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The Greater Zion Visitor Center is a must for anyone interested in exploring the natural wonders of southwest Utah.

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Stay in Springdale

The Convenience and Bonuses of Staying in Springdale

As dangerous as it is to start with a cliche, here it goes: A picture is worth a 1,000 words. We’ve all heard the saying, but it has never rung more true than in this situation.

When you plan a trip to Zion National Park, you have to make a couple hard decisions. One of those is where to stay. Obviously there is no one right answer for everyone. Each of us has our own specific priorities. However, Springdale is a great choice for where to stay on your trip. Just look at the pictures.

Entrance Sign to Springdale

Travel Time

You’ll spend less travel time staying in Springdale than any other option. That means you can do more in the park, spend more time relaxing at the hotel pool, and just plain maximizing the minutes you have here. Less time driving is always a good thing.

If you stay in Springdale, you can even bring a bike and not even use a car. Everything is super close, and all the shuttles have bike racks that allow you to bring your bike into the park itself if you want. Many people even bike up the main canyon.

Don’t have or want to bring your own bike? Not a problem! There are many places to rent a bike, including the Zion Lodge.

Taking in a View

We often get the same question over and over when people are looking to visit Zion: “How long should I stay to see the Park?”

To make a blanket statement for everyone of varying degrees of interests, let’s say 3 days. If you’re more than a sightseer and want to really experience the park, that’s a realistic time frame. Whether you’re planning to camp or go the hotel route, no other location other than Springdale offers views this good. It’s hands down the prettiest spot and offers an amazing view in any direction. This is in large part due to the small town of Springdale actually bordering Zion.

Aerial view of the town of Springdale, Utah

What to Eat

You most likely want to eat better on vacation than you do in your day-to-day life. Food is what brings people together, and good food all but guarantees you’ll have a good time.

There are honestly too many amazing restaurants to name in Springdale. It’s unbelievable how many unique, quality places there are to eat at in such a small town. Almost nothing competes when it comes to close proximity dining to a world-class national park. Some local favorites are Oscars and The Switchback Grill.  

French Cuisine

A Few Drawbacks

Let’s quickly knock off the obvious reasons people choose somewhere else to stay when visiting Zion. Prices for hotels and food will be a little cheaper in other areas further away from the park. You may also want to be closer to other activities while on your trip, like shopping, Tuacahn or other national parks. However, you’ll see more of the park, you’ll eat as good or better than you could hope for, you’ll have incredible views the whole time all because you stayed in Springdale. So do yourself a favor and start planning your next trip to Zion!

Camping at the Foot of Zion National Park

This questions always brings a little bit of a chuckle with it. In this age of technology and online social activity, there are very few, if any, actual hidden gems left to any area, but especially so for top tourist areas like Greater Zion. So our title is a little tongue-in-cheek. Probably a more accurate title would be, Less Trafficked Areas That are Still Amazing.”

While Oak Grove Campground may not be a secret known only by locals, it is still a breathtaking location that is well off the beaten path of the main tourist crowd. This campsite is located right at the foot of the highest point in Greater Zion. That’s right, higher than anything in Snow Canyon or even Zion National Park. The North backdrop of the site is walled in by nearly sheer cliffs towering a couple thousand feet higher than your tent.

The vegetation is much different than what you might expect for Greater Zion as well. It’s very green with lots of oak scrub bushes, mighty ponderosa pine trees, and a small stream. Along with the giant trees, there are also several challenging hiking trails that range from moderate to difficult. Come on a clear day and be prepared to get some unbelievable views.

The facilities are nice, with picnic tables at each camping site and solid bathroom structures built to make sure you aren’t roughing it too much. This is a well-maintained area, made possible by an affordable camping space fee ($15). There are eight campsites available with the largest one accommodating up to 15 people.

It’s beautiful. It’s secluded, but accessible, and it’s different from the rest of the Greater Zion area camping. Next time you are in the area, try Oak Grove Campground to see what a gem it really is.