Friday, May 29, 2009

Campground of the Week: June 1-8 Lava Point, Zion National Park

My friends just left for Zion National Park to do the Subway slot canyon top-to-bottom. I'm a little envious knowing how cool of an adventure their hike will be. The Subway is a unique tunnel-like canyon that looks very much like it could have a commuter train packed full of New Yorkers about to come around the next bend. Except that its tucked away into the wilderness of a national park. Hiking the Subway top-to-bottom requires a rappel and swimming through clear, cold, deep, pools of water. Brrrrr! The long climb back out of the North Creek Creek drainage can be both taxing and brutally hot after a long day of hiking. But the one-of-kind beauty you'll find in the heart of the Subway makes it all worth it. In my opinion the best campground to stay at before (or after) hiking the Subway is Lava Point in the Kolob Terrace region of Zion National Park.

Lava Point Campground

Free camping in a national park? Here's a rare gem. Located in the Kolob Terrace above Zion Canyon, this is a wonderful alternative experience to the other campgrounds in Zion National Park. Small, quiet, free, and cool, this campground is as different from the canyon floor as you'll find. Aspen and oak groves dot the pleasantly small loop. The park service is currently engaged in a fuel-reduction and aspen-restoration project around the campground. You'll notice some downded trees and burn piles, but they're far enough from the camping area to not have a negative impact on your experience. This by far the most natural, wild campground anywhere in Zion, if not in all of southern Utah's national parks. A short trail leads from the campground to the Lava Point Overlook, a great spot for sunset photography. Bring a long reaching zoom lens and a tri-pod to take advantage of the sweeping vistas of the distant canyon. From the overlook you'll get a top-down view of Zion Canyon.
West Temple Mountain, the highest point in Zion, is visible, as are the tops of many of the canyon's dominant features. This campground is great place to camp if plan on hiking the Subway slot canyon. Make sure to pick up your Subway permit before driving up to the campground, because they can only be arranged at the main visitor center in Zion Canyon.

Campsites, facilities: There are six camp sites for tents, small campers, and vans. Vehicles longer than 19 feet are not allowed on the Lava Point Road. Picnic tables, fire grills, garbage service, and vault toilets are provided. There is no drinking water. Leashed pets are permitted.

Reservations, fees: Reservations are not accepted. There is no fee. Open June through October, weather permitting.

Directions: Turn Left off (State) Route 9 on Kolob Terrace Road. Continue 20.4 miles and turn right. Drive 1.8 miles on a gravel road to Lava Point Campground.
GPS Coordinates: N 37 23.024' W113 01.972
Contact: Zion National Park 435/772-3256


  1. This was another amazing pictures!

    Brian Head

  2. What a beautiful pictures, I really love it, Thanks for sharing!

    Zion National Park RV Campground