our stay at zion ponderosa ranch resort
A couple of weeks ago we packed up the car and headed to camp near Zion National Park at Zion Ponderosa Resort for a safe & socially distanced trip. It was the BEST DECISION EVER. We've been itching like crazy for some sort of adventure and felt like a 7-hour trip was still doable while continuing to follow CDC guidelines and be socially distanced. While the park was packed and we opted to do a few other things to avoid being near any crowds, it was still a gorgeous summer trip! Zion is one of our favorite places to be, so even driving through the park in a car makes us so happy. If you're on the fence about making the trip because you're afraid of a crowded park, keep reading for a few other activities you can do around the park instead!
ZION NATIONAL PARK
We departed from sunny SoCal, drove through Vegas (quick stop for breakfast), and then drove through the park to arrive at Zion Ponderosa just outside the east side of the park.
As of July 1, the scenic road and park is OHHHPENNNN! When we went in June, the park wasn't "open" and collecting fees, so that was a nice little surprise. Even if the scenic park road is open, we highly suggest waking up as early as possible to get into the park to avoid any crowds. Bring lots of water and don't forget the snacks!
If you still want to visit the park but maybe want to avoid going down a full road of hikers, there are other hikes you can do that are dispersed throughout and even outside of the park! Canyon Overlook trail is a short and lovely hike that leaves you with a wonderful view of the switchback roads in the park. It's only one mile and can take up to an hour. The trailhead is on Highway 9, just east of the Mount Carmel Tunnel! The photo below is from a previous hike we went on there last year.
The hike we went on this last trip in June was to Observation Point and OMG - one of my favorite hikes for sure! There are two ways to get there - from inside the park which is about 8 miles one-way, OR from the east side of the park just behind Ponderosa and that way is 6.8 miles round trip. Obviously we went the shorter way :) The hike is mostly flat with some downhill on the way to the point near the end.
The view is well worth it - a beautiful, beautiful place that overlooks the entire scenic drive. It felt like Heaven's gates as you stand and see Angel's Landing, the entrance to The Narrows, and even the bridge over the Virgin River. If you could only do one hike, this is the one we recommend. It is STUNNING - photos do not do it justice!
This is such a cool place! Shoutout to my girl Siena for sharing this place with us. It truly is a gem. It's a huge property that offers camping, glamping, Conestoga wagons, cabin suites, RV camping, AND vacation rentals. You can literally choose whatever flavor of comfort you're feeling... and we wanted to camp. For us, their campground seemed luxurious! We had a picnic table, firepit, a roped-off campsite area, and plenty of space for a ground tent and our trailer. They have a building with very clean showers, restrooms, and benches for siphoning off their wifi (ha!) Best of all IT WAS ONLY $30 A NIGHT - such a great deal! You can book on their website here.
If you want to check out their property map, click here.
In addition to their amazing lodging, their huge property offers so many recreational activities including:
Two swimming pools, hot tubs, and two slides
A recreation barn with pool, ping pong, and foosball
A pond you can kaya or SUP in
A trail for running & working out
A restaurant, gift shop, and coffee bar onsite
AND it doesn't stop there, you can sign up for these activities, too:
Zion Miniature Golf
Zion Shotgun Range
Wagon Ride & Dutch Oven Dinner
Basically you're at a little adventure park AND it's perfect for kids of all ages. I suggest you book ASAP though, we tried to sign up for paintball and it was all full.
I give this place a 10/10. It was truly so much fun as a family or couples trip. It's only 15 minutes outside the east entrance of the park and there's something for everyone! We only left to go to the park and on an off-road trail. You feel so tucked away and off-grid (although they do have wifi!)
Shoot us a DM on Instagram or leave a comment if you have any questions about Zion or Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. This post is totally our own opinion and not sponsored in any way! We hope you pay their property a visit and have a blast :)