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  1. #1
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    Zion in May, need some advice.

    Hey guys, first post here in the Utah section.

    Me and a buddy are heading to Zion in Mid May to go camping,hiking and biking. We are planning to camp at the South Campground which is a first come first serve camp. We are planning to leave Socal early Wednesday morning and hope to be in Zion by 10 or 11am to catch a spot when people are leaving. I figure since it is before school is out the place should not be too crowded, but i wanted to double check anyway.

    Has anyone here camped there?

    Also I guess there are no showers at the campground, is there a general store near-bye that has showers?

    What kind of weather should we expect that time of year?

    Lastly, what are the best MTB trails, my buddy is a novice so we have to keep the technical to a min.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

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  2. #2
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    I camped there a lot when my daughters were young. You should be fine in finding a spot on a weekday if you are there by 11:00. (hint think about shade and look for a site with canopy cover, shade is limited)

    Used to be you could pay for showers at the Zion Canyon campground (private) just outside of the park and within walking distance of the South Campground (a bit of a walk, but not bad - or you can ride your bike). There may be some other places as well. There is a general store just outside the park entrance and also at the private campground.

    Winter weather has typically settled down by May but definitely can get some boomer thunderstorms, a great time to be there with pleasant riding temps usually. Still a chance of extreme highs and lows though. Flowers will be going off

    The JEM, Hurricane Rim, and Goulds rides are not too technical and good for a beginner. Gooseberry also has beginner sections and there is a bunch of stuff over by St. George. I haven't ridden Little Creek yet but need to. Stop in to the Over The Edge bike shop in Hurricane, those guys are great and can give you excellent trail advice and it would be worth picking up a map.

    Also, if you have time it is well worth doing a day hike or two in the park to take in the spectacular scenery.

  3. #3
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    Why not just go to Gooseberry, although it might be a little warm if it's late May. It's pretty awesome! You could still do a day trip into Zion (maybe 75 minutes?) if you wanted to check it out. The Narrows section is a very cool hike. But there aren't any real trails to ride in Zion; you can't even drive your own vehicle from Apr.-Nov.

    Let me know if you want more Gooseberry info; we're going again next week!
    Last edited by dirtvert; 04-04-2012 at 12:35 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Zion.

    Gooseberry is a good/great ride but camping there would be a PIA if you are planning on doing anything except riding. While its short in distance the drive from zion to Gooseberry is time consuming. At least 45 min.

    Camping where you are plannings is a good idea because it leaves you with alot of options. The JEM trail (check out Utah Mountain Biking - Trails, Information, Repairs in the southwest utah section) is great for a beginner and still fun for the most seasoned riders. Also the Green Valley Loop /Bear claw Poppy riding area in st george is very beginner friendly. Being close to zion keeps you options open for day hikes, resturants, bars, etc etc. Also if its 110 degrees you can do the narrows or other Cool slot canyons.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah, this is a geology/camping and solar eclipse watching trip first and mtb second. Are you sure on the no cars in the park from april to nov?
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  6. #6
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    the national parks site for zion is mostly broken.... hard to find good info, but I found this in relation to car passes and free days:

    2012 Fee Free Days
    To encourage Americans to explore America's natural beauty, rich history and culture, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 days in 2012.
    The fee free dates for 2012 are January 14 to 16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend), April 21 to 29 (National Park Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend)
    So i am pretty sure I can take a car in there in may. I will probably hit up that shop on the way in and get a local trail map and possibly do a day trip from the park out to gooseberry, etc.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    Yeah, this is a geology/camping and solar eclipse watching trip first and mtb second. Are you sure on the no cars in the park from april to nov?
    There is an excellent shuttle system that takes you to all the trailheads in the main canyon of the park, it's really nice to not have all the cars driving up and down the canyon and you can catch a ride from the visitors center near the campground. Shuttles arrive every few minutes. You can take a car on the Mount Carmel Highway section of the park and there are some good places to hike around after you pass through the tunnel heading east with small parking areas.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    the national parks site for zion is mostly broken.... hard to find good info, but I found this in relation to car passes and free days:



