The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Zion....Beautiful but Difficult

Our next stop after Bryce was Zion National Park. I found a Passport America park that looked nice but we decided to stay at Mount Carmel Motel and RV Park because it was very close to the road going in to Zion. It was a good move. It is a small park with full hookups but no extras and a small motel. The manager was very nice and location was the important issue.

It was a short drive from Bryce to Zion so we had lunch and headed on into the park. Heads up, they are doing construction on the road going to the park so you may have waits there.

The rock features at Zion are very different from Bryce.

It is also a drive to get to the park entrance itself.

On the way into the park, we had a rather lengthy wait to go through this tunnel. There were cones down the middle and for ages nothing came through from the other side while we were waiting to go through. They do shut the tunnel down for larger RVs to go through (for a charge) but that is not what was going on. For some reason, they were only letting traffic through one direction at a time....later I figured maybe they were controlling how many people could enter the park.

I think I took this picture on our way out when traffic was coming through from both directions.

It is quite a long tunnel so you need your headlights to see.

 This is the Visitor's Center and Gift Shop. From the parking lot, it looked like it was all shut up. I waited here while the kids went to hike a nearby trail.

They hiked the Watchman Trail.

After a while, I walked around and found out that was the back side of the Visitors Center. I took some pictures of the displays.

This is the front side. The Gift shop was open but that was about it. None of the shuttles were running and they are definitely needed as parking at Zion is really limited. We had no chance of going on the Scenic Drive at all. One of the other visitors told me they asked a ranger and were told that they were letting 50 cars in when 50 cars came out. There was no place to wait your turn so it was simply luck of the draw if you happened to be driving past when they decided to let the next 50 in. That may have made it easier for the rangers to count cars but it totally screwed things up for visitors. Disappointing to say the least. It would have gone better if they did 10 cars at a time.

After the kids got back from their hike, we headed out and of course didn't get to go on the Scenic Drive on the way out either.

We did see some wildlife.

The next morning, Steve, Helen, and Cameron left the RV park at 4:30AM hoping to go on the Scenic Drive so they could hike the Narrows. The rest of us slept in. They only made it halfway up through the Scenic Drive before they were more parking. It was too far to walk to the end and then hike so they hiked the trail near where they had to park. The rest of the pictures are theirs.


Sun rising over mountains!


Back at the RV park, it was approaching 11:00AM. I wasn't sure what time checkout was so I called the manager and asked if we could unhook and park off to the side until the hikers got back.  She said she wasn't full for that night so just stay right where we were until they got back. Nice people.

By the time the hikers returned and we had a very quick lunch it was 2:00PM. Our plan was to head to the Jacobs Lake area and boondock again while we visited the North Rim. Wrong! The Magnum Fire was spreading rapidly. They closed the North Rim and then they closed Hwy 89a so not only did we have to go to Plan B, we also had to backtrack on Hwy 89 to Page. We headed out and by the time we got to Page, it was really hot....too hot for Steve and Helen to sleep in the truck cap. We decided to head on to the South Rim. Unfortunately, the East Gate to the South Rim was closed. So we headed to Flagstaff where we knew it was higher and thus cooler. We stopped and picked up some dinner from a Mexican restaurant (take out only) and headed out. It would have been fully dark by the time we reached the South Rim so we got out iOverlander and found a great boondocking site just northwest of Flagstaff right on our route. It was more crowded but we didn't want to head further into the forest since we would be leaving so we picked a spot and parked and it worked out fine. Next morning, we were off to the South Rim.


  1. People are desperate to be out exploring so every place is crowded. We went to see Shoshone Falls today and there were hundreds of people there. We stayed long enuf for me to snap a couple of pictures and then got out of there. Hope you have better luck at the South Rim.

  2. I think you all did pretty good at Zion all things considered. Their shuttle will start July 1 with ticketed reservations.


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