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Old 04-12-2019, 10:10 AM   #1
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Zion campsite height restrictions?

This is a question about RV height restrictions at South Campground in Zion...

We are trying to arrange a stay inside Zion at either Watchman or South Campgrounds. (mid/late April 2019) We really want to stay inside the park. We have a 34 foot 5th wheel that is 13' 3" high. When hitched up to our tow vehicle we are 50 feet long.

When we look on Recreation.gov, looking at South campground (because there is no availability in Watchman in the next few weeks) we see that ALL of the sites have a 12' 6" RV height restriction, which technically would rule us out.

I saw on NPS.gov/zion that there are sites with some trees (aka shade) and other sites have no shade, which I assume means no trees at those particular campsites. It seems that that would imply no site specific height restriction?

We are aware of the height restriction for the tunnel when coming into the park from the east. We will enter from the west/south so that is not what we are worried about.

We are wondering if anyone knows if this global 12' 6" height restriction on vehicles at all campsites can safely be ignored for some sites? Or if perhaps there is actually some low clearance along the campground road that everyone must travel making that height restriction apply to everyone?

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Old 04-12-2019, 11:02 AM   #2
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I would call the campground. Better to be safe than find out the hard way.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:39 PM   #3
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It's been a few years since we drove through but we made note that we'd never try to get our 40' motorhome in there. It's really geared for tenting and small RVs. The roads are narrow with trees. It's not a pretty campground.

We love Watchman - quite different and very nice. Unfortunately, you said it's booked on your days.

So.... the next best thing would be to stay in Springdale, just outside the national park's gate. There's an RV park there and the free Zion park shuttle stops there or it's an easy walk into the park to the Visitor Center to catch the shuttle. Some sites are nice there along the river. The tiny town is very pleasant to poke around and there are a few restaurants.

I agree with you, staying IN the national parks is the very best!!!

Here are more photos of South campground:

https://www.campsitephotos.com/campground/ut/south/
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:54 PM   #4
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Watchman is an absolute gem of a campground and would be my first choice if I return, but I am 13 feet tall so would have the same questions as the OP. I stayed at Watchman many years ago in a 12 foot tall coach and I did not notice any issues with height. There could be some sites that have low tree branches, but for the most part the campground is more open than treed. I agree that a phone call to the park service would be useful. Maybe they can point you to a site or sites that will accommodate you. Please report back here if you do speak with them.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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Watchman is an absolute gem of a campground and would be my first choice if I return, but I am 13 feet tall so would have the same questions as the OP. I stayed at Watchman many years ago in a 12 foot tall coach and I did not notice any issues with height. There could be some sites that have low tree branches, but for the most part the campground is more open than treed. I agree that a phone call to the park service would be useful. Maybe they can point you to a site or sites that will accommodate you. Please report back here if you do speak with them.


Thanks for the feedback, especially with respect to watchman vs. South campgrounds. We checked again this morning and there was a cancellation at Watchman so we snagged it but it’s only for two nights. Better than nothing. But it also has a 12.5 foot hieght restriction.

I did finally get a person to talk to on the phone at the park. He told us that the height restriction at watchman are because of tree limbs in the campground roads as well as in specific sites. He said he couldn’t tell us where the low limbs are on the various roads or if there is a route without low limbs to our particular site. He suggested showing up and walking the route to our site and either go for it or forfeit one nights fees if we cancel.

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Old 04-30-2019, 12:38 PM   #6
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We just returned home and visited Zion on 4/18. This is NOT the Zion we loved in the 70's or even 90's. It truly is a total zoo of crowds, although still gorgeous.

You will NOT be going through the tunnel. It is still closed due to the landslide east of the tunnel. I am glad you snagged Watchman- holy cow it books up fast! It will be noisy during the day because of the crowds in the parking lot next to it- they are waiting in line to board the mandatory shuttles to go through the park. It took us 48 minutes in line to get on the shuttle. That was after spending 30 minutes looking for a parking space in the lot.

If you want to see the east side of Zion, you will need to go on Hwy. 9 from the east. I have no idea if that entrance is open to the public, nor the details. We love this side as we have seen it many times, many years ago.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:16 PM   #7
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Zion campsite height restrictions?

Here is the update: we arrived in Zion today. We had reservations for 2 nights. As suggested by ranger I spoke with on the phone, we pulled over just past the check-in kiosk and walked loop A to see if our 13’ 3” arctic fox 5th wheel could make the trip without getting tree limb damage. The answer was clearly YES. Nowhere on the roads within loop A are there any limbs that would even touch our rig. And our site (A-12) was also clear of limb related issues. We did not check the other loops nor the other Campground. Just loop A of Watchman campground. We were able to ignore the 12’ 6” height limit posted on recreation.gov.

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Old 04-30-2019, 09:39 PM   #8
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We are leaving Escalante, UT tomorrow after spending a month here. If you get a chance, drive 12 East to Boulder, UT, (leave the fifth wheel behind) it is among the top scenic roads in the world. If you really want a experience take Hole In The Rock road off 12 which is 25 miles of bumpy gravel road to Spooky and Peek-A-Boo slot canyons.
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:18 PM   #9
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Spooky and Peek-A-Boo are fun and short hikes. Lots to do along Hwy 12 and no need to avoid driving it with a RV. Glad you had a good stay!

Since you like slot canyons perhaps this site will lead you to more:

http://www.americansouthwest.net/slo...ons/index.html
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