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Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

San Diego...
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Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

Originally, we were planning to spend four nights at Watchman Campground in Zion (pending reservations) before continuing on with our road trip to the north. We were going to do a day trip to Bryce. I am now second guessing that decision and wondering if it would be worth the added work to pack up our stuff and move to a new campground (North) for one night instead of just visiting for the day?

It takes us about an hour to pack up and about 2 hours to set up, so it would add 3 hours of "work" to our plans, plus the tunnel and slower drive time. For those of you that have camped at North, do you feel it is worth the added effort to move to a new campground for just one night?

We will have a toddler with us to we will not be able to hike too much. We do have bikes and a bike trailer for the kid.

Our itinerary looks like this:

(Labor Day Weekend)

Friday: Arrive at Watchman Campground (early afternoon)

Saturday: Watchman Campground (explore Zion)

Sunday: (arrive at North Campground?) (explore Zion a 2nd day?) (Zion early morning then move to North in the afternoon?)

Monday: Either day trip to Bryce or explore Bryce

Tuesday: Depart and head to Idaho

Kipling. SK
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for Zion National Park
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1. Re: Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

I haven't camped at the North Campground, but it is a different environment than Zion. I do not see any significant advantage to relocating to the North Campground as it relates to your surroundings.

I will assume that you are arriving in Zion from the West, via I-15. Mt Carmel Jct to Bryce NP is about 1.5 hrs each way, so three hours total. When staying at Zion, driving the SR9 in park route to Mt Carmel Jct is an essential experience, so that half hour driving time isn't a factor, because either way you will be driving that route.

And you are right about the tunnel and the route itself. It will take longer for sure, especially if your outfit is on the large part of the scale.Labour Day will still be real busy in Zion.

I will bump you up the queue so that others can comment.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Utah
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2. Re: Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

Well, I'm someone who doesn't mind the time spent putting up and taking down a camp. We took our first when she was 4 months old and never stopped, often arriving late at night and leaving the next morning. That is just the way we traveled...

And I think the North Campground at Bryce is one of the best places to camp (better than either of Zion's). So my vote would be to spend the time to change camp spots. You'll get more of a forest camp, plus would be so near the rim at Bryce that getting up for sunrise would be easy.

I can certainly see the case for staying put as well, but if it takes 4 hrs of your day to travel to Bryce and back(plan 2 hrs each way) spending 3 hrs to pack and unpack actually gives you another hour at the park.

Try Fri arrive Zion

Sat Zion

Sun Zion

Mon Pack up and head to Bryce, spend day at Bryce

Tues Sunrise then pack up and head home.

That would give you two full days plus part of the first day at Zion And most of half a day plus evening and sunrise at Bryce

San Diego...
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3. Re: Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

<<I can certainly see the case for staying put as well, but if it takes 4 hrs of your day to travel to Bryce and back(plan 2 hrs each way) spending 3 hrs to pack and unpack actually gives you another hour at the park.>>

Good point!! I think we will try to get a reservation at North. I know they are tough to get and move for the night. Thanks all!

Steamboat Springs...
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4. Re: Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

Kbec just reminded me of how nice the campground is at Bryce. One of the nicest I have camped at. Beautiful old growth trees, a couple minute walk to the best view in the park, not to mention 1 of the best places in the USA to view the night sky. Yes spend the night!!

San Diego...
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5. Re: Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

Good to hear powderglut. I hope we can get a campsite for the night! My husband has a telescope so we will definitely pack it.

6. Re: Camping at North vs Day Trip to Bryce

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