    So i am pretty sure I can take a car in there in may. I will probably hit up that shop on the way in and get a local trail map and possibly do a day trip from the park out to gooseberry, etc.
    No cars in May. Trust me, this is a good thing. The shuttle system is excellent and saves you from driving and also breathing all the exhaust from cars. You CAN drive in if you are staying in the Zion Lodge in the central part of the canyon. You can also drive in to the South Campground. You can also ride your bikes on the road through the main canyon if you want.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BumpityBump View Post
    No cars in May. Trust me, this is a good thing. The shuttle system is excellent and saves you from driving and also breathing all the exhaust from cars. You CAN drive in if you are staying in the Zion Lodge in the central part of the canyon. You can also drive in to the South Campground. You can also ride your bikes on the road through the main canyon if you want.
    After looking at the map on the national parks site I noticed where the cars are no longer allowed, and that is fine, i just want to drive to my camp site and leave the truck there and hike or ride everywhere else.

    Thanks again for your help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    After looking at the map on the national parks site I noticed where the cars are no longer allowed, and that is fine, i just want to drive to my camp site and leave the truck there and hike or ride everywhere else.

    Thanks again for your help.
    Enjoy your trip. Zion is a phenomenal place! And the biking in that part of Utah is spectacular as well.

  11. #11
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    Zions is awesome ... one of our favorite places. The South campground is ok, but pretty tight. You will have to drive from Zions a bit for the riding, though.

    I've not ridden much around there, but there are some really cool and unique hikes. Angels Landing is pretty cool (it is really hard to believe they encourage people to go up there!). Narrows as well. If you want to do some of the longer hikes, ie Subway or Narrows top to bottom, make sure you get permits in advance (although I don't know how Subway or Narrows would be in May -- never done them that early).
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  12. #12
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    Campground should be fine. We were out that way last May on a weekend and it was about 1/2-3/4 full. No cars in Zion for sure. If you buddy is a true beginner, I'd suggest JEM Trail and after that, head over to St George area. Church Rocks comes to mind for sure but I'll leave it to the locals after that.

    I *personally* would not take a true beginner to Gooseberry but obviously others disagree with me. Check with STT GUY here on the board. He lives in Virgin and does guiding as well. Him and his wife are great people!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    Zions is awesome
    Weird, Zions is a bank.

    Salts Lakes, Provos, Cedars Cities, St. Georges and Zion are the correct Utah placenames.


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    It depends what you mean by novice. A reasonably adept beginner would probably enjoy the practice loop, windmill loop and even bowls and ledges at Gooseberry. Those are mostly singletrack and very easy slickrock.

    JEM and Gould's Rim are very beginner friendly. I would stay away from the Hurricane Rim Trail with a beginner just because the work / fun ratio can get skewed pretty heavy to the work side in certain sections.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH View Post
    Weird, Zions is a bank.

    Salts Lakes, Provos, Cedars Cities, St. Georges and Zion are the correct Utah placenames.

    You forgot Snow's Canyon.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy View Post
    You forgot Snow's Canyon.
    I totally did. And Bryces, Moabs and Lake Powells too, although technically part of Lake Powells is in Arizonas.

  17. #17
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    Are you going to be in Kanarraville on the 20th? I might take my little solar scope, unless we get too busy.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by iBallz View Post
    Are you going to be in Kanarraville on the 20th? I might take my little solar scope, unless we get too busy.
    We are going to try and find a place near our Camp Site to view the Eclipse since it will be happening at sundown. Just need a good west horizon view.
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    Cool, if you have a good spot let me know, we can ride then set up the solar scope, then set up the 20" and it should be a new moon that week!
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    If your goona be in Kannaraville, you have to do the Kannaraville falls hike!

  21. #21
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    If you're thinking about camping on Gooseberry in May....... Cedar Gnats can be sooooooo much fun!
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhale View Post
    If your goona be in Kannaraville, you have to do the Kannaraville falls hike!
    True, one of my favs!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by iBallz View Post
    Cool, if you have a good spot let me know, we can ride then set up the solar scope, then set up the 20" and it should be a new moon that week!
    That would be epic.
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  24. #24
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    K, keep me in mind! And depending on the weather. We should plan on it! Be cool to see SST GUY out there as well.
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  25. #25
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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Heading out tomorrow, looking forward to a week away from it all!
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