's often said that there is no bad weather; just bad preparation for the weather.

Enjoy your travels

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Old 03-08-2019, 12:30 PM   #8
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I was in Zion on March 25th, 2014, and it was a zoo. A couple of days before the shuttle started, and the road through the canyon along the Virgin River was packed. All the pullouts were full, with people parked in the road on both sides of the pullouts.

While I grumble about having to take the shuttle, I now understand why it is necessary.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:06 PM   #9
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I was in Zion on March 25th, 2014, and it was a zoo. A couple of days before the shuttle started, and the road through the canyon along the Virgin River was packed. All the pullouts were full, with people parked in the road on both sides of the pullouts.

While I grumble about having to take the shuttle, I now understand why it is necessary.
So I guess we should plan on leaving the midwest in the dead of winter for any trip to Zion. Not ideal.
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:03 PM   #10
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As noted, it can be hard to get a campsite reservation in Zion NP, but it not impossible. You can reserve the Watchman Campground (just inside the east entrance) 6 months in advance through https://www.recreation.gov and currently there are spots available around Labor Day. The South Campground, just up the road, can be reserved 14 days in advance (previously it was "walk-in" only).

Regarding Kodachrome Basin State Park. It's not too far from Bryce Canyon NP, and it's know for its unusual rock spires. Campsites in Utah State Parks can be reserved 4 months in advance through https://www.reserveamerica.com/.
